Xen-Do Woman has always had equal status with Xen-Do Man. We’d find it difficult to get our head around any other reality. They’re as fit as men, and just as dedicated. They train, they spar, they win trophies and championships, and they make great Senseis. It’s always been that way with us.
Sensei Denise Bailey (top, centre), for example, is a 7th Dan Black Belt instructor, making her one of the most qualified kickboxing and martial arts instructors anywhere in the world. She found her passion in kickboxing and martial arts in 1986, earning her 1st Dan Black Belt just three years later. By 1993, Sensei Denise qualified as an internationally recognised judge and referee for the sport, by then competing in multiple national and international tournaments. Among her many successes, Sensei Denise earned the National title no less than 9 times and was placed at six International events including European and World Champion.
Sensei Denise is not the only talented female Sensei at Xen-Do. Sensei Lauren Butcher (above, left), who earned her 1st Dan in 2016, as well as Sensei Rijana Puljic (above, right), who this past July earned her Black Belt, also provide excellent teaching to students of Xen-Do. Xen-Do Woman enjoys more than just an equal place in the dojo. Xen-Do training increases mental and physical fitness, confidence and self-esteem, which are carried into the workplace, family and social scene. Skills such as assessing situations and circumstances so that trouble can be avoided or dealt with effectively while using techniques that do not require an abnormal level of strength or power to perform and are aimed at an average woman of any shape, size, age and proficiency in martial arts are just some of the reasons why Xen-Do cultivates such an empowering environment for women.
More particularly, Xen-Do does not simply cater to women with open schedules. For working women or mums, probably the most important thing that Xen-do offers is flexibility in how you choose to train. Whether it’s once a week, six times a week, one-to-one classes or sparring; there are options to find what suits your lifestyle best. But here at Xen-Do, flexible classes for invigorating fitness skills are not the only way women flourish. To Melissa Atkin, a Xen-Do Black Belt woman, Xen-Do helped her grow in more ways than physical training. “With every belt my kicks, punches and confidence grew. I started to notice how what I was learning in the dojo was having an impact on other areas of my life. I was more confident at work, going into meetings with senior leadership and holding my own with the more experienced team members. I felt more relaxed in myself; in my teens and early 20s I had always suffered a lot of insecurities and these seemed to vanish entirely after 12 months at Xen-Do.
We’re very pleased to see that the rest of the world is finally catching up. But the potted history dates below remind us just how far gender equality has lagged behind:
- Less than 100 years ago, women didn’t even have the vote in the UK (it was 1928 before all women over 21 were eligible, finally bringing them into line with men)
Until 1960, women were banned from running over 200m in the Olympics
Until 1971, they were banned from playing football on many grounds
Until 1976, they weren’t allowed to step onto the outfield at Lord’s, let alone play cricket on it
It was 1991 before FIFA organised the first women’s World Cup
1998 before the IRB sanctioned a rugby event
2012 before they could compete in every Olympic event
2014 before they could play professional cricket in England
2016 for professional rugby
2017 before they could join Muirfield golf club
Xen-Do is not just a facility for physical fitness or martial artistry. Here, we promote an equal-opportunity mindset across all genders, cultivate a sense of responsibility, discipline, fitness and, most importantly, self-confidence. Women of all ages, sizes and abilities are encouraged to grow with us under our Fit For Life credo.
As Anisa describes Xen-Do on our Facebook page,
“it’s not just a martial arts club, it’s more, it’s a family.”