Our CKO community celebrates, encourages, and empowers one another. We are an all-inclusive, safe space for members to feel their best. That’s why we view every day as an opportunity to celebrate women, and all that they are capable of, beyond Women’s History month.
We caught up with three women from our CKO community to find out their thoughts on women in kickboxing-related sports. Abby, who became a CKO Kickboxing instructor in 2014 when she purchased her first franchise location, CKO South Philly; Nikki, who opened a CKO in 2016 and has been instructing ever since; and Nicole, one of our newest CKO instructors as of International Women’s Day on March 8th.
Do you feel a social barrier exists for women in kickboxing-related sports?
Abby: I began training at 18 years old. I spent many years around amazingly talented and respected females in the field. I didn’t see that barrier until I opened my gym. The shock factor that followed the initial impression of the 5ft nothing girl coming from behind the desk and commanding the class, was always a great feeling!
Nikki: There is currently a social barrier for women in any sport, but I think it’s now our time to shine. Women are gaining more respect every year, and I think it’s an awesome thing to experience in this lifetime.
Nicole: While we’ve come a long way, kickboxing-related sports are predominantly male. Any ‘fight’ based activity is perceived to be testosterone-driven and women shy away from the workout because they don’t want to be viewed as masculine. But it’s society that places that barrier (it’s time we got rid of ‘ring girls.’). The stereotype is that men have greater strength and physical ability, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Women are just as capable and have just as much of a right to combat sports. Yet, in 2021 women only made up 21% of martial arts instructors.
How do you hope to break this stereotype?
Abby: I hope to continue to use my ability, skill, and gym to introduce women and men to techniques and exercises that will help them gain strength, confidence, and power even though we are not combat fighting.
Nikki: By continuing to do what I’m doing. Running my business, training and teaching the next generation and generation after that, and setting a good example for females that they can do anything.
Nicole: Nothing is sexier than a woman who knows her strength—and that includes mental strength. Now that I’m part of that 21%, I want to show other women out there that you can balance being feminine and masculine without compromising who you are. You can knock ‘em out and still be a total knockout. It’s all about empowered movement.
Women only account for roughly 21% of kickboxing-related instructors. Describe how being part of this group makes you feel.
Abby: My background is actually what catapulted me into fitness. I came into CKO with a 2nd-degree black belt. My knowledge and skill contribute to my confidence, not only as a trainer but as a strong confident woman.
Nikki: It’s pretty empowering when you think about it. I’m surrounded by other amazing female instructors as well.
Nicole: Like I want to raise the bar until we account for 50%.
Celebrate all the women in your CKO Kickboxing community today and every day. Plus, as we continue to celebrate and empower every person around us, we encourage you to reach out to your local CKO and tell us your CKO story! We love featuring our CKO crew and interviewing everyone who is part of our CKO Family!
Let’s keep building a united future for us all!