single combat



Oksana Grigorenko     Oksana Grigorenko

Oksana Grigorenko

English version

Oksana Grigorenko     Oksana Grigorenko

Oksana Grigorenko (5'7" / 139lb). Russian combatant from St. Petersburg, prizewinner and champion of tournaments and festivals in kickboxing, sanda, jiu-jitsu and karate.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

If just briefly, I should say first that I came to combat quite late. At one moment I just realized that I had to participate in sports in order to be in a good physical shape. I chose a self-defense class. Not just a regular self-defense but also one where ancient martial techniques were taught. "Transmitters" of these forgotten techniques just appeared when the democracy had come to our country and they started to actively propagandize them. As far as I know, such martial arts forms (Russian style) exist not only in Russia but also in the USA. It was later when I realized that the "roots" of martial arts located in the East, in China. But from practical point of view, the most useful are contemporary universal systems, which attempt to summarize all experiences and to select the most suitable techniques for any cases of self-defense. I changed a few clubs and trainers (I am grateful for the knowledge all of them have given to me). Eventually, I stopped on the technique that combines the both grappling and punching skills. Currently I am training in jiu-jitsu and kempo.

What are your best achievements in combative sports?

I am a winner of the VIII International Martial Arts Festival, in karate semi-contact nomination. Prizewinner of tournament in jiu-jitsu, kickboxing and Sanda.

Please describe the styles Kempo and Sanda.

Sanda is a Chinese kickboxing style where throws are used as well as punches and kicks. It's difficult to explain in a few words what Kempo is. It's a combat style using hitting technique slightly different from the traditional karate; it uses chops and low throws. A lot of attention is paid to working with weapon. To learn more it's better to visit the site Russian Kempo school (in Russian).

Why have you come to the club "Namazon"? What do you expect from being there?

First of all, I expect that right conditions will be made in the club for regular sparring. People, who claim they participate in combat sports but avoid trying themselves in practice, surprise me. Combat without real practice is a kind of dancing. Exactly like the joke says: boxers in absentia. After enough girls have gathered there we will be able to solve the problem of sparring. I think it will improve our results. Besides, I expect we will be able to realize the other goals, which are designated in the state of the club Namazon. I wont list them, they are shown at the WEB site and everyone who is interested could see them.

Do you hope to make some money performing in the club?

I hope so... But the promoters and the girls must accomplish a lot of work in order to earn real money.

Are you ready to make paid private wrestling matches for men and women?

As to women, I will be happy to give them private wrestling matches. I am not sure it will be interesting if a totally unskilled woman comes for wrestling first time but I still would offer it. By the way, time-to-time messages appear on your message board or on the forum in which men announce that they want to see their girl friends wrestle with other women Please convince your girl friend call us and we will try to find her a matching opponent. But its a big difference between participating in real combative activities and discussing female combat problems sitting at the computer

As to men, I also would be able to give them a match (thats what some of them asked for on your forum and the message board). I will even try to resist as much as I can. But you should take into account that I am a woman after all and my abilities in this area are limited. I dont want to bump into a 200-pound athlete-sadist.

What guys think about your involvement in the combative activities? What is the first men's reaction to the news that you are a fighter?

Their usual reaction is a surprise. The most of men have a wrong picture of what a combative woman looks like.

Why did you choose combative sports, still quite unusual activity for a woman? What inspired you to participate?

You shouldnt ask this question anymore. Why its unusual activity? Nowadays quite many girls participate in combative sports. Moreover, I would advise women to start doing wrestling instead of attending fitness or gym training. Its a good opportunity to get an appropriate physical load and to get rid of excessive weight. You will be able to strengthen your muscles, to get some self-defense skills (which might stand in good stead), and to save some money (training in wrestling is far less expensive than fitness). Besides, fitness and training in gym are quite monotonous and boring activities. In wrestling you will have much more fun. In order not to be embarrassed under mens looks you can start in a women only club like our club.

OK, this question will be asked while their usual reaction is a surprise By the way, could you please clarify why wrestling is better for an ordinary girl than gym and fitness?

Definitely, this is just my personal opinion. I'll try to substantiate it. Why a woman goes to a fitness class of gym? I think the main reason is to improve her figure, remove excessive weight, to strengthen some muscles. There is even the term - fitness like woman. It can be achieved by persistent work. Human organism is adjusted under external conditions (loads). Depending of load types certain muscle groups get reinforced. To achieve real results and not to harm yourself you must be careful with loads. It's well-known that you really need a qualified trainer in the gym who is able to determine what exercises suit a particular person. But in any case, all those external loads are artificial.

What is wrestling (grappling)? This is one of the most natural physical exercises for human body. It's natural because humans like any other live creatures grow accustomed to it inherently. With progress of the civilization people have less and less necessities to fight or wrestle, so it becomes more difficult for them to have stocky muscles, handsome body and good moving coordination. So, wrestling classes and training give you the same as you could get in fitness club or in gym only if the classes are right organized. In other words, your opponent is the most natural and universal "exercise equipment".

Very convincing arguments! And what form of wrestling would be the most appropriate for a female beginner?

There are two groups of combat sports: contact and non-contact contests. The non-contact combat classes are similar to dancing or fitness classes. By the way, there are fitness exercises, are claimed as combative moves (punches and kicks), for instance, Taibo. So, if you don't intend to wrestle or fight with someone you can be in the non-contact combat. The advantage of that will be similar to one of fitness. You will be taught how to "dance" and if you are lucky and manage to find a good class, you will get the same knowledge as a martial art student learns.

Contact combat sports may be separated into three groups: wrestling, punches/kicks, and mixed fighting. In the mixed fighting the both wrestling and hitting techniques are used. When doing wrestling you can get the greatest loads. In punch/kick combat loads are quite monotonous, like in boxing. Such combat forms are good for character hardening though. Actually, you can start from any combat form and any of them will be at least as effective as fitness. But wrestling is the most effective all the same.

What is the age limit for a female beginner in wrestling?

I got the answer on this question reading the materials on your site. There are many photographs representing wrestling of quite mature women. And nothing wrong with that

Is that possible to start after giving birth?

And is it possible to be in any sport after giving birth? I would say yes after a while. It helps restore the organism. It's well-known that many famous female athletes come back to sports after having a baby. Wrestling is one of the sports too.

Would you please dispel apprehensions about possible traumas? Any woman might have concerns and fears about that.

Answering this question I'd like to refer to my own experience. As I already said, the body reacts on external influences and impacts. If such influences are not large the organism manages to adjust. When I just came into combat any minor hit, push or pinch caused bruises on my body. But in a while (quite soon by the way) bruises stopped appearing. There is some possibility of more serious injuries but I think it's not greater than when you are in other sports. You can overexert your self in a gym. You can fall from a bike or when ice skating. End so on

Another thing. Many people think that if a woman starts participating in combative sports her musculature will be developed too much. Dear women it does not happen! Definitely, muscles are strengthened but their volume is not increase dramatically. The arms will be strong but they will be women's arms.

Very valuable information! Did you test your strength against girls and boys in your childhood?

I had a couple of fights in my childhood. But who hasnt had them? If you asked me if classmates beat me I would answer no. Usually I was the one who beat but it happened very rarely.

Did you participate in other sports? Did you try some other combative sports?

No, I didnt participate in different sports seriously. As I said, I tried to train in some forms of combative sports. I think all combative sports are quite similar. But its difficult to win right away in a new combative sport but you should try. Although some problems might come across. For instance, I am training in karate where hits to head are allowed by arms, so I am used to that. And if I compete in a different form of karate where only kicks to head are allowed I could predict the result: I wont restrain myself and I will be driven out for the rule violations.

Which form you like better, kickboxing or jiu-jitsu?

Kickboxing is good but I like jiu-jitsu a little bit more because in it you can use not only punches and kicks but also grappling techniques. I hope, the most exciting will be no-hold barred fights according to the rules that are being developed in the club.

Arent you afraid of no-hold barred fighting?

No, I am not..

What exactly is semi-contact and what are the criteria of the semi? What if someone gets ardent and makes a blow in full strength?

The combative sport I participate in hardly may be called semi-contact. Punches and kicks are allowed as well as throws. The only thing is that fighters must have protective helmets with face covering screens as well as traditional breast protectors for women. Sometimes knockdowns happen during contests because the screen protects face from an injury but doesnt prevent knockdowns. So, I guess, the term semi in this particular case just indicates existing of the helmet with the screen.

Would you be embarrassed by tight body contact inherent in submission wrestling that you are going to participate in?

The tight body contact doesnt embarrass me. I am into jiu-jitsu all the same and I am used to that.

Don't you think that a woman might lose her gentleness and femininity if participates in a contact combat, especially in the extreme fighting?

No, I dont think so. Any person should act differently in different situation: sometimes decisively, sometimes softly. Its true not just for women but for men too. You can change your behavior depending on the situation. Martial arts help to elaborate such abilities. On the ring (tatami) you have to show some toughness but after the bout has been over you would come back to a normal (quite soft) condition.

Aren't you afraid that you would spoil your appearance or injure internal organs in tough bouts? After all, you should have to become a mom.

If I were afraid I wouldnt even be into combative sports. Right? Maybe I am wrong but if you think too much, you shouldnt use taxicabs either, which get into accidents quite often. Then you shouldnt use subway Its better not to think about such things though.

Can you imagine that your husband or boy friend wouldn't be able to fight?

Quite easily. Moreover, I guess opposite poles are attracted. I want my man to respect my activities.

Which your bout was the most interesting and exciting?

I thing that bout hasnt occurred yet.

Why never before women were into combat activities? What have changed in the life, why women became so attracted by wrestling and fighting?

Your WEB site is really dedicated to female combat and you have demonstrated on your WEB pages that female combat has its long history and that women ever did this. At least thats how I understood. Combative forms were different in different times. In Sparta they did wrestling, boxing, and pancration. It was long ago. Then the historical age comes when women were unable not just to be into sports but it was dangerous for them to be even born. Inquisition. Witch hunting Then the Renaissance came again. I learned from your site that women fought in duels So, my answer on this question is the following. Women always participated in combative activities when they had at least a little opportunity to do that. See the WEB site Female Single Combat Club.

Reminding again that interview questions are being asked in behalf of variety of people and they dont reflect the interviewers position. Whatever the site says, first hand opinion is more valuable. OK, lets go ahead. Can an ordinary girl become a combatant or she has to have some special talents or special physique?

In order to participate in combative sports a woman (as well as a man) should have certain character features. A physique has nothing to do with the matter. But talent helps to reach high levels in any activity.

Did you have a chance to compete against men?

There are no such competitions around where men would compete against women in full strength. Probably, there are some shows like that but I doubt whether real mixed competitions even exist.

The well-known Russian Sambo wrestler Andrey Romanov in his interview said the following: I dont understand the rage that is very noticeable in womens wrestling. Sometimes it seems like you can touch the fury. Do you agree with the statement?

Regarding the Romanovs statement, I guess he misinterpreted what he had come across. There are definitely more emotions in female combat. First of all, women are more emotional than men. Then, as I said, women compete each other much more seldom than men. And while a physical contest is considered as an ordinary work by the well-known wrestler, for women it is always an important event.

Is it appropriate for a man to fight or to wrestle with a woman?

Let men decide what is appropriate for them and what is not.

Do you consider the mans physical superiority to be acceptable and natural?

An average man is bigger and stronger than an average woman. Thats how our world is organized, so its natural. But I wouldnt name that a physical superiority. Women have longer life expectancy that men and they can better adapt to difficulties of life.

Do you think women should do whatever men do? What is your opinion about feminism?

I think women can do whatever they want to do. If they like it and if they are successful in it, why not? But I dont think we have to follow men in every activity. If feminism is about equal rights of women and men in the society I support it.

Do you wrestle with friends for fun?

Yes, sometimes I wrestle with friend for fun.

Are you aware that some men and women feel some kind of sexual excitement when participating or watching combative activities? What do you think about that?

I have a good sense to that. Your site helped me to realize that. I think its natural because aggression and sexuality have common by nature. As to me personally, during a contest I still think how to win. Actually, I dont think about anything but just wrestle (or fight). In fact, in order to experience such emotions as you described, its better to watch combat rather than to participate in it.

Why it is female combat that has become an important part of various erotic shows, for instance, "mud wrestling"?

Usually eroticism is considered with regard to women. Men watch and women perform. Although this is changing now. I guess there are such shows for women and gays where men play principal roles. I havent been interested in this subject but I am sure there are mud-wrestling shows where men wrestle. After all, mens striptease exists

Do you assess women around you as potential wrestling opponents?

I should admit it happens sometimes.

Would you able to fight with a woman, for instance, over a man?

I dont fight on the street. I prefer to solve conflicts peacefully. But if someone hurts me I hope I would be able to stand for myself.

Did you have occasions to fight in the real life? Did you use your skills and techniques in the real life?

On the Namazon's forum I told about defending from a hoodlum. If it can be counted as a real fight the answer is yes. Without the combat skills I hardly would be able to parry that attack.

What is your parents attitude toward your passion?

I have lived independently for a while.

Do you have a hobby?

. I have two dogs.

Do you have notes or considerations about the content and design of our site? Which materials seem to be better to you? Which ones you dont like?

The site is great. I have learned a lot from it. You could see that even during our conversation I often referred to the site. I dont see any materials that I dont like, although I like some of them more, some of them less. Of course, my opinion wouldnt coincide with opinions of any other visitors. But in general, everything is good.

Thanks to Oksana for the excellent interview!

In May 2004 IX International Martial Arts Festival were held in Saint-Petersburg where martial artists from about 20 countries were competing. Sanda competitions were organized for the first time and Oksana managed to be second there. We congratulate her with such a successive debut.

May 2004

Oksana Grigorenko     Oksana Grigorenko     Oksana Grigorenko


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