It's been my pleasure to train with Kerri since starting Taekwon-Do at the Casper Rec Center nearly five years ago. She was a green belt at the time I began my training with my daughter. While I was totally confused and struggling with just learning how to walk all over again (something every white belt wrestles with), she was working on Won-Hyo. I remember thinking how totally cool it looked, and hoping that at some point I would be a green belt as well. I've watched her work her way up through the ranks with her son, Jordan, and I've used her progress as a meter to gauge mine against. Someday, I hope to catch her!
We all know (and, occasionally, envy) those lucky individuals to whom Taekwon-Do comes easily. For them, it's like a duck taking to water--throw them in and you couldn't drown 'em if you tried. Then, there are those not-so-lucky individuals who have to struggle for every inch they achieve--rather like taking that same duck and expecting them to fly to the moon. If the duck gets stubborn enough (and creative enough), eventually they will find a way, even if it means waiting for a clear night, a full moon, and a handy pond. Kerri is just such a person. A charming lady who would give you the shirt off her back (and possibly the keys to her car if she thought you needed them), nevertheless, there have been many nights over the years when I have watched her struggle with a kicking combination in class. Being directionally challenged myself, and knowing with absolute certainty that there are just certain times when plain English sounds like a polyglot of Greek, Hebrew and pidgin Latin, somehow I don't feel quite so alone when the instructor looks at us, shakes his or her head sympathetically, and says "You've got that 'deer in the headlight' look again." At which she promptly relaxes her shoulders, takes a deep breath, says "Yes, Sir" or "Yes, Ma'am", and tries again. And again. And yet again, till she gets it.
That takes a lot of perseverance, by anybody's standards.
Her hard work shows, however, in her technique, her patterns and in her sparring. This year at the Wyoming State Games, she looked awesome in the ring, relaxed and concentrating on what she was doing. While sparring each of her opponents, she looked like she was having fun. They both demonstrated beautiful technique with controlled power and grace.
And really, isn't that what Taekwon-Do is about?
As for Kerri's reasons for being in Taekwon-Do? Here's what she has to say . . .
"I started TKD as a result of my son's interest in martial arts. Jordan began taking Taekwon-Do at the Casper Recreation Center when he was seven years old. After observing how patient and sincere his instructors and classmates were, I decided to join as well in 1999.
"I stay in Taekwon-Do for a variety of reasons. TKD has a very therapeutic function for me. Approximately 2 years ago, I was diagnosed with MS after a sudden onset. Practicing TKD is like having physical therapy three times a week. Sometimes I get frustrated because I feel as if I have to start over. On the other hand, if I wasn't starting over, I'd be sliding back.
"I appreciate the standardization of Taekwon-Do through the USTF. I've been to seminars given by Masters from across the country, and have heard the same information from my instructors. I also appreciate the constant encouragement and understanding that I recieve from my instructors. The dedication and expertise that they exhibit is inspiring."
Kerri came to Casper eighteen years ago to work as an audiologist for Wyoming Otolaryngology. She hopes to obtain her doctorate in clinical audiology in the near future. She and her husband of seventeen years, Michael, have three wonderful children. The oldest at 14, Jordan, is also a 1st dan. Her twins, Leesa and Nicholas are 11. Michael also gets involved with Taekwon-Do by MC'ing the Wyoming Invitational Tournament and Wyoming State Games every year. Her hobbies include reading, walking and making jewelry.