Exclusive Interview: The Shieldmaiden
Meet Female Muay Thai Fighter Eva Schultz
Eva Schultz is a female Danish Muay Thai fighter. Unknown to the big audience, even though she has amassed a pretty solid fight record, Schultz is on a journey to change all of that: determination, sacrifice, willpower, trauma and goals are ingredients of the Shieldmaiden from Funen, Denmark.
FIGHT SPORTS sat down with Eva Schultz recently, and had a good, long and sincere talk abut the challenges in life, becoming a Muay Thai fighter, and going all in on reaching your dreams and goals.
Here’s what miss Schultz had to say.
FIGHT SPORTS: Right Eva, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Schultz: Sure. I am a single mum who grew up in Denmark. When my son was a toddler I studied psychology at the university, and I always knew that I wanted my own business. There is a lot of insecurity involved with setting up your own business as a newly graduated Psychologist, but that was what I wanted from day one. So I opened my own business and had a part time job on the side in the beginning.
After some time I reached a point where I was able to make a living off of being my own boss as a Psychologist: I specialized in traumas and in crisis psychology, working as an out-call Psychologist for emergency situations. I also have a deep interest in forensics psychology.
When I was a child and a teenager, before I became a mother, I did a lot of sports: Triathlon, water polo and Marathon running, so I’ve always been disciplined when there is something I really want in life. I set goals, and I feel that there is nothing that can prevent me from achieving when I’m disciplined and have established clear goals.
I believe that if you really want something and put your mind to it, you can eventually reach your goals and ambitions in life – with hard work, being determined and believing in yourself. Even when no one else does.
I was abused as a child and in a relationship later on in life as an adult. It severely affected my life for the first many years. I was living in fear for a huge part of my life, but I knew I had to find a way to deal with it – to beat the fear. I was basically never at peace and was eventually diagnosed with PTSD.
Because of my experience from my professional career and the knowledge I had gained at university, I knew there was a way out. I researched a lot about how we cope with dangerous situations, and it turns out we’re not that different from animals.
Because of the fight-or-flight response, I decided to try out Muay Thai, since I needed to act and get out of the bubble I was in with being sad and depressed about not being able to work anymore.
After trying out Muay Thai once, I immediately knew that this was my answer – this was the journey and path that could lead to my healing.
I immediately felt a relief in my body, and somehow I fell in love with Muay Thai. It was a bit like a mutual kind of love, and it’s not easy to explain. But Muay Thai definitely saved my life.
It’s hard work, and in the beginning it was REALLY hard work, as my body had been going through traumas all of my life: my body tried to hold a firm grip on the freeze response. But I knew that this was the solution to get my life back.
And when I say back, I am referring to getting back to being happy – you know like when you were a child and you were happy and just thought of the world as a beautiful place. Muay Thai made me feel excited about life again: I was happy, curious and I never really thought about bad things. This inner feeling of freedom, and to get myself back to that point of inner peace, that is my true goal in life. And all of that is something I want to achieve through Muay Thai. So you could say I’m on a sacred journey – it’s not about fame, money or attention for me. It’s the entire preparation on an every day basis, entering the ring, the actual fight that gives me that special feeling of inner peace. And I feel strong because I’m sort of re-constructing myself, or re-building my self.
It is no secret that I started late in life with Muay Thai: I was 40 years old and had no prior experience in fight sports. At all. But I have always been a strong fighter and very determined when I want to achieve something, and as I said I knew that Muay Thai was my medicine – the solution for me.
I knew this was going to be my life journey, so I went to Thailand. The first time I was there I trained at the Sayok Gym in Bangkok. To get to the gym you go through the slums of Bangkok, you know with poor people living in cardboard houses. And one morning I came to the gym, and a very old man sat like a monk on a table in the middle of a huge pile of trash. I looked at him, he looked at me, and that look, that energy, that happiness, freedom and peace I felt, just made everything so clear to me: I wanted to work on being happy for the rest of my life instead of trying to make others happy, so I went back to Denmark and closed my company, and my real Muay Thai journey started.
FIGHT SPORTS: wow, that is one heck of a story!
But how did you actually get to know about Muay Thai?
Schultz: Well my clear inspiration was my knowledge of how we exist as human beings and how we as animals respond to stressful situations. So when I came across Muay Thai, I knew it was the answer – it was like love at first sight.
I never saw Muay Thai before, and wasn’t inspired by anyone – I was inspired by my state of mind and how I thought and hoped that this could be my way to heal completely.
FIGHT SPORTS: I see.
So now you live and train in Denmark, but I know through my network that you’re about to set sail and go to Thailand: can you talk about this please?
Schultz: I still have goals to reach, and I know that I can reach these goals in Thailand. I have to go and settle in the country of Muay Thai with all its beauty and pure magic. I am now 50 years old, training non-stop since I was 40, and I have amassed a fight record of 62 fights. And no matter where I have been fighting, Thailand has always been the real deal for me. There is something magical about being in this ancient and traditional environment with all that comes with it – I feel like I live to the fullest when I’m in Thailand.
I am convinced that since I am able to fight at my age, it is because I am given the possibility to sort of regain the years that was taken away from me at an early age. I am powerful, strong, constantly developing my strength, my skills, and my passion and dedication. And I believe in myself 100%. And I’m not just talking about physical strength, but also the mental strength, due to personal development – these things are like a beautiful concert in my mind, and I’m 100% up for always giving awesome fights. You know now when I finally found the real me.
I will be able to show my power and my skills in the ring, like I haven’t been able to before.
I really enjoyed training at Saiyok Gym, in Bangkok, but also at Jomhod Gym in Ko Pha Ngan . I also trained in Hua Hin, where I was both training and teaching Muay Thai, helping the gym to build it up. I have fought at Grand Stadium with Kaisuwit, and I really loved that. When it comes to Muay Thai, Thailand is the answer for me.
So in January 2023 I travel to Bangkok to train and fight for Muaythai Academy in Bangkok. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity, and I know I will perform strong both in training and in the ring.
FIGHT SPORTS: Wow, that is so cool.
As you’ve mentioned yourself, your’re older than most professional Muay Thai fighters: when did you actually start fighting professionally, and for how long do you plan on going?
Schultz: For me age is just a number. I know it’s a cliche, but as long as the body is strong, is able to keep up the pace, and your mindset is just as strong, I do believe anything in life is possible.
As human beings we’ve arranged our lives very conveniently, and we live by a lot of norms and perceptions of the society. Yes I do know that not all 50 years old will be able to do what I do, but I still want to make an impact, and try to change that mainstream perception. I am very balanced in my body and mind, and it’s not some desperate denial about getting older, ha ha. Actually it’s just because I can! I am here to change perceptions and to inspire others not to give up on reaching and setting goals just because of a certain age. If you feel strong, still have the drive, the dedication, passion, will and the physique to do what ever it takes, then GO for it!
I hope my journey can inspire people to keep on doing what they love, no matter the age.
FIGHT SPORTS: great mentality. I like that.
Now on to something completely different: what does your family and friends think about your chosen career?
Schultz: Well in the start my family really didn’t understand my urge to do Muay Thai. Especially the fighting part of it was very frightening to them. I think most people around me didn’t really get the point of doing what I do. I told them Muay Thai IS ME – Muay Thai is not some fancy idea of a sport where I wanted to become a big name. All I care about is the journey and enjoying every part of it.
As the years went by, my family and friends saw the amazing impact it has had on me, and they started to understand what my start point was and where I am heading. They really admire my journey, and admire the strong mindset and passion. I know I do inspire them to see age differently. They fully support me going to Thailand.
FIGHT SPORTS: Yeah it can takes it’s toll on the family, but support is necessary and important.
On to something different. What does a regular week look like for you? Training wise.
Schultz: I train two times every single day. Right now I’m in between Muay Thai camps, but I still do disciplined training everyday. I am running, doing HIIT training, weight training, shadow boxing, skipping rope, ab work, squats. You know, I do what I have to do, and I enjoy every minute of it.
I do 10 rounds of 4 minutes with 1 min break on the bag. I change what I do all the time, so my body doesn’t get used to anything, and I get inspired to try new combos from watching social media with the big fighters. When it comes to sparring and extra training I go to the best gym in Denmark, The Colosseum in Aarhus, which is run by promoter, trainer and WBC Muay Thai representative Mohammad F. Tehrani.
FIGHT SPORTS: that’s a whole lot of training. Super cool.
How do you actually feel, when you win a fight, and what goes through your mind, when you lose?
Schultz: winning a fight is always super awesome! Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. The most important thing for me is to have a good fight, where I am utilizing my skills, new and old, and also the new stuff I’ve worked on with my trainers.
I am actually very peaceful in my mind when losing, ‘cause it is not really losing: it’s learning and being able to be grateful for the chance to show where you are skill level wise but also emotionally and mentally. And from fighting you get to know what you need to work on in the gym.
No matter if you win or lose, you learn a lot, and I feel strong and powerful no matter the outcome of a fight.
FIGHT SPORTS: I understand. That’s great. Believing in yourself and the process.
Eva what are your ambitions and goals within fighting?
Schultz: it is no secret that my biggest goal is and has always been to fight at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, but definitely also to fight for ONE Championship and going for a title with them.
I’d also really like to fight for THAI FIGHT.
My hope and wish are to fight as much as possible during my stay in Thailand. Before I never dreamt that this could be reality, but now I know it can! I definitely got what it takes. When I started out, I never thought that this could become reality. But now I know it can, and it will be now that I’m going to Thailand again. And with the right team, I can reach any goal.
FIGHT SPORTS: sounds good.
If you are interested I’d like to do a follow up interview or story on you, while you’re on your Thailand adventure, and obviously when you fight. Maybe a weekly update. Is that something you would be interested in?
Schultz: I would love to share my journey with all of you. I know I am out of number, but I am here to show the world, that age is just a number, and it is not supposed to stop you from setting and reaching goals.
I want to inspire people around the world in their perception of age and norms, and hopefully I can push some boundaries on age and fighting.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to make my dreams come true, and for the people who help me.
I’d like to thank Larsenator, who reached out and put me in contact with my new manager Frank Mach from Germany. And to Yves and MTA in Bangkok.
I am here to make history – I am here to show that what was thought of as impossible is in fact possible: with the right mindset you can reach any dream you might have.
I will be very happy to share this journey – ups and down, wins and looses, and the personal journey it will be at the same time. It is more than a sport: it’s a lifestyle. When you grow as a fighter, you grow as a person: spiritually, mentally and in your perception of yourself and also the world.
FIGHT SPORTS: Eva it has been an honor. I will take you up on your word and keep reminding you to keep updating us, so we can all follow your journey: good luck.