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MMA Icon Erin Toughill In Workout Gear Spars With Volleyball Star Emily Stockman

“Lots of learning, and having fun while I’m doin it."

MMA icon Erin Toughill may have retired from the ring but she's still training, teaching, and coaching. Toughill, 46, shared a video of herself wearing green jogging pants and a black shirt, sparring with professional volleyball player Emily Stockman on a blue mat. "Happy Monday," she captioned the post. "Lots of learning, and having fun while I'm doin it 😁," Stockman commented on the video. Here's how Toughill stays fighting fit in her 40s.


"I was always an athlete"

Toughill started kickboxing when she was 18 years old. "I was always an athlete," she told Fighter Girls. "I started playing soccer at 4 years of age and excelled in that. I played softball, basketball, a lot of sports. I would have received a scholarship after high school, but I went down the 'wrong path', which is what led me to fight, actually… I needed an outlet for all my aggression and anger that was building up in me over the years. I was an intense kid, I'll just say that much. I was getting hurt and hurting people, and someone suggested taking some kickboxing classes to release some of my pent up 'negative energy'."


Cross Blocking Technique

Toughill is passionate about coaching the next generation and teaching moves such as cross blocking. "I love cross blocking," she captioned a video. "I shared a nice story from my buddy this morning. Cross blocking is done all the time in boxing and MMA. The key when you are practicing these techniques is to do it with intention! You must brace as if you're getting punched. Don't get lazy. You don't want your arm to come back and hit you in your own face. You also don't want to have your arm right in front of your eyes blocking your line of sight. Make a strong cage… Remember: if you can see the chest, the head is right above. You want to do your best to maintain eye contact with your target 9/10."


Autism Awareness

Toughill is proud to coach kids, especially those who are neurodivergent. "When we say boxing is for everyone, we mean it!" she captioned a post. "Over the years, I have trained a lot of kids and adults with autism, ADHD and other special needs. Learning and progressing in anything is a great feeling; It helps us build confidence, composure, self-esteem, self-trust, self-assurance, and it just feels good! You start to believe in yourself and your abilities, and that is so important for all of us ❤️🙏 #autismawareness."


No Undue Punishment

Toughill absolutely believes there is a line that shouldn't be crossed in the ring. "If you don't trust your coach, you got NOTHING," she captioned an Instagram post. "Here is a fight that was very close. In the corner, I told my fighter she was getting hit 'too much.' You can see her reaction; she was disagreeing. She said verbatim: 'it doesn't hurt.' My fighter did not want to listen to me after that. I don't want my athletes to take undue punishment. You'd be surprised how much pride comes into play in a coach/fighter dynamics. Guess what? We are here to save you from yourself!"


Advice For Rising Fighters

Toughill has sage advice for up and coming fighters. "It's not easy being a woman in boxing, but that's life; no one ever said it would be easy," she captioned an Instagram post. "I do get asked a lot on what my advice would be to up and coming women in combat sports is. It's pretty simple. My advice is: work hard, stay consistent, dedicated and let your work speak for itself. You must remain humble, coachable and maintain total respect. First and foremost, If you do not respect yourself, no one else will respect you. When you maintain that self respect, it will take you longer to level up, but that's how integrity works."

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