Pulido’s smarts, skills regain world championship

Linda Pulido leans on the bag with her championship trophy in

After taking a year off from competition to get married,
35-year-old Linda Pulido has come back to reclaim her world
championship title in martial arts for point sparring.
GILROY – After taking a year off from competition to get married, 35-year-old Linda Pulido has come back to reclaim her world championship title in martial arts for point sparring.

“It felt good,” said Pulido of her comeback win. “I had missed a year and I felt kind of out of it. I did it for myself and I did it for my students.”

Pulido, a two-time champion, won her title back in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotel on June 21. Martial artists attend the three-day tournament from all over the world competing in many different areas. The competitors are divided up into age and weight categories. Pulido competed in the 30-39 middleweight division. Each match is based on a point system where each kick equals two points.

Since there were only three other fighters in her division, Pulido took a bye and only competed in one fight – which was one of her scariest yet. Her opponent was a 240-pound woman over six feet tall who had devoured her previous opponents. Pulido had the opportunity to watch her opponent’s earlier matches and studied her.

“I got to see her weaknesses and what she does,” Pulido said. “I was confident.”

She noticed that her opponent waited for the other fighter to come at her before she made her move. Pulido did just the opposite when she had her match with her towering opponent.

“I’m going to make her come at me,” said Pulido of her strategy.

Her plan worked as she faked out her opponent to win her match 6-1, ending it with a fancy spinning kick to her head.

“It just proves it doesn’t matter the size, the moves, or the kicks,” Pulido said. “It’s how smart you are.”

In order to get ready for her tournaments, Pulido goes through extensive training. First, she intensifies her weight-training sessions. She then does a cardio workout and does sparring to prep her for her matches. On top of that, Pulido goes on a strict diet so she can get leaner – which makes her faster.

“The only thing that can get you good at sparring is sparring,” said Pulido of her training.

When she’s not competing in tournaments, the devoted martial artist is teaching nine different classes at Gilroy Health & Fitness – where she trains as well. Pulido also does private and semi-private lessons throughout the day. Her main class of focus is Tae Kwon Do, in which she has a black belt. Her students are all ages, some starting as young as three. The other classes she teaches are kickboxing and self defense as well as being a personal trainer.

Pulido, a Gilroy native, has been at Gilroy Health & Fitness for two and a half years and has been teaching for 13 years. All of her knowledge and experience has been learned through her 17 years of fighting. She originally was interested in the class to better her fighting skills. Now, Pulido is a three-time champion and she helps her students feel better about themselves through her workouts.

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