MMA

Sandra Mašková: „My goal is to combine kickbox with MMA!“

ON 23. April 2018 • BY Dominik
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Multitalented fighter, who wants to conquer, except for the kickbox ring, the MMA cage too! Almost always well-disposed fighter Sandra Mašková, known also under nickname Honey Badger (Medojed in the Czech language), is capable of collecting achievements in both disciplines. How is it possible to redirect from kickbox to MMA? Why did she do that? Will she sacrifice kickbox – or will she do it as well? Is she so cheerful in private too? You are going to find out more in today´s interview!

Hello Sandra, thank you for having found some time for this interview. Just a few days ago, you fought under XFN against Chinese opponent Li Mingrui, whom you gave in to by points. How would you evaluate this match? Are you angry about the loss?

Hello. Yes, exactly as you say. I fought against a Chinese woman, whom I gave in to by points.  Shortly I would say that I do not object to the result of the referees. Of course, I could analyse why the situation turned out that way… and under what conditions it would be different, but it would be useless – I lost. Dot. I am naturally not happy about the loss, but it doesn´t destroy me. I just accept it the way it is.

Do you perceive this duel despite the loss as a new valuable experience?

Yes, as a valuable and painful experience… (laughter) And as an indicator of what I should get better at.

The whole event was a fight between elite Czech and Chinese fighters. Was it an honour for you to be chosen by the promoters?

You bet it was an honour! I am pretty sure that it was an honour for all the fighters, who could have shown up at that gala. Anyway, how often do you get an offer to compare your abilities with the Chinese top?

How did you even react to this offer? Did you hesitate, or did you go into it immediately?

(laughter) I was called by my trainer: “Sandra, 19th April a fight of the Czech Republic vs. China…“

Me: “Ok, and are you asking me or are you announcing it to me?“

Trainer: “Just announcing, they wanted to know it from me right away.“

It was more or less like that (laughter)… it was a one-time offer. As Alena Holá said, Czech fighters got an offer to take or let go. So we didn´t even know, who we are going to fight against.

Czech representants surprised though and they were quite radical to the Chinese. There are differences between both teams in conditions, mentality and the culture itself. Can you see these things in a ring too?

I would say yes, sure. This is how I perceive it – those Chinese fighters were incredible holders. They were fierce, and they crowded to the front. And even though they are not too technical, they simply have got the drive.

You have recently passed a debut under XFN in the MMA discipline. What led you to it?

I was led by the idea of my trainer Lojzo Škeřík, as already a year before that, before I actually got into the cage, he suggested that the fighting trend is headed to the cage and that people will be more interested in it than in kickbox. So I got together with my second trainer Míša Hořejší already in that time and we started to talk about it.

Had you thought about it long?

I didn´t have much time to decide, because an offer came just in time when I won the World Games in kickbox. It was a great achievement because the World Games are like the Olympics for non-Olympic sports. As a result of that, the wave of interest got bigger and we took a ride right to the cage. (laughter)

MMA is an exceptionally popular sport right now, which displayed on the fans scene at your debut as well. Were the reactions of the audience a pleasant surprise for you?

I was truly surprised a lot. On one side, I was caught, on the other side, it pushed me forward. I was happy that the spectators accepted me so kindly.

The most important thing is that your premiere was successful, what we congratulate you on. How do you evaluate this match now?

Well, thank you very much. I would now say that it was a piece of cake for a try and we were very careful in the fight with the trainers because we didn´t know what to expect from that, or rather what to expect from me. (laughter)

You spent the whole 15 minutes in the octagon, it was an unknown experience for you. Was it harder on a physical or mental side?

Well, it was definitely not a situation, which I was used to. The time is really different from what I normally do. In kickbox, it is 3×2 minutes or 3×3 minutes. After the fight, I said that I am never going to go through this again, that I must find a way to solve the fights faster. (laughter)

I am interested in how you could redirect from MMA back to kickbox so fast. Is this change smooth or did you have to struggle with it a lot?

It certainly doesn´t go smooth. There are really big differences in the distance and the whole strategy of the fight. Just reteaching me the stand itself was quite a hard nut. For now, I am not able to say how successful I am. I haven´t got enough things to compare yet. This year will be experimental and then I can say whether I will do both, or I will choose one discipline. Now I have two months to learn how to move on the ground again because there is a fight in the O2 arena waiting for me in June.

And what about the future? Do you see yours in kickbox or MMA? Or are you going to try to find some compromise?

Until I can compromise, I am going to try to, but I keep telling myself – Ester Ledecká, Ester Ledecká! (laughter)

How did you even get to combat sports? What was the first impulse?

19 years old. I had the need to be different from the people my age and do something “interesting”… Well, I succeeded, right?

You had tried more sports, but you never stayed long, consequently, I would ask why did kickbox win?

Yes, I had tried a lot. When I was a little girl, my mum already took me through different activities and sports. I have seriously tried everything possible, from various dance styles, through ping-pong, drama classes… but I could have never been doing anything for too long.  I don´t know why my heart has chosen kickbox especially.

Did you not have any thoughts about giving up kickbox?

I was on the brink of my career approximately 3 times. But I have to say that there was no such situation within the last 3 years. There is not even an indication that something similar would soon occur. I enjoy the environment, I love the people, who I am surrounded by. I am totally satisfied where I am.

You had a rich career also amongst amateurs, where you completed more than 60 fights. Did you want to be completely ready to go to professionals?

No, I had never thought about it. I always combined the amateurs with the professional fights. Besides, I think that fighting in amateurs definitely doesn´t mean a complete readiness for the professional ring… it depends more on what sleep the fighter has! (laughter)

In sport itself, the mindset is important too. Do you pay special attention to this matter as well?

(laughter) Yes, I do a lot. The mentality is a big chapter for me. I must remark that since I met Míša Hořejší I have noticed a significant mental growth. Mentality and the inner mental environment is an infinite topic for me. I still try to educate and gain new information in this area.

What do you see as the biggest contribution to your life of sports? Has it influenced you as a person too?

The sport made me who I am. It formed my personality into the shape it is now.

When we look at your interviews and general behaviour, you are such a cheerful person. Are you like that during your training too or does the situation change there?

I would like to say that I am non-stop cheerful, but there are situations when I really cannot laugh a lot. I often cry during a training. It actually happens every second sparring. (laughter) It doesn´t work, I don´t feel like fighting, I don´t feel like punching those who I like, so I get beaten up myself – self-blame, self-remorse – then it all explodes, I have a good cry… then I come back, and I show a completely different performance. Just like that. Look – it is not easy with me for my trainers, I admire them, and I am thankful to them for not having buried me somewhere yet.

What is Sandra Mašková like out of ring and gym? What do you like doing in your free time?

What is Sandra Mašková like? Well, she is an alternative fool, who always tries to find better and healthier ways to do things. For instance, she would stop washing her hair with a shampoo and she would wash it with rye flour for 6 years already so that she wouldn´t put chemical cocktails on it. (laughter) My free time is living death. I feel like I just don´t have it, but when I find some, and I am not going to count in household chores, I like to spend it with my family, with a book in my hand or in nature.  And by the way, I started to work on Martin Janáč´s art project later, where I provided my body as a canvas – but we made a piece of art, that will stay under my skin forever. So when there is some time after a fight, we make this work even better. Yes, I got addicted to tattoos.

A lot of fighters teach others too, are you tempted by this future career as well?

I have been teaching for approximately 8 years. I started to study at the Academy of physical education and sports Palestra together with kickbox too, so I collected degrees, certifications, and experience, that make the trainer job possible for me. I was a trainer earlier than a professional sportsman. At present, I have clients without whom I wouldn´t be able to do it because the money I need to put into the sport is enormous.

Martial arts have noticed a great boom in the Czech Republic and also in Slovakia. How do you perceive this from your point of view? What do you feel it in the most?

Thank God for the chance that the fighters are going to be evaluated appropriately for the incredible hard work, that they put into that sport. For now, I can see there is generally a bigger interest in martial arts, which creates the ground for the professional sportsmen. The more people talk about martial arts in media, the more fans this sport will attract. And the better the conditions for the sportsmen there will be. They will earn money and they will be able to prepare better for their sports performance.

Do you have any particular goals in and out of sports?

Yes, it is necessary to have some goals. And although people say that “the journey is the destination itself” (with which I agree), there wouldn´t be a journey if there was no goal, so yes – I have my goals. At present, my goal is to combine kickbox with MMA.

Are you also tempted by the UFC, which is nowadays top of what MMA fighter can achieve?

Look, since the very beginning when they put me into the cage, they wanted to hear everywhere from me that ”my dream is to get to the UFC,” but I never really cared about it. (laughter) I have always avoided it by saying that when I want to, I will get there… Now when I sometimes watch the fighting scene a little, it seems that it is not surreal for me (considering my age too (laughter)). We sometimes even make fun of it with my trainers, that “when I will be in the UFC…”. There is the idea already, even though it is a little fishing story… and we know that an idea is the beginning of any creation. So we will see.

Sandra, thank you for the interview and we are going to keep our fingers crossed for you in your next career. What would you like to tell your fans and all the readers in the end?

Be fans of fighters and support the martial arts with your attention. We need you!

Source of photos: Facebook Sandra Mašková, Real Fighters Life, CzechFighters.cz

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