Kicking ass and taking names is what more and more Missoula ladies are doing these days. You think Missoula women are tough, well these ladies definitely fill that role. There are around twelve different Martial Arts training facilities in Missoula, but today we will be focusing on one particular martial arts gym with an impressive and growing women’s community.

Straight Blast Gym (SBG) is an international martial arts training center that specializes in MMA, Jiu Jitsu, BJJ, Judo, fitness and kids martial arts. SBG Montana has four independently owned gyms, in Missoula, Kalispell, Whitefish, and Bigfork.  The Missoula location is owned and operated by Bekah Nolte (purple belt) and Gus Nolte (black belt). Bekah, as a female co-owner, has her purple belt in Jiu Jitsu, and has practicing the arts off and on for 8 years. I recently spoke with her about the women’s community at her gym.

Bekah is not the only impressive woman involved in this program. The Missoula location has around 50 women that train at their facility, out of 250 people, and is still growing. Bekah notes that the martial arts community can be very male dominated so with their gym, they wanted to open up an opportunity for women to get involved in a safe and comfortable way. SBG Missoula has classes through the week that involves training with all genders, but on Saturday mornings they offer a ladies class, created for women and taught by women, to teach the fundamentals of Jiu Jitsu and self-defense. The majority of women that join, do it to learn self-defense skills, or because their families are involved. This program also can significantly help women feel comfortable and confident with not just their martial arts skills, but also with who they are as a person.  Bekah’s states her philosophy for her gym that, “It takes a community to thrive”, and “we all get better together”. “If you have a goal [as a woman], or work through something, it’s way better to do it with a really rad group of ladies.”. She is a mother of two and would love both her son and daughter to grow up in this kind of supportive community. Ages range for those training in this field from 3yrs. to 50+ years old, so anyone is welcome. Currently there are more women that compete than men here in Missoula. Throughout Montana’s SBG facilities, there are a few high-level women competitors. There is one black belt in Kalispell who has won World’s, a brown belt also in Kalispell who specializes in Judo working her way towards the Olympics, as well as a few other black belt women who have made their way to train here in Montana from other states.

Missoula’s supportive women’s community is only one of the reasons you should consider taking up this kind of training. Martial Arts in general is great exercise, which is one of the reasons it has shown to have a positive impact on mental health. Along with the great physical stimulation, practicing Martial Arts requires intense focus which can help with multiple mental health issues. Training also requires a training partner and that connection with others can really help those who struggle. A study done by BMC Psychology provides valuable evidence regarding martial arts effects on mental health. So, whoever you are, taking up a type of martial arts may be exactly what you need to better your life.

SBG Montana is following the Health department protocols for Covid-19 safety in their training facility, so there students can stay healthy through these trying times.

Missoula’s women’s community in general is a tight knit group and is extremely supportive of one another. To all ladies out there, whether you have or haven’t found a supportive group to involve yourself, your kids, or family in, you should check out Missoula’s Martial arts community to either gain self-defense skills, get involved competitively in the arts, meet new people, or simply boost your confidence.

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