Ascending New Heights with Kathy Long
5-Time World Champion Kathy Long is a true pioneer of women's competitive Kick-Boxing.
Kathy is a respected WKA / 2 X KICK / ISKA / WMAC Title Holder. She has been inducted in to the Sports Hall of Fame as Woman of the Year. Her image has been in well over 35 magazines, she's been featured in several major motion pictures, published in books, and was an announcer in UFC-1, among many other highly accomplished credits.
In 2009, Kathy has now set her sites towards MMA competitions and has made her "Cage-Fighting" debut this past summer.
During a recent outing to Yosemite National Park, she ascended to the peak of the famous Half Dome. When asked about the experience, Kathy remarked, "After five hours of hiking to the top, my legs were literally burning. It reminded me of the time and effort it takes me training in the gym to become fully prepared for a fight!"
Exclusive A.M.A.M. Interview:
AMAM: Please tell our readers something about yourself.
KL: I'm just your typical girl next door, that can fight. (Laughs)
AMAM: How did you get started in martial arts, where did you first begin training?
KL: When I was 14 years old a friend in school introduced me to martial arts. She brought me to a Dojo, which offered a very friendly family-structured environment. There, I learned Aikido. The training really helped me to deal with the lingering effects of an abusive childhood. It gave me confidence. Later on, I found Kung Fu San Soo.
AMAM: For those who're unfamiliar with San Soo, please explain its origins.
KL: It's a highly effective Southern Chinese system that is focused 100% on rapidly annililating a foe. It is designed for quick destruction of a serious attacker, not for any type of sport at all. One must be fully committed when applying it because of it's nature. It is meant solely for self-preservation.
AMAM: During your reign as a Champion Kick-Boxer, whom was your toughest opponent, your most memorable bout?
KL: Not any single fight, probably more than one.
My first World Title was at Caeser's Palace in Las Vegas. I fought 12 rounds with a rib already broken from recent training in preparation for this important bout. Also, the Ref seemed to really have it out for me for some unknown reason. Without warnings, he kept taking points away from me for holding and hitting. I still have no idea why, I'd never even met him before?
Still, I won unanimously against an awkward south-paw even though the odds were against me. Her name was Bonnie Canino. Funny thing is, after the fight was over her coach actually admitted to me that he had her on steroids!
AMAM: What do you like most about martial arts training, what do you like the least?
KL: Mostly, is that martial arts can help in someone in so many ways. It helps you to focus and adds discipline to help overcome adversity. It enables you to pass your comfort zone by increasing motivation and boosting confidence.
The hardest thing is the level of training required to be a top competitor. That's what most people like the least.
AMAM: Please tell us all why you're now focusing on competing in MMA.
KL: A couple of reasons, really. Gina Carano has been a really good spokesperson for the sport, promoting women's MMA. I admire her. When I saw her fighting, I thought to myself, I can do that, I'm better than that. I've been studying it since 1994. So, I began to incorporate specific aspects of my studies. Also, I hope to help women in the sport as long as I'm capable.
One day soon, I plan to open a new gym to help all people grow in the sport of MMA.
AMAM: Where do you train at nowadays?
KL: I'm moving around a bit. Right now I train at Millennia with Betiss in Rancho Cucamonga, and with Gokor Chivichyan and Gene LeBell at Hayastan in North Hollywood. Also, at my place.
AMAM: As you know, I'm also a student of Gene and Gokor's, what are you specifically working on over at Hayastan?
KL: Grappling and Submissions. Gokor is a very talented MMA fighter. Also, I study Judo there as well.
AMAM: Any advice for female martial artists who want to get started in serious competitions?
KL: No matter what, seek out a coach that can reach the individual with insight. A really good coach can educate you this way. Everyone learns differently, so it is important to have a teacher who can identify this in each person.
AMAM: What led you into doing filmwork, what can you tell us about your experiences?
KL: I got hired to do stunts for Michelle Pheiffer who was Catwoman in Batman Returns. I did all of her fight-scenes. I instantly fell in love with the whole creative process of the art.
Then, towards the end of my Kickboxing career, I was approached by a fairly well known "Action" film director named Albert Pirun whom asked me to act in a production. Initially, I said "No way" because I was much too shy about it.
However, I got an audition with the producer, even though he too had also said no due to my lack of acting experience. So, I worked hard with an acting coach for 15 days and eventually got the part, I even got to create most of the fight-scenes in the film! I enjoyed the experience very much.
AMAM: Kathy, AMAM-MAGAZINE.COM will be cheering you on as you continue to thrill your many admiring fans, while you continue climbing to new peaks in Mixed-Martial Arts. We are excited to see you continually achieving your personal goals.
You are a true inspiration and A.M.A.M. is honored to be your friend...thanks so much for this great interview!
KL: Thanks, it was a pleasure, take care.