Kent State Employee Shares Her Passion for Martial Arts: Isshinryu Karate
How people discover hobbies is almost as unique as the hobbies themselves. For Katherine Bryk, word processing specialist at Kent State University's School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies in the College of Education, Health and Human Services, a current passion for martial arts started with a seemingly simple childhood scenario.
“I got started with martial arts, Isshinryu Karate, after my sister became interested in taking a karate class because my parents wouldn’t let her ride the bus alone one day,” Ms. Bryk says.
Ms. Bryk has been dedicated to practicing Isshinryu Karate for 11-12 years now. She continues to dedicate her time to it, today, because she enjoys every single aspect of it.
Isshinryu Karate originated in southern Japan and is a traditional Okinawan form of karate. This type of karate is a combination of blocking, striking and kicking.
“I especially love practicing kata, or traditional forms, which are longer strings of movements for practice purposes,” Ms. Bryk says. “Each different style of karate has its own set of kata, which show the history and emphases of that style.”
Ms. Bryk has maintained her involvement with Isshinryu Karate for both fitness and self-defense purposes. She took a break from karate for a number of years when she went off to college, which was right after she had received her black belt. She went back to practicing because she wanted to maintain her fitness level.
“Because I am almost 50 years old now, I have to be ingenious now in finding things I can still do well, and that I’m still able to do,” Ms. Bryk says.
She went on to share how she enjoys examining the individual components of karate and how they relate to each other, such as themes and repeated elements, as if she were analyzing a piece of music.
Ms. Bryk began helping out at her local dojo in Kent, teaching children’s classes. She shared how she was able to learn a lot more about Isshinryu Karate from the practice of teaching others.
“It’s a type of moving meditation for me, and it’s mainly for my spiritual balance and mental focus,” Ms. Bryk says. “I have gained the valuable experience of learning how to stand in front of a class and teach karate to others.”
She believes everyone can benefit from some type of karate, especially those who are interested in the area of self-defense. She has taught classes from all age ranges, including young children and senior citizens.
“I have always been fascinated by the tradition and forms of karate, and I have taught lessons for all age ranges during my time as a student/instructor,” Ms. Bryk says.
Kent State offers a variety of wellness activities to support employees' physical, mental and emotional well-being.