Skinner is generally regarded to be among the all time
greats of women's Muay
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
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
I really like Julie and was impressed by how
hard she had worked in preparation for this fight.
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
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?
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.
so what did you gain from that period of reflection?
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.
about a dream within a dream?
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
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
to say to all those women who are thinking about giving kick
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,
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.
in America, we call that stealing signals from the
But, really you can't rely on nobody but your own corner.
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
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
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
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?
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.
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..
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?
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
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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
about Holly Ferneley?
she is one tough mate and can be very intimidating, its too
bad I couldn't fight her now.
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.
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.
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
stone ---o.k. Laura how about
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
that has a lot to do with the reasons why a lot of us
championship caliber fighters across the continents haven't
(no such luck...)
I have seen her fight a few times. but, he is
in a weight class lighter than mine. I believe she is remarkable
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.
is that to be what's expected to come?
Naoko-Laura the war begins?
are silly) .. no war. but both sides are talking, and
were looking for a bill, or promoter to help make this fight
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.
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?
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?
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
convincing myself out loud of that right now (laughing)) im
looking forward to becoming a teacher of the sport.
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
I have heaps respect for a number of picks .
in your final year what would you like to have done?
.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
and when its over, I won't look back. I will be too busy
with my own fighters.
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...?
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
Skinner- well I
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
Dan Stone is a writer for an underground magazine in
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
see the interview verbatim, please visit Dan Stone's site
You may also want to visit Dan Stone's main page at
would like to thank Dan Stone for permitting us to
publishing this fascinating