Elite Training Center
Congratulations to Shawni Young, program director at Elite Training Center and MMA fighter for her article in the South Bay Daily Breeze.Shawni is an inspiration to all of us. The Female MMA article as it appeared in the Daily Breeze:
BUSINESS CASUAL: Female fighter’s career choice gains respect
I recently put on a pair of punch mitts and braced myself as a mixed-martial arts fighter hurled fists like bricks into the padded palms of my hands.
If that had happened five or 10 years ago, I would have viewed the experience as extraordinary.
Today, a woman practicing the violent sport of MMA is par for the course.
The lady treating my hands with ill intentions was Shawni Young, who was hired in August as program director at Elite Training Center in Redondo Beach, after a long career in vehicle sales.
In addition to teaching classes, Young was offered the job to help attract new students to the facility.
“I was brought on to use my sales experience,” Young told me.
Think about it. A woman with toenails painted red was hired to recruit students, who would then learn to punch, kick, wrestle and choke an opponent.
The idea of women’s equality is hardly new. The fairer sex has already made huge strides in the workplace, government and military.
For example, my boss is a woman, and her boss is as well.
But women’s progress in the fast-growing MMA sport, which rivals boxing in popularity, is a new twist.
In August, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and Gina Carano were the first women to headline a major MMA event. The fight in San Jose set an MMA ratings record for the Showtime channel.
This is not oil wrestling, mind you, but full-contact fighting that leaves welts, black eyes and broken bones.
Back to Young, whom you can watch on YouTube, fighting in a professional match against Sara Renaud.
Young acknowledges her new job is unusual.
“I think it’s fairly strange,” she said. “But I think a lot of students have respect for me because of my fighting and my skill sets as a woman. Society is progressing forward with the times.”
The 30-year-old El Segundo resident has trained in various aspects of MMA for about a dozen years.
It has not always been easy. A decade ago, she encountered two gyms that declined her request for membership, explaining that they did not have another woman member to train with her.
“In the mid- to late ’90s, the mentality of men when I was wrestling with them, in some places, was that I shouldn’t be wrestling,” she said.
Young noted that even today when she wrestles with men, their male ego often drives them to try to force her to tap out – an MMA acknowledgment of defeat from a submission.
Young and her new gig remind us of how much the job market has changed for women.
As Young put it, “I’m focusing on a career of ass-kicking.
PS: The South Bay Daily Breeze newspaper serves the same community as Elite Training Center, namely the Los Angeles South Bay area including Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Lomita, Lawndale, El Segundo, Palos Verdes, Harbor City, Carson and surrounding areas. Elite Training Center specializes in combative mixed martial arts: Krav Maga, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Kali, LOTAR®, kid-jitsu, and other martial arts.