Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Cammie Jurkowsky Interview
I was introduced to Cammie Jurkowsky through a friend, and am very happy I was. Cammie is an example of why I try to promote female fighters. Loads of potential, a love for the sport, and proof female fighters are every bit the athlete as male fighters are. Cammie is someone who once you get to know her, you will instantly become a fan of. How far she goes in this sport is up to her, and it is clear she wants to go far. So I think Cammie Jurkowsky is going to be a star in this sport.
Q: First, Cammie I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: Sure- I am currently living in Annapolis, Maryland working as a Personal Trainer. I was recruited out of high school for lacrosse to several division 1 institutions, but I chose to go to Penn State. I graduated from Penn State in 2007 with a degree in Crime, Law, and Justice. Penn State just had an awesome reputation, great facilities and coaches, and I always knew that if -heaven forbid- something happened with my athletic career, that I would be a happy ‘normal’ student there. My awesome parents live about 5 miles away from me. I have one older sister who lives in London and works for a Public Relations firm.
Q: Were you especially athletic growing up? Play any sports?
A: Yes- always athletic. Never with martial arts though- always with the ‘regular’ sports. Soccer, Lacrosse, Basketball, even track for a season or two in high school. I was defiantly the athlete of the family. My sister was more the scholar, and I was more the athlete. It was a great dynamic growing up. After my freshman year of high school, I became part of a traveling lacrosse team where we competed all up and down the east coast in tournaments which lead to me getting recruited. That’s when lacrosse got serious for me. We practiced outside of our normal high school teams several times a week and had tournaments almost every weekend during the summer.
Q: What initially got you started training for MMA?
A: I got started by boxing with another co-worker at a gym I used to work at. I kinda took a liking to it, so I decided to do it a little bit more than just when I was at work. Little did I know it would become such a big part of my life. After I did some research, I called Danny, who owns the gym I train at, and we hit it off right away. After talking to him for about 45 minutes and telling him my background, I came in that night and was hooked. It just sort of snowballed from there! I needed something constructive in my life and I explained that to Danny. For the first time in my life there was a ‘void’- I wasn’t involved in any activities outside of my work and social circle. MMA helped to fill that void.
Q: Was the training something you picked up fairly easy?
A: I would say yes. (You can ask Danny more about that HA!) But in all honesty, I do think I did. I have a very compulsive personality, so everything I do, I want to do it the best. I knew that since I had no experience, that I would have to work twice or three times as hard as some women because I had 0 experience going into it. Jiu Jitsu has been the biggest challenge for me- there is SO much to it. I like it more and more but that is one aspect of MMA that did NOT come easily.
Q: How long did you train before your first fight?
A: I trained about 5 months before I had my first muay thai smoker fight. (which I won!)
Q: Was fighting something your family and friends supported?
A: I am extremely blessed and fortunate to have such a strong network of supporters. My mom was not exactly THRILLED to know I was doing MMA, but supportive YES! My dad- in the same boat as my mom. No parent wants to see their kid- let alone their daughter- going at it with another girl! But I couldn’t ask for better friends and family than I have. My best friends have come to my fights, along with my parents, and stand right next to the cage, ring, or the mats. I will always remember my mom crying before my first fight, and then finding out she was crying DURING it, and then crying after once it was all over! Haha! I think part of the reason they support me so much is they know how much time, energy, heart and effort I have put into it- and they are happy to see me succeed.
Q: Where do you train at now?
A: I train in Severna Park, Maryland at an awesome school called Ivey League MMA, a division of Lloyd Irvin MMA. My main coach is Danny Ives and I also work a lot with Jason Farrell. He specializes in Muay Thai. They are the absolute best. I have worked with many coaches, even at the collegiate level, and these guys are the best of the best.
Q: Can you give your overall record so far
Q: Which fight so far is the one you are most proud of?
A: I would have to say my last fight. It was at WKA Nationals, and there was only the only one bracket to have a first fight, which I happened to be in. I ended up winning and it pushed me into the semi’s. I had a fight against a very tough girl, it went to decision, which I have learned to ‘never let it go to the judges!’ But it was a fight to the end, we both were going so hard, I came out pretty beat up, but it was such an accomplishment. I left it all in the cage that’s for sure. It’s hard to have one MMA fight in a day, let alone two, or even three!
Q: What would you say is your biggest strength and the one thing you most want to improve?
A: My striking and my actual brute strength has to be my strong point (no pun intended…cheesy I know! ha). I am working on making my jiu jitsu game up to par with my striking. But it’s coming right along…
Q: What is the best and worst part of training and competing in the sport?
A: The best- the rush you get after making a great hit, or actually making contact with the combo that you have been working on the past few weeks. As weird as it sounds- there is nothing better than coming out of a workout completely fatigued and exhausted. I love that feeling, maybe not during it, but afterwards! I love breaking my body down during workouts- either on the mats or in the actual gym- and feeling completely drained and toasted after its all said and done!
The worst part of training for me- doing the running and cardio. I know I have to do it, especially for my own personal body, but I just have always hated running. I try to run 3 miles 4-5 times a week. Ask my coaches and strength coaches in college about me and running…we didn’t get along!
Q: Are there any fighters you are a fan of or love to watch?
A: I am a fan of Sean Sherk and Brock Lesnar. I like Sherk’s ‘small and mighty’ complex that he has, it’s sort of similar to me. He’s built like a fire hydrant. Great wrestler. I love it. These guys both train at Minnesota Martial Arts where I was fortunate enough to go out and have the opportunity to do some training out there last summer. Brock is just, well Brock. He always puts on a good show. The thing that amazes me about the heavy weights is how conditioned they have made their body. Even at 245 pounds these guys can hang in there and have made their bodies into machines, both with their cardiovascular development and muscularly strong- even at that size. Oh, and gotta love some GSP. He carries himself well, represents the sport of MMA in a respectful way, has a strong work ethic, oh AND he’s a pretty good fighter.
Q: In your opinion, who are the top five female fighters in the sport pound for pound?
1. Cris Santos
2. Megumi Fujii
3. Marloes Coenen
4. Sarah Kaufman
5. Tara LaRosa
Q: Do you ever see a major U.S. women's only company being viable?
A: I do- eventually. I understand there needs to be a market what you are trying to sell. And I have been a professional football player (I played with the Lingerie Football Team, Baltimore Charm), a division 1 athlete, and I know how hard it is to get people to attend a ‘women's sporting event’, even when we are wearing, well Lingerie. But I do know that the sport of women’s MMA is increasing every day. At Ivey League alone we are seeing more and more women getting involved every week, even young girls, which is awesome!! So sure, I do see it happening sometime, I would like to say soon, but I am not sure. Whenever it happens, I hope to help be an intricate part of it. It is people like myself and the other female fighters (and you!) that are helping to get the word out about how great this sport is and the continuation to help promote it.
Q: Often you watch a show that has one women's fight. Somehow that fight always turns out to be the most exciting fight on the card. Why do you think that is?
A: I almost think that it’s the ‘anticipation’ for that one fight. So much build up. The girls know that they have to put on a good show because of the fact that we are always the ‘underdogs’ on most cards. The better we can make these fights, the better the chance we have to get in more fights for ourselves in the future. The better we can make these fights, the more the crowd will buy into it for next time. Everyone loves a good girl fight. I also think it’s due to the promoters and match-makers for the fights. They obviously are doing good research and matching of fighters.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about female fighters?
A: Gosh where do I start?...
The first is that we are all not feminine aka ‘manly’. Boxing and mma have been known to have non-attractive women in it for some reason. That’s actually one of the reasons I have gotten into some fitness modeling because I am trying to change the angle that people are looking at women’s MMA. Also another misconception is that we have ‘anger issues’. Ha I don’t know how many times I tell people what I do, and their first response is ‘oh, great way to get your anger out!’. I mean, sure it is, but that’s not the main reason I do it! I’m one of the most calm and un-confrontational people you will ever meet.
Q: If another woman told you she wanted to train for the sport, whats the biggest piece of advice you would give her?
A: A typical answer would be ‘train hard’. But I would have to say the biggest piece of advice even before you can actually do that is to find a school and coach that you feel comfortable with; someplace that you can consider yourself in ‘good hands’ with. Make sure you are up front when you join about what your goals are. Is it for actual competition? Do you want to step into the cage? Is it for fitness? Do you want to lose weight? Are you looking for a new group of friends? Ask yourself these questions and make sure that you actually enjoy it before committing to anything long-term.
Q: Outside of training and fighting, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy baking and cooking. I usually cook all my meals on Sundays for the rest week since I am usually gone a lot during the week. I like watching stand-up- especially Kevin Hart. I love a good football game. I am obsessed with the athletic store LuluLemon.
Q: You are obviously in incredible shape. Ever think of entering a Figure or Fitness competition?
A: Thank You! It ain’t easy!! I have worked extremely hard the past 16 months to get my body into the shape it is right now. I have THOUGHT about it, but the training would be extremely hard to do along with the time that I dedicate to MMA. I can only spread myself so thin! With a full time job- a part time job fighting- and doing everything else that I have to do to make myself successful (writing, website, phone calls, etc.) it would be very tough. Not saying it couldn’t be done, but I just don’t think it’s for me- at least right now. Haha, that might change next month or even next week. It has crossed my mind, especially as of late. I know the time and effort that my girlfriend Eryn and Allie put into it, and I do the same thing, but just in a different direction. Much respect to Figure and Fitness Competitors though. It’s not completely out of the picture…
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Cammie Jurkowsky.
A: Geesh- it varies on a day to day basis. Mondays and Wednesdays are my heavy training days. I train BJJ in the morning for about 2 hours, both gi and no-gi, on these days, and then come back at night and either spar or do some sort of muay thai for an hour or two. Tuesdays and Thursdays I just train at night for a couple hours. Like I had said previously- I try to run 5 days a week, 3 miles at a go. Maybe a long run on a Saturday or Sunday depending on how my body feels and how the week has gone/what I have going on that weekend. I also have at least two days in the gym of weights; one strength day, and usually one endurance day. I have a trainer that I see for my conditioning in Baltimore. He’s awesome. Oh, and I have a job!! My busy days personal training at the gym are usually Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mondays and Wednesdays I only work in the afternoon to allow me to train in the morning and go see my own conditioning coach. I try to train about 20-30 client hours per week. As you can see it doesn’t leave me much time for anything else. But that’s ok! I love what I do. Friday nights I try to do as little as possible, or catch up with friends, sometimes do some work. Sunday’s are my football days and usually my ‘cheat days’!
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: In May of 2009 I weighed 179 pounds. Yup! Now…137.
Q: Describe Cammie Jurkowsky in five words
A: Ambitious, Diligent, Generous, Organized, Friendly!
Q: So whats next for you? Any idea when you will be fighting again?
A: There is a possibility I will be fighting sometime soon in NY but that date hasn’t been set in stone. I will definitely be fighting again in at the WKA National’s in February of 2011.
Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: Definitely want to promote Ivey League Mixed Martial Arts! Best school to train at in Maryland, if not on the East Coast. Keep an eye out for my website that will be launching fully by the end of the year, Cammiejmma.com. Right now it is just linked to my blog, but it will be MUCH more in a couple weeks so stay tuned ;).
I also want everyone to check out my coach Jason Farrell’s new clothing line, ‘Urban Ninja’. Check it out on facebook or on urban-ninja.com
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you and what are they getting in Cammie Jurkowsky the fighter and person?
A: Absolutely, always looking for sponsors. This is just the beginning for Cammie Jurkowsky. Things are only going to get better for me from here on out. I would love for some new (and established) companies to be apart of my growth and development as a person and as a fighter and also vice versa. I know that there are many companies out there that are just starting to flourish as well. I have so many ideas that are being put in to play right now and its only the start; my website, my blogs, more photo shoots already scheduled, and talks of a blog-talk/radio show and segments are in the making. All of ‘Cammie’ is about promoting women’s MMA, women’s fitness, and MMA as a sport in general. Another aspect that I am a big advocate of is healthy living- both mentally and physically. Having a good head on your shoulder and a good heart is just as important as being physically conditioned. People, fans and sponsors can get in touch with me through facebook @ Cammie Jurkowsky or through e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Cammie again, I want to thank you for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: ‘Make it happen.’ That’s my motto. Whatever it is- mma training, running, dieting, quitting smoking, leaving a bad relationship- WHATEVER it is- just ‘make it happen.’