Xtreme Gear (also known as Xtreme Female Fight Gear) as a place for women from all walks of life to find empowerment and that is the companies mantra: Empowerment. Xtreme Gear is for all female fighters whether they be MMA or Martial Arts.
Lately, Xtreme Gear has been not only producing fight gear and sponsoring fighters in many parts of the world, but it has been leading a great effort to Knockout Breast Cancer. With every purchase of their KO cancer line Xtreme Gear donates a portion to breast cancer research.
Edler-Hill sees potential all women and especially women who have the courage to fight whether it be in a cage, ring, on the mat or life in general. Laura is a fighter herself with one Amateur MMA victory under her belt. Plus, she has competed in Kickboxing, Pancraration and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Laura Edler-Hill's finds inspiration in so many and I have to wonder...Does she know her story is one we can all be inspired by as well? I had the honor of asking Laura some questions so we can get to learn more about her brand Xtreme Gear, The Knock Out Breast Cancer campaign and the Lady behind the brand herself.
LN: Tell me about your journey into Pancrase and MMA?
|Laura Edler-Hill (left) in Lithuania with the |
U.S. Pankration team
LEH: I get a little long winded about this because so many women can relate to some or all of my story. In my lifetime time I have experienced in varying degrees and times: domestic, sexual, emotional and physical abuse. I am a birth mother and mother of 4 beautiful children. I was always an overweight child and teen and after the birth of my first son I began to put on even more weight, by the time my last child was 2 I was tipping the scales at almost 300lbs and on the verge of diabetes.
My daughter was in junior high when she started an after school program that was run by my Coach. They did homework with the kids then Martial Arts. She loved it! When school was out for summer break they offered for the kids to train at their Martial Arts. I signed up all 3 of the kids so they could learn self defense. Little did I know that I would literally begin to fall in love. I contemplated for weeks before actually joining class. I mean I was 34 yrs old and 250+ lbs… what was I thinking? I began training, my body began to change. As my body changed and my skills rose so did my confidence. Never again would I endure abuse by ANYONE! I had my first Kickboxing match in 2005, I lost but my excitement for the sport grew.
Over the next few years I continued to train and started competing in Jiu jitsu. I was down to 180 lbs before long! In 2008 I tried out for the USA Pankration Team when my coaches were selected to coach the team. I made the cut! I proudly represented the USA in Albania that year and Lithuania in 2009. I had never been outside of the country, what an amazing experience!All along I wanted to fight MMA. My opportunity finally arrived with the announcement for GFight 2010. Yep I asked for a match even though I would turn 40 just weeks prior. I would be up against my now friend who was only in her 20’s! After the fight I was filled with an emotional high I will never forget. Imagine me.. 40 …a mom.. fighting!! HELL YEA!!!
I have not fought since then, but I'm getting ready to get back on the mat and back to training. I would like to make the USA Team again, get some more MMA and JJ. My coaches are always getting us involved in other fighting styles and I would like to mix it up there as well.
How long will I continue fighting? I will continue with MMA and Pankration for as long as my body allows me to keep up with all these talented up and coming stars. Jiu Jitsu… until I die!
LN: How did the Xtreme Gear and XFF come about?
LEH: Being a woman, not being a size 5 and training I found that I had to wear mens gear. I started my quest to find gear for women. At the time I only could find a few companies that targeted women. So as I dove deeper into training and instruction and seeing other women having the same frustration, I decided that I wanted to create a company that specialized in womens gear and apparel.
The dreaming stage lasted for almost 3 years before I finally came up with a name. It was almost a year later that I was talking to my ladies in my morning Kickboxing class about what I wanted to do. They simply said … do it! Soon I had the logo and the idea for the first T-shirt, “Stick that 2.” A local artist and friend came up with the design. From there it is all history, the KO Breast Cancer line, connecting with Mia Hayes, the Breast Cancer events, and support from amazing friends and family.
Knowing that I wanted to develop a line to support and empower women in Martial Arts was the starting point. That is how Xtreme Female Fight Gear came to life. However, I knew that I wanted to empower women and girls in whatever sport they desired to participate in. So Xtreme Gear became the parent company to what will someday be a monumental company that will support, empower, sponsor and mentor females in Xtreme Sports World wide. Yes, I am dreaming big!
LN: How do balance being a business owner, fighter, and MOM?
|Laura with her Mother and her children.|
So how do I balance being a single mom, business owner, fighter, instructor, friend, adult foster care mom, and the other 1000 hats I wear…. I have no clue I guess I just take it one day at a time!
LN:Tell me about XFF's effort to KO Breast Cancer
|XFF Sponsored Fighter and |
Breast Cancer Survivor,
LEH: The KO Breast Cancer line was the result of my kickboxing class wanting to do the Susan G. Koman Race for a cure in September of 2010. Through the sales of the shirt a portion was donated to the Susan G. Koman foundation. I am always looking for ways to participate in events and fundraisers that are supporting women in the Fight. Breast Cancer not only touches the lives of our mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters but our men as well. There will never be enough being done to fight Cancer, any cancer.
Xtreme Gear and XFF will continue to raise awareness and support through the sales of Cancer related gear and apparel, making donations to the cause and supporting anyone that is in the fight, and their loved ones.
LN: Does Xtreme Gear have any exciting events coming down the pike?
LEH: I recently started attending promotions/events for MMA, Grappling and Muay Thai to start getting the name out there in the Martial Arts community as well as to meet more amazing female Martial Artists. There will be additions coming very soon to the XFF line as well. I am trying to make out to TBA Muay Thai Classic June 3rd . XFF is also participating in our local Relay for life June 4th – 5th. My daughter had Leukemia as a child and The American Cancer Society helped us out in our time of need. I believe in paying blessings forward whenever you have the opportunity.
XFF will be in attendance at and also sponsoring the Womens Absolute Grappling Division Title Belt at Invictus June 11th in MO. XFF will also be at GFight held in Las Vegas July 1-3, 2011, which I am so stoked about. I made my MMA debut at GFight 2010 and met so many amazing people.
Also on the agenda for this year is:
Susan G. Koman Race for a Cure
I am looking for other area promotions that would like to support Women in the arts. Please contact me! I would also like to start attending Karate, Judo events, etc…
LN: Where do you hope to see XFF in 5 years?
LEH: I feel blessed to still be here after a year! I want to sponsor and empower more Martial Artists, not just in MMA but throughout all the disciplines. I enjoy sponsoring the pro and the high profile ladies but it is the amateurs that are starting out where my heart lies. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see an entire female team sponsored by XFF?
I want to be able to sponsor as many girls and women that I can possibly handle. Once the website is complete I would like to see it go international. There are fighters in Australia already representing XFF! I have a few other projects in the works that I can not speak about yet, but they will be worth waiting for!
LN:What is the most important thing you want people to know about you?
LEH: That I am just like you, I am uniquely the same. We may all walk slightly different paths but in the end we are united by common goals, beliefs, dreams, aspirations, trial and tribulations.
LN: What is the best part of being in the MMA community?
LEH: To witness the empowerment of women in all walks of life. Whether you are training for fitness reasons or to actually fight, there is no doubt that MMA changes lives!
LN: Who's your inspiration? ..And is there anyone you want to thank?
|Ladies of the LWE kickboxing|
class and Laura.
LEH: My inspiration is the men and women who are in the fight no matter what that fight might be. I want to thank first my children Cassi, Owen and Ian for sharing their mother with so many people and activities. If it was not for their love and support I would not be able to continue. My Coaches, Ron and James Hill who helped me see that I have greatness inside of me not just as a person, but also as a Martial Artist and Instructor. To Sam Wilson who helps me connect with amazing opportunities and women. She connected me with Mia Hayes who teaches me daily what it means to truly fight and have faith. To my Kickboxing Class ladies at LWE who have also become my friends, you blew on the embers of the fire I dreamt of and made me take the scary first step towards making XFF reality. Your support will never be forgotten.
To order or friend request they can contact me here on facebook on the Xtreme Gear page or email me at email@example.com
The website that is coming soon is www.xtremegear.co and www.xtremefemalefighter.com
Thank you Laura for taking the time to answer my questions! Best of luck to you and Xtreme Gear in the future!
Here is a Video Highlighting Xtreme Gears Fight to KO Cancer
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