Written by Ruschell West, NY 1 NEWS
Saturday was an historic day for Sensei Michelle Gay, even though she didn’t make history as the first woman to fight 100 karate opponents consecutively. Gay had completed 61 fights and was on her 62nd opponent when severe leg cramps caused her to call it quits. Nonetheless, she said she is still proud what she accomplished.
“Sixty-one is a great number,” she said. “I love that number, too.”
It was a good number for the 42-year-old, considering she only had two losses and two draws after kicking and punching her way through opponents for nearly three hours. She was required to beat at least 50 fighters out the 100 to get the record.
The first ever 100-woman fight, called “A Woman’s Right to Fight,” was held in front of hundreds of people at the Manhattan Center. Gay’s challengers came from all over the country and from Canada and Japan.
“I’m just really proud of her, and the fact that she is doing this is so amazing,” said her daughter Zelda. “I think that everybody is proud of her, and that’s why there are so many people here today.
“I feel fantastic,” Gay said, “and I hope that some other woman takes up the challenge, trains for it and does it. Training is an amazing experience.”
The training might have been amazing, but it took the martial arts instructor ten years to get here. In the Asian martial arts warrior tradition, Gay’s attempt is a rare honor that’s bestowed only on highly-qualified male fighters.
And even though Gay didn’t achieve her goal, the event’s organizer, Courtney Lukitsch, said she believes Gay will inspire other women.
“I think it will inspire generations to come of fighters of all ages,” said Lukitsch. “As you can see today, we had fighters in their 20s, and we had fighters in their 60s.”
So what’s next for Michelle Gay? She says she doesn’t plan to do another 100-woman fight, but she says she will continue to teach and hopefully inspire her students to excel at martial arts.