Loretta Lynn Gill Bryant

Michigan, USA

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Loretta first came into contact with Uechi-Ryu through a college course in 1988. At the time she thought she would learn all that she needed to defend herself in a semester course. Ironically she took the course more for her young son, than for herself.  Being disappointed when her instructor, Mr. James Thompon advised her that there was no follow-up course, she ventured to his dojo and so her karate career began. Now years later Loretta looks back and finds humor in her misconception about what a quick, self defense seminar would do for her.  Since then she has learned that studying karate can take on a life form of its own.  Loretta identifies that there are things she learned in the beginning that she still works on today; and that shes never stopped learning.  She believes firmly that karate reflects all that you put into it, and if you want more, there will always be the next level you can take yourself to, both internally and externally. In addition to being committed to her study of traditional karate, Loretta has studied Aikido. She also has learned to work with a diverse number of traditional Okinawan weapons, the study of kobudo. Loretta says that years later shes still learning more than she could ever have imagined and is eager to be on this tour, where women from around the world come together to share differences and similarities, as one.

Loretta's thoughts on this tour?  "The 2004 Womens Friendship Tour is going to be a fantastic experience for us all to get together and train and get to know one another.  Okinawa , there couldnt be a better location for this to take place.  I think we all are excited to be a part of this lifetime event."

Contact Me 

Personal Information

Current occupation or profession


Marital Status


Children and Ages

1 Son, 21 years old

Hobbies, special interests or skills

Crocheting, listening to music

Age 42

Karate Information

Current Rank Yondan
Total Years Of Study 15.5 years
Current Style Uechi Ryu
Current Dojo Okinawan Karate Academy
Dojo Location Kalamazoo, MI
Current Instructor Mr. James Thompson
Association Affiliation Independent - Mr. James Thompson
Karate and other martial trainings and years attended

        Uechi Ryu since  October 1988

        Some Aikido - total approximate time 3 years

        Kobudo  - on and off for 4 years +/-

        Summer Camp - Kalamazoo 1989

        Summer Camp - Boston 1990

        Summer Camp - Kalamazoo 1991

        Assisted in women's self defense seminars

        Participated in seminars at local schools

Other Martial Arts or Weapons Studies Some Kobudo - sai, bo, eiku, tekko & chizun kun bo

Karate Promotions


Certificate Number

Date of Issue Location of Promotion
Ikkyu   October 12, 1991 Kalamazoo , MI

Uechi Ryu Karate Association

Shodan 3959 November 29, 1992 Kalamazoo , MI

Okinawan Karate-Do Association

Nidan 2042 November 20, 1994 Kalamazoo , MI

Okinawan Karate-Do Association

Sandan 198 November 16, 1997 Kalamazoo , MI

Uechiryu Karatedo Association

Yondan 007 November 11, 2001 Kalamazoo , MI

Uechiryu Karatedo Association


Educational Background

Northern Michigan University , Marquette , MI


Kalamazoo Valley Community College , Kalamazoo , MI  




At what age did you begin to study karate?   

I was 27 years old.

 Why did you choose to study karate?

At the time I began to study, I was becoming uncomfortable with going out at night (ex: to the grocery store) and in Michigan in the winter it gets dark around 6 pm . Not so much for me as for my son, I kept envisioning someone trying to attack me and me telling my son to run in the store for help, and he being the child that he was, would have tried to protect me.  With this scenario I felt it was time for me to learn how to defend myself.  I found a college course at a community college and thought I would be taught all that I needed to know, silly me, now years later Im finding Im still learning more than I could have ever imagined.

Was there a reason why you chose to study Uechi Ryu?

After the semester was over, I asked Mr. Thompson if there was a continuing class, and to my disappointment then there wasnt.  So I ventured to his dojo.  At the time Uechi Ryu was all that I knew, and I knew this martial art form was for me.

What does the tour to Okinawa mean to you?

It will be a time when women from all over get together and unite. Meeting other women who study martial arts will be a fantastic experience.  We all study the same art but there will be so many differences in ideals, techniques, focal points and I am more than ready to take in and share our differences and alikeness. Its like a coming together as one.              

How has martial arts study affected or changed your life?

I feel more confident that I would be able to defend myself if the situation arose. Im more aware of things going on around me; Im not as paranoid  of the unknown.  Dont have such the overwhelming sense that something is out there to get me. It has given me the opportunity to meet wonderful people and build meaningful relationships.  The people at the dojo give you a sense of belonging, encouragement, love, they are like family to me.  Training becomes a part of your being - of yourself, it completes your spirit, your soul.

Womens Friendship Tour association, inc. Marguerite Hess, 3576 N.E.Skyline Drive,  Jensen Beach, Florida 34957  Telephone: (772) 334- 7731 

e-mail: peggyhess@womenskaratetour.org OR dphess@bellsouth.net   

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