Results from Rome Italy 2014 World Stick Fighting Championship.
- Posted on Aug 13, 2014
by Erin Redmond Sports Editor
GILROY—Linda Pulido went to Rome hoping for two more medals to add to her already vast collection in Filipino martial arts. She came home with three.
Pulido earned a gold medal in both the single and double stick competitions of the World Stick-Fighting Championships July 15-19 in Rome. Roy Garza, one of Pulido’s students at her gym Pulido’s Pro Fitness in Gilroy, also brought home two medals. He took gold in single stick and silver in double stick. Pulido’s brother, Manny Pulido, also represented Gilroy on the world stage and had a strong showing, but was unable to medal.
But the biggest surprise for Linda came from winning gold in the team competition—even though she didn’t have a team to fight with heading into the tournament.
Despite having 16 world titles heading into the competition, Linda said she had jitters before her fights. She breezed through the single stick tournament and breathed a sigh of relief before repeating her success in the double stick fights. The team tournament was up next, but the rest of her team—the United States champions—were unable to make the trip to Italy to compete.
Not one to back down from a challenge, Linda searched the tournament for other U.S. women to join her team. She recruited Jenny Noval, a fighter from Milwaukee who had come out of retirement for the tournament, and Danica Appleby from Fremont who Linda had previously fought against. Just like that, Linda’s “Chicks With Sticks” team had a full roster.
“Here we are, all scrappers put together at the end; whatever happens, happens,” she said. “I already took first in singles and doubles—that’s all I wanted.”
Putting the team together left question marks looming in Linda’s head entering the competition, but from the start she and her teammates showed they came to fight as they knocked off opponent after opponent. Chicks With Sticks faced Great Britain in the finals and won by unanimous decision.
“I don’t know what happened, but the team just had this energy and I was just whoopin’ on this girl that I was fighting,” Linda said. “It was a great battle and a great surprise. It just goes to show that you just go in and do the best you can, not expecting anything, this is what turns out.”
But Linda wasn’t the only fighter returning to the Garlic Capital with some hardware. Garza easily took gold in the single stick division and the 47-year-old fighter opted to move down to the 18- to 39-year-old division for the double stick competition.
Garza took on the European champion in the finals match—all 6 feet, 2 inches of him. But the 5-foot, 7-inch Garza wasn’t intimidated and held his own to take silver and win his fourth medal on the world stage.
“They told me to be careful what I wished for,” Garza said. “This is what I train for. If you know Miss Pulido, we train very hard before a competition; I was ready. I just surprised the hell out of them.”
Manny also fought in the 18- to 39-year-old division for both the single and double stick tournaments. Linda said her brother was fighting “the best in the world” and even brought one of his opponents to the ground three times—something she had never witnessed before. He went 1-2 in single stick and was unable to defend his double-stick title as he was eliminated in the first match.
“I ended up getting disarmed in the second round and it was disappointing to me. I actually think I might’ve won the match,” Manny said, adding other fighters experienced what were, in his opinion, bad calls by the judges.
Coming home without a medal won’t deter Manny from taking another crack at the competition next year, however. The Gilroy fighter will make his return to the world tournament and next year, Manny said he won’t be empty handed.
“They know who I am now. I’m probably one of their toughest strikers they have,” he said. “I train under Linda very, very hard to bring home the medal—we all did. It’s unfortunate that it ended up this way, but it doesn’t discourage me. It actually encourages me more so that there is no question about it.”
This year’s three gold medals brings Linda’s total to 19 world titles and she’s showing no signs of stopping now.
“That’s kind of an odd number, huh?,” she said with a laugh. “I guess I have to keep going.”
by Erin Redmond Sports Editor