A commonplace sees the big and muscular man as a strong person. The woman (the weaker sex they say) as frail and weak. Life, however, often teaches us that clichés are huge bullshit! In fact we have seen how thin and light people can be very strong, and today, in this space, we will host a woman who has nothing to do with weakness. Her power is often feared by the same men who fail to achieve her lifts. So let’s welcome a dear friend and GBI supporter, Patricia Luxner!
Hi Patsy, thank you very much for dedicating your precious time to us!
Let’s start with a routine question, but fundamental and never predictable!
Who is Patricia, where she was born and tell us about yourself!
I am still 45 years old until May, I am a headstrong, critical free spirit from Austria, Tyrol, from the most beautiful lake in Austria, the Achensee.
Like most people here, I am very attached to my homeland, love nature and the habitat here, even though it has been overexploited for many years.
I work with and on people, have been a health trainer and massage therapist for over 20 years and love my work – and of course my hobbies. My partner is Sirko and I never wanted and have children.
Life has put me through some tests, but I am grateful for that, because it has made me the person you know now. And as we all see – we all get to keep learning….
And of course humour is an important gift and weapon for me against the madness that is happening these days.
Were you a sports girl when you were young? What interests did you have and what future did you plan?
Yes, I have always enjoyed exercise and sports. As a Tyrolean, I have spent a lot of time on the mountains, whether in winter or summer.
I was a bit extreme in snowboarding and skiing, did there also some races, high jumps contests, boarder cross competitions.
Otherwise, a lot of hiking in nature.
And until my first serious accidents, I also did and loved martial arts for a few years. Tae Kwon Do, Capueira, Wing Tsun and Boxing. My favourite was Tae Kwon Do for long years, where I also took part in some competitions, until 9 years ago.
Unfortunately, I had to stop all that after four knee operations and two other accidents. To be honest, I’m not planning much for the future, that’s what the last year has shown us.
We’ll see where everything goes now and make the best of it. Actually as always – I’m more about seeing what’s coming and improvising as I need to.
What was your approach to the Strength? About your life partner Sirko, or did she go differently?
After my last operation 9 years ago, my doctor advised me not to do the sports I had been doing, but to do strength training.
Until then, I couldn’t really make friends with it, they were all weirdos to me….
I built up slowly and then in 2014 I entered a gym where I continued with it.
And because I’m a communicative and curious person, one thing or another came up. That’s why I also did the training to become a personal coach in 2015/16.
There I had my very first experience with grip strength, which excited me right from the start.
It was a small competition in which I was right at the front among the men who took part.
When I met Sirko in 2017, it happened by chance that in the first few months we spontaneously took part in a grip competition and both caught fire. We quickly founded our own league, got grip tools from all over the world and organised and held competitions.
Sirko Petermann e Patsy
When did you realize that Grip Sport was more than just a workout?
After I learned about grip strength through a little competition in the coach training, it was immediately clear to me.
And it was so much fun – even though I had no plan at all – and it felt so good.
When we started in earnest, we met so many lovely people who are now all friends and almost like family.
Do you think the strength you have achieved in your lifts is due to genetics or do you think it is due to the dedication and time you have dedicated to training it?
I suppose that in the best case everything comes together.
We have been working at home since we were little and I think we were pretty fit kids. I started working when I was 15, mainly in the kitchen and service, I had to carry a lot and I was always strong for a girl. When I started massaging, a trainer soon told me that I should stroke my boyfriend at home, here I have to be hands-on. So my job is like a workout too. In the meantime it’s more a matter of a mental focus and how long you don’t have any injuries…
Do you think that Grip Sport is a sport that leaves room for women or did you feel distrust during the athlete’s journey?
I think the sport has been developing very quickly for 3 years and fortunately more and more very strong, motivated and great women are joining.
The more who join, the better it will be for us.
But as an organiser, especially when it comes to records, you should look more quickly at the development of the weight classes, the master classes and children’s classes and also adapt them.
At the moment I think there should also be more weight classes regulated upwards, as many ladies also participate above 100k. Height and weight are a decisive factor in lifting. And like King Kong, for example, there should also be a women’s master class.
Why not do something similar to the men?
It is certainly not always easy and I also understand some who lose motivation because of the lack of classes.
But I can only say – please keep going!
What message would you like to send to the women who will read this interview and are intrigued by this world they don’t know?
Try it! Do it! There is something for everyone! That’s the great thing!
You can always find something you’re really good at and something you’re totally comfortable with. You never stop learning and it’s always great to be in a sport where everyone helps each other and tries to get ahead.
You don’t have to have a lot of previous experience, just get on the equipment and get going. And ask and try a lot.
For you Sirko is a great source of inspiration or would you rather train alone ?! (ahahahha)
I think he feels the same way I do.
Sometimes we push each other and other times we could beat each other to death… But basically we build each other up, especially when something is important to us.
What priority do you give to your lifts? Do you prefer to work on a weakness or do you want to experiment and have fun?
In the beginning, we were diligent with the plan when training.
But I don’t tick like that. I just do everything intuitively and as soon as I lose the fun, I do something else. I think it’s great to be reasonably good at many disciplines.
But I find that I can benefit from everything I do.
For example, I became stronger in many disciplines through nails and iron snapping and bending. And I don’t have the discipline to focus on one thing alone. And if there is a lot of work in the job over a longer period of time, then I have to train less anyway.
I notice more and more clearly that the focus has to be there.
And a lot of things often play a part in that. Maybe it’s a woman thing.
What were the successes you are most proud of?
First of all, what we have already achieved and built up together with our ÖMAV , Grip Sport League.
And then the overall world record including the men at the Finnish Mini V Bar lift, the highest load at two hold world records and the overall and class win at the last King Kong. That I continued with snapping and bending despite the injury and the fears about it.
This 2021 what have you set out to achieve as a goal?
This year my goals are a little different. I want to get fitter again, get through the year injury-free and thus keep the weight off. And motivate more women to join in.
You and Sirko brought GBI to your National Gripsport League events and I wanted to publicly thank you! In this regard I wanted to ask you, have you seen a growth in our sport of Italian athletes? Any names you would like to see at your events?
We also thank you and are very happy to have GBI with us!
It is a great pleasure for us to see Italian athletes who are also very strong in our and other challenges!
But I have to say that most of the time it’s the “old hands” who take part and can be seen. Like a very hard-working Nico Oliveto or you!
But everyone is always welcome to join in – and should it be possible again – in a competition. It’s actually a real shame that a visit or a joint competition has never come up until now. Unfortunately, it’s probably not really within reach this year and hopefully that will change again.
Stefan Falke con Patsy
Are there any women who have inspired your journey in Gripsport? Or athletes in general?
For me, my greatest inspiration is Elizabeth Horne!
This woman is unbelievably great, both as a person and as a sportswoman!
There are actually many women and also men who motivate and inspire me in this sport.
But that would probably go beyond the scope of this article…
Thanks Patricia for taking the time for Grip and Bend Italia, we wish you the best!