As you read this I’ll be ring side in Athens, Greece calling out combinations to one of the 60 Team Canada Martial Artists who will be fighting for a World Championship title.
I’ve been here before, 11 times to be exact – not in Athens, but all over the world fighting for Team Canada in Martial Arts. This time is different. This time, this is MY team. I am their leader and its surreal. At opening ceremonies I will be speaking about how important it is that I have been named Team Canada’s President.
Not that I am more special or better equipped than the presidents before me but that I am the first female to hold this role. That part is special. I get to look out into the crowd and into the cameras where so many little girls and other female fighters will be watching and its ME that gets to tell them that they can work just as hard as I have and they can be here one day too.
I am living proof of that. I also get to give the official launch of the World Karate & Kickboxing Union’s Global Women’s Initiative that will ensure future women are considered equally for this role and any other role in the WKU.
The funny part of all of this is that I’m not fighting this time. I am proud to say that I have 11 consecutive titles as World Champion in Karate and Kickboxing but I started just like them, as a martial artist more than 30 years ago.
I used karate to heal myself. It was my tool. I used it to get away from my painful home life and I used it to heal my inner pain. Karate gave me pride. I could be powerful even when I felt powerless in so many areas of my life.
Karate gave me strength in my body and the strength started to grow deep inside me. I felt strong and capable and without realizing it the pain was subsiding. I was healing myself from the inside out. I started to see that same pain in others so I thought I could use my karate skills to teach them to be as powerful as I had become. And then THEY loved it and became strong too. I started my first satellite school at 16 years old.
I used the money from training others to help out my family and when I had enough I scraped together enough to start a real brick and mortar business when I was 18. I wanted to build something that could help MANY instead of just a few. But I kept fighting. I kept fighting to continue to heal myself.
Today my business is the biggest Martial Arts Gym in Canada and I am the only woman doing this kind of work at this level. There are more than 20 instructors doing the work to train our students. I personally train many and now the training isn’t just physical. I am a life coach for them as well.
My business is full of people using martial arts to heal themselves from the inside out. The staff, the students, all of them. They are my people, my family. Martial Arts is where I started but my true purpose is to help people heal and to see their true internal power.