Warning: this post will really illustrate now much I am NOT a girly-girl…
And actually, it might make me look like a big nerd…
I have a secret.
I once wanted to be Ralph Macchio.
I wanted to stand on a log on one leg and pretend to be a bird. Seriously.
I can’t explain why, but ever since I saw the Movie ‘The Karate Kid’ when I was around 12 or 13, I wanted to learn karate.
How’s this for bringing back memories:
Yeah, that’s good stuff!
Anyhow, I spent the next 10 or so years growing up, going to high school and then college where I got a degree in Architecture and then set out into the world. I rented an apartment, bought a car, and signed up for karate. Someone had told me that the best karate for women was a style called Kenpo, and we just happened to have a Kenpo school not too far from my house. The rest as they say is history.
I studied for over six years with Becky Mornar and Greg Mattson at the Self Defense Studio in Oak Forest, Illinois now currently located in Crestwood, Illinois. I grew in knowledge, agility and balance as I progressed through the ranks under the direct supervision of Becky and I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. Eventually, I earned a teaching certificate and actually had my own students that I taught every week, some of whom continued on to eventually earn their black belts. In June of 2000, 14 days before my wedding, after 5 years of studying under Becky, I earned my black belt and although I never actually became Ralph Macchio, I had my own “moment of truth” and achieved a dream. I don’t currently study with Greg and Becky because life and family took me first across the country and now just raising my family, but I do keep in touch and one day we will all return as a family so that my kids can learn the important life skills that martial arts teaches.
The style of karate I studied, Kenpo Karate, or specifically Tracy’s Kenpo Karate is a practical, no-nonsense style of self-defense. It is not about how it looks, it is about what it does, although when seen in the form of a kata (a series of movements and techniques that are practiced in a pattern), especially done by someone as fantastic of a martial artist as Becky, it is quite beautiful.
I’m not sure of the origin of the video below, but it claims to be Tracy’s Kenpo and the techniques are definitely ones I recognize, even if the variations may be slightly different. The important thing you can see from the video is the practicality of it. The attacker is doing typical attacker type things, and the defender with little strength, executes his motions effortlessly and takes down his opponent. That is the beauty of Kenpo and the reason why it is the perfect martial art for anyone, but especially women and children. It will teach you to protect yourself and provide you with the skills to react to situations that could happen to anyone without requiring you to be a strong man, contortionist or acrobat.
I know this wasn’t an in-depth review of Tracy’s Kenpo Karate, but if you are considering martial arts for yourself or your kids, I highly recommend looking for a Tracy’s Kenpo Karate School in your area before any others. You can look for studio locations in the US by state here: Tracy’s Karate by state. Or visit their home page for a wealth of other information about Tracy’s Kenpo.
And I’ll leave you with a picture of me and Mr. Tracy, the founder of Tracy’s Kenpo Karate from a few years back. Pay no attention to how big my head is…it’s not like I had a choice…
Here’s a before and after shot of Ralph Macchio. From my calculations he’s now 47 and was around 23 for the first Karate Kid movie.
Why does he look like Tom Hanks????