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Ebba Lexmark





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Ebba Lexmark, Stockholm, Sweden, 25, 176cm/63kg(139lbs).
San Shou/Wushu fighter. European Wushu champion (2004); bronze World Wushu medallist (2005); gold medallist of the San Shou European Challenge Cup (2003); four-time Swedish National Wushu/San Shou champion.

Ebba Lexmark



What are your best achievements in sports?

I have been training Sanshou for ten years. My first competition took place 8 years ago and I have been competing ever sence. I compete in the 65 kg category. I have four Swedish national championship titles, several gold medals from different Swedish competitions, gold medal in the European Wushu championship 2004, a bronze medal from the world Wushu championship in 2005 and a gold medal from San Shou European Challenge Cup in Great Britain in 2003.

What is the difference between Wushu, San Shou and Kung-Fu?

I have to say, I'm not a big expert but I believe that Wushu is the "family" name of all different kind of Kung Fu. San Shou actually is the modern way of Wushu fighting in different championships and competitions.

Have you practiced other sports, besides San-Shou?

Yes, I played handball for about ten years and riding horses for 12 years. And for improving my San Shou skills, I've also (briefly) been training boxing.

Why did you eventually preferred a combat sport rather than other sport?

I have, as I mentioned earlier, been playing handball and been riding horses, so I must say I like all kind of sports. But in the same time, combat sport is nothing like anything else. You have to be in a perfect shape when you compete, otherwise you may get hurt or lose the fight. I like that after a long period of hard training that it's still up to yourself if you're going to succeed or not. Wushu/San Shou is really a sport for both mind and body.

There are many popular combat sports; some of them are included into the Olympics. Why have you chosen a less popular combat sport?

I have not a great deal of experience from other martial arts than San Shou, but I still believe that San Shou is one of the most all-round martial arts, if you don't include combat sports like shootfigthing and similar.

How long do you train weekly and how your training is organized?

Most of the time I have about one to two days a week when I have no training. When I'm preparing for a fight, I train almost every day of the week. There is San Shou training 4 times a week and I also run a couple of days and work out at the gym three times a week.

When you compete in full-contact, is not it scary to be hardly thrown down or hit? Have you gotten serious traumas?

I have never been worried about anything like that. If you are scared and feeling afraid then a combat sport my not be for you. And you are more likely to get serious hurt if you hesitate both on training and in fights.

What is an upright victory in full-contact San Shou? Knockout, submission, pin?

You can win a fight by points or by knock-out. If a contender is very superior her/his opponent one can also win by TKO.

What are your favorite techniques in fighting?

My favorite techniques are boxing and frontkick. A good boxing is very important for how and when you can continue with a kick or a takedown, for example. Frontkick, a foreward pushing kick, is relevant if you want to stop your opponant or push him/her backward. Overall, I believe it's important to be able to vary your techniques with boxing, low and high kicks and takedown. By doing this you, you'll not be predictable in your fighting.

Have you knocked out anyone?

I have been close to knock somebody out but it has never really happened.

Have you been knocked out?

No, I have never been knocked out.

What exactly is a knockout in San Shou? Similar to boxing or something else?

A knockout is when a fighter gets a hard or well put technique that makes him/her become unconscious. It's the same as in boxing.

The term "unconscious condition" sounds really frightening. As a person never been involved in combat sports, I have been always wondering if the so-called "knockout" is a right thing. As a matter of fact, it's a "concussion of the brain" - quite a serious sickness... One of our interviewee, a freestyle wrestler Marina Kinyakina argues the opinion that "traumatism in boxing is far behind many other sports". She said: "This is the juggling with facts. None of the sports except boxing have a goal to inflict a trauma to an opponent, especially to his/her head. And in none of the other sports so often brain traumas might happen. There is a big difference between an accidental arm or leg fracture and an intentional punch to a head in full strength."

I believe that it always will be a discussion about the rules of knockout. The debate in Sweden is for the first time in many years coming to an end. Professional boxing have always been forbidden and there's now special rules for even a Sanshou competition. This is of course for your own good but I think the laws and rules have to be equal for all sports.

At least two women died recently on the boxing ring after getting knocked out (see our reports). While in the first case, an under skilled overweight should not have been allowed to the ring ("tough women" contest), in the second case, the killed woman was really prepared skillful athlete. As of April 2006, 1,326 fatalities have been registered in the boxing ring.

It is always a tragedy when someone gets injuried or worse, as in your examples from the press, dies. It is of course important that a competition has strict rules. In order to reduce possible injuries all fighters should have a medical certificate of good health. This is the primary preparation all competitions chould have, and of course a doctor at every fight. It is hard for me to give specific comment for a single fight apart from general comments because I don't have all the facts from the case. Accidents do happen and some can be prevented and a good start is to have strict rules as I mentioned above.

In fact, in boxing and in some other martial arts the very goal of a contest is to hurt an opponent.

It isn't just in boxing people can be killed in an accident and in ice-hockey, for an example, they always gets into a fight. I think that the differens between a game of ice-hockey and a boxing match is that two fighters in a ring are both up to the task and aware of the purpose of the sport - and that makes it more "cruel". Personally I think that professional boxing can be rather rough and for this reason I think that Sanshou with all the protection is a less dangerous type of martial art. And Sanshou is not to the same degree as boxing focused upon the head for winning techniques.

Have a fury ever arisen against an opponent? Have you ever had a personal conflict with your opponents?

I have come across a couple of "bad losers", but never been in a conflict of any kind. I'm very careful to separate feelings in a fight with any personal emotions. You have to remember that you fight for yourself and can't be affected by anyone else. There's more unusual to come across a "bad winner", but believe me, they exist.

Who are the "bad losers" you have encountered?

A bad loser is a fighter who doesn't win the fight and can't handle it in a good sportsmanship. I think it's important to be able to lose a fight without loosing your temper. I have come across a couple of bad losers that are not too friendly and at the same time are trying to make bad excuses for loosing the fight and trying to tell you that you only won because you were lucky.

What was your best fight?

The fight that means the most to me is the final fight in the European championship 2004 because I won the gold medal.

Who are the best San Shou female fighters?

By not giving any name at all, I will not forget somebody...

Did you try in MMA?

I haven't tried in MMA but I participated in Swedish competitions called "All Style Open" where fighters from different martial arts like Karate, Kung fu, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Jiu-jitsu and full-contact Kickboxing compete each other by a certain set of rules. But it has nothing to do with Sanshou.

How female fighters in San Shou protect breasts and other body parts?

In training is it up to each female fighter to wear any protection, in competitions is it sometimes in the regulations.

Why female combat became so popular? There are so many movies, TV shows, video films and pictures with fighting women. Why?

Why not?? For the same reason as we like watching men in combat movies I guess.

Do you agree with the opinion that female fighters might lose femininity (at least in men's eyes)?

I don't agree, I think it's men who are insecure and can't handle female fighters that have this kind of thinking.

Do you consider yourself as a special woman standing out among ordinary non-combative women? Is it visible for other people that you are a fighter?

Not in specific a fighter, but people often see that you're a professional (or elite) athlete.

Do you consider fighting as an appropriate activity for an average woman or she must be extraordinary for practicing combative sports?

I don't think fighting is for everyone. You must have fighting spirit and a motivation for getting your ass kicked. But I believe that it's physical possible for almost every female to become a fighter but as I said, you have to be strong.

Traditionally, men claim they prefer tender delicate women as wives or girl-friends; however, a lot of men enjoy women's combative activities. How would you explain this confusion? Whether or not the fact that a woman is a skilled wrestler makes her more (or less) attractive for men (as far as love or marriage is concerned) or it's irrelevant?

I personally think that you still can be both tender and delicate even if you're a fighter. But people do prefer different thing in a partner. Men, as the same time as women, don't always prefer the "typical" about a sex, even if that's what the general picture looks like most of times. I don't think so many people choose their husband or wife depending on whether they are good fighter, for example, or not. At least not only by this preference.

Do you really believe that women should do whatever men do?

Yes, if they like to. I believe that everybody should be able to have an influence on their own life.

How people react having learned that you are a tough fighter?

I have been lucky to mostly come across people that understand my dedication and support me. My family was a bit anxious at first, but they have realised that I won't get hurt or anything.

Do you think a man still must be gallant and attentive toward a woman (even if the woman is a wrestler)?

I think it goes both ways.

Have you ever fought in the street defending yourself or someone else? Have you ever participated in real brawls with women?

I haven't been in a streetfight or any fights with anyone. If I sometime must defend myself, then I will do it. But I don't believe in fighting in the street just for fun.

Is it important for you to look good during the contest or you forget about that when fighting? Are you afraid your face to be damaged? Do you care about this kind of problems at all?

I'm careful about the way I look, but not to that extend that it becomes an obstacle in my fighting or the preparations before a fight. I can't focus on whether or not I might get a face injury. If it happens, it happens.

What is "Sodermalms Shaolin "?

"Sodermalms Shaolin" or "Sodermalms kung fu forening" is the kung fu club/gym where I (and Hanna Sillen) is training. The gym is the most successful kung fu club in Sweden. The whole Swedish national San Shou team is from this gym.

What are you doing for living?

I'm a student at a college university in Stockholm, Sweden. I study political science and I'm writing my master thesis at this moment.

Thank you very much for your time!!! Good luck to you in all your activities.


*) "All Style Open" tournament - a competition in which martial artists representing different styles compete in full contact following special general rules. All style competitions were invented in 1983 by Thabo Motsieloa, in order to give martial artists of various styles a possibility to test their techniques and strength against each other as well as effectiveness their martial art styles.

Ebba Lexmark with her friends
Photo from the website "Budo Kamp Sport"

Ebba Lexmark with friends


Ebba Lexmark (left) against kickboxer Melissa Romero Renato in "All Style Open" *) (2002). Ebba won and became a champion in 60kg category.
Photo from the website "Budo Fitness"

Ebba Lexmark vs Melissa Romero Renato


Ebba Lexmark (left) against Sandra Ekenstedt (Kung Fu) in "All Style Open" (2000).
Photo from the website "Budo Fitness"

Ebba Lexmark vs


Videoclip "Women in the 'All Style Open' tournaments".
Website "Global Cuts"

All Styles Open in Sweden




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