Girls competing in combat sports isn’t only in the United States.
Europe continues to see more and more girls looking to make fighting a career. Great Britain’s Yanida Driscoll is no exception. The 11 year old has already won titles in kickboxing not only locally but in Europe. Her latest being WFMC British Ring Kickboxing Champion.
Training at Impact Karate just north of London, she is a black belt under Grant Nicholls.
Wombat Sports: What got you interested in getting involved in combat sports?
Yanida Driscoll: I started Martial Arts when I was 6 – when a friend of mine, Megan, started training at Impact Karate Academy. In addition, my father has practiced a ’Harder Style of Martial Art’ – but now studies Qigong. As a result, he truly believes in the benefits of the arts.
Wombat: What do you enjoy about it?
Driscoll: I enjoy the camaraderie at Impact Karate Academy – and the competitive aspect of Kickboxing.
W.S.: What comes naturally to you in fighting?
Y.D.: The primary thing that comes naturally to me is; not being overwhelmed prior to a fight. I am never beaten before I get on the mat or in the ring.
W.S.: What have you found difficult?
Y.D.: Sometimes it can be difficult to pick up a new technique – however, that is part of Martial Arts, we are all continually learning (for life).
W.S.: How has your friends and classmates reacted to it? How about your family?
Y.D.: I have always had a great deal of support from family and friends – particularly those involved with Impact Karate Academy. I would therefore like to thank my long time training partner Callum Franklin and his parents, Wayne & Emma, for all their support over the years.
My family are particularly supportive of my goals – they take me around the UK for competitions and training – and, like me, are truly excited about my future with the World Kickboxing Association.
W.S.: Who do you look up to in fighting?
Y.D.: The person that I admire most in Martial Arts is Freestyle Legend & WMO President Alfie Lewis. I have been lucky enough to have met Master Lewis on a number of occasions and compete in WMO Events here in the UK. Namely the WMO British Championships, WMO European Championships & WMO G Force International Open. I have Medalled in all of these Events in either Karate, Kickboxing – or both. Master Lewis is also someone that my coach, Grant Nichols of Impact Karate (Hertford & Sawbridgeworth), also respects. As a result, it is the technical ability and work ethos of Mushin Kai in Liverpool that we strive to achieve in both training and competition.
W.S.: How do you feel about the future of females in fighting?
Y.D.: Over the last few years female fighting sports have received a massive increase in coverage – and major ‘Fight Organizations’ (such as the UFC) – should be highly commended for this. I am a strong believer that all women should have the same opportunities as their male counterparts – irrespective of their chosen career path. I am truly excited about the future of ‘Fight Sports’ for women – particularly over the next decade or so – and genuinely hope to be part of it and a role model for many.
W.S.: What are your aspirations in fighting?
Y.D.: At the present time – I wish to continue my journey in Martial Arts at Impact Karate. I have also been lucky enough to meet with the World Kickboxing Association European & Great Britain Ring Sports President – Mr. Linford Melbourne. As a result, I am truly excited about the future direction of the WKA and look forward to representing the WKA England Squad @ the WKA / ICO World Championships in Rome – in November.
Despite this, I will always continue to strive further. Once this goal is complete – I will strive for the next. As a result, long term, I hope to fight for a major organization. In addition to this – I am also an avid fan of Martial Arts Television Shows & Movies. So, one day – I would like to appear in such a production. I am fluent in both English & Thai languages – as a result I am interested in appearing in both Asian & Western Productions.
W.S.: Anything you want to add/thank?
Y.D.: My Sensei – Grant Nicholls of Impact Karate – who has guided me from beginner to where I am now. WKA European & GB Ring Sports President – Linford Melbourne – for giving me the opportunity to Represent the WKA. My Sponsors – Mal Johns & Leanne Emmerson of WOMAA Fight Gear, Darryn Hodges of Greenline Environmental, Jimmy Swan of Swan Fork Lift Training, Nicky Shergold Harding of the Fitness Room & Kris Sale of Sale Appliances.