Pulido leads Eskrima team to world championships

From left: Jane Noval, Linda Pulido and Wendy Wigger.

Linda Pulido, a Gilroy resident and owner of Pulido’s Pro
Fitness, added another three national championships to her
always-growing list two weeks ago at the WEKAF National
Championships in Fremont, a competition for elite stick
fighters.
GILROY – Linda Pulido is already a decorated mixed martial artist. Her list of accolades includes 11 world championships in various disciplines, ranging from Muay Tai to Tae Kwon Do.

Pulido, a Gilroy resident and owner of Pulido’s Pro Fitness, added another three national championships to her always-growing list two weeks ago at the WEKAF National Championships in Fremont, a competition for elite stick fighters.

Eskrima, or stick fighting, is a Filipino martial arts style in which combatants use a stick to strike each other, gaining points for number of strikes, quickness and overall style.

Rounds are judged like boxing; the winner of the round receives 10 points, the loser, nine. Combatants can lose points if they drop or have their stick taken from them by their opponent.

Pulido, who already has national and world championship status in single-stick (back-to-back titles in 2006, 2008), decided she needed to quench her competitive thirst with an even bigger dose of action and participated in the double-stick and the team portion at this year’s nationals.

“It is like fighting. I liked it more (than single-stick). I’m a fighter and you get to use both hands,” Pulido said. “It came very naturally.”

Pulido made the commitment to training in double-stick after returning from the Philippines after the 2008 WEKAF World Championships, where she won the title in single-stick.

“I noticed that everyone was fighting double -stick and I wasn’t going to travel all the way to the Philippines or where ever just to fight in one event,” Pulido said.

The WEKAF World Championships occur every two years.

So with the objective in mind to qualify for the world championships in double-stick, Pulido won her division at the regionals four months ago. Then, after two competitors withdrew from her division to avoid a toe-to-toe with Pulido at nationals, she defeated the lone competitor in her division to claim a spot on the United States team in women’s double stick.

But Pulido wasn’t done yet.

With single-and double- stick out of the way, Pulido formed a three-woman team the day of the team competition in Fremont.

Calling themselves Chicks With Sticks, Pulido, Wendy Wigger and Jane Noval, battled their way through three matches, in the end, earning the national championship and the distinction of Team USA at the 2010 WEKAF World Championships in Puerto Vallarta in July.

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