I asked powerful women in martial arts how training in their discipline helped them overcome issues, be stronger leaders and become more confident in themselves and less-self conscious of their bodies. I received so many replies from amazing women I decided to do a Martial Arts Mini Series. I hope you enjoy their stories of strength and endurance as much as I do.
Martial Arts for Women: Moms Who Kick for the Cure
By Joanne Hutchins
I grew up surrounded by a family of Aikido experts. My brother and father began training at NY Aikikai more than 40 years ago, and my Uncle and cousins in England all hold high level degree black belts in the art. I took a few classes in Aikido as well, for a short time when I was twelve years old. You can say that the Martial Arts are in my blood!
It wasn’t until six weeks after the birth of my second child, and at the age of 35, that I began MY ‘formal’ Martial Arts training. Signing up for classes at Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts (a hybrid of Aikido, Jiu Jitsu and Karate) back in February of 2000 was the best move I ever made – it changed my life for the better! I lost more than 40 lbs and gained a tremendous amount of self-confidence and discipline. I earned my first degree black belt in November of 2003 – one of the highlights of my life. Training has become a way of life for me!
In addition to my continued MMA training, and having been a huge Bruce Lee fan my entire life, I signed up for JKD (Jeet Kune Do) classes. Jeet Kune Do translates as “The way of the intercepting fist”. I love Bruce’s philosophy of using ‘No Way as Way’, and that each individual has his or her own ‘style’.
When I turned 40 years old I was in the best shape of my life, both mentally AND physically. I was in better shape than most 20 year olds! I became a Certified Personal Trainer and started my own part time/in home personal training business – Tigress Personal Fitness. In addition, I teach women’s self defense and safety awareness – of which I am extremely passionate!
In 2008, after my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, I founded the ‘Moms Who Kick’ – a non-profit organization – to help raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. The monies raised are donated to the American Cancer Society. To date, the Moms Who Kick have raised more than $25,000! The Moms Who Kick is a unique twist on a very important issue. It began as an idea consisting of Martial Arts Moms, over 40 years old, ‘Kicking for the Cure’!
In a nutshell: The Martial Arts help me in my business by giving me the tools and confidence to train others.
I am a strong, motivated and passionate leader.
At the age of 45, I am in the best physical and mental condition I have EVER been in, and as a result, I LOVE my body! I have a high level of self confidence, self discipline and self esteem.
I have a strong sense of empowerment and inner strength – and I attribute it all to my Martial Arts training!
Joanne Hutchins is a Certified Personal Trainer and a First Degree Black Belt in Karate.
She delivers powerful and motivational safety seminars to corporations and women’s groups.
Joanne is the Founder of the ‘Moms Who Kick’, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research. More information can be found at http://www.MomsWhoKick.com and http://www.TigressPersonalFitness.com