In April 2009, I stepped into a dojo for the very first time - I was 45 years old. My instructor knew my 'life experience reason' for being there so it was clear that I was serious and ready to begin Kenpo Karate training - my very first taste of Martial Arts. At the time, I worked in a profession that was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; so, I trained mostly in the evenings. I practiced diligently and it slowly paid off each time I earned a new belt rank. My training, though, seemed erratic. Sometimes I would leave the studio feeling on top of the world while other times I questioned if I even wanted to pursue this any longer
Over the next few years, I experienced many ups and downs with my instructor including his closing the studio only to reopen a few months later ... several times. Having nothing to compare this to, I returned time after time in hopes to continue this journey that had so quickly become my new passion. In April 2013, I reached 2nd Degree Brown Belt level. Soon thereafter, my instructor told me if I wished to continue under his instruction (only 2 belts away from Black) my monthly fee would be $100.00 more than what I'd been paying over the past few years due to the difficulty level of the upcoming belts. I was left with no other option - we parted ways.
I was Devastated.
One random night in July 2013, my husband came home announcing he had found another Kenpo Karate instructor in the area and had already met with him. He continued, "and I made an appointment for you to meet him tomorrow!" Although I was hesitant, I honored the appointment. This was the day I met Pat Munk of Georgia Kenpo. After holding a very candid discussion for a couple of hours I scheduled my first class for the following week. Together, we devised a plan. For the first time, I received clear, concise explanations of the required curriculum, his role as the instructor and my accountability and responsibility as the student. It didn't take long for me to realize I was standing in front of a man with over 40 years of experience as a Kenpo Karate instructor who spent decades applying his training as a police officer. A true professional. His knowledge and credentials were quite intimidating; yet, his demeanor remained consistent, calm and humble. Whenever I asked a question, he would respond by 'showing' me the answer instead of just telling me. Although I may not have been fully prepared for ever single class, I did leave the studio every single time feeling 'encouraged.' This was a big change for me. My faith in myself and my trust in my instructor was coming back and coming back strong!
Through a little blood lots of sweat and a few tears, I achieved shodan in June 2015.
It may have taken several years, but I am so grateful to have found the right instructor --- and now, more than ever, I understand how crucial that really is. My journey continues with Kenpo Karate and Master Munk is still by my side. He has inspired and helped me more than he willl ever know. He is my example, mentor, instructor and big brother ... He is the real deal.
"Sometimes the Martial Arts can break your heart, and only another Martial Artist can fix it.
Thank you, Master Munk
Linda Fisher, Shodan, 2018