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About Us

Girls Who Fight was created to bring mixed martial arts training to women and girls. We launched in Toronto, Canada in 2017, and are now headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

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Gemma Sheehan

Hello! I'm the founder and head coach at GWF. I'm an ex-MMA fighter and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt with over 14 years of experience training and competing in martial arts.

I started kickboxing at age 14 and fell in love with MMA. I spent my high school and university years criss-crossing Toronto to train Jiu Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, capoeira, and Muay Thai. At 21 I had an MMA record of 5-1; a Pan Ams gold medal in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; and I was ranked the top female MMA fighter in Ontario...and that's when I decided to stop fighting. When my brain scans showed "strange irregularities" called white matter, I thought more seriously about the consequences of professional combat. 

 

MMA had given me so much. Fighting skills, passion, challenge, conviction. I believe that martial arts are the best way for girls to build the character traits that matter most. Plus, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA are the best martial arts in the world for practical self defense. Starting a program to bring more girls and women to mixed martial arts was a no brainer. In 2017 I retired as a fighter and became a coach, running a girls and teen MMA program in Toronto for 4 years. In 2021 I moved to Texas and launched our 20 week women's self defense course in Dallas Fort-Worth.

"Warrior Women" follows Gemma's 2016 training program

"Open Vault" Documents Gemma's Last MMA Fight

More GWF Media

Toronto Sun Features GWF Program in 2018

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Start Up Here

“There are a lot of programs out there that use all the buzzwords like women’s empowerment and go girl, you can do it, but it’s kind of empty empowerment,” she says. “They are sending the nice messages but there’s no plan how to build confidence and build character.”

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Toronto Life Magazine

"I stopped competitive fighting that day. But my whole identity was wrapped up in being a fighter. I had no idea who I was without MMA. I started thinking about all the good things the sport had given me: self-esteem, assertiveness, a sense of safety when I walked down the street at night. What if I could share those positive aspects with other girls and women?"

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On The Danforth

"And if they’re attacked without knowledge of MMA, they’ll have to resort to drastic, amateurish measures like biting or eye gouging. MMA is highly technical and scientific,” she explains. “I teach a girl to remove herself from a vulnerable position in a way that’s both safe to her and minimally damaging to others, so it’s actually a much less violent option. I’m giving them tools that might be useful one day. And if they never need them, they’ll still carry themselves with more confidence because they’ll know they have these skills.”

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Women In Our Town

"Young girls are often coddled from an early age and so they are afraid to speak up for even the simplest things. But the real-world doesn’t work that way. You need to be able to go after what you want and that’s what we try to teach girls here,” she says. I make it a value and expectation – when you come to class, you are expected to walk in straight, tall and with assertiveness. When you’re asked a que