Simmer down, folks. Kay is not dying before anyone gets worked up…you’ll see explanation below. It’s really hard to put into one blog about my martial arts journey, but I’ll do my best. This is the drive-thru version…
I was a Cobra Kai long before The Karate Kid came out. When you’re a Kentucky girl, you kind of live by the “Strike First. Strike Hard. No mercy, Sir.” 😉
I always wanted to do karate since I was a kid. I never had a Barbie doll and preferred trucks instead. That had a lot to do with growing up with two older brothers. I fell in love with sports, especially football, from playing the sport with the neighborhood kids to still watching it on TV. My brother, Jim, was always quarterback. Nine times out of ten, I was the only girl. I never backed down. I was a tough chickadoodle, not gonna lie.
Money was tight growing up, to say the least, so taking karate classes were out of the question, but a girl can dream.
Then of course I already told you about how I met my hunka hunka at a women’s self-defense and that changed my life forever. My hunka hunka opened my eyes to potential I never knew I had.
The art is ChunJiDo, developed in 1996 by my hunka hunka. Please read more about it on the website. I remember the first time I stepped onto the dojo floor. I started off as ‘the girlfriend’. What others did not realize was the pressure I had on me. I had two rules: No preferential treatment, and we were not a couple on the floor.
I wanted to take the martial arts journey to see who I could be. Breaking was my mental wall. I worried what break I would have for my first degree black belt testing. I practiced every week for nearly a year of every possible break. I needed recovery time in between practices because I bruised easily. Every Monday night, my hunka hunka and Master Lawton would stay over to hold for my breaks. I knew where to stand and how to break. I was so excited that day of testing. My whole family drove over to watch me, as well as many friends and coworkers. I felt pretty special because my dad does not get out for just anyone. I wish I had taken more pictures that day…
Not that first degree was easy by any means, second degree proved to nearly break me, no pun intended. That darn breaking. I made it through everything except that stupid *&^%# part. Let me tell you….it only hurts when you miss. Whew…did I miss. And boy did it hurt like some beach. When you miss, you fail your testing. Just because my husband is the Grandmaster, there are no shortcuts. I knew I failed and I expected no less. I came back stronger a few months later to prove I would not be beaten, figuratively, not literally. haha
During this rank, my hunka hunka and I trained nonstop with my women’s self-defense. I had a passion for women’s empowerment. I wanted to raise awareness to the tri-state area. I even received recognition as Women’s Self-Defense Instructor of the Year, an honor I humbly bestow.
Third and fourth degree black belt ranks came with much more dedication. I committed more time to teaching self-defense to the community. I traveled to different states to share my knowledge. During this time with the help of my hunka hunka (who came up with the catchy name), I also launched CJDivas, the only registered trademarked women’s self-defense program in this area.
Check out this super cool video my friends, Scot and Holly Brown created for me: CJDivas Promo Video.
My hunka hunka and I traveled the world teaching ChunJiDo. We toured Europe together in 2004. I admired his teachings in many different cities/countries. My favorite memory was going to Soest, Germany in 2015 to teach at Art of Combat. I know very few words in German and they knew how to say Hello in English. The delivery of my techniques flowed without a hitch. I was able to teach, with a translator for my difficult terms (ya know, my Kentuckish), flawlessly. That proud moment, we taught to a crowd of 300. I never fathomed this possible.
Robert came to me shortly before my master promotion and said he wanted to promote me to Soke Dai. This is the rank just under him, second in command of his organization. There were other black belts throughout the organization who outranked me as a black belt. But this rank is my hunka hunka saying, “If something happens to me, I want you to carry on my art and organization.” No pressure there…
Every possible emotion went through my head. How will the others perceive this? Will there be animosity? Am I ready? Oh man, I can no longer wear my other belt. I never changed belts during my black belt ranks. It held special meaning to me. This title carries a new belt. My head was spinning.
Robert explained how the rank of Soke Dai is passed through the family. He wanted the art of ChunJiDo to stay in the family. He knew I would always respect and honor his wishes. In the martial arts world, respect and honor should always be priority. He asked me to trust him in this decision. He never steered me wrong before, why would I think he would now?
Today I stand proudly each time I put on my belt. I’m not active in front of the classes as much anymore, as I manage all of the back office schtuff. My heart is with him at every class. When I look at my hunka hunka, I am so proud to be his. I am proud so many years ago, he saw something in me that I only dreamed about as a little girl.
That little karate girl wannabe is now a for real martial artist. I’m the real deal, pickle! I owe it all to my hunka hunka, The Grandmaster.
Cobra Kai till I die.
Until next time, peace out, trout!
This walk held special meaning…always knowing we walk the path together.