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Julia Volkova

Russian karateist considering a karate gym not to be a right place for a woman.
"The word fighter has doesn t have female gender modification in Russian language", - says Julia.

Julia Volkova Julia Volkova Julia Volkova Julia Volkova


Julia Volkova - Russian female karateist and consultant of the FSCC

There are different ways which people use to come to Karate-Do.The most often accidentally, as it happened to me. But actually more important is how they stay there. Everything in our life must be done for the right reason a friend of mine often says. Everyone choose his/her own way to percept the world and to move ahead. Such a way we need. For me its Karate-Do.


Tell us briefly about yourself.

I barely remember the moment of my birth :-) But if taking it seriously, I participate in Karate since I was 16 years old. I am 20 now. I am a fourth grade Law student. I am working in a firm which sells wigs.

What are your best achievements and titles?

Recently I got the first Kue in the version of the National Karate-Do Federation. I dont participate in competitions in principle. Working just for winning impedes development. People become hostages of rules, which stand for preventing traumas. But what is a contest if not inflicting traumas to each other?

What form of karate you participate in, contact or non-contact?

Nobody works in full contact now. Its impossible because the fight in this way would go until physical destruction of one of the opponents (death or serious trauma). During training I practice semi-contact that allow light traumas: bruises, stretches, etc.

Are you familiar with some other forms of combative sports? Which ones do you like better?

Yes, I participated in hand-to-hand combat and Aikido. And although you cant call Aikido MARTIAL art because its too formalized and stands too far from reality, I think that playing Aikido is one of t best way to feel an opponent dynamics.

What are the reasons why you have chosen combative sports, quite unusual activities for a woman? What encouraged you to participate in them?

People may come to Karate-Do by different ways. Most often its just by chance. Thats what happened with me. When I was in 11 grade a Karate section was organized in our school where everyone was invited Its not important why person come, its really important why he/she stayed there.

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

Yes, many unfamiliar people know that I am a karateist. In fact, I wear weight loads on my hands and legs. I train in non-stop mode - it allows me to compensate time shortage. The most common question regarding this is: Is this pulse bandage? Your hands hurt?" - regret creep into this. When I say its a kilogram weight loads they surprise very much and ask to try on. The next standard note: Uh, hard but you should put them also on legs. One thing is just left - to lift pants leg up. Once a funny case happened with me: my college professor decided to try my leg load. When a person first time puts on and takes off loads he feels like a floor is springy under legs. Its very unusual feeling. Usually, the person starts shifting from foot to foot. And even jumping. Thats what my professor did. At that moment the dean came to the auditorium If seriously, the only particular feature I have that sets me apart from the others is that I know what I want. I think that meaning of life for each person is perfecting. No matter where. In music, in art, in literature, even in plumbing construction if the person manages to treat it as art.

Do you recommend other women participating in combative sports, in particular, your daughter (if you would have her)? Do you consider contact sports not to be typical for an average woman all the same?

It seems to me that any form of human activity can be either interesting (if its yours liking and if you feel that its just for you) or not interesting. Not in terms of typical - non-typical. Some time ago even womens education was considered as unusual activity. Of course, its more complicated to be a woman in martial art - due to physiological reasons. Its distressing when you see that men who you started together advanced much further. But if a woman is ready for that she will succeed in any case. If I have a daughter I would advice her to take part in any favorite activity.

Why women never participated in combative activities during centuries (except some episodes, which can be considered as queer events)? What was changed recently in our life, which pushed women toward the world of physical combat?

Since feminism appeared there were many activities which women were attracted. Women got a lot of rights and opportunities and they want to use them.

What do you feel when winning over an opponent, knocking her out, inflicting a trauma? Do you feel joy, triumph, regret, and other emotions?

Making warriors is not a goal of oriental martial arts as it is imagined in movies. Real essence of karate-do is calmness and benevolence. In fact, at the end of training you feel satisfaction and fatigue.

What do you feel when you are knocked down? Does some fury arise against the opponent or intentions to beat her up?

Aggression in sparring is not acceptable. Human consciousness must be like water surface in windless weather, then all surrounding reality reflects properly there. Surface ripples (fear, aggression, attachment to something) disturb the picture. Strong emotion doesnt allow reacting adequatel.

What is the difference between mens and womens contests? From emotional, technical and physical perspective? Are the differences going to be diminished the future?

Women are more emotional from birth. There is more personal involvement and hatred in female single combat. Unfortunately, its difficult to prevent it; such is the womens nature.

Sambist Andrey Romanov said in his interview: I dont understand all this fury, which is clearly sensed in female wrestling. Sometimes this fury seems to be perceived. Do you agree with that?

Yes, thats true.

What do you think about mixed combative competitions - women vs men? Is it appropriate for men to box or wrestle with women even for training? Is it possible at all that women can be on an equal footing with men in boxing?

A woman, even well trained can never stand against a trained man. Its true only in respect to a trained one though. Women are continuers of the human race and self-preservation instinct doesnt allow them to rid of themselves and to compete perfectly. For any fighter there is another fighter who will be stronger. For a woman it will be a man. Nevertheless, I consider mixed contest as helpful. It allows avoiding personal involvement. But such competitions have disadvantages too. Many men cant force themselves to work toughly against women. They explain that by care about women. But in real life, for instance, if someone attacks you he wont say: I see you are a woman and I wont beat you too much. Such a care sometimes turns out to be a well-meaning gesture that backfires.

Do you believe that women should do whatever men do? What do you think about feminism?

Women dont have to but may participate in traditional mens activities. Unfortunately, feminist movements in Russia sometimes mixed up these two concepts.

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

I think that broken lips or a battered nose dont decorate either gender. Fortunately, the both traumas recover quickly. I you think too much how to avoid an injury you will definitely get another one. Sometimes even more serious one. Participating in karate are significantly reflected on my appearance, for example I have corns on my hands. But I cant avoid that and I take it as a given.

Dont you consider boxing or kickboxing to be dangerous for women? Dont you think that it might be harmful for a female body (particularly for breasts) and for the ability to have healthy children in the future? What about brain damage? Do you consider boxing to be brutal?

I hope, not. But time will tell.

Do you consider contact combative sports to be cruel?

Martial arts are not crueler than fights between animals in wild Nature. Fighting (including fighting for survival) is a norm of the life.

Who is the hardest opponent for you (in general and in particular)?

Perhaps, a woman who has personal motivations to hate me.

Which your bout was the most interesting and exciting?

Training competitions are the most helpful. The best opponent is your teacher.

Do you consider physical superiority of men over women acceptable and natural? Would you imagine that your husband or boy friend is weaker than you are?

Its very personal question. The only thing I can tell you that I consider such superiority not just acceptable but very desirable, even necessary.

Do you think that a man must be gallant and attentive toward a woman even the woman is a fighter?

This is a personal matter of a man - whether or not to be gallant toward a woman. But a woman remains a woman whatever she does.

Are you aware that some men and women turn on by watching female single combat and by participating in it? What about you? If you admit the fact, what do you think about it? Do you understand why it happens?

I am not aware of such cases. Probably, people are attracted by adrenaline.

Do you like watching physical contests? What is more exciting for you, mens or womens competitions?

The most impressive in any competition - technical work. This is an art and it always beautiful.

What is your opinion about erotic and show contests, such as professional wrestling, catfighting or foxy boxing? Do you consider womens contests for mens amusement to be humiliating for women?

Nobody considers bodybuilding to be humiliating for instance, although there is sexual underlying theme there and they are sometimes called thoroughbred meat. The both are just show business. They have nothing to do with serious martial arts. Those people make a show like those who dance or sing. They have different goals and use different methods.

Are you wrestling with women or men just for your own fun?

Yes, the most of my friends are martial artists and when we have a free moment we sometimes frolic for fun. It helps to release stress and to satisfy desire for movement.

Have you ever participated in real brawls with women? Do you consider them as acceptable under some circumstances? Would you be able to fight a woman over a man?

I will never fight over a man. Its not a problem solution. In such a situation you must correct your own mistakes rather than beating up your rival. Physical violence is acceptable only for self-defense.

Have you used your fighting skills for self-defense against male attackers?

To wish to be in a conflict situation means to attract a conflict situation. Its wrong. Conflict situations happen just with those ones who unconsciously attract them. If a person is internally calm and self-confident, he/she wont get into such a situation. The paradox of martial arts lies in here.

Tell more detail about yourself.

I was born in an ordinary Moscow family. As the famous person said: My father is a lawyer and my mother is Russian. My mother is a lawyer though and my father was physic-mathematician. My parents were separated just after my birth but managed to keep friendly relationship. My father taught me many useful things. He said that it was the most important for everyone to have a goal and to go toward it. He belonged to that small group of people whose work coincided with their favorite activity. He died when I was 16. I wanted to be a biologist when I was a child. On one hand, I was interested how the world is settle. On the other hand, I wanted to catch a feeling that appears and slipping out when you watch grass or trees. And you cant separate yourself from the tree. As if you merged with it and you are flowing over a river. And nobody is around. At such moments you realize the unity with the whole world. Probably thats what we call meditation. In childhood its easy to feel such aloofness.

The life dictates its own rules and my child dream hasnt been fated to come true. There is no future for a biologist in this country. In parallel to high school I graduated from lycee attached to the Moscow University. But I didnt continue my biological education. Now I am a future lawyer. I started Karate-Do at high school. Through it I am trying to return that almost forgotten feeling of natural and unity with the Nature.

What is your hobby (besides combative sports)?

Besides Karate and Dzen (these two things are indissoluble tied), I have hobbies as everyone does. I like being outdoors, I like animals. When I was a child I had cats, dogs, fishes, turtles, mice, hamsters, parrots and a water snake. Currently, I have two cats, Doberman, fishes and turtles at my home.

Do you have anything to say to our visitors?

Always try to be present where you are doing something.

What would you like to say about content and design of our WEB site?

One more time particularly went through your site. This is a very successful job. I noticed though that Russian and English versions locate on the same pages. Its very unusual. Usually, the home page has references to the both versions. One more thing: there is no firmly established spelling of the word Karate in Russian and your version is different form what I saw in all Russian dictionaries. I just want to pay your attention to this. Besides, this is very professional job.

Thank you very much, Julia for the interesting interview and high evaluation of our work. We are trying to use one spelling type for each sport term, in particular, for Karate.

February 2002.


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