This past weekend, martial artists from all around the world converged in Sparta in Greece for an epic contest of strength, skill and warrior spirit known as the world Pankration championships. PANKRATION (translates to "All Powers") is a World Heritage MARTIAL ART, with the unique distinction of being the only martial sport in existence today that can legitimately trace its roots to the Ancient Olympic Games from 648 BC to 393 AD. and has a recorded history spanning well back to over 3,000 years.
The three-day event brought together Mixed Martial Arts athletes from Greece (which is the birthplace of Pankration), Italy, Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan, Cameroon, USA and countless other countries to participate in a true demonstration of the Olympic spirit from which Pankration originally emerged.
Representing team USA was a fierce competitor, Laura Salazar. The aptly named "Lethal" Laura entered this event with a tremendous amount of momentum, having won the 2011 World Super Grand's, the OC Open Martial Arts Championships, the prestigious Long Beach International tournament and the US National Pankration Championships.
This young Latina hails from Rosemead and has only been involved in martial arts for 15 months. on the advice of a friend she joined the UFC Gym in order to lose weight and get fit. After being a member for three months she decided to try a Muay Thai class because she heard that it was fun.
She quickly found out that it was also a phenomenal total body workout is well. admiring the technique and skill of her training partner Monica, she began to train in the private Pankration classes that Monica was participating in with head instructor Anthony Britton. Fast-forward one year, and the shy, nervous beginner has lost 55 pounds, amassed a trophy case full of hardware and has become an inspiration to other women throughout the gym.
So what's next for SoCal's "Lethal" Laura? 2013 will see her continue to keep a busy competition schedule as she prepares her game to transition to professional women's MMA as well as compete in more Muay Thai competitions, grappling tournaments, and amateur MMA. With the recent addition of the women's division in the UFC, her goal is to become the first UFC gym trained athlete to go from training in the octagon to fighting in the octagon.