The KILLER – Johanna Kruse
Ever wondered how it feels to enter a ring? The 27-year-old German Johanna Kruse mastered kickboxing while winning three World Championship titles under her belt so far. Get an inside view of martial arts from a real champ.
Teamwork makes the dream work
People think that kickboxing is the typical solo sport, but that’s not true. We always train as a team. Without a team means, without an opponent, so there’s no possibility to develop your skills.
In the ring itself it is a solo sport, but with a team in the background which makes it unique. I like the philosophy of martial arts: fairness, respect for everyone, helping others and loyalty towards your team and coaches.
How everything began
As a kid, I’ve done gymnastics and taken part in competitions successfully. As I grew up, I stopped doing gymnastics just to find out that I really do miss to compete. Most of the time you have to start a sport at a young age, otherwise, it’s impossible to be successful. For this purpose kickboxing had been my first choice. Doing gymnastics over so many years was helpful and a good base for kickboxing. My brother was the second initiator. He has done martial arts for a couple of years, which interested me. I’ve always been fascinated by martial arts.
My fondest moment
The moment when the referee chose me as the winner in my first professional World Cup was a feeling of realization. All the hard work, tough training sessions and a strict diet to reach my weight were completely worth it.
A normal week without an important fight means training five to six times a week for 1.5 to 2 hours. In the weeks leading to a fight, I add a strength or conditioning session on a daily base.
How to prepare for a fight and battle nervousness
In the last hours before a fight, I try to mediate, to analyze my feelings and not get swept away by them. With my first fight, I wasn’t nervous at all and certain of victory. The more I fought, the more I realized that I would be fighting against women who have done this for years. This thought crept up more often and caused anxiety. To top that off, becoming a world champion added more pressure. With winning the title comes more expectations. That’s the main reason for my anxiety. In those moments I try to remember that’s it’s not important what other people are thinking. It’s about me and it’s okay to lose.
Kickboxing isn’t enough
Unfortunately doing kickboxing for a living is not possible. Despite the success, it’s still a hobby for me. To be able to earn enough, you have to promote yourself really well to gain sponsors. In order to make a living, I run a martial arts school where I train myself during the day.
Trusting the process and overcoming tough times
For a long time, I had serious pain in my lower back, three lumbago in one year. Those happened just before important fights. After endless hours with my physio, the MRI showed that the pain was due to my overworked hip flexors. Now I have to stretch on a daily base to prevent the pain. If I do it sloppily, the pain comes back immediately. In those three years of trying to find out the reason for my pain, I thought about quitting many times. It was so frustrating to be in pain and to get restricted by it.
An advice for all the little fighters out there
Dare to enter the ring! Train and believe in yourself! I have never thought that I would ever be that successful. In the beginning, everything seems to be so far away and so difficult to achieve. Sometimes you think you probably won’t make it anyways. Hard training and a lot of endurance proofed me wrong. Looking back it happened way quicker than I thought it would.
- Age: 27
- DOB: April 19, 1992
- Nationality: German
- Weight Range: 63 – 65kg
- Nickname: The KILLER
Johanna is a personal trainer at the martial arts school “Boxgymnasium Heidelberg”. Check out their website for details.