G.I.R.L.S. Gym (Grappling in Real Life Situations) specializes in teaching women martial arts and is one of the few gyms in the country training female fighters for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition. Coach Sarah Oriza started training in mixed martial arts at the age of 15 and has been coaching since 2003. She not only trains fighters, she fights in the cage herself.
Experience is crucial in this type of training as the livelihood of the trainee may well rest in the competence of the trainer. Teaching students to defend themselves against much larger opponents also requires an instructor with real life experience. Coach Sarah is well known as one of the best female trainers in the country and takes that role very seriously.
Competitors are required to train seriously at G.I.R.L.S. Gym. Fighters are expected to train (at the gym) at least 6 days a week and must log that training along with their dietary habits. Good conduct and hygiene are also a requirement at the gym. Respect is neither given nor taken, it is earned here by the way each woman conducts herself.
It would seem that the gym has a recipe for turning out successful women fighters but is the western world ready for that? Olympic wrestler and promoter Matt Lindland says women should be allowed to fight but will never make it as far as their male counterparts because women are not “designed for combat.”
Champions are hewn from determination and are gender neutral. Biologically, women are superior to men in many of the conditions it takes to be a combatant. Typically women can endure more pain, are more comfortable with the sight of blood, and have a high physical endurance factor. Add in the fact that most women live longer because they take better care of themselves, are not so negatively impacted physically by sex, are generally more mentally determined and we have the ingredients for the ultimate warrior.
With female fighters fetching upward of $25,000 a fight it might be easy to explain why G.I.R.L.S. Gym and Coach Sarah are so busy. Top trainers and their gyms are always busy because they care for their competitors and those who do not compete with equal enthusiasm.
Professional fighting is a fulltime passion. That passion, like samurai steel, must be tempered with wisdom. A rare opportunity exists for women in the Portland area to workout at a female dominated gym where there are trainers who can fulfill their needs whether they are tight buns or a championship belt.