Jackie started training in Uechi-ryu over 16 years ago, as “a thing to do.” A self-described renaissance woman, who also happened to be newly divorced with a small child, Jackie’s business partner (then a Third Degree Black Belt in Uechi-ryu) encouraged her to try training as a way to cope with the stress of being a single mom. She had no idea what karate involved and is sure had she’d known, she never would have started training. As a life-long klutz, sports were not something she enjoyed at all. Jackie remembers saying to Sensei Bill Arch when he asked her why wanted to learn karate, “I heard it’s about mind, body and spirit unity. I have no idea what that means, but I could sure use some help with all three.” She committed to train in three month-increments, assessing what she’d learn and renewing her intent to train for another three months. Sometime after the first year, she realized she no longer questioned whether she would keep training or not – it was in her blood and she knew that Uechi-ryu was a life-long path of heart for her.
Her journey has also provided opportunities to study some Aikido, Chi Gung, women’s self-defense as well as become a Senior Instructor at her dojo. Jackie believes that the study of martial arts has helped her learn patience, perseverance, as well as help her develop more confidence in her abilities. She treasures the friendships she’s made along the way and is excited about making new friends and sharing knowledge. “The 2004 Women’s Friendship Tour is an incredible opportunity to be a part of something greater. It’s about women, friendship, respect for our lineage and history. It’s an opportunity to learn from others of like mind and spirit!”
what age did you begin to study karate?
I was 38 years old.
did you choose to study karate?
Ursula K. LeGuin, a noted science fiction writer, said, "It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." It was with that thought in mind that I started martial arts training. In January 1988, I signed up for Uechi-Ryu Karate Do classes that were held at the local Y. I didn't know much about any martial art only that my business partner, who was a black belt at the main dojo, said that Sensei Arch had been at the Y over 20 years and was a good teacher. At the time, I had a baby sitting issue so the main dojo classes wouldn't do, while the Y conveniently provided baby sitting services during the one and a half to two hours of training, two times per week.
Was there a reason why you chose to study Uechi Ryu?
From the opening bow, I knew I'd come home, although I couldn't do anything. I was totally uncoordinated, tripping over my feet and everyone else's. I was known as a klutz most of my life. As a teenager, I could barely ride a bike, roller skate, or walk without falling. So, I began my training as it was the "thing to do". I struggled with balance and control from day one. It was difficult and pushed my physical body beyond its then limited capabilities. The only way I knew I could get through the training was to break down my commitment in three month increments. Each quarter's end found me renewing my intent as new challenges came with each kyu test. I was determined to understand exactly what mind/body/spirit unity was, and I felt that I could best learn that through my Uechi-Ryu training. (Interestingly enough, along the way, my son became interested in training as well as my ex-husband.)
does this tour to
It’s an incredible opportunity to be a part of something greater. It’s about women, friendship, respect for our lineage and history. It’s an opportunity to learn from others of like mind and spirit.
I recently read that the literal meaning of the kanji “dan” is to carve steps up a hill. That explains a student’s progress from the kyu to dan rank. The Women’s Tour is an opportunity to look back over what steps I and others have carved as well as an event to carve new ones... and so the circle goes.
How has your martial arts study affected or changed you life?
Martial arts truly has been a life-long journey to myself. I have learned much about my mental/spiritual/emotional and physical aspects through my training. I’ve learned how to persevere and take it to the limit one more time. I’ve learned to feel good about myself and to have patience with myself, life and others as well. I’ve made life-long friendships and had opportunities to share what I’ve learned through teaching. And most of all, I discovered my meaning and passion for life through training...
Women’s Friendship Tour association, inc. Marguerite
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