Carol was always training, both in and out of the dojo. In addition to karate, she also trained in naginata a couple times per week, she did boot camp fitness workouts at 5:30 AM and had even done some krav maga. She was the consummate martial artist and in class she was a leader. Her presence is still felt and she will always be a part of our dojo family.
I would like to formally recognize Carol Strickland, posthumously, as a Nidan in Kishaba Juku Shorin Ryu Karate.
The following is the essay she wrote as part of her Nidan promotion requirements.
What Karate has Done for Me
By Carol Strickland
When I was 25 years old, in 1983, I began studying karate because a friend pulled me into the dojo with her. She wanted to learn karate and talked me into going with her. Before we went into the dojo, I became very sick, but still managed to make myself go in. I knew absolutely nothing about karate or the etiquette. I felt very out of place. I learned the style of karate we were going to do was Matsubayashi Ryu. The Instructor (sensei), Steve Harless, was very nice and had someone take us in the back room to learn some basics. We continued in the back room learning for several weeks before we joined the class. I continued learning for for the next six years receiving my black belt in 1988. I had to leave karate for a while, when I adopted a special needs 7 year old boy. As a single parent, this required lots of time and attention. In August 2006, after my son was grown, I wanted to start back in karate. I started looking at websites when I came across Bill Lucas' name. This was someone I trained with before. He was now a Sandan teaching Kishaba Juku. I was excited to begin my training and was glad there were some similarities between the two styles. I have been training again for almost 3 years,
Karate has helped me in all aspects of my life. It gave me the confidence to do many things I never thought I would be able to do or attain. Karate has helped me deal with stress, to stay focused, and to persevere. First, I probably would not have had the courage or confidence to adopt as a single parent if it had not been for my karate training. I found out very quickly that living with a special needs child greatly adds to everyday stress. My training in karate gave me the ability to cope with this stress. Second, I was able to go to school as an older adult and attained my bachelor's degree. I knew if I could train in karate and receive my black belt that I should be able to stay focused and stick with earning my bachelor's degree which I did in 2005. Third, when I returned to my karate training I knew I needed to lose some weight. Losing weight is a battle for anyone who is overweight, but knowing that fitness is an important part of martial arts training helped me stay focused and persevere to lose almost 100 pounds!
In the future, by continuing to train in karate, I hope to be able to encourage others to be successful and to give them a sense of self-worth. At some point, I would like to teach karate to children that had a bad home life or are in foster care, so they have more self-esteem. I also want to be able to discipline my mind and my spirit more.
Little did I know at the time I started karate that it would lead to lifelong learning in everything I do. Becoming a black belt meant becoming a lifelong learner (just the beginning). I have learned that I have little knowledge and skill in karate and there is always more to learn.