Marian Bushey

Massachusetts, USA

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Marian grew up on a farm in Swedesboro, New Jersey, in the middle of 13 siblings. In her very traditional Italian family, the expectation was that girls would grow up to marry and raise many children, but Marian had different plans. At age 22, she moved to Boston, with no money or job, but lots of determination to make it on her own.  She started taking karate in Quincy, Massachusetts, with her sister-in-law Judy, for mutual encouragement and support. Two years later at the rank of Gokkyu (green belt), Marian and her husband brought a house in Halifax, MA.  She was not aware of any dojos in the area so she joined the local health club.  One day at the health club she saw a picture of Jack Summers on the bulletin board.  Jack was her sensei from Quincy.  She found out that his students John Thurston and Bob Gremo were teaching karate classes. This led to her signing up for self-defense course and then a return to karate.  Initially her goal was to regain her green belt rank, then brown belt looked enticing, and then what seemed unreachable was within her reach- the coveted black belt. Today, Marian has achieved the rank of Sandan (3rd degree black belt) and sheís still setting goals.

Contact Me 

Personal Information

Current occupation or profession:

Sr. Administrative Assistant, Shaw Environmental, Inc.



Marital Status:

Married, husband Bob

Hobbies, special interest or skills:

Karate, baking, collecting unique cookie books, browsing antique and flea markets with her husband, reading scary and mystery novels

 Karate Information

Current rank:


Total years of study:

12 Years

Current style:

Shohei Ryu

Current dojo:

Norwell Karate School , Norwell , Massachusetts

Current instructor:

John Thurston

Association affiliation:

Okikukai/Shohei Ryu

Karate and other martial training and years attended:

a.  August, 1999, Attleboro Mass Camp

b.  August 2001, George Matson Summer Camp


Other martial arts or weapons studied:

Bo stick, some tai chi

Karate Promotions


Certificate Number

Date of Issue

Location of Promotion



November 1998

Kingston , MA



December 6, 1998

Stoughton , MA



November 19, 2000

Quincy , MA



November 17, 2002

Marshfield , MA


Teaching Certificates

Certificate Number

Date of Issue



January 24, 2001

 Educational Background


Gloucester County College, Sewell, NJ

AA in Liberal Arts


Suffolk University, Boston, MA

BA in Management


At what age did you begin to study karate?

I was 28 years old when I started taking karate.  I studied for two years and was promoted to Gokkyu (green belt).  I left the system because my husband and I brought a home in another town.   Seven years later I took a Uechi self-defense course at the Kingston , MA . dojo and started my studies in the Uechi system again.

Why did you choose to study karate?

I was living in Quincy, MA, when my sister-in-law Judy talked me into taking a karate class with her.  Since I was not into the aerobics classes that were offered at the YMCA it was a great way to get into shape and learn self-defense. 

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

Honestly, it was because the dojo was convenient to where I lived.  At the time I did not distinguish between the different types of karate.  However I am glad I chose Uechi Ryu because it is a practical self-defense system and is not flashy.

What does this tour to Okinawa mean to you?

It would be as close as a religious experience for me to see where it all started and to meet the people who helped bring the system to America .  Since most people associate karate as a manís sport, it is wonderful to see a tour that is only for women.  Also I will be able to meet other women who have similar stories like my own of learning karate.  Plus it is a cultural experience of going to a different country.

How has your martial arts study affected or changed you life?

People donít expect to see a women taking karate and they certainly donít expect an older women to take karate.  I was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis when I was 22.   One of the side effects of this disorder is balance and learning disorders.  I was never the most graceful person but I never knew why until I got more information on this disability.   When I first started as a white belt I was very frustrated that I could not do the exercises that the other white belts could do.  With persistence, and lots of practice I have been able to do things I would never have been able to do if I did not take karate.  I still struggle with my balance and I have good days and bad ones but it has given me a focus in my life and something to look forward to.  


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