You don’t have to be a champion to train like one, and Polish fighter Ula Mydlowska is determined to make the most of each fight she has. We were introduced after the last Cage Kings event in her adopted home of Dublin, and finally caught up this week for a proper chat.
Fighting under Fantom Gym and MMA club, and sometimes training at Lionheart Ula jokes she came to Ireland nine years ago for a holiday but never expected her Irish life to turn out like this.
“When I moved here first I didn’t know where to go for training. I had about a two-year break from martial arts. I did Tae Kwon Do when I was a kid, for about four years from 13 years old. I just went to the gym here a lot.
“I like going to the gym, you try and get in shape, change how you look. It’s about power. But my hobby is fighting – I leave any stresses in my life in the ring,” she said.
So she was one of the first in the door when her friend Pawel Tomczyk opened Fantom.
“Pawel has a passion for training, he always finds time for you. It’s important when you’re training hard that you find someone who is close, sometime you can trust when you are getting ready for competition.”
Four fights in, she’s already had to move styles and weight categories to get between the ropes. She prefers K-1 but Ula’s most recent fight against Wexford’s Eimear Codd was under MuayThai rules.
She said: “I prefer boxing really, and kicking to go with that.
And again like most women training in fighting sports, her sparring partners are mainly men – a good and bad thing, she says.
“Sometimes you come back from sparring with some big guys, they punch you around like a cloth. Then you feel: ‘ah god, I’m not good’
“But other times maybe it’s five beginner boys, and you can kick their ass a bit. Then you feel super-powerful, that’s a good day,” she said.
|PIC by Muay Eireann|
That said she’s surrounded by a team of male trainers and supporters including Pawel, coach Phil White and her long-suffering flat-mate and fellow fighter Slawek she said.
Ula, who works as a personal trainer and instructor is honest about the impact of mixing fighting with a full-time job.
“I’m not looking for a world title, to go somewhere high with all this. I’ve many injuries already. I do this because it’s fun.
“I mean I would wish I could be a world champion, but it would take many years. I’m 31 now, so this is a hobby for me. I have to focus on my clients; you need to be full of energy to come in early in the morning for them, and run classes.”
In the meantime, she’s started boxing classes at her work in Crunch Gym.
She said: “I’ve organised some classes now, it’s meant for men and women but actually it’s mostly women. Just two men. It’s good for women to see it, they’re really into boxing.
“It’s not about fighting. It’s about fitness, and boxing technique, it’s not about contact. For fighting, you need to feel you really want to, and can manage it. It’s different to what I’m teaching.”
Teaching women how to have fun with boxing, but still focused on fighting for herself, she added:
“I like fighting, I don’t know why. It’s about the adrenaline, you can get to be addicted to that.”
All pictures courtesy Ula Mydlowska