When you think of Martial Artists, what names come to mind?
- Bruce Lee?
- Jackie Chan?
- How about Yim Wing Chun, the legendary female kung fu practitioner who founded a very deadly close-range combat system?
How about Wen Mei Yu, one of the top internalist of today, featured in many articles, videos, and books?
As many little girls growing up, I had been offered music, dance or gymnastics for my extra-curricular activities. Never had the idea of martial arts entered the picture. That is for boys. That is too rough.
While certainly not the loudest voice, women have carried important roles in martial arts. Past, present, and future. These roles have been as important as the men in this art and it’s time we celebrate it.
Martial Arts has a wide array to offer women from all ages and all walks of life. As we begin this journey to unfold the mysteries before you, I must start by honoring those who have opened my eyes to this wonderful art.
My journey begins in Pennsylvania where, struggling with asthma-like symptoms, I sought the benefits of Tai Chi. I was certain that I could never do the type of rigorous combat involved in the other art forms. Yet, as I learned and got more involved, my instructor, Sifu Bobby Earl, opened my eyes to the possibility of using my smaller size to my advantage and becoming active in all forms for our art.
A year later, when I met the wife to Grandmaster Wilson, Simo Hilda Wilson, I immediately saw what I had been missing. That strong role model to show me that “Yes, women do have a place in martial arts.”
At that time, as a third degree black belt in kung fu, she moved with the energy of a tigress and could easily stand her ground against any of the men in our class. Even after eight years, I still watch her move with awe. As I got to know her better, I’ve seen her contributes to our system, all with a unique strength and perspective that could only come from her contributions as a teacher, a mother, and especially a woman.
Now, it is my turn to share my passion so that one day when someone thinks of a martial artist, they will think of the men AND women who have made it all possible.