Fierce Femininity

Instructor Linda Pulido works with Nicole Bianchi, left, and Courtney Parrinello on a defensive move to aid in escaping an attacker during her self defense seminar Oct. 11 at Pulido's Pro Fitness.

When you first come face-to-face with Linda Pulido, you feel the energy that zings right off of her skin. And when you walk away, you’re amped up, motivated and ready to take on the world.
Pulido, 46, is a personal trainer, a competitor with 19 world championship titles spread across various disciplines such as Tae Kwon Do and Filipino martial arts, and was recently sponsored by Asics. She is the owner of Pulido’s Pro Fitness, a studio where women find their inner-strength, confidence and power. She inspires everyone around her to take control and feel prepared.
“I love to see the process of empowering,” Pulido said about her self-defense class. “It’s not just teaching them how to defend themselves, it’s about a mental change. I teach quick moves they can remember if they ever need it. They can pull it out of their back pocket.”
Some of those techniques will be covered in Pulido’s next self-defense seminar Feb. 28 and include: the circle of comfort, escapes from different grabs, how to strike back and how to use your hands, knees and elbows as weapons.
Pulido, a fit and confident woman, said she was insecure and hung out with the wrong crowd when she was younger, and that’s how she became involved in martial arts.
“When I was a teenager, I needed this really bad,” she said. “I needed the discipline and respect. My friend told me I could learn to fight better with martial arts so I joined. It taught me respect for myself.”
Courtney Parrinello is an emergency room nurse who has seen an increase in mentally ill patients at Hazel Hawkins Hospital and thought it would be a good idea for her and her colleagues to take Pulido’s class, which they did this past October. Parrinello—a 12-year veteran of martial arts with a Puma belt (one below black belt) in Tae Kwon Do—said she is comfortable protecting herself but wanted to take a refresher course. She also wanted her fellow nurses to feel confident and strong while working with patients, some who can be unpredictable.
“As a woman taking a class from a woman, it’s not intimidating,” said Parrinello, a resident of Hollister. “And you get the instruction from a woman’s aspect, versus taking a class from a man.”
Then there’s Carol Peters, a retired Gilroy High School art teacher and long-time Gilroy resident, who has known Pulido since the 1980s.
“Linda knows her profession and is the best at what she does,” Peters said. “She has done this for years, knows exactly how to explain to everyone from children to adults and each comes out feeling self-confident and prepared.”
Former Christopher High School coach Heather Stewart had her girls’ basketball teams attend Pulido’s self-defense class for four years.
“It is an extremely powerful class. It teaches empowerment and how to not look like prey,” Stewart said. “Pulido’s class gives our girls more awareness of the environment and ability how to defend themselves,” Stewart said. “After the class, the athletes feel stronger and play more physical. The teachings in the self-defense class translates to the court.”
When she was about 15, Pulido said an instructor approached her and asked if she would be interested in fighting in some tournaments.
“It was just like Mr. Miyagi (from ‘The Karate Kid’),” she said. “I’d win and win and I was like, ‘Wow! I didn’t get in trouble for fighting.’ It was a positive thing.”
It was from those experiences that Pulido’s confidence began to grow and she felt the need to offer the confidence boost to others.
“I felt like, ‘You know what? I’m going to devote myself to try to change other people’s lives,” she said. “To teach them it’s not just the kicking and the punching, it’s everything else I got from this.’”
Dimple Patel, from Gilroy, took Pulido’s class last October because she said it’s important in this day and age for women to be able to defend themselves.
“Linda is an amazing teacher,” Patel said. “She really makes you feel like you’re in those situations and makes you think ‘What would I do?’ And then she teaches the technique.”
Eric Fajardo is an assistant during the self-defense classes and often represents an attacker.
“Linda is good at inspiring people,” he said. “She inspires students to maximize their abilities and never be a victim. She wants to give them the mind-set that they have control over the situation and of their lives. She is very positive.”
Though Fajardo lives in Pacific Grove, he commutes to Gilroy just to be a part of Pulido’s Pro Fitness.
“There’s no other gym I’d ever go to,” he said. “This is a unique gym.”

Leave your comments