Marloes Coenen…The high fiving Champion

One thing I always try to do as a MMA fighter is look at my evolution in this combative martial art. If I don’t do this my career won’t have many wins because my variety of weapons won’t be there 😦 I tell everyone that I want to be the best at 48 kgs. That’s why I try to learn from the best fighters in the world. Simply they have done it to such a high level that what they know I want to learn 🙂  If MMA was in university I would have stayed in it. I love studying it, never boring, always challenging.

So after watching Marloes Coenen fight over the years and seeing how she became an outstanding champion. I knew I had to pick her brain. I was very excited to see she had opened her own MMA gym in Amsterdam. I think  R-Grip  is the first one that teaches solely MMA.  I also love the fact that is run by a lady who knows her stuff.

I jumped on plane to Amsterdam and I was so happy, for me it was like going to Disneyland. We arrived to a beautiful city that’s so diverse, full of passion and a vibe for life. The people were so friendly and respectful. Although Marloes told me people are nice only when the sun shines.

The atomosphere filled me and I was ready to go. We were close to R-Grip gym and walking down towards it when I heard my name being called out “Catherine”. I turned around and oh god it was Marloes Coenen walking towards me.  I keep saying to myself be cool!!!  She shakes my hand and tells me who she is. So funny, I”m like I know who you are ass whoopin World Champ …

The one  thing that made me at ease with her was how friendly and open she was straight away. She’s really funny too! It was as if I had been training with her for years. The only other person who has been like this is Rosi Sexton. We entered the gym and WOW it is really beautiful and there is an feeling of openess in it. Marloes told us it was originally a Art Gallery and you could tell.

Right down to business, I start warming up and start telling her of my injuries and that I’m sorry I’m not a 100 %. She replies  “oh come on I checked you out on facebook today you’ve got great conditioning”. Well when I heard those words that made my day as a fighter and to get a compliment like this from her was super!!! She starts working the clinch with me and landing fluid knees. She, I must say is a master at this and everywhere I try to attack her she has a simple flowing defence. I felt it was a bit like Tai Chi. No pause in the attacks and defence is what she is trying to teach me. I’m really trying my best stuff on her in clinch and against wall but I’M JUST BEING REDIRECTED LIKE A BUG ON A WINDSCREEN.  It’s my kind of training, meeting a problem and finding the answers. Love it !

MMA to me is knowledge that’s just like the best drug that I have to let  it enter my veins and let the technique take hold. Today Marloes is the dealer and I’m high as a kite. So times up on day one. I head back to the apartment I rented for the weekend. I don’t like staying in hotels, you can never get the right food 😦

Its important that I still can eat clean so I make sure to pack lots of  Protein and plenty of Dr.Dave’s super supplements to keep me ticking over. The apartment was rockin cool, it had a beautiful view of the canal and really cool wallpaper. Only thing was 5 very steep narrow flights of stairs which as the days when on where a great challenge just to get up. Some nights I think I crawled on my hands and kness. So funny and tough, fighter being broken by these stairs.

Day two is time for me to become class student again and its something I haven’t done in awhile. A lot of my training is done one on one. I was a bit nervous and of course I was sure some people in the class would test me to see how good I was. Roemer is teaching the class and welcomes me. He is Marloes coach and business partner and of course is a utter gentleman. We started grappling and all the students were nice and came with good challenge’s for me. As I rolled Marloes was looking on keeping an eye on me to get an idea of how I worked on the ground. One big guy I went with I knew was going to come at me hard and he didn’t disappoint. I was on my back getting squshed before I knew it, but he was using so much man strength that I could hear his breeding getting heavier as he tried everything to tap me out. I stayed calm and kept my self out of danger soon enough he got tried and it was my turn I escaped on got on top.

Now a big thing I’m finally begining to get is hips down and if ever it was important to use it, now was the time. The voice in my head was Rosi’s saying hips down Cat …. hips down. I knew I couldn’t submit him but I gave it a good go and didn’t lose top position. He tried the big man bridge, I know this last chance move. So I keep  on him like superglue. His eyes show the disbelief that how can a little Irish lass be this strong. I believe this time I got it right and kept my hips down good technique. As the class goes on I get some nice takedowns and taps but I also get put into some crap situations to but survive. I feel good about this as it balances the MMA scales of learning.

Next class was striking but because of my injury I could not take part s0 I watched . Marloes was leading it straight away she takes control of the mat. Everyone watches and hangs on her every word. She shows simple but very fast striking technique and wow is she on point. I now see  more and more how  she  became a champion. I must say herself and Roemer are looked up to and respected highly by all their students and it fills the room with a great energy. R- Grip rocks.

So after training I reward my self with great steak and ice cream. Also shopping as I’m a fighter that must look good and lots of cool shops in Amsterdam ,oh and for some extra fun the red light district. The only thing about the girls is I thought they could put a bit more effort into working out. Maybe I’ll move to Amsterdam and become a personal trainer to them. Then I’d have some very interesting blogs ! HaHa

Last day of training and I’m sad 😦 because like all good things in life I don’t want it to end. Marloes has been an inspiration to me. We arrive a little early at gym and of course Marloes is training herself and I get to see her hitting pads and working MMA drillls. I witness an awesome show of speed, intensity and intellengence being used. She listens to everything Roemer says and follows it. I go to get changed and can hear the music she is making on the pads. Rythym in fighting is so important, it sets up the victory in the cage. If you are a good fighter you’ll  start to hear it and create it with your body. You will also begin to recognise your opponents rythm and then break it. This is something Greg Jackson’s camp are really great at.

The Mural of MMA History at R-Grip!

So I’m wondering what will she do with me today and what follow adds another dimension to my stand up. I have so many people over the years work on my stand up and I’m not saying I’m perfect, but  I’ve got a good game. Again, I keep forgeting this is way these people are the best, they just keep evolving. I can’t say what she did but it’s turned my style on its head. I think it will be another great strategy for my fights in cage. She also works ground again and tests that I remember things from the first day. I really think the best thing she gave me that weekend back was my confidence, which I have lost a bit because being out a year from fighting. She also told me to find my own style and not to think a 100 moves at once. Just drill simple things and make them flow. This is stuff that others have told me before, but for some reason it really stuck with me this time.

I loved one thing about her when I made a mistake she didn’t make me feel  stupid and when I got it right she’d put a big smile on her face  and give me a high five. Yes people a high five, I mean I haven’t had someone do that to me in a long time and I loved it. She is the high fiving Champion with a big heart of kindness. She gives everything to being the best, makes no excuses for fights she lost  just charges ahead to next challenge. Oh, and she still says she wants a rematch with Cyborg,  how fearless is that!!! I know she isn’t Strikeforce Champion anymore, but in my book once a champ always a champ!!!!

Again a big thank you to Marloes ,Roemer and all the students at R- Grip gym. Amsterdam is awesome because you guys and girls are in it.