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‘Hey I can take care of myself’

By Rochelle Brenner In the beginning, she asked for every angle, extra practice, videos to help her learn one kata. It didn’t make sense. She wanted clarification after each lesson and asked classmates and instructors to explain it to her one more time. That was the beginning. “The first kata I was terribly intimidated. Now katas are coming to me much easier. I love the weapons training - like gymnastics meets Bruce Lee,” she said. “I really enjoy learning how to handle all these things people don’t usually get to do in life.” Siobhan has now made it to brown belt. Siobhan had dabbled in martial arts before, but moving to a new city took her away from her training. She was looking for something to do to stay in shape when she found Action Karate. Actually she was looking for something for her son. As a 6-year-old Asah shark, Kai stood out as a disciplined child, cranking out sit-ups and push-ups with amazing strength. After a few months, mom’s nagging feeling to start training finally set in. Kai hasn’t continued pursuing his martial arts, but he and Siobhan’s wife Melissa eagerly cheer her on and watch her go through her training regiment at home. “I really enjoy being able to kick higher than I thought I could. People are like I can’t believe you’re a brown belt. I’m like I can’t believe I’m a brown belt.” When the pandemic hit, she wasn’t sure how she would adjust. She is one of the more sociable students, adding levity and humor to every class. She’s still having humorous moments at home, like when she turned off the light accidentally with an arnis stick. “I was exceptionally grateful we kept going. We spent time in the Poconos and I can actually participate in class wherever I am. If I’m visiting my mother in Ireland or brother in Thailand I can participate in class,” she said. Her best advice for anyone considering this pursuit: “Get off the fence, walk in the door. Once you do that you won’t look back. Give yourself the gift of taking karate, meeting all these wonderful people, learning a new skill, feeling more self-confident, improving your body, your mind and discipline, being an inspiration to others, your family and your friends,” she said. “All of this is beginning to stick and gel, it takes a few belts to begin to see the difference and feel that sense of confidence and accomplishment of hey I can take care of myself.”

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