My name is Johanna Rydberg. I come from a background of horses but for the last ten years I’ve been training and competing at an elite level in thai boxing and boxing; achieving several national titles, 3 bronze medals at the world championships and a no1 world ranking in my weight division in 2013.
As a thai boxer I would always exercise, train and fight barefoot to improve my balance and create a stable base for kicking. In fact, I started to buy bigger sizes in my footwear to let my toes spread as they did in training (I didn’t know about minimalistic / functional footwear back then).
The importance of the foot and maintaining its function for healthy movement has always made sense to me from my experience with horses. A horse’s foot is extremely plastic and adaptable (just like the human foot) and an incorrectly fitted horse-shoe can be traumatic to a horse’s foot health and ability to move. It is well known within the horse world that one of the causes of chronic lameness in horses is poor shoeing technique and that ‘barefoot’ farriery techniques can be extremely powerful in restoring foot function.
During my personal training education in 2013 I met Joseph und Gourgen from BTR Sweden who were teaching part of the course. We kept in contact after the education and I was invited by them to attend Lee Saxby´s running technique course. Road-work is an essential part of conditioning for fighters and I was doing a lot of running at the time and had an injury in my hamstring that just wouldn’t get better. After attending Lee Saxby´s course and gaining a better understanding of foot function, footwear and running technique I took my running to a new level and I’ve been more or less injury-free since.
Fighting sports are ‘nimble’ sports, requiring both mental and physical agility and good footwork and foot function are essential to success. Fighting sports are also unique in that victory usually means you have inflicted more damage or injury to your opponent than you have received (the art of hitting without being hit). The fact that many elite fighters (amateur or professional) are turning up to competitions to fight already damaged with a running injury picked up during training is unacceptable to me. Which is why I recommend that anyone who runs should learn how to run properly and include strength and conditioning drills to improve their foot work and foot function. An essential part of this process is wearing the correct footwear during training and every day activities, which is why I recommend Joe Nimble®'s Functional Footwear to all my fighters and clients of my physiotherapy.