Women don’t exactly, move through the Fighting Game Community (FGC) with ease. As a person who was considering competition I was constantly being told, “Git gud or don’t play.” And while I’m sure he meant that as some sort of backward encouragement, I didn’t feel encouraged at all. Most fighting games require understanding the techniques and meta which most people aren’t willing to sit down and teach you. A big piece of the culture is getting beat up online or in person. XO Academy seems like they are shifting this dynamic.

This is for ladies who are interested in “gittin’ gud” in your fighting game of choice. XO Academy is a new bootcamp set up to assist women in the FGC to improve their gameplay.

This is a four-week program designed to help improve competitive women gamers and give them opportunities to travel to major events. Each player’s experience is unique to their needs. The Academy is not only to improve gaming skills but content creation and social media presence.

Samantha “Persia” Hancock, one of the best Mahvel players and current DragonBall FighterZ announcer is the facilitator of XO Academy. She’s also included other professionals in the FGC such as Physical Therapist, Cait McGee; Content Special Lists, Gerald Lee; Marketing & Branding Tournament Organizer, Carolyn Dao; Commentary Specialist, James Chen; Media Specialist, Amanda Stevens, and Cosplay Specialist, Vampybitme.

Including these specialists shows XO Academy is dedicated to mental health and building a brand. it’s not just about getting your weight up as a player. It’s about maintaining health and wellness plus being able to present and market yourself. This will set up players for a career if or when they’d like to move on from competition.

cosplayer, DragonBall FighterZ player and heavy lifter P-Chann , Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition player are a part of the first wave of players selected. Each of these ladies is paired with an expert in each field. Romanova’s coach is FOX| Dekillsage and P-Chann’s coach is SFV expert Dieminion.

Applications are required to be considered for this program. January is the first wave of participants which included two slots. There will be another wave in February. Persia says not to worry because they plan on expanding more and more as the resources come in. There will be three more waves announced filled with two participants per wave.

The Academy is an all-inclusive program.

“The XO Academy: The female chromosome is XX, so the “O” in XO symbolizes that we are open and ready to help all types of women in our community,” said Persia while explaining how the name of the bootcamp came to be.

The XO Academy caders will make their debut at Final Round.

This program not only gives a play by play of what it’s like to be fully immersed within the FGC but also creates more representation in the community. We need more women; we need more women of color. We need newer players. Cuddle_core, Infinitti, and Pink Diamond have proved that this isn’t just a boys’ sport.