Julia Dorny Embraces Ambassador Role For MMA in Germany

German MMA’s top amateur standout, Julia Dorny, recently appeared on Berlin’s popular contemporary radio show, ‘Fritz’; a broadcast channel with strong appeal to young people and students with over 300,000 listeners per day. The 26-year-old answered questions regarding her martial arts career and addressed some of the common misconceptions of MMA that still surround the sport in the central European region. With her success as a 2016 Silver medalist at the IMMAF World and European Open Championships, Dorny has been looked upon as an ambassador for German MMA, not only among supporters, but skeptics also. IMMAF.org caught up with the world’s no.2 ranked Women’s Featherweight to discuss the topics that were put to her live on air. With deep martial arts roots as a black belt Judoka with 20 years’ experience, she revealed that it was Germany’s first IMMAF Amateur World Champion, Daniela Kortman, who drew her to the sport after she won Gold in Las Vegas, in 2014. Julia expressed the incredible amount of training that is invested as a mixed martial artist with the daily hours devoted to conditioning and building on her Judo base with boxing and kickboxing. “I was talking about Daniela Kortman, my friend, who became IMMAF world champion. I told her I was overwhelmed by this and fell in love with the sport.”

Understanding MMA and addressing misconceptions: ‘Fair play, team spirit, loyalty, friendship and so on. All of these values ​​are conveyed in MMA’

  “I was asked, ‘is it not true, then, that people with much aggression are attracted by MMA?'” Currently in the process of completing a master’s degree in media studies, Dorny is a vastly experienced martial artist who is well spoken and shows respect each time she steps in to the competitive platform. She represents the truth of what MMA embodies. “She (the radio host) asked me what I think MMA’s charm is. I said that, for me, MMA is the number one martial art. Fighters are all-rounders, it´s very complex, it’s technical and tactical.  “She asked about prejudices and if I think it’s brutal. I said no, combat sport is not without touching, it´s not ballet, not dancing. Its martial arts, it teaches skills and techniques of serious physical engagement with an opponent. In our case, martial arts are the focus of the sporting competition, nothing else. Furthermore, I said I don´t find it brutal and violent because I see the sides of fair play and the mutual sportsmanship. Of course, you have run-outs in every sport, from football to ice hockey, but this is no reflection of the sport itself. In MMA or martial arts you have very disciplined people, including the fighters and the watching audience. Fighters usually all have a martial arts background. For the traditional fighters, it is about mediating traditional values, to respect the opponent, the partner, your coach, your fellow man. To play fair with team spirit, loyalty, friendship and so on. All of these values ​​are conveyed in MMA. I informed them of the unified rules and rules meetings that we sit through. “I was asked about injuries and such. I answered that I was never injured in MMA, just mostly in Judo. There are bruised eyes, open lips, but no real injury.”

‘Accurate assessment is not possible without first learning the context’

  Julia highlighted the empowering effect that MMA has brought to Women around the world, not only in providing a competition platform on par with that of Men’s competition, but with invaluable opportunities for effective self-defence. She questions why these positives are so often understated, in contrast to regurgitated prejudices that are based on a seemingly intentional lack of insight. “I explained how this is supporting Women. I think it’s great that we were given a platform on which to stand both physically and mentally, and Women are enabled to defend themselves in case of emergency. This is an important aspect that should be highlighted much more prominently. Martial Arts and MMA fighters are very brave. I know of the prejudices but find they are overprinted. Why do the press and media not see the positive aspects?”

MMA is growing in Berlin and the UFC has arrived: ‘A genuine revolution’

  It has been a battle for the UFC, to crack the German market. After a small number of events in various regions over the years, misguided social concerns remained, fueled by the media. However, this is now dwindling significantly after a victorious court case enabled the UFC to appear on German TV, and the promotion’s first sell out event in Germany, UFC Fight Night: Arlovski vs Barnett, concluded in Hamburg on September 23 and was regarded as a roaring success. Furthermore, ‘Bild’, a leading German tabloid and once a vocal opponent of MMA, has now embraced the sport and its top promotion with enthusiasm. “I was asked about ideas behind the UFC’s success. So I explained; ‘you know the answer, the people wanted to see it, it’s a phenomenon.’ I said the MMA community in Berlin is growing. MMA clubs, numbers of sold out events; MMA is something that has not yet existed here fully and is now experiencing a genuine revolution.”

Social Acceptance: ‘I do not need to vindicate myself’

  Julia was quizzed on social acceptance among peers, and discussed the assumption that her life choices and ambitions in combat sport would be met with concern from friends and family. “She asked about my environment and how people like the idea of me practicing and competing in MMA. I said it is usually very positive. I have a lot of support from friends and family. I have always been ‘the fighter’ in my circle of friends, who are mainly guys, but also girls and most of the people who are important to me or really close friends are almost all athletes or martial artists. I am so happy for these people being part of my life. Some who I know as colleagues or people at university find it cool but also somewhat terrifying, though I am sure it’s just because they don’t have certain reference points, as non-followers of MMA.” “I explained I do not need to vindicate myself in any area. I have decided on this path and for me it´s something with perspective. I love what I do.” Dorny looks forward to returning to IMMAF’s international amateur platform this year, with a busy calendar of events playing out throughout 2017. You can listen to the full German interview at Fritz.de. For information on the German MMA Federation (GEMMAF) visit GEMMAF.de. By IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran

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