Posted on February 20, 2017 by Lynn Le
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Our mission at Society Nine is unleashing and empowering the fight within every woman. We do this by providing women with a community that celebrates their resilience and strength, and by creating quality training gear that supports every woman’s personal fight.
As we entered 2017 and the beginning of New Year's Resolution season, we kept finding ourselves trying to understand why women are still challenged with outdated notions like “women shouldn’t be aggressive or hit things” or "you are too pretty to fight; you’re too old to fight; you don’t look like a fighter, etc.”
Women should not be required to validate the fight within them. Not only do these notions devalue the multifaceted journeys of every woman, but they also create barriers for those who desire the ability to discover what the fight means for them.
To kick off 2017, Society Nine is leading the narrative around what it means to unlock femininity in its most powerful way: through pure resilience and unbridled strength no matter where you come from, what you look like or what your skill set is. We did this through our new campaign, ‘The Fight Within.’
Watch our main campaign video, along with the stories of five women - The Urban Warrior, The Apprentice, The Matriarch, The Practitioner, and The Pro - here:
This campaign serves as a celebration of women by highlighting our journeys and giving a voice to the fight within five unique women. The inspiration behind each of these characters came from women we met across the country, touring and training in over 70 gyms. In these gyms, from LA to Portland to NY to Boston, the women of these communities are mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. They are teachers, aspiring athletes, executives, bartenders and students. Society’s inability to look beyond the media spectacle they see in the ring or cage prevents the stories behind these women from being told, and their tenacity and passion for sport from being appreciated. ‘The Fight Within’ is our attempt to peel back those layers and expose the awe-inspiring ways and reasons why women fight.
We filmed over a period of five weeks, through rain, snow and sleet in the big, beautiful backyard we live in that is Oregon. Our fighters - Alex Arrache, Robin Valli Woods, Kaleah Oylear, Laura Valent, Meghan Sekone-Fraser and Anna Dempster - braved through some seriously cold weather (most days was 40 degrees or less... and then there was the day on Mt. Hood that was about 22-25 degrees!) and long shoot days to tell their stories, and to unite women everywhere in strength, struggle, and the fighting spirit.
Special thanks to THAT.Photography and JCCinematography for the incredible photography, directing and editing work behind this campaign.
Check out some of the behind the scenes photos below!
Posted on December 09, 2016 by Lynn Le
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We are so excited to be launching some new apparel pieces to go alongside our best selling Bia Boxing Glove.
Over the past year, our customers have been reaching out to us for product feedback and ideas. Our new Heritage Muscle Tank collection and Bia Performance Legging are a culmination of some of those gathered ideas.
Tanks and leggings are a dime a dozen, right? But our team really cares about producing beautiful product for purpose and function, and to go to-and-from the gym; after all, you shouldn't have to skimp on one for the other! We're stoked to share with you what's resulted in the past few months of development.
Heritage Muscle Tank Collection - $40 each
Known for its ultra softness, strength, and breathability, our Heritage Muscle Tanks are made with Tencel and spandex. Tencel is hydrophilic, a quality that makes the fabric better at absorbing moisture. Go ahead and get your sweat on while you knock em out.
We launched with three different graphic stories for our Heritage Muscle Tanks - check it out!
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
Title IX was critical in creating a new pathway for women to develop into professional athletes through collegiate athletics. Without Title IX, there wouldn't have been a catalyst to getting more women towards the mainstream sports stage.
We are paying homage to those before us who fought to pass Title IX in 1972. Speaking to the society of female fighters among us now who will continue to fight for ANYTHING, our Society Nine Boxing Club Heritage Muscle Tank welcomes you into our tribe.
There is no understanding of the true meaning of victory without knowing the taste of defeat. Channel your inner champion and celebrate victory on your best training days, and connect with your inner underdog on your hardest days in our Underdog/Champion Heritage Muscle Tank.
We designed these leggings with toughness and elegance in mind, and with feedback and ideas from our community of athletes.
A blend of nylon and spandex brushed for softness, our leggings have been specially treated for anti-odor, anti-pilling, anti-abrasion, and possesses four-way stretch.
With a nearly 3.5" waistband, reinforced seam stitching and crazy-strong mesh panels to support you through squats and kicks, our legging was developed to get you through the toughest training session and on about your day.
Like them all but don't know what to get? Click here and check out our collection of product bundles and score a deal!
Posted on November 17, 2016 by Lynn Le
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To our amazing customers, followers and supporters,
We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for your belief and faith in us to support the fight within every woman. We are honored to be given that opportunity, and we take that opportunity very seriously.
We've received an outpouring of emails from customers asking when we will re-stock in some of our most popular, sold out boxing glove styles. I wanted to take the time to reassure you that our team is working tirelessly around the clock to not only continue to design great products, but to get these soldout items back in stock ASAP just in time for holiday.
Our production schedule with our manufacturers are currently on track and we anticipate re-stocking within the first week of December.
In addition to restocking some of our soldout styles, we have so many exciting things we're releasing in the coming weeks! This includes a brand new websiteto enhance your shopping experience, a special deal for Black Friday/CyberMonday, contest giveaways with some incredible brand partners, as well as new apparel pieces.
We've gotten to this place because of you. Through your personal emails of support and feedback to our team, Instagram shots of you training in our products, your Facebook likes and follows, your purchases and sharing our name to your friends and training partners - Society Nine is a collective effort of an entire community.
I recently spoke on a panel sponsored by Microsoft and Levo League with other female entrepreneurs and influencers at the Glamour Women of the Year Summit, and one of the questions I was asked was "What is your compass for the challenges of starting a brand new company?"
My data point is always you. You guys are our team's compass.
Me and Glamour Magazine Editor-in-Chief Cindy Leive
Panelists from L to R: co-founder of I AM THAT GIRL Emily Greener, actress Sophia Bush, moonshot technology influencer Jami Edelheit, Levo League CEO Caroline Ghosn, and Silicon Valley investor and female entrepreneur advocate Jesse Draper. Our panel talked about our first career drafts, how they're still being written, and how important it is to share resources and support one another in our journeys.
Thank you for being our team's compass and for sticking by us. We'll announce our re-stock, as well as exciting updates in the coming weeks. Sign up for our email newsletter, and stay tuned!
Posted on November 13, 2016 by Lynn Le
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2016 has been a crazy year, and since it hasn't ended yet, what better way than to receive an incredible honor to cap it off?! I humbly received an invitation to the Glamour Women of the Year Summit, happening November 14-15! I was also told by the event organizers that I made it on the short list of nominations to win an award, and though I did not win, I was asked to speak on a workshop panel on how to take the first leap to becoming an entrepreneur; specifically, what has been the "first draft" to my story as an entrepreneur, and how have I written it thus far? How did I even get started?
My personal journey has been an interesting one, to say the least - Forbes covered some bits of it back in August. The biggest addition to this "first draft," however, has been the addition made as of last week.
We've entered a very uncertain chapter in our nation's history. While I experienced my own personal emotional rollercoaster last week, what I know is, we all - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or socio-economic background - deserve a fair, equal opportunity to see our fullest potential...no matter if barriers get put up. We all must keep fighting - through love, compassion, our undying passion for ultimate equality, and the inalienable right we all have to live and thrive as human beings, and take that credo and put it to action.
I am determined to play my part on writing this new chapter in history as one about the fighting spirit of humanity. This is a critical piece to my "first draft" - and I am fiercely determined to write this part well.
I am so honored to take part in this special event with other influential women in sports, media, politics, entertainment, technology and innovation to discuss how we can show the world the power of a community demonstrating their fullest potential and inspiring the next generation to unleash the fight within themselves.
Posted on October 17, 2016 by Society Nine
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Written and reposted with permission from Natalie Matushevsky, a participant in Haymakers for Hope. Society Nine is a proud supporter of Haymakers for Hope and was the training and fight night apparel sponsor for Belles of the Brawl IV. Original post by Natalie can be found here.
It’s the day before The Fight and I’m experiencing a complex, oscillating range of emotion. In the last 48 hours I’ve gone from “I got this! I’m a beast!” to “Oh shit oh shit oh shit” to “No, seriously, I’m good!” to “I’m just going to disappear and hope that no one notices.”
Some of my closest friends know that I like to approach difficult situations with a calm, stoic and perhaps sociopathic demeanor. When in loaded situations, I don’t enjoy feeling things. But in light of The Fight, I find myself consumed by them…
It’s messing with me.
My coach tells me that this is normal — being confident one minute, freaking out the next and spending the rest of the time somewhere between points of Zen and heart palpitations. He didn’t phrase it in that precise way but he did send me a few quotes from Cus D’Amato (Mike Tyson’s Coach). Here’s one that seemed to calm me down for a few minutes:
“Every fighter that ever lived had fear. A boy comes to me and tells me that he’s not afraid, if I believed him I’d say he’s a liar or there’s something wrong with him. I’d send him to a doctor to find out what the hell’s the matter with him, because this is not a normal reaction. The fighter that’s gone into the ring and hasn’t experienced fear is either a liar or a psychopath.”
So I’m not a psychopath. Noted.
But back on topic…The self-reflection moments make me wonder why this venture is so different from all other crazy stuff I’ve done in the past — trekking the Andes, jumping out of a plane (twice), canyoning, traveling across the world by myself…assembling IKEA furniture…
I have a love/ hate relationship with pushing myself out of the proverbial comfort zone. I find it to be an absolute necessity in experiencing personal growth. The ability to step into the unknown and push through to the finish line- in any measure- is how I assess whether or not I’m truly engaged in the human experience. At the same time, the initial feeling of being in a place that’s so wholly unfamiliar is incredibly unsettling. And I can honestly say that I’ve stayed in that place for the entire duration of training for this fight.
Boxing is a very unique sport… in my three months of training, I found it to be a medley of strategy, endurance, precision, skill, strength, speed, aggression, assertiveness and mental agility. In other sports, a subset of these components can lead to rising above the rest. In boxing, it seems like you need all of them at the same time. It’s difficult to determine which element is lacking until you’re well into your training. Once you start sparring, it’s almost 95% mental agility and endurance — you’re constantly adjusting to your opponent. You have your strategy and so does she. Your strategy changes and so does hers. You’re constantly thinking but you have to train your body to react without much thought. If you get in your head, you’re immediately at a disadvantaged no matter how in shape you are. To get anywhere close to being decent, what it mostly comes down to is lots of sparring… which is pretty much fighting. I fought two to three times a week for three months. It wasn’t fun. Sometimes it sucked and other times it sucked less… but it was never enjoyable.
Still…If you don’t put the time in the ring, nothing else matters. Being a rock star on the mitts, bag work, sprinting , long distance running, lifting heavy — it’s all obsolete without sparring. The ring is a very scary place. It’s like the ultimate litmus test for who you are as a fighter. Without it, you’re not boxing. You’re just working out.
Boxing is also a very solitary sport, massively reliant on only one other person besides you — your coach.
Finding a good coach is pretty tough because boxing has become commercialized over the last few years. There are many people that can hold mitts and take you through a fantastic workout without knowing much about how to teach. It’s important to learn from someone who has spent time in the ring precisely because they understand the psychology of being in there. They know how much it sucks to get punched in the face and they can work with you to build Boxing IQ, which requires emotional and physical agility in synchronization.
I may be bias, but I lucked out. I have a pretty great coach. I can tell you a million reasons as to why, but in light of short attention spans, here are two simple reasons: He still fights… which means that he fully understands all that needs to happen before you get in that ring. And he drills the basics.
Remember Mr. Miyagi from Karate kid? Wax — on- wax- off? No matter how boring foot work is, that’s where he starts. If you can’t land a 1–1–2, he doesn’t show you anything else. To put it simply, he believes that learning “fun” stuff before you can demonstrate the basics in the ring is a giant waste of time. And now I do too.
Letting him take control and embracing being a student again was an adjustment as well.
As adults, we forget what it takes to learn something new. We expect to learn things as easily as we did when we were kids. But the truth is, what we actually forget is the learning process. The learning process consists of trying to the point of failure. Failure in learning requires egoless perseverance — and that’s a tough pill to swallow as an adult.
Working with my coach was exactly that — letting go of what I thought I knew, checking my ego at the door and starting from scratch. I think we worked on stepping and 1–1–2, 1–2–1 punch combo for a solid month before he added anything else.
So here’s where I am today. Despite the pre- fight jitters, I find myself ready for tonight. Jon Krauker’s voice keeps popping into my consciousness… he talks of climbing mountains and it makes me think of the last three months…
“Early on a difficult climb, especially a solo climb, you’re hyper-aware of the abyss pulling at your back, constantly feeling its call, its immense hunger. To resist takes tremendous conscious effort, you don’t dare let your guard down for an instant. The void puts you on edge, makes your movements tentative and clumsy. But as the climb continues, you grow accustomed to the exposure, you get used to rubbing shoulders with doom, you come to believe in the reliability of your hands and feet and head. You learn to trust your self-control.”
I reflect on the journey that got me here — dedication, sacrifice, that inclination to step into the unknown. I find myself getting calmer as we approach Fight Night. I’m ready to see where it takes me.
** This was written the day before my first fight, on October 4th. I won by unanimous decision…but I don’t think that matters now. It was truly the journey that made this experience.
Posted on October 03, 2016 by Society Nine
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At Society Nine, we look to our Brand Ambassadors to unite strong, empowered fierce women, and the men who support them, under the banner of defining power on our own terms. These ambassadors represent our philosophy that femininity is pure resilience and unbridled strength. They are our bridge builders to our community.
We know these women and men are badasses but we felt it was time to let our community get to know our Brand Ambassadors better, what they fight for and what they're passionate about.
In our first Brand Ambassador Highlight we’ll be telling you a little bit more about Michelle Craig. Michelle works as a real estate broker, personal trainer, Crossfit Coach and is an athlete in the Portland Metro area. Her sport of choice is Crossfit and her home gym is Inner Beast Crossfit. So follow along and get to know a little more about one of our hometown heroes!
What does being a Society Nine Brand Ambassador mean to you? Michelle: It means being able to be apart of a broader community that supports and celebrates women of all sports, shapes, and sizes and the female warrior.
What lead you to pick Crossfit? Michelle: My boyfriend worked out in Crossfit for a couple years. He started a gym with his family and asked me to help out with the marketing development. Once I tried my first Crossfit workout my passion exploded and the rest is history.
Who has been a mentor or icon to you and why? Michelle: My mom has a pretty incredible story, growing up impoverished in Romania and coming to America to live “The American Dream.” She has had great success in multiple business ventures because she is strong, tenacious, hard-working, and ferociously dedicated to her work. She has shown me that you can achieve great things while still being compassionate towards others.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced and what helped you overcome that challenge? Michelle: It’s common as a trainer and a coach, that you lose your own motivation to work out yourself. The gym becomes your work. I’m currently working to overcome this. I have hired a trainer or will attend a gym class to motivate me. I’ve found that having someone else keep you accountable helps a lot.
What are you passionate about outside of the gym or what is something many may not know about you? Michelle: I went to PSU for marketing and management, because marketing is my passion. I also really enjoy event planning.
What is your advice to a woman considering getting into Crossfit? Michelle: TRY IT, always give it a second shot. Most Crossfit female athletes wished they started sooner.
What does being a female athlete mean to you? Michelle: Appreciating my body for what it does and not just what it looks like.
Favorite moment as an athlete/coach? Michelle: My favorite moment as an athlete was right after my first CrossFit competition. I had been training for just a few months, decided to enter on a whim, and was absolutely TERRIFIED going into the competition. I wasn't the strongest, or the fastest athlete, but I left everything I had out on that competition floor. A stranger came up to me after the final event, and complimented me on "having heart". That's something that I've tried to hold on to for all competitions - to do my absolute best, and end knowing that I gave it everything... As a coach, I get excited anytime I see an athlete's mindset change from doubt, or "I can't do that", to self-confidence. Sometimes that means going for a personal record, and other times it is simply finishing a particularly challenging workout. I get my daily inspiration watching my athletes crush their goals, and as result, develop confidence in and out of the gym.
Posted on September 08, 2016 by Society Nine
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This is the first guest post to the Society Nine blog. It was submitted by a member of our community, Beverly Baker, reminiscing on the day that she found combat sports and began a lifelong journey of empowerment. Thank you Beverly for taking the time to share your story and for being a member of our community!
As I pass the six or so scruffy young guys loitering at the corner on my way into the convenience store, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. A voice in my head, a voice I’d learned to trust from my very first martial arts class, says, “Watch these guys on your way out.” It’s been over 25 years since my first martial arts class, but I can still hear that voice in my head...
I apologized for everything that first class. I apologized for making mistakes. I apologized for not understanding what we were doing. I apologized for striking too hard. I apologized for striking too soft. I apologized for apologizing.
I was 17, a little awkward, a little shy, and just beginning to sort out my place in the world. I grew up in the ’80s in a picturesque suburb of Philadelphia and at that time I didn’t have a lot of strong females showing me how to make my way. I bumbled into my first martial arts class at a tae kwon do school and lucked into a great first teacher. There weren’t many women or girls at the school, but it didn’t matter to him. He didn’t discriminate based on gender, nor was he the creeper type that preys on female students that we’ve all come across at some point.
My first teacher was a demanding teacher, but he somehow understood my female teenage brain and taught me much more than physical techniques. As I trained that first day, he persistently told me to stop apologizing. And, as I continued to train over the coming weeks and months, my tendency to say I was sorry started to fall away. I discovered that failure wasn’t a big deal when I didn’t have to apologize for it. I developed the courage to try new things on the mats and in life. I didn’t feel bad about mistakes. Spinning kicks and breaking bricks led to new martial arts styles, breaking up with my high school sweetheart and moving 1,600 miles away to Texas, I began to do things I had only dreamed of before.
My evolution was underway and that first lesson had fostered a newfound courage. But it took another 10 years, and six or so scruffy young guys, for me to realize how deeply rooted this culturally instilled urge to apologize was in me.
It was dusk one evening in the late ’90s and I was filling up my car at a gas station on the east side in Austin, Texas. This was before the hipsters took over, back when the area still had its unsavory reputation. As I headed into the store to pay, I noticed about six men in their 20s huddled outside the end of the store whispering among themselves. Something about them didn’t feel right to me and I decided to keep an eye on them when I exited.
When I came back out and headed toward my car, one of the men broke away from the group and began walking toward me, moving way too fast. He got about eight feet from me and that trusty little voice inside spoke up again: “If he gets any closer, you’re going to be in big trouble.” By this time, training had honed my instincts, including the instinct that was now telling me to keep as much distance as possible between myself and this fast moving stranger. I looked him straight in the eyes, pointed at him and like I was cursing him to the depths of hell, I bellowed from the blackest part of my soul, “BACK THE F-CK OFF.” Stunned, he stopped in his tracks and stared at me, unsure what to do. I continued to hold his gaze with my own hard eyes, breathless but furious, frightened but determined to hide it. Suddenly, just as quickly as he had charged at me, he spun on the heels of his cowboy boots and scurried back to his friends.
When I got home and told my boyfriend what had happened, I curled up in his lap and cried as my pent up fear finally found expression. Then the strangest thing happened: Those apologist tendencies crept back in. I began to second-guess myself. “Maybe he didn’t have any ill intent.” “Maybe he was just going to ask for directions.” “Maybe…”
My boyfriend didn’t buy any of those “reasons”, so why should I? That guy creeped me out and he had no business rushing me like that. That’s when the light bulb went off for me: even if I had misjudged him, I would have to be OK with that. I couldn’t afford to be apologetic in a moment when my inner alarms were blaring. If I had given him the benefit of the doubt, despite the red flags, it could have ended in disaster.
Prior to this, I had been teaching self-defense classes, but this incident made me realize the importance of preempting a physical confrontation. I began incorporating voice work into my instruction; this included having students yell “no” or “stop” or, my personal favorite, a few curse words, while they worked to create space or punched and kicked pads and attackers in class.
I began to observe that, even more than punching or kicking, women were often even more intimidated by their own powerful voice. Instead they were using their voices to make themselves small and apologize. First attempts at using their voice as a weapon resulted in embarrassment, giggles and apologies. 100% of the time. No exceptions. Many made progress, but it was a deeply ingrained tendency I noticed over and over again. All these years later, I still see myself in new students who apologize for no good reason. I am grateful for my first instructor who pointed it out to me. It changed my life in so many ways and may have even saved it. So what do I tell the newbies?
“Stop apologizing.” --------------------------
About Beverly Baker: Beverly’s mother always wanted her to take ballet. Instead, Beverly fell in love with the fluid and powerful movements from those super-corny martial arts movies her older brothers used to watch. She aspired to move that beautifully (not including the mismatch of mouths and words caused by English dubbing). Beverly is a 2nd dan black belt in ChaYon Ryu and has trained in a range of traditional and modern styles including jujitsu, boxing, aikido and judo. Most recently she celebrated her six- month recovery from a life-saving hysterectomy by passing her Orange belt test in Krav Maga. She currently lives in Los Angeles, holds an MBA focusing in digital media management and spends her free time road tripping with her boyfriend, Brian.