WARRIOR WOMAN WAY
Become a certified Warrior Woman.
Not content with being a coach and competitor in combat sports, Flykick instructor Alanna Sheridan also spends her spare time working hard to empower women through Thai boxing.
Warrior Woman Way is the brand she created last year with the aim to provide women with the inspiration to be authentic to their true selves. Read our interview with Alanna below to find out more about the Warrior Woman Way concept, her workshops and why martial arts are such an effective way to develop as a person.
What is Warrior Woman Way?
‘Warrior Woman Way is a brand that seeks to empower, inspire and nurture women to be all that they can be – authentically, fearlessly and lovingly.
It started last year as a result of having to leave a course due to prejudice. It forced me to sit back and think about what types of groups I wanted to be a part of. What was I good at and how could I help people in a way that still affects them positively without now getting the qualification I'd just left?
I thought about my journey and just how far I had come. Four years previously, when I first tried Muay Thai, I was in a bad way and had very low self-esteem. Muay Thai played a major role in me turning my life around. It empowered me and made me feel strong, confident and more assertive. These are qualities that are often suppressed in women but they're often the reason why we struggle with so many confidence issues.
The problem with Muay Thai is that it’s a heavily male-dominated sport. And the gyms don't usually come off as female friendly. It took me three tries to get in the door. I always wonder how different my life would be if I had given up after the second attempt. Women feel confident to try boxfit classes but then miss all the martial arts teachings as result. You get fitter but do you progress as a person too? The workshops then were born as a result. This is for women and by women. We use martial arts as a tool to empower and help women understand just how strong they are, then we couple it with a self-development topic that is loosely based around a martial arts teaching. We train body and mind as one in a fun, friendly and female environment.’
When, why and how did you start Muay Thai?
‘I started Muay Thai in university. I'd never heard of it before and I was allergic to the gym so I was sceptical, but it was a female-only group and I thought I'd try it to support another woman doing her thing. A few months in, the instructor stopped running the classes. After some time off I realised I missed the sport and decided to try the gym she fought out of. Like I said, I got to the gym twice and went back home. It was 45 minutes away from where I lived. On the third time I mustered up the courage and got myself through the door. Still one of the best things I've ever done.’
Tell us about the Warrior Woman Way workshops and what attendees can expect…
‘The next workshop carries the same format as always: 90 minutes or so of Muay Thai and 90 minutes or so on a self-development topic.
We start by introducing all the strikes of Muay Thai (punches, kicks, knees and elbows) and then we try them out on pads and also on the bags. This way everyone has an idea of what to expect if they enter a martial arts gym. We do our best to have everyone gaining confidence in both striking and holding pads. The other thing we really focus on is how to hit for power. Too many boxfit classes don't teach proper technique or how to get the best from their body. This does women a disservice. No matter your size you are capable of generating plenty of power. This class will teach you how. We will also be including a small section on how to use some of the strikes in a self-defence situation.
The self-development topic is brand new and definitely one of my favourites. We'll be discussing challenges and how to overcome them. Mindset, flexibility, perspective, gratitude, denial, letting go, hope, patience and self-discipline are all up for discussion. I teach through real life stories – both my own and others’ – and partnered and solo exercises. The aim at the end of the workshop is that everyone leaves feeling much more powerful than when they stepped in.’
To find out more you can visit the website: www.warriorwomanway.com or follow us on Instagram (@warriorwomanway). Tickets are available through the website, Instagram or Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/warrior-woman-workshop-tickets-46155011883
What do you hope to achieve with Warrior Woman Way in the long run?
‘In the long run there is so much I hope to achieve. I'd like to run the workshops monthly and have a structured course of 10-12 modules that really help women look at their lives, decide what to adjust and change for the better. I run these workshops to help people live better lives and ensure that they treat their mental health as well as they do their physical health.
I'd like to get some funding so that I can run them in areas or schools where they're needed most. I think young women especially could really benefit from the messages we teach.
Hopefully the modules will shape up into a book so I can reach a wider audience.
And finally I'd like to develop the clothing line into a martial arts activewear range that fully supports women in combat sports, but is still just as nice as the premium yoga brands out there. If we could sponsor some up-and-coming real female athletes, that would be amazing too.’
Why do you feel empowerment among women is important and how does Warrior Woman Way help to achieve it?
‘I think growing up women are mostly expected to tone it down, whether these messages are coming from our own family or received from society. Strength and power are largely considered male attributes and definitely aren't words associated with young girls. And if they are it's because you are too much – too strong, too boisterous, too loud, too bossy... all considered negatives when associated with females. But that's not how it’s always been. There are many forgotten stories of women riding into battle alongside men, and respected and revered for their strength and courage. For example our 'Fight like a girl’ tee is a reclaiming of a phrase used to belittle women and sometimes men. I am a girl, and I do fight like a girl but best believe that is no insult – this girl can whoop ass!
We want Warrior Woman clothing to embody the idea that we can be female and powerful without one taking away from the other. Contrary to what we grow up hearing, to be strong and powerful goes hand in hand with womanhood. And that's got nothing to do with getting into the ring like I do. We are all strong in our own ways and I think that message is really important to hear and also remember. We are all warrior women whether that's through being a fighter, a student, running a family, running a company etc. Out biggest hope is that our clothing reminds women of how much they are truly capable of and that regardless of what others may say we are strong, we are fierce and we can do anything we put our minds to.’