BY ROISIN KELLY-GOLDSMITH
KRYSTAL Vanzetta is one talented woman. She’s a fulltime nursing student, a single mother of two children, and a soon to be professional Muay Thai fighter. The 27-year-old trains at Brawl, a self-defence and boxing gym in Ballarat. Her kids usually tag along to watch their mum train a few nights a week, and they have active lives too, doing soccer training and gymnastics. Word has got around about Krystal’s fighting, because mothers from school have even phoned up asking for her to train their kids selfdefence. Before Muay Thai, Krystal was actually a pole-dancing instructor. But on a trip to Thailand with her girlfriend she found her true calling by accident from giving the sport a go.
The transition from Pole dancing to Muay Thai is not as different as you’d expect. Firstly, as Ms Vanzetta explains to The Miner, Muay Thai is just like a highly skilled dance.
“When you’re sparring with someone, it really does feel like a game,” she said. “And it can become relaxing too, like you’re dancing with your opponent.”
It also requires intense leg work and good hip flexibility, which helps if you’re a woman.
“From the males that I’ve been sparring with, I’ve realized that I am a lot more flexible than them because of my hips,” said Ms Vanzetta. “Guys may be bigger and muscly and heavier, but we are more nimble and quick.” She should know, because the amateur fighter has had plenty of experience sparring with men. She’s always trying to mentor women who walk into her gym, because she knows what it’s like. Sometimes men can go too gentle, and not take them seriously.
“My trainer has had to have a word with them to say, ‘Don’t be disrespectful to her just because she is a woman,’” said Ms Vanzetta. “Then they realize that I’m skilled, and they punch harder.”
Having fought and won two amateur fights so far, Ms Vanzetta is looking for the right woman to verse her in the next one. It has to be a challenge, so if she loses, it will be worth it. As for getting hurt, Ms Vanzetta has not been concussed yet. She does get bruises quite a bit and has lost half a tooth. But the trade off is worth it, because she feels like learning how to fight has given her the skills to get out of a violent situation if she needed to. She says it helps her feel safer going out at night with friends.
Of course, she also hopes her daughter will grow up with a positive perception of women in sport.
“I want my daughter to know that there is more out there than how the media portrays women. It’s better to be healthy than just look sexy,” she said.
Krystal Vanzetta has big dreams for her future. As well as completing her studies, she’s going to graduate to professional Muay Thai status as soon as she can. “I’m going to step up the training and make a name for myself,” she said.