Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lutadora - Interview with Rebekka Francis

Lutadora - Interview with Rebekka Francis
CQ: Hi Rebekka, we think the site is a great idea, there really is no one that caters to women specifically in martial arts. Could you tell us a bit more about how the site came to be and how you would like to see it grow?
Initially my business partner suggested we set up a MMA/Muay Thai/BJJ online store for men but I felt that had already been done and that no one was really catering to the female market. I wanted to create a “one stop shop” for female fight gear and that is the big dream and aim for Lutadora. I want to stock everything from GI’s to shorts to gloves from a range of different brands. The most important factor ensuring the site stocks good quality brands We are well on the way and constantly expanding into new brands and much quicker than I had initially expected, so am very optimistic for the future! It helps that most feedback has been great so far and all the women I have talked to directly are positive towards the idea, and I’m always open to suggestions on how we can improve so I love to get out there and see what people think.
CQ: What Brands do you have on the site?
We currently stock American fight ware brand “fighter girls” known for their colourful and quirky board shorts and rash guards. I have always been a fan of fightergirls clothing; the material/cut was on a different level to the stuff I had seen before. I didn’t want to wear guys clothing, just because I want to fight like a guy doesn’t mean I want to look like one. Over the last couple of years they have really improved and expanded their range, and in my humble opinion they offer some of the best choice in colours, designs and sizes. I am really pleased to stock, sell and wholesale the fightergirls range! I am now hoping to eliminate that fear factor of buying in from abroad for other women. I will also be out at as many shows and events as possible so people can actually see for themselves the quality and sizing of the products and there is a conversion on my site on the sizes to help people have confidence when buying.
CQ: How did you come across martial arts?
I started training BJJ in May 2009 having done some kickboxing about 6 months prior. I didn’t feel like kickboxing was challenging enough for me personally at the time and I had a friend who trained at Nova Forca in Epsom Surrey, so took a chance and went down there for a taste of BJJ. My first class was pretty daunting, as I went from a women’s only kickboxing class to being the only woman most of the time. A similar story to most girls involved in the sport, although I’ve noticed quite a rapid increase in female interest in the sport which is awesome! A lot of girls are really missing out not giving it a try. Anyways like most of us, I got hooked, switched my kickboxing for Muay Thai and the rest is history as they say. Now I have some great female team mates to train with down there too!
CQ How has your training changed since becoming a mum?
I read a lot of stories about women still rolling when pregnant and going right up till 8 months. My story doesn’t really go that way, mainly due to a 6 month morning sickness and the 24kg weight gain over the 9 months! So I pretty much stopped training from 8 weeks into the pregnancy and came back when my son was 2/3months. Training has been patchy for me for this first year back. Now he is 15months, and the 24kg is gone, I really feel back in the swing of things. My team mates have been very supportive throughout the pregnancy and this last year. If I’m honest I feel like I struggled to get back on the mats and love it the way I used to. I think having such a long time off played a big part in that. I hear people that take a long break due to injury have similar feelings. I truly believe had it not been for that support and the constant encouragement from my team mates I may have strayed, and perhaps – dare I say it – never have gone back. A good supportive team is essential especially as a new mum!
CQ You must have a very busy schedule how do you balancing training, motherhood and a new business?
Truthfully, sometimes I’m not really sure myself! I used to train evenings and I’ve switched that to daytime training instead. I definitely don’t train as much as I used to, and I’ve decided to step away from competing for a while so I can focus on the things I really need to right now like my son and the business. I am also very blessed to have an extremely supportive family and extended family! So now I train in the mornings or early afternoons, go home and do a couple of hours work, then spend some time with the little man, and once he’s in bed I run round like a whirlwind doing house work, then do some more work, then pass out as early as possible to be up at 6am. I pray every night he will start miraculously start waking up at 7am every day instead, but no such luck yet!
CQ would like to thank Rebekka for speaking with us, you can visit the Lutadora site, and she will also have a stand at the Women Fight Back event at fight science gym in Aldershot on the 25th August. For further enquires please email Rebekka

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