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Kelly McInerney's Martial Art Biography

Martial arts interested me growing up, but I never knew anyone who was active in a martial art or given the opportunity to learn one. I grew up the middle child between two brothers. If I knew a martial art or self-defense growing up, it might have made some of my days less painful and stressful. I also participated in athletics. Maybe if I knew some of the grounding and energy concepts I know now, I may have been more effective in some of the sports I played.

When I started to work at Lockheed Martin in 1993, I worked with two members of the Han Moo Kwan Tae Kwon Do Club, Norio Tominaga and Sam Nazzal. Both of them encouraged me to try the club out and, based on their encouragement and for other reasons, I joined in January 1994. First, like I said, I have always been interested in martial arts and this was an opportunity to learn more about it. Second, I was female, living alone, so learning techniques to defend myself were important to me. (If not to mention those two brothers who I needed to defend myself from time to time growing up, were concerned for me living alone and wanted me to buy a gun for protection, and I opted for learning self-defense instead, which satisfied them). Third, being athletic, I felt it would be a good workout environment. Lastly, I was new to the Bay Area, and it was an opportunity to meet new people.

I have learned more from studying and teaching Han Moo Kwan Tae Kwon Do that I ever imagined when I first joined the club. I have been exposed to and learned new concepts and ideas regarding energy and have gained confidence through my accomplishments in the club.

I earned my first-degree black belt in December 1997. The road to achieving it had its challenges. During those years I faced uphill battles trying to balance my commitment to the art form and other commitments in my personal life. Many times I almost gave up the art form. The encouragement from members of the Club including Brian Rainie, Bob Ramirez, and Wayland Louie helped me stay on the course and work through my challenges both in the art form and in my personal life. I achieved my Second Degree Black Belt in July 2002 and my Third Degree Black Belt in January 2009.

I have been instructing classes for both the Lockheed Martin club and other clubs since 1999. I was promoted to Certified Instructor in December 2005, Interim Chief Instructor in January 2007, and Chief Instructor of the Han Moo Kwan Club in Sunnyvale in December 2007.

Instructing the art form has assisted me in improving my techniques and gaining a better understanding of the applications of the techniques themselves. It has also been an opportunity to give back to the club and the community. In instructing I have also enjoyed meeting and connecting with people who joined the club for many different reasons and watching them improve and embrace the art form. I have probably taught more than 50 different students to date. Everyone is different, everyone learns differently, and you never know from their first beginner’s class and first score who will still be working out in the club 1, 5, or even 10 years later. Every time you try to guess, you guess wrong, or you get surprised.

I have found extreme satisfaction in continuing to improve not only my performance of the art form, but in researching and learning more about martial arts, the history of tae kwon do, improving my instructional ability, and assisting others and providing an environment for students to grow and improve physically as well as mentally and emotionally.

Being an instructor has also helped me in my professional life by having another venue for presenting as well as learning and adapting teaching styles for different learners and understanding motivation methods for various personalities.

I have also been a Club Officer and have enjoyed working for the Club and being part of sustaining its legacy. I was the Club’s Vice-President from 2000 until January 2006. In February 2006, I became the Club’s Secretary/Treasurer until June 2007. I resigned as a Club Officer when I was asked to take over the Club as the Chief Instructor. As an Officer, I worked closely with the other Officers and Board of Directors to establish 10 of the 11 current Club Policies and the six (6) current Club Best Practices. In addition, I worked closely with the Board of Directors to develop the current Association website reference material.

I could not imagine what my life would be like had I not continued with studying and teaching Han Moo Kwan and being part of the Club. I have grown and continue to grow in many areas I might not have otherwise if it was not for my experiences in the Club. And in the process, I have made many invaluable friendships and found my soul mate and kindred spirit in Brian Rainie.

The lessons I have learned to date are too may to count, but the key ones for me are: a martial artists is more than someone with skill (it is learning and knowing who you are); your ego only gets in the way of advancing and learning, growing in martial arts is like life - it is all about the journey, the path, and we all travel and get where we need to be in our own way and time; and there is always more than one answer.

What I have learned as part of my martial arts journey, I have also been able to take into my personal and professional life. I have been able to use my experience and training in martial arts to improve my other athletic activities: hiking, softball, weight lifting, cycling through my improvement in focus, breathing, balance, etc. I have been able to use my understanding of energy to help me in the professional world – in reading and understanding energy, deflecting energy and not taking it on. I have also been able to come more from a place of clarity in my everyday interactions.



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