Loretta Lynn Gill Bryant
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 she’s 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 she’s 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.
At what age did you begin to study karate?
I was 27 years old.
Why did you choose to study karate?
the time I began to study, I was becoming uncomfortable with going out at night
(ex: to the grocery store) and in
the semester was over, I asked Mr. Thompson if there was a continuing class, and
to my disappointment then there wasn’t. 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.
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.
It’s like a coming together as one.
feel more confident that I would be able to defend myself if the situation
arose. I’m more aware of things going on around me; I’m not as paranoid
of the unknown. Don’t 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.
Women’s Friendship Tour association, inc. Marguerite
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