This year marks my 20th anniversary in karate. And to say it had a positive influence on my life would be a massive understatement. Karate has 100% shaped the woman I am today and many successes in my life are either directly related to my karate training or indirectly from the life lessons learned along the way. So when I was asked to write a piece for FAME I thought what better way to demonstrate the benefits of martial arts for females than to tell you what it did for me!

 

My name is Ally. I started karate here in Medicine Hat at the age of 6. By 14 I was assistant instructing childrens classes, earned my black belt shortly after and at 21 I was the proud owner of my own martial arts studio and made teaching karate a full time career. What started as an evening activity for a kid became a passion and a skill that I hope to pass on for years to come. Since then I have earned my second degree black belt, medaled 6 times at the world martial arts games, and went to stunt school for movies.

 

In the early years karate taught me SKILLS. Obviously I learned kicks, punches and blocks in order to defend myself if I ever needed. That is the point of karate…self defense. I also developed strength, speed, balance, coordination, and flexibility. It made me an athlete. Karate helped me recognize my physical strengths and weaknesses and use them to my advantage. Every person has limitations but karate taught me how to work around them.

 

For women that limit is usually strength. But my instructor used to say, in martial arts it is not the strongest or the fastest person who wins. It is the smartest. The boys may have been bigger and stronger than me, but could they beat my mind? It is with that quiet CONFIDENCE I believe there is nothing I cannot do if I set my mind to it.

 

With that confidence came HUMILITY. I believe in myself but i know there is always something new to learn. There is always someone who is better or willing to train a little harder. It keeps me focused and reminds me that winning is great but losing is also okay, because I can learn from losing too! This is huge in a society that is starting to do away with competition and ‘winning and losing’ to avoid hurt feelings. Losing is not the problem. It is how we respond to losing and in loss there is some great opportunity for life lessons.

 

Sometimes life isn’t fair to young women. We don’t always have the same opportunities or have to work a little harder to be seen as equal. Karate taught me not to use that as a crutch, but to use adversity to motivate me and feel great when I succeeded anyways. I learned DETERMINATION and it has carried over to my success both personally and professionally as a woman.

 

It taught me PATIENCE. I didn’t learn it all on day one and I still get frustrated when I don’t get something right away. But I do not give up! Success takes time and practice and the satisfaction is so sweet when you do finally achieve that goal you set.

 

Lastly, it taught me RESPECT. For my family, friends, teachers, colleagues, and peers. For my opponents, competition, and those with differing opinions. But mostly for myself. I have a self respect that is second to none. I love and respect my body despite its flaws because it allows me to protect myself and my family. This is probably one of the greatest benefits of all. I developed a positive body image that I try to instill in my students every single day. If I can be a role model to even one young lady that encourages them to stand up to a bully, avoid a dangerous situation/person, or just love who they are then karate has given me the only benefit I ever need!

 

If you have any questions or are interested in our August free trial classes please contact me.

 

(Ally DeWolfe, Owner of Karate Do Academy and professional NINJA. medhatkaratedo@gmail.com)