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Interview with

Laura Skinner

Ms Skinner  was interviewed for womenkickboxing.com by 
Dan Stone


Calm, Collective, Contemplative, and comfortable. Laura "the storm" Skinner is as real as a person can be.

With the unconditional love given to her by two Rotties, Dharma and Rock, her kitty Cujo, (pictured) and on the way two Bengals , serenity is easily found at home in Queensland.

Laura Skinner is generally regarded to be among the all time greats of women's Muay Thai Kickboxing. She is petite and pretty. She is extremely intelligent and  very lady like. Her personality is charismatic, colorful, full of  wit- as well as innocence. She is a continual seeker of knowledge gained through hands on experience. A sense of humor is important, and Laura has enough to  put her comfortably in a room with four or five skateboarders playing Nintendo. Or just talking about what guys talk about-whereas some girls are just too "girly" to be able to fit in.

In the Prime of her ten year career, Laura comments about promoting,  other fighters  whom she would like to fight,  and what fans can  expect to see from "The Storm" Laura Skinner in what is unofficially, her final year of fighting.

Let s start with New Zealand, Nov 30, 2002.  What Happened?


Well I had a rematch fight with Julie Wood who had trained really hard in preparation for me. And a week before the match, I took a really hard hit to the head sparring. it wasn't my partners fault; it was an accident,. But,  it caused quite a headache that went away after a couple days.  However, on the flight over to New Zealand, my head started to throb terribly and this migraine would only get worse leading up to the fight. 
I tried to rest but nothing would work. And, I was very frustrated, because it is so hard to get fights of this caliber. Plus,  everyone was so excited about  this rematch. 
   I really like Julie and was impressed by  how hard she had worked in preparation for this fight. 
  The first round went by, and my head  was just throbbing. And  Julie didn't help the situation at all either. She looked very good.  we exchanged a few head shots and by the second round I couldn't even think. But,  a shot I received behind the ear would be the one I  most remember. 
Paul, my trainer, who knows me best, knew the migraine was unbearable at that moment- as I was about to cry it hurt so much....
He then asked that the fight be stopped for my own good. I told Julie that she and I could resume this another time. Her coach found out what was going on afterwards and visited me in the hospital; they are all great people.

So Julie is the Queen now?

of New Zealand....

So what's happened since then?

Skinner-well I had a Cat scan of my head to find out was wrong, of course.  and this was very scary for me, and my family as well. I stayed in Melbourne over the Holidays and the MRI came back negative, so I can still fight, thank God,
the waiting period gave sort of a chance to think about life outside of the ring.

Stone-. so what did you gain from that period of reflection?

Skinner- I am going to school to get my instructors degree as a personal trainer. And then, would like to pursue a career as a kickboxing trainer and coach young girls-by helping them become their own versions of who they ultimately want to be in life.

Stone- what is your dream?

Skinner- I am living my dream as we speak.
I am very happy with how things have turned out in my life. To be getting asked to be interviewed by you is an example of numerous of things that make it well worth the sacrifice.

Stone-how about a dream within a dream?

Skinner- you're good...
I would like to take a girl who came off the street and coach her to the point to where she gets to where I am at today. That would be very exciting.

Stone-My sister pointed me out to you.. she is new  to  her training... And, she is struggling with her communications with her coach and wants to quit- but enjoys the feeling training has brought to her. Fir instance,  her self esteem is on  an entirely  new level now.  That is why I wrote to thank you in my initial overture back then. What would  you have to say to all those women who are thinking about giving kick boxing a shot?  and what about to the ones who are, but who don't like their school?

Well the first thing you have to realize is this is a blood sport and its not for every girl.
you have to be able and wiling to receive as much as you deliver. you will only get what you put into it. If you find you enjoy it, you'll get better as you continue to work harder.
But, You really have to enjoy it. maybe someday things will be different, but today Muay Thai Women kickboxers don't get paid for fighting.
It has to be from within. For your sisters situation, finding the right coach can take time.  I was lucky; but, for some you may have to keep changing around at first. But, don't be afraid to change that. My first coach before finding Team Ultimate wasn't really the right  person, so I moved on. So, if you are not happy with the coaching, as long as you know its not your attitude, try going to other Muay Thai or kickboxing events near your town.
Hang around and see what the are  like.
you ultimately need a good coach that you respect and like as a person for ypur training to  be successful.
when i'm in the ring, all I hear is what my side is saying. I also will listen to the opposition's corner and be able to beat them to their punches.

Stone-that's  interesting.
in America, we call that stealing signals from the sidelines.

Skinner: But, really you can't rely on nobody but your own corner.

stone --
forgive me for digressing.
But getting back k to the Julie Wood fight in New Zealand.  why did you guys ask the doctor to keep a hush on the migraine?

We didn't think it would be fair to postpone at the last minute. nor , would we allow her corner to know I was suffering from this incredible migraine. Because,  I didn't want any thing to alter the fight.

Stone -
didn't the thought cross your mind that you'd be ineffective?

I am here; I m ready.  she's here; she's ready!  so, lets go!  lets do this!, I never think  I am hurt or losing. It  all comes down to what I am going to do to her.

ok, no more on that night.

What got you into doing this?

Skinner- I t was a weird time in Melbourne back in the early nineties. I was 17 - 18 years old had been picked on recently a couple of times and also had a boyfriend who had bashed me ...I was determined that wouldn't happen again.
I had a girlfriend whose cousin was a kick boxer so I started training a bit with him and really liked it a lot. Then, I soon met a person who had his own gym and was more into fights; but really I wanted a compatible  person so I moved on.. that is when I found the place would call home up to now.

stone: how many girls were showing up at the gym when you were first there?

skinner- none!
you'll see them come and go.  As I started winning, more girls would start showing up. but, maybe about of about 200 girls who want to fight, only two or three will stick around.
there are a few more today.

Stone-how was it when you were just beginning?

skinner- its funny to look and think that I am  the same person who shows up to the gym that I was ten years ago.
when I was 18,  I was really shy and I started off hiding in the corner shadow boxing. But,  I trained really hard, and as I got better, I got into the bags and eventually sparring.

Stone-talk about the line crossing of training vs. competing

Skinner-I just got better and advanced quickly through the stages to where I instinctively had to compete to satisfy my needs. my hunger from within to compete has always been instinctive.
it comes from within. everyone is different.
my nature is extreme.

Take us through a normal routine day when training for a bout.

I wake up at quarter to six and do my daily half hour forty five minute run.
Then, I come home and do a series of stretching and muscle strengthening exercises much like Yoga. then, do my push-ups and abdomen focus.
after that, I do what I normally have to get done in the day time- like errands. Then,  and after I take my pups for their run (which is entirely separate) I go to work. Then,  then after work in the early evening, ill go to the gym and work with my trainer on the bags and fist to hands coordination. When there is approximately , two weeks left before the fight, I pick up on the sparring from light to heavy and really go at it to harden up.

how do you approach sparring?

In Queensland, its a bit different than when in Melbourne , In Melbourne, you'll have a number of people from all around coming in from time to time. In Queensland, I usually will go around to different Gyms and find someone around my height and weight. I like sparring with different looks as much as possible.

Stone any favorite sparring mates?

Skinner- you know the best ones are actually the young twelve year old males. they are my weight and they are still raw and untamed, and so full of energy.

i am curious to know what happened in Thailand when you lost to the Finnish gal. Was she just too much Viking for you? note: I personally  am a proud Swedish/Norwegian)

We went to Thailand and fought in one of those round robin tournaments that took place over a four day span.  the difference here was that this was an amateur event; which meant you had to weigh in every day and protective gear was issued. Mappella was on top of her fight that day, and I was flat due to being sick from sucking weight. You see, I'm used to making weight the first day I am there for what ever event im fighting. and I don't have to weigh again. Also, not taking anything from Mappella;   she is a tough girl.  but, I never fight with pads on, and that weighed me down big time. If it were a Muay Thai without  padding fight, I know I would beat her most definitely. I don't think she would even accept a challenge from me without pads. She knows. When you fight with head gear, feet gear, and elbow pads, along with shin guards all the time; your used to it. when you fight without any of that padding, just gloves and tape, you are used to it that way as well.

 Again don't get me wrong I am not saying Mappella is weak.  she is a very powerful and  excellent fighter.  we just don't fight by the same set of standards. she beat me at her game and I rest just fine with that.

Stone - so you don't wish to avenge any of your losses?

skinner-absolutely not. there behind me the girl who won deserved to win that night. it definitely doesn't mean I couldn't whoop her ass now, cuz as a fighter you have to believe that you can- and I am much more dangerous and skilled then I was against any of the fights from the past.

I think the Melbourne fight with Hope Elson showed that.

Skinner- Hope is a much  better fighter than she  showed  that night-not to mention she hadn't fought in a year prior to me.  and also, she focused a lot on Grappling. I had my hometown fans going for me I'm mean really lets not bash on Hope.

Stone: What about Holly Ferneley?

Skinner: she is one tough mate and can be very intimidating, its too bad I couldn't fight her now.

Stone: Houghton Smith?

I really like her , she is great for this sport and is a good person. her efforts to give back to the sport is novel.  and that's what I mean, when i am talking about- what we all should try to do. when we are ready of course.

Angela Rivera?

 Skinner: She's  a gem. she is such a cool person. I cant wait to see her return. she has a newborn, and also lives in Australia now.  that 's exciting. she is the new Queen of Australia.

Stone:_So you are giving up your royalty?

Skinner- Im not really into boasting my name up, there is a much bigger picture then just as myself. 

 Note: I continue, name dropping trying to get Laura, to "trash talk". Hoping that jmaybe once, I could   "stir the pot ". And this is the name I'd thought for sure would do it...

stone ---o.k. Laura how about

Skinner-she started off at such a young age, and believe it or not, is only 21 years old. she is one my favorites as a fighter.  she's so exciting and full of energy!
And, I would love to fight her. But, finding a promoter to finance it has been the reasons why our paths have never crossed.
that has a lot to do with the reasons why a lot of us championship caliber fighters across the continents haven't met.

(no such luck...)

What about Erin Linley?

Laura- I have  seen her fight a few times. but,  he is in a weight class lighter than mine. I believe she is remarkable

uh uh!!


she deserves a match with a fighter who challenges her in the ring like I would.
she has a low base gravity of power and is a south paw. these qualities are special, and Naoko uses them to advantage very well. she is aggressive, and has a lot of kicking- karate style experience. she is getting older; but that doesn't mean anything.  so am I. she would never not be tough as nails. I would be excited to go to Japan and show her what I'm all about. I  heard she is very nice person too.

stone-speaking of Kumagai?
is that to be what's expected to come?
Naoko-Laura the war begins?

skinner- (you are  silly) .. no war. but both sides are talking, and were looking for a bill, or promoter to help make this fight happen.
so yes, a Naoko-Skinner fight will happen. Above all else, this will be the one fight I want the most. and hopefully it will be attended to by a promoter who im sure will be pleased to know the fight of the decade would be on his /her bill.

stone-remembering a question he forgot to ask earlier...
what about the migraine? how do you know one shot by Naoko wouldn't bring back the nightmare left in New Zealand?

Skinner--well that came from something in my back . and is getting worked out. so the migraine incident shouldn't never be an issue again..... I was born with a messed up back.

And is this anything to do with you talking about retiring?

skinner- no not really. I sort of thought about retiring at 30 years of age, when I first started- which is what ill be by the time I retire. That  would be perfect.
im so excited to start training as an instructor that it wont be that missed- at least as far as I know..
kickboxing and all the training is hard on your body.  I need to give it a break.
and, I really am o.k. with life without fighting, at least i'm convincing myself out loud of that right now (laughing)) im looking forward to becoming a teacher of the sport.

stone-any regrets?

absolutely none!
I am, so far, very happy about the opportunities I have had; and the wonderful people involved in kickboxing. as well as my friends from Las Vegas and the Boxing family that I have made is great too.

stone-what about the kickboxing fighters?

Skinner- I am a fan of all of them. I really believe we should stick together, and help each other make differences in our communities- and especially the young ones who I see myself in them every time in when I was their age . there still a lot of work to be done; but this sport has made an impact on my life. and if helps turn others lives around too, then its well worth the time spent.
I have heaps respect for a number of picks .

in your final year what would you like to have done?

Skinner, .I would like to Fight Naoko Kumagai in Japan, that would be fulfilling. Of course, Julie Wood in Australia or New Zealand. Ilonka Elmont?  id really like to fight as well and since I have always wanted to go to Holland that would be where id like to fight her. Of course, Lisa Houghton- Smith that would be a great fight as well.  But, realistically, I am just keeping in top shape training hard again and planning to fight Naoko this year.
and when its over, I won't look back. I will be too busy with my own fighters.

stone-boys or girls?

Skinner: It doesn't matter. but, I would  like to train girls just because I feel I could relate and be able to help. you see, there is still a chauvinistic fan base that exists- especially when a card will be consist mainly of male fights and one girl fight...you learn to just ignore it.   I mean what do you do.? I could care less what is said bad about me. if its another fighter id be worried, if they were actually going to fight me. I hear about it all .....I know.
As of the gossips and things said.. I don't want any part of that shit. when someone does well. there is always going to be those who  naturally will be going against you, and bag talking you behind your back. I don't have time in a day to place any energy towards it. then, the funny thing is how different they are to your face- not knowing that they're caught on camera or something totally talking shit about me. I don't even stick around to hear all that is said.

well since your not really leaving the circuit for quite some time after becoming a trainer I I'll leave out the thank you for the next interview we do ..you would let me do a part two right...?

Skinner--would love to!  you have been fun.
and tell your sister to hang with it. it sounds like she is enjoying what she has learned so far.

stone -one final question
if you had all the here say given to you with a decent budget to back it up what would you do in the name of women kickboxing and making to get to the point where the fighters got paid.

Skinner- well I would  say it would be nice; but getting paid isn't really the goal, I don't think. I think it would be nice if the fighters who'd earned their stripes could have the chance to fight each other. And. having expenses paid for traveling would be great.
it really is in the hands of  the promoters.
they have been doing better in the united states than over here. and honestly, the heavy weight boxers have done well enough to where they've opened up some eyes for their sport. Which isn't too far from our world.. and If I were in the captain's seat, I would  push for more local TV events as well as pay per view. id just like to say to the promoters out there who have helped finance our fights,  thank you.  we are most grateful for the chance to compete with the best .

stone-and anything else?

to all the girls out there starting off;  your hard work will pay off. it isn't easy; and ,don't let the male stuff get to you. there will always be chauvinism in this sport, so try not to let that be a reason to not do it.
there is a growing number of us girls who kickbox, and we should all support each other because it is special what we are all about. I like anybody who advocates how I feel. and thanks to Dan for making this web site available. and thanks to Haley Stone for asking your brother to interview me. Next time maybe I can interview you yeah?

An exclusive documentary interview with Laura will be finished next month. 
"The Quiet Before The Storm" will be Laura's copy written story. 

Dan Stone is  a writer for an underground magazine in California, and has also done some work for  a couple of shelf name magazines in the past. 

Note: some of the interview questions were asked by Dan Stone's sister, Haley Stone, who introduced Dan to Laura.
In addition, some of the dialogue was paraphrased to make it more accessible to an older and much more conservative base of readers.

to see the interview verbatim, please visit Dan Stone's site at 

You may also want to visit Dan Stone's main page at 


womenkickboxing.com would like to thank  Dan Stone for permitting us to publishing this fascinating interview.





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