In 2013, I set out to interview the three senior female instructors of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu at a seminar in Tokyo, Japan.
The interviews were for a glossy magazine feature called Ascent of a Woman, focusing on the leadership, determination and philosophies that helped each one of them to reach the top in a male-dominated field. Their stories of being underestimated will resonate with anyone who finds themselves in a minority, whether in a dojo or boardroom.
The interviews raised awareness of the value of training over decades, and served as inspiration to other women starting off or in the middle of their training.
Gillian Booth showed how after almost 40 years in martial arts she stays inspired, tips for being the only woman in the room and having a long injury-free career.
Shelia Haddad spoke to me about self-defence, being tested, and what being a warrior means to her.
Natascha Morgan was candid about her experience teaching men three times her size, women in special forces, and turning to martial arts for strength during illness.
The interviews followed a post I wrote for my Dublin dojo, encouraging more women to try martial arts.