I’m thrilled to feature one of our instructors, ANDREA NUCCI for the Kombat Spotlight this month. A lot of people use terms like “Girl Power” or “Female Empowerment”, but what does that really mean? Is it just a euphemism tossed around as a popular catch phrase, or some all-encompassing term designed to make us feel good?
But in the case of our Women’s Muay Thai Instructor, Fitness Trainer & Amateur Fighter, Andrea Nucci, these terms are not just fancy, glossy words – She is the literal embodiment of them.
Please take a moment to read our wonderful interview.
1) WHEN DID YOU START TRAINING AT KOMBAT ARTS AND WHY?
I had always been athletic in elementary & high school. Name any type of sport, I played it. I found the physical aspects came naturally to me and it was easy to excel. But I actually found Kombat for two reasons: ONE, I’d gone through a particularly bad break-up and was looking to shake things up; and TWO, I had grown bored of the gym routine and wanted something else to challenge me.
So I searched the Internet 11 years ago and found KOMBAT ARTS. What appealed to me was that the gym offered many different types of classes such as Muay Thai, Boxing, Conditioning, BJJ, etc…
But I was already 29 years old when I first started taking martial arts, so I had a lot of learning to do.
2) WOW, SO WE REALLY HAVE NO EXCUSE TO SAY ‘I wish I started when I was younger’. I REMEMBER MY FIRST WEEK AT KOMBAT (over 7 years ago), I TRIED MANY DIFFERENT CLASSES & YOU WERE MY 1st PARTNER IN SAVATE. ONE SWIFT TEEP TO MY STOMACH & I REMEMBER THINKING TO MYSELF, “Man, I need to be like her one day – And get into shape !” 😛
(Andrea laughs.) Yes, I remember back in those days, there were never really too many women at the gym. But I found I gravitated towards training because it was a way to relieve the personal problems I was working through at the time.
3) WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO START TEACHING?
About 5 years ago. But when I first decided to start teaching people, I had my doubts. I wasn’t sure if people would want to listen to what I had to say. But then I realized it would be a great way for female students to have an instructor who can relate to them. Let’s face us, our anatomy is different from men’s and sometimes we need to re-adjust certain drills in order to make it work for us. Or more importantly, it’s great when an instructor can also share their apprehension & ease their fears, because the gym can be an intimidating place. For instance telling a student, “Yeah I threw up on my first time too”, helps to encourage them to keep pushing through & get better.
4) WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART ABOUT TEACHING?
I found that I really enjoyed it, but it was therapeutic for me too. It helped my soul when I was able to help someone else, to give a part of me that would make a positive difference.
When I first joined Kombat, in a way, I was trying to escape the demons from my past. I had experienced abuse in my family (both physical and verbal) and I was in therapy trying to work through it. I had a lot of unresolved issues from my childhood – fear, shame and guilt, that kept rearing its ugly head at me, but I found the training actually kept me in therapy. It kept me going. Now that I’ve come out stronger on the other side, I want to teach and support other women so they don’t have to feel alone. Teaching helped me to stay strong in my skin.
Now, when I can help others with their insecurities, I feel it’s the most rewarding thing in the world. Through teaching, I feel like I’ve really hit my “niche”.
4) THAT IS INCREDIBLY BRAVE OF YOU. WHAT IS ONE MESSAGE YOU REALLY WANT TO TEACH WOMEN?
That they have a voice; they have a choice to protect themselves.
I’ve also been very fortunate to be involved with Calvin Millar & Wesley Quaife in their INSTINCTIVE DT Self-Defense & Security Training Programs. When they asked me to be their Female Self-Defense Lead; I was honoured to be a part of their organization.
Sometimes women don’t realize that something so simple as turning around and facing a person in the eyes who’s following you or making you feel uncomfortable can be an effective technique.
Making direct eye contact or speaking up, being vocal when you’re afraid is sometimes the simplest and easiest solution to make someone back off.
I went through a lot myself, living in fear and I want women to know that if they are in abusive situations, they can also pull out of it – they are not alone. Having one woman come up to me and say “You saved my life” makes it all worth it.
I actually have a board in my house where I place sticky notes of comments or emails people have sent to me, to remind myself that what I’m doing is important or when I question if I’m good enough to be doing this – reading those notes reminds me that I am.
6) WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM FOR THE FUTURE?
My ultimate goal is to create a Wellness Centre for Women. My vision for this place would not only be a gym that offers classes, but also a place where women can unwind, chat with other and have a safe place to go.
Whether it’s a female CEO who needs to let off steam from her day through a boxing class, a stressed out mom who just needs a few minutes to take a nap, or an injured athlete who requires physical therapy, I want this Wellness Centre to be a place where women from all walks of life can join together and feel secure.
I want to inspire women and give them the tools to become good role models for our children, our friends, our neighbours. To build up a generation of women who can run the world.
7) FINALLY, WHAT DOES MARTIAL ARTS MEAN TO YOU?
It means healthy living – Living your life in a healthy frame of mind, mentally & physically. Martial arts has made me a healthier, more vibrant person and it’s an integral part of my life.
THANK YOU ANDREA for your time and honesty!
Through you, we have learned that real strength isn’t just about bench-pressing 200 lbs. or punching an opponent in the ring – it’s about the courage to speak up, to seek help and face your demons, to confront the uncomfortable & ugly things in your life and to use this as vessel, as a conduit to improve – to become a better person and ultimately to help others do the same.
Because of your example, you inspire us to find the courage to overcome overwhelming obstacles. All while looking great in high heels! 🙂
For more information, please visit: www.warriorgoddesswellness.com
ARTICLE BY: Alice Soon @AliceSoon1