Fiercely Fragile

A martial arts class for women with joint issues like arthritis or other chronic physical illness. Our knees are as stiff as our nunchucks are dangerous!

How to Join

Contact us for information on how to join.

Class Information

The whole pandemic situation means we have had to frequently change our schedule to comply with public health regulations, so to find out the latest class information we recommend getting in touch.

As of September – December 2021, we train Tuesdays and Fridays, 6.30-7:30pm in the Dining Hall at Queen Edith’s Primary School.

We ask for a £5 donation per class, £15 per month for 1 session/week, or £25/month for 2 sessions+/week, if possible.

Classes are structured around martial arts skills or principles, for instance ‘dealing with a punch’ or ‘teamwork’ or ‘grace’. Each individual works on their method for accomplishing the goal. Sessions begin with a warm-up, largely comprised of exercises each individual already does for themselves, followed by various drills to meet the goal of the day. Most sessions contain ‘forms’, which are memorised sequences of movements that members perform together. Finally, we have a brief cool-down at the end and members log their learning, ultimately developing their own syllabus. Please note, many sessions include weapons. Why kick when you can stab?


Fiercely Fragile started as a way to support a key member of MAUL as they underwent chemotherapy. It grew to include another member who had been in a car crash, wherein the two supported one another as they healed. They united to receive MAUL’s first (and only) ‘Indomitable Spirit Award’ as their first grading post-chemo and post-knee surgeries.

Instructor Layla presents the first FF members with their Indomitable Achievement award in March, 2018.

Both members ultimately returned to MiNi-MAUL sessions. As adaptive as our main sessions are, the ad hoc Fiercely Fragile endeavor demonstrated the critical importance of caring for the mental health side of coping with injury and pain. As I (Instructor Wendi) journeyed through a number of surgeries myself for both acute injury as well as developmental bony abnormalities, I’ve learned a great deal about the mentality of coping with injuries, both acute and chronic. The right environment can make learning martial arts a joyous escape from what can otherwise be a quite negative relationship with your (ailing) body and sport. A great strength of martial arts is the wide variety of movements and skills, such that each person can find what works for them. This is seen at grand scale in Fiercely Fragile, where the addition of a few nunchucks early on also helps!

Importantly, we have found that creating this class has made a more inclusive environment for women of increasing age (or “us oldies”, as the Fiercely Fragile class high belt often lovingly says!), who may otherwise feel excluded from traditional sporting environments.