Karate Opened the Door
As a teenager, karate and art saved my life. They helped to transform the anger, pain, and sadness I felt after my parents divorce into personal growth. I was a sensitive kid, not at all athletic, and I was bullied. Karate gave me access to my body. To my own power.
Karate gave me self-esteem; I could get good at those things that were within my grasp first. As I kept training, my confidence grew and it changed my life. The bullying stopped. At 15, I became an assistant instructor, and soon I found my voice. The quietest kid in school suddenly had friends, spoke up in class, had a social life.
Karate opened the door to opportunity. The growth mindset I cultivated in the dojo fueled my obsession with books and writing. My accomplishments in the dojo translated to an unshakable belief that I could be successful as an artist and a small business owner.
We walk our own path, but we are shaped and supported by our communities. I continue to train with dojo owners throughout the country, internationally-recognized experts like Iain Abernethy, and with my own instructor, Leonard Galli, who granted me permission to carry on the Fighting Chance name in 2011.
Safety is a core value for me. When people feel strong, safe, and supported they are able to contribute their gifts to the community and change the world. My self-defense practice now includes mindfulness, compassionate listening, and nonviolent communication, expanding into strategies to dissolve toxic masculinity and rape culture.