Roger Memedov, owner and instructor of the Williamsburg Mixed Martial Arts (WMMA) wants women to learn to defend themselves. On Saturday, July 20th, he will offer a Women’s Empowerment seminar at his school, all the more important with the recent news of a woman raped at knifepoint less than a month-ago in Greenpoint.
Memedov, a soon to be father, has been giving martial arts instruction since he was 12-years-old and wants every woman, regardless of background, to walk around with the confidence of knowing how to defend themselves.
“It’s like driving a car without car insurance. You’re not going to be too confident. But if you have insurance and God forbid something happens then you’ll be well protected. Self-defense is like car insurance,” said Memedov.
The instructor has developed programs to fit all types of people. Memedov says that 20 to 25 percent of his students are females. The school also has toddler classes (three-years-old to five) and kids’ classes (six-years-old to 12).
Even though MMA is a full contact combat that involves striking and grappling while standing or on the ground, Memedov’s school focuses on relaxation techniques, grounding your energy and releasing the everyday New York City stress. He also invokes respect and honor in every lesson. “I never feel demeaned in this school and everybody is so welcoming,” said the four-feet 11 inches Ashley Carter. She joined WMMA to fulfill her long time desire to learn self-defense techniques like her grandfather who was a professional boxer. “This is a really good workout. But taking these classes makes me feel better about myself especially walking by McCarren Park at night,” said Carter.
Memedov opened the school in 2009 but did not feel comfortable developing the program around the artsy, hipster college crowds. WMMA found its new and three-times bigger home in Greenpoint and is not looking back. “I have students from both Williamsburg and Greenpoint. But the people in Greenpoint are more family oriented and that is the vibe that I wanted,” said Memedov.
Kayla Nolan, of the non-profit Girls Gotta Run, resides in Bushwick and travels to WMMA for the intense workout. “I think it’s useful for woman to know how to defend themselves and feel comfortable using their body and their strength,” said Nolan.
Williamsburg MMA Academy
Woman’s Empowerment Seminar ($20, $30 at door)
42A Dobbin Street