Photo project

Sister Act: What Female Fight Club Looks Like

For her graduation project at the Ostkreuz School of Photography, Katarzyna Mazur spent a year photographing fights at an underground female fight club.
Katarzyna Mazur Age 29

Photographer from Poland. Lives in Berlin. Her works were published in Stern, CNN International, and Dazed & Confused. Participated in exhibitions in Germany, France, India, and Poland.

In 2014, I graduated from the Ostkreuzschule — a school for photography and design in Berlin. I was searching for a topic for my graduation work that would offer many ways of interpretation and enough material for a long-term project. I discovered the Female Fight Club and I was simply shocked by the pictures on their homepage. Right after that, I contacted Anna Konda, one of the founders of the club, and asked for a meeting. That’s how it started. When I saw this kind of fighting for the first time, I was quite shocked. I had never seen something like that before and it was really interesting to experience the intensity so close. Also, I like the idea of contradiction. Something that is contradicting the perspective of modern women in society. Someone who is contradicting me, and in the way they are. I enjoy exploring new worlds, especially a world which exists in a gray area.

I started in November 2013 and almost a year later, in October 2014, the project was finished. What surprised me was the idea that some of the female fighters have children and family. It was difficult for me to picture them as someone’s family members, because there was no sign of that in the club. The women divide their private life and their public life strictly and manage them well.

Female fighters have children and family. It was difficult for me to picture them as someone’s family members.

The founders of the Female Fight Club, Anna Konda and Red Devil, invite international fighters with different backgrounds, fighting experiences, motivation and skills to join an event. Usually, an event takes about 2-3 hours, which includes warming-up, defining rules and taking breaks. There are several matches. A match itself only takes a few minutes and, depending on the rules, ends with submission. There is no judge in the common sense, just someone who knows the rules: either a female fighter who is taking a break or someone in the audience. The events take place in just one rented room, where it is difficult to gather a crowd. The audience consists of men mostly, but women are getting more and more interested in Female Fight Club.


Female Fight Club draws attention because there are no official guidelines and standard categories, thus meaning that a bodybuilder can challenge a black-belt in Jiu Jitsu. Some of them are professionals, some of them beginners. The events focus on the competition and its thrill, it does not matter how skilled you are. The club is open for women of all weights and ages, between 20 and 50. Besides wrestling, the fighting styles can range from domination to the so called cat-fight. The fight is brutal, quick and energetic. One could feel the tension in the air. There is no mercy on the mat. But still, the female wrestlers respect each other and stop a fight, if someone is seriously hurt.

Besides wrestling, the fighting styles can range from domination to the so called cat-fight.

For some it’s really just fun and excitement. For others, it is a way to gain physical strength, improve their fighting skills or to build self-confidence.

What I have learned is that the thrill of a fight lies in challenging each other and testing one’s own limits at the same time.

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