Friday, 12 February 2016

Round 3

Hi All,

Welcome back to the blog that celebrates and promotes everything to do with women in Martial Arts.

Being heavily involved in the sporting aspect of Martial Arts, when I am training for an upcoming fight, the training is fairly intense. I would train twice a day, six days a week. It can be quite strenuous on the body. One of the things I find which helps my recovery is to have regular sports massages.

Sports massage should play an important role in the life of any sports woman, whether they are injured or not. Massage has a number of benefits, both physical and psychological.

Sports massage can help maintain the body in generally better condition, prevent injuries, boost performance and extend the overall life of your sporting career.

Anyone taking part in any kind of exercise can benefit from a sports massage, no matter what level you’re at.

I spoke to Nicola McMullen, Sports, Remedial & Neuromuscular Physical Therapy, the massage therapist I worked with over my career, to get some info on the benefits of sports massage and some training tips for all you ladies!

Hi Nikki,

Firstly, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. How long have you been doing massage?
I've been working as a Sports Massage Therapist for 12 years now. I also have a diploma in Pregnancy Massage Therepy

How did you get into it?
My background is in fitness. I was a Fitness Instructor for 7 years and I got fed up with the whole industry, I always loved massaging people and I saw a Sports Massage course advertised in a national paper so decided to go back and study and it all took off from there. 

Do you take part in sports yourself?
Being very involved with sport myself I played 3 sports competitively tennis, badminton and hockey. I am still playing hockey to date with Clontarf and the Irish Masters hockey team.

Do you find this helps when you are doing the massages?
My knowledge of a wide range of sports and the experience I have gained over the last 13 years has given me a huge advantage in working in this area of sport as it is much easier to relate to people's needs, wants and injuries.

What sports teams have you worked for?

Dublin Senior Gaelic Football Team                                                2006 – to date
Pre and post event treatments

Leinster Rugby Team                                                                       2004 – 2010
Pre and post event treatments

Australian Rugby Team                                                                    Nov 2009
Pre and post event treatments

Ireland A Rugby Team                                                                      Feb 2009
Pre and Post event treatments

Irish Ladies Cricket Team                                                                 2006 – 2009               
Team physio   -       

Irish Rugby Team                                                                              Nov 2008
Post event treatments during the Autumn series

Wow, so I'm definately in safe hands!
You sure are!

The following are a number of very good reasons why massage should be a priority both for injury prevention and rehabilitation.

1.    Improved circulationand general nutrition of muscles.
This appears to be the most valuable fitness-related benefit. Massage is accompanied or followed by an increase interchange of substances between the blood and the tissue cells, which increases tissue metabolism. Massage maximizes the supply of nutrients and oxygen though increased blood flow, which helps the body rebuild itself.

2.    Improved range of motion and muscle flexibility.
This results in increased power and performance, which helps you work efficiently and with proper intensity to facilitate the body’s muscle-building response.

3.    Helps shorten recovery time between workouts.
Waste products such as lactic and carbonic acid build up in muscles after exercise. Increased circulation to these muscles helps to eliminate toxic debris and shorten recovery time.

4.    Can help prevent over-training. 
Massage has a relaxing effect on the muscles, as well as a sedative effect on the nervous system. This can prevent over-training syndrome, which has a limiting effect on muscle building.

5.    Helps prevent and even heal injuries. 
By stretching connective tissue, massage improves circulation to help prevent or break down adhesions. Massage also influences the excretion of certain fluids (nitrogen, phosphorous, sulfur) necessary for tissue repair.

Here are a few tips for all you ladies out there training!

Match Your Abilities with your Interests: 
You have to enjoy your training program or you probably won’t stick with it long enough to see results. Rather than picking a generic program or doing what your friends do, adjust your workout time and intensity so it fits your lifestyle, and your current fitness level and allows you push yourself as needed. Most importantly, find a workout routine that meets your personal goals. If you don’t know where to begin, working with a personal trainer is highly recommended, but it’s also a great way to fine tune your fitness plan if you are more advanced.

Training is largely about consistency and focus. While a technical training program of heart rates, charts and graphs works for the most dedicated athletes, it may not be necessary for you. If you are feeling overwhelmed, simplify your training to hard and easy or long and short workouts and practice skills needed in your sport. Beyond that, try to enjoy your workouts and listen to your body.

Avoid Overtraining: 
Allowing your body to rest is as important as building strength and endurance. You don’t get stronger by constantly training hard. You’ll build fitness by alternating workouts with recovery. The best way to avoid overtraining is to listen to your body. If your heart rate remains elevated after a night’s rest, if your legs feel heavy, and your motivation fades, you may need more rest. For those who train year-round, it’s wise to take a week off every three months. This is also the time to change up your routine. 

Vary your workouts, pace, and intensity to enjoy a well-rounded fitness routine that is less likely to result in burn-out or plateaus. Alternate training intensity and time from day to day. No matter what your pace or goal, your training program should include a mix of training days. Even the most best training programs will gradually lose efficiency if you don’t vary your routine. This may be fine for those who simply want to maintain fitness or keep healthy, but if you want to improve, you need variation. Ideally, workouts should be modified every month. Cross Training is another great way to vary your routine and improve your fitness.

Be Flexible: 
If you have to miss a training day, don’t worry, just continue on your training plan. It’s the consistency of your training, rather than one particular workout that is important.

Set Realistic Goals: 
You may want to set a personal best in every race you enter, but it’s probably not realistic. Be honest about your current fitness and you potential. You may want to run a marathon next year, but if you don’t have time to train more than an hour three times per week, that goal is not realistic. It’s important to find a balance between what you want and what you’re able to do. If your new to a sport or fitness routine, be conservative in your estimates until you know what you can accomplish, otherwise you are more prone to injury. 

Nicola Mcmullen
Sports, Remedial & Neuromuscular Physical Therapy,
28 The Demense, Killester, Dublin 5
Ph: 087 211 8949
(Registered Member of ANMPT & APNT)


Simply Wild Promotions are running a Novice Kickboxing Show, Beginners Luck in the Ringside Club, National Boxing Stadium, Dublin on 30th April. I would love to see some female fighters on the bill.

The show will feature light contact, full contact, low kick and K1 and is for anyone from 0-5 fights. All fights other than title fights will be ranking fights for WIMAAO provincial titles. So if you have never fought before and would like to give it a go, or would like to get into the ring again, tell your coaches about it and please contact me. See poster below for all the details.

Send me in your stories, experiences or photos or anything you'd like discussed, or upcoming events you'd like mentioned to


Friday, 27 November 2015

Blog Special

Welcome to this special installment of the blog that celebrates everything to do with women in martial arts.

In this installment I'm going to look at my club mate and training partner, Jennifer "Baby Wild Thing" Molloy. I've watched this young kickboxer grow from a young child in the gym to my training partner and sparring partner, to one who is up there challenging for European and World honours. She has come on in leaps and bounds under the watchful eye of both our coaches, and Jen's dad, Ken Molloy. I have no doubt that she has a very bright future in this sport and I couldn't be more proud of her!

Jennifer grew up in the world of kickboxing. Her father is head instructor of Fight Club Kickboxing and Jen came along to the club even as a baby and would be crawling around the floor. As soon as she was old enough she would copy what everyone was doing. It wasn't long before she was officially taking part in the classes.

Jen has taken part in many light contact fights and has accumulated many titles, then moving on to full contact when she was old enough; where she has continued adding titles to her growing collection.

I spoke to Ken and here's what he had to say about Jennifer:

KM - Hi Barbara, let me just start by saying I didn't want to say anything on your blog because I didn't want anybody thinking I was using it as a soapbox for my opinions, but as Jen is my daughter and I'm her coach I'll relent just this once. 
BD - They wouldn't think that!

KM - I'll start with the daddy stuff first; Jenny's turning into a beautiful young lady that myself and Tina are very proud of and love very much. She's well mannered, smart and thoughtful, and I think she's going to be successful in life.

Now the coach stuff; Where do I start? She was thrown into the full contact before she was ready, due to a promoter neglecting to tell us the proper rules or weights. The fight was meant to be a light contact Irish title fight, but we were told it was full contact at a heavier weight on the day. I asked her if she wanted to go ahead with it and she bravely said yes and she went on and won the fight. Since then there has been no progression in fight caliber. It's been all title fights with top top fighters, in international fights for big titles and she's mixing well with them . She trains hard and as you very well know, I'm a tough task master. 
BD - You certainly are! 
KM - Jenny gets pushed hard 'cause she's fighting top brass opponents. She responds well and she has so much more to learn and offer. She's still finding her strengths... she's a work in progress!

She spars hard in Phibsboro Boxing Club regularly and they work her hard down there. YOU can attest to that! 
BD - I can, they're really tough. They don't hold back! 
KM - It toughens her up she learns a lot there. I love bringing you guys there. They're a great bunch of people. A big shout out to Paddy and Frank and all the gang there. Then she spars 10-15 round sessions on the weekend with a certain 7-time world champion I know; and you push her even harder. I want to say something at this point (see I'm on my soapbox already). 
BD - No you're not!
KM - You are, in my opinion the best pound for pound female kickboxer in this country, if not of all time and you deserve more adulation than you get. I've seen you fight back from a career ending operation. Being out for two years rehabbing and coming back to the ring to claim five world titles; three of them pro titles and a low kick European title and also three of which were within 8 months of your come back. That is inspiring for any young fighters out there and is something I think your readers need to know. 
BD - I still have to pinch myself. At the time, I just wanted to get back into the ring. When the fights came up, I jumped at the opportunities. I didn't really put much thought into it at the time, but it is amazing when you put it like that. 
KM - And Babs if you want to go round 'one more time' I will be right there with you. I'd love to see you and Jenny headlining a show together. 
BD - I'd love that also. To train alongside her and then headline a show alongside her would be really great. She has come such a long way! 
KM - Jenny watched your career first hand and learned her ethics about discipline from you. She watched you climb the hill to success, fall and come back stronger than ever. Even at about 11 or 12 years old she did your corner with me in England for your come back fight; a 10 round pro world title fight ( which you won ), when Colm just had the twins and was unable to go. Now it's her turn and she's bringing all that experience to bear.

I could talk all day about Jenny, but I won't. I'll ask your readers to watch out for her and come out and  support a second gen, young Irish kickboxer and watch her develop into a top class fighter. 
BD - And I will second that, she is definitely on the road to becoming a really great fighter and even eclipsing me. If anyone can do that, she truely can!

KM - Lastly, you may have noticed her fight name "Baby Wild Thing". For those of you who don't know my fighting name was "Wild Thing" and I was overjoyed when Jen kept the old name going. 
BD - You must be so proud of her!

I also caught up with Jen earlier. Here's what she had to say:

How long have you being doing kickboxing?
Since I was five years old. Even when I was younger I was always in and out of my dad's gym.

What are you favourite things about training?
My favourite thing in training is doing combos and learning new and different skills.

Is there any aspect of training you don't like?
I definately do not like dieting. It is the worst thing in the world watching other people eating the food that you can't have until after you weigh in. Even the smell makes me want to just run over there and shove he whole thing in my mouth! Lol

What's it like having your dad as the WIMAAO President?
It's a bit weird at times because I would hear him talking about up and coming things that no one knows about as they're not set properly yet.

What's it like having you dad as a coach?
It can be hard at times because while the other kids out of our club can just train when the club times are on; when you have your dad as a coach, for me we train in my very small house, in the park. It can also be great, if say, the coaches are going somewhere, I'm able to go with them. So there are a lot of perks to being the coach's daughter!

How is it being a WIMAAO Champion?
It's great actually because I got to see the belt being designed and it's good to know that I'm a good enough fighter to own one.

What sort of training do you do for a fight and how many times a week do you train?
I do intense training like jogging in the morning when I'm not in school. When I am in school I have to go straight after, training either in the gym doing circuits and pads or just running the pads in my house. A very strict diet and I mean STRICT! All I eat is rice and chicken and constantly checking my weight. I train every day, twice a day, except Sundays.

How is it being a female in the sport?
It can be hard at times as sometimes its hard to find an opponent that is my weight and age in kickboxing, because most girls lately do boxing. So there are not as many girls as there would be boys.

Who do you look up to in the sport?
There's two people I look up to in the sport. Yourself and my dad because you are such a great fighter and have so many titles that I wish I had; and my dad because even though he doesn't have as many titles as you, he didn't give it up. He kept going and eventually opened his own gym and didn't give up on what he loves.

I believe you did you Junior Cert last June. How did you get on? How hard is it juggling training with school?
I got on great. I got 8 honours and 2 passes. It can be really hard, especially when I was doing my junior cert. When I'd get home from school, I'd go straight to do my homework to try get it out of the way. But then I'd have to have my dinner on top of that, then go training and I still wouldn't have it all done. So as soon as I'd get home from training I'd go back to doing my homework. Then again, it wasn't just homework, I had to study aswell. So by the time I was finished all of it, it would be about midnight.

What do you friends think of you putting so much time into training?
My friends would say "Do you not thing it's a bit much to be training and dieting so much"? I'd just reply "No, I'm used to it." But most of the time they ask "Are you on another diet? But why? You don't have anything but bone! Haha"

How do you be a teenager and train like a professional adult?
Well most of the time when it's just normal days training and there's no fights I wouldn't       
But when there's a fight I wouldn't go out during the week and I wouldn't go out that much on weekends, only if I'm in the mood or I'm not too tired or sore.

From experience I know it's very hard to fund training but I believe you have a sponsor. How did that come about because I know who hard that is?
The founder of the WIMAAO Nigel McClure told my dad there was a new club joining the organisation, Saj Ali, Freestyle Martial Arts, and he was interested in sponsoring a fighter. He gave my dad his number. My dad was speaking to him about me and he said he would like to sponsor my European Title fight on Mark Enstone's show, Warzone 2 in Enniscorthy. I would like to thank Saj so much for his generosity, without which this fight would not have happened.

What do you want to be when you leave school?
For a while I've been thinking of being a fire fighter, but I'm not going to keep saying it in case I change my mind.

I would come back for one more fight if I could joint top bill with you; "The One" and "Baby Wild Thing" on the poster side by side. What do you think about that?
Yeah, that would be so cool. Honestly, we would be each others good luck charms! Haha

What does it mean to you to be fighting for a European title?
I'm so proud of myself that I came far enough to be fighting for a European title. It will be my second time for one but this time I'm definitely not letting this one go the other way!

Saj Ali, 3rd Dan, Freestyle Martial Arts
Sponsor European Title Fight

Since writing this blog, Jennifer became the new WIMAAO Junior European champion by stopping her opponent in the 2nd Round. Well done, Jennifer, I knew you could do it!

Send me in your stories, experiences or photos or anything you'd like discussed, or upcoming events you'd like mentioned to

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Round 2

I was at a kickboxing show recently. I was looking forward to seeing the ladies in the ring and even writing a report for this blog. I was a bit surprised to see there were no female fights on the bill.
It was reminiscent of when I first started kickboxing. We used a local boxing club to train in. Most of the time I was the only girl in the building. Sometimes girls would come and go but it was mainly just me training with all the lads. There wasn’t even a proper changing room for women. I was given a small little kitchen to change in. I learned to keep my foot up against the door to keep it closed, with the lads barging into the room to get some water. Most would bow out apologetically when they seen me changing; but some would continue right into the room with “Ah sorry, I’m just gettin’ a drink, I’ll only be a minute”, with me half naked!
I’m glad to say that some things have changed for the better; for one, ladies changing rooms!
There are a lot more women involved in kickboxing now than there was then. You just have to walk into any kickboxing club to see this. But we have work to do to get even more women involved!

This month, I've spoken to Own Doyle, President of Kickboxing Organisation ISKA. 

So Owen, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with the ISKA:

I started when I was 15 years old with amateur boxing and then went on to karate and then kickboxing. Over the years we worked quite a lot with Paddy Toland, who at that time was the president of the ISKA. When Paddy was stepping down he asked me to take over, and the rest as they say, is history!

Have you trained with many female students over the years?

Yeah, I've trained with a good few. There are more now. Before there was 2 or 3 girls in the gym, now you would see a ratio of 1 girl to 3 guys.

What do you think can be done to encourage women to take up the sport?

Start giving them fights on the shows and promoting them. Physically they do just as much as the guys, some even more so. They deserve to be recognized.

And as a coach, a promoter and the president of an organisation, do you think the women are exciting to watch? 

Some are. I've seen some cracking fights over the years. Even your own one on Eurosport against that French one, (Chantel Menard) was a great fight. I remember watching that. Jesus, you were ripped off! Decisions like that would put anyone off the sport!

Would you promote them and have them top bill your show?

Yes, I would have absolutely no problem having a lady topping billing a show.
Why do you think there are not as many female fights on the shows?

Some people (promoters / coaches) are still living in the stone ages. It's all about changing attitudes towards women. Even from young girls. It's about changing parents attitudes also, that it's OK for their little girl to want to do kickboxing. We need to nurture them from a young age. The more women that are put on shows, the more acceptable it becomes!

What do you think we can do to encourage promoters to put more females on their shows?

Well if she brings something to the table, for example - ticket sales, promoters would be more inclined to put them on the show. 

Listen Owen, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. It's good to get a promoter / organisation president's perspective on this.

There needs to be more women on kickboxing shows, not only to showcase their talent, but also to encourage others out there watching the shows to take up this amazing sport. Just one female fight on the bill could be enough to inspire Jane Doe watching; “Do you know what, I’d love to do that”, or “I could do that”! 

Any coaches out there, encourage your ladies if you haven't already done so, to have a go and any girls or ladies reading this, GIVE IT A GO! Show everyone out there just what you can do!

Upcoming Events

On 15th November in Enniscorthy, Wexford, our very own Jennifer "Baby Wild Thing" Molloy will be one of the top bills on the show when she takes on Jade Gillen from Dungannon Kickboxing Club for the WIMAAO Junior European Title. See poster below for all the details.

Next time I'll be doing a special blog on this European Title fight!

Before I sign off I'd like to remind everyone about our upcoming WIMAAO Martial Arts Gala which takes place in Enniscorthy Dragons, Carrigbruce, Cherryorchard, Enniscorthy, Wexford, hosted by Mark Enstone. The gala will feature demonstrations from different Martial Arts; (Ken, myself and Jen will also be putting on a demo) and spars for juniors and seniors. Also there will be Referee and Judges course on the day. There are not many female referees and judges out there, so this could be an opportunity for more females to get qualified as a WIMAAO official. 

Here is a poster with details about the Gala. If you want more info contact: 089 4373449

Send me in your stories, experiences or photos or anything you'd like discussed, or upcoming events you'd like mentioned to

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Round 1

Hello Ladies of Kickboxing. My name is Barbara Delaney. I am the new advocate for the new WIMAAO (World International Martial Arts Association & Organization) Women’s Division and this blog is aimed at the ladies of kickboxing. Over the next few months we will be discussing all ladies interests involved in all aspects of the sport, including interviews with Martial Artists in all shapes and sizes, both male and female to discuss women’s issues. Plus I want YOU LADIES to send me in YOUR stories, whether it be about training, your experiences, your fights, struggles or anything you wish discussed on the blog. If you want to post pictures of your first fight or your world title fight, (it doesn’t matter what organization), send them into me.

I, myself have doing kickboxing for the past 15 years, in Fight Club Kickboxing, Dublin, Ireland, under Head Instructor, Ken Molloy. I am a 7-time World Full Contact Champion and hold 16 titles in all. I am a 4th Dan Black Belt and teach the juniors at Fight Club. I started kickboxing when I was 23 years old, as a way to get fit and loose some extra pounds! But over the years it has become a big part of my life. From someone who was out drinking every night, Martial Arts / Kickboxing has made me a better person. Kickboxing has changed me. It taught me to think differently about myself; from the elation I felt after winning my first fight, it made me want to do it again and learn more about the sport! I had reached a crossroads in my life. In order to continue as a fighter, I had to make a choice, either keep going out every night or continue to train. I chose to continue training!

The WIMAAO asked me to speak for all women fighting within the WIMAAO. As part of the re-launch of the WIMAAO, they are upgrading the Ladies Fights and Title Fights, under the new banner of the Women’s Division. One of first things that was pointed out to me by champion fighter from our gym, Jennifer Molloy; she noticed all of her trophies and belts featured a male symbol on them and she wondered why for female fighters a lady wasn’t represented on the trophy or belt. So I spoke to the WIMAAO who thought it was a great idea to give the women their own personal logo.

This logo will be featured on all the Women's Titles and belts. This will be the first of many changes, hoping to improve the overall exposure of women in the sport.

As part of the re-launch, the WIMAAO will be putting on a Martial Arts Gala in Enniscorthy Dragons, Carrigbruce, Cherryorchard, Enniscorthy, Wexford, hosted by Mark Enstone. The gala will feature demonstrations from different Martial Arts and spars for juniors and seniors. Also there will be Referee and Judges course on the day. There are not many female referees and judges out there, so this could be an opportunity for more females to get qualified as a WIMAAO official.

To start off celebrating women in the sport of Kickboxing, I have interviewed a member of my gym, Ita Anderson. Ita has been a dedicated Martial Artist for many years and the hope is that her story inspires all the ladies out there to take up the sport.

So Ita, how long are you doing Kickboxing?
Since I was 11, so on and off for the past 32 years.

How did you get into it?
My twin sister came home one day and said she seen a kickboxing class on and begged me to join with her. So I went down with her and loved it, so I kept going.

What do you like about kickboxing that keeps drawing you back?
I was suffering from depression and I also have anger issues so I find that going to the gym and hitting a bag and pushing myself in training really helps. I actually feel better after coming out of the gym.

Is there anything you don’t like?
I don’t like sparring cause I don’t like hitting anyone. Only the bags!

Did you find it tough coming back after so long?
Not really. All the training stuck with me and I learned a lot through kickboxing about diet etc. and I carried that with me.

What are your aspirations for the future in the sport?
I have been training for so long now, I would really like to go for my Black Belt.

When you are training, do you mind training with males?
No it doesn’t bother me at all.

Do you find it tough juggling training with having kids?
Yes and no. Sometimes I find it tough, I am so tired, but I just keep going.

What’s your favourite memory?
There is not one specific memory. I just remember the camaraderie we had in the club when I first started and I just loved it.

What are your personal goals?
Achieving my Black Belt and maybe doing a course to become an official. I love kickboxing so much and I just want something to show my kids, something they can be proud of!

What male inspires you?
My instructor Ken. I trained with him from when I first started. I know where he started and to see him now and how far he’s come. He really is an inspiration!

What female inspires you?
You do.

You know you don’t have to pick me!

Yeah I know, but to see all the training you do, it’s so good to see you going out and coming back with the belts. It just goes to show that the hard training really does pay off! It just makes me want to keep training. I’m proud to be part of the club!

Here is a poster with details about the Gala. If you want more info contact: 089 4373449

Send me in your stories or anything you want discussed on the blog to