Redefining what it means to ‘fight like a girl’

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Pau Peña (left most) demonstrates how to deflect direct punches

Pau Peña (left most) demonstrates how to deflect direct punches

MMA femme fatales lead self defense instruction
Mixed martial arts website Dojo Drifter took the increasing number of sexual assaults and rape cases in the country as a wake-up call to help empower women through the art of self defense.

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With the help of the top Filipina names in mixed martial arts (MMA)—Annie Ramirez, Paui Pena, Geli Bulaong, and Meggie Ochoa—the website mounted a self defense seminar on September 15 at The Podium in Ortigas Center.

Aptly titled #FightLikeAGirl, Ochoa, who is a three-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world champion, opened the well-attended event by explaining its goal.

“What this campaign really aims to do is to equip other women with the right skills and the right mindset to eradicate the belief that they are the weaker sex, and hopefully, somewhere along the way redefine what it means‘to fight like a girl.’ That is, ‘to fight with strength amid adversity, heart amid discouragement, and passion amid diversion’,” she eloquently related.

Dojo Drifter founder and chief executive officer Gab Pangalangan completely agrees with Ochoa’s sentiments, so much so that his group already laid plans to bring the same self-defense class to gyms, schools and offices to reach out to as many women as they can. For him, the effort is two-pronged, for besides equipping women with the skills to protect themselves; the advocacy will consequently break the intimidating image of mixed martial arts.

Girl Power! Participants of Dojo Drifter’s ‘#FightLikeAGirl’ campaign launch are happy and empowered

Girl Power! Participants of Dojo Drifter’s ‘#FightLikeAGirl’ campaign launch are happy and empowered

“We have so many strong women who can join mixed martial arts, and in so doing change the existing culture through this effort,” he enthused. “[Eventually], when young girls watch TV, or surf the internet, they will see other girls like this becoming world cchampions [in the sport], winning medals, throwing guys bigger than them.”

Besides promoting mixed martial arts as a non-gender specific sport, the more important goal of the advocacy is to lower the alarming reality that rape cases have increased to a staggering 500-percent since 2000. Pangalangan believes that by raising this awareness among women, and following through with self-defense classes, many lives can be saved from crashing or worse, ending at the hands of criminals.

“If we could change the world for the next generation why not do it now? We want to provide society a new perspective on how to treat and respect women,” he rejoined.

Held in the lead up to International Women’s Month in March 2017, Pangalangan promised that #FightLikeAGirl is just a stepping-stone for a wider and more beneficial campaign for women.

“We will go bigger and we want to have more people involved in empowering women,” he stated. “The campaign doesn’t end in March; we don’t stop caring about this after March. Hopefully, there will be enough people to support the campaign so we’re calling on everyone who would like to take part in this to reach out to us at www.dojodrifter.com.”

The self-defense seminars’ schedule is available on the Dojo Drifter website.

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