When I was younger and first started training, self-defense techniques and katas were strongly encouraged but not sparring.
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I started sparring and fell in love with it. Yet, the first couple of months were kind of rough as I started to apply everything I had learned and practiced into a full contact scenario.
Kenpo Girl sparring for her 3rd Brown belt.
For the longest time, when people saw my bruises from sparring, their expressions would go from concerned to shocked and slightly taken aback. They would ask,
“You let men hit you?”
“Only after I hit them first,” I would try to laugh it off but the humor was totally lost to them and I began to realize that not only sparring—but women sparring—was considered so taboo.
I keep telling people, but no one seems to believe me.
Little do they realize that sparring is equally crucial in Martial Arts as practicing katas and techniques.
When I attended a large tournament this summer, I was super excited to meet other martial artists who were equally as passionate about sparring as I am. One of these competitors is fellow Kenpo sister, Heather Flessing.
Heather Flessing, 2nd Degree Black belt in Kenpo and 1st Place winner for
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Jesalyn Mae Harper
Hello my name is Jesalyn. I'm a divorced single mom and a karate addict...
I am currently a 1st Brown belt in American Kenpo and a Junior Instructor at Double Dragon Kenpo Karate under JR Diaz, I am part of the Parker/Planas Lineage and study Karbaroan Eskrima with JR Diaz, under Guro Ed Planas
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