TARA TURNBULL 'S STORY
My adventure into the amazing (and highly addicting) world of Kenpo karate started 21 years ago on the week of my 13 th birthday in 1986. Prior to that week, I had basically been kicked out of the gymnastics class I had come to love and attend for 2 years. Sure, I could have kept going, but upon being told I would most likely go nowhere with it because of something physical and beyond my control (my height)- I kind of lost hope/interest. I was looking for a new sport and as it happened, there was a fair in town. At the fair, a karate demo already in progress caught my eye. Not only were the practitioners (a man AND a woman) super flexible- but there was a female practitioner! I had never seen a female martial artist before and it sparked some hope in me. After the demo, I collected their information and they said I could come for a trial class the following week. So it went, the week I turned 13 was to be a life-changing week for me. I got braces (which would prove to make my teeth straighter in the future) but I also received one of the best presents ever from my parents- enrollment in Kenpo karate classes. Dentist Dad made sure the karate wouldn’t mess up my nice teeth by keeping me supplied with mouth-guards!. Kenpo from then on would give me renewed hope in my athletic ability, give me ever-changing goals and would become one of my life’s passions.
Unfortunately, the Kenpo road, though it has been amazing, has not always been easy. It wasn’t until well into my later ranks that I met Mr. Scott Halsey in Redding, California and he became my 5 th Kenpo instructor. I have now trained under him and have considered him my main instructor for over 15 years- longer than any of my other instructors. I have been under the Parker/Planas lineage since the beginning of my training and through Mr. Halsey’s studio, I have also been fortunate enough to meet Mr. Planas and attend many of his amazing seminars.
Previous to training with Mr. Halsey, my training was a bit more sporadic. I had instructors that moved, had financial issues and one sadly passed away. I also had to take time away from training for a serious knee injury in 1995 when I blew out my knee in the middle of my 2 nd brown test. Those present at the test (including Mr. Halsey and Mr. Planas) let me finish the test (even though I had no knee stability and kept falling all over the place) and passed me! I then took a year off to have surgery and rehab the knee. I’ve also taken time off due to moving and getting married right after my first degree black belt test in 1999 and subsequently, time off for being pregnant with and having our two children. Kenpo has been through a lot with me! Somehow, I can’t ever stay away- I am a hopeless addict and will be until physically, I cannot do it anymore.
In October of 2006, Amy Long and I started up our own Kenpo classes at the old Mather Air Force Base Sports Facility near Sacramento. We just hit our one year anniversary in October, 2007 and have a pretty steady base of students now. We teach both children and adults and it has been really fun and rewarding to pass on to others all that we have learned over the years. Another neat thing about this endeavor has been watching my son Jadon train. He is now 5 ? and is in our kiddie class as a proud yellow belt. I am currently working on re-learning some of my upper belt material so that I can hopefully test for my 2 nd degree black belt next year (2008). I make it up to Redding for training at Mr. Halsey’s school as often as I can….but it is a 3 hour trip, so it is not as often as I would like. Amy has been helping me re-learn some of my old Kenpo material. I am also starting to learn Long Form 6.
There is so much more that could be said about my Kenpo journey- but mainly, I would like to make sure I thank all those that have believed in me, picked me up when I was down, taught and continue to teach me so much and even those of you who have promised to “kick my butt” if I ever quit! I can’t imagine life without having ever found Kenpo and the wonderful people I have met because of it.
Mr. Ed Parker - I never got to meet you, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your ideas with the world- R.I.P.
Mr. Huk Planas - Thank you for all the seminars, for putting up with and answering the random questions and for never failing to help me find some little thing I can improve on or understand better.
Mom and Dad - For always believing I could make it, supporting all my various karate needs financially for so many years and for all the love!!
Sean Dunbar - My big brother, occasional sparring partner and huge source of encouragement over time. Long live Fat Choy!
My husband Leon and kids Jadon and Nekoda - for putting up with my absences while I train and teach several nights a week.
Friends - Amy Long- you got me back on the mat and have become a good friend, Kenpo buddy, and fellow teacher- thanks!! Mike Norton- long-time friend and Kenpo buddy- master of the bim-bap-boom way of doing techniques! I would have no sound effects without you! Too many other sparring partners and friends to list!
Students - We learn so much from you- thanks for trusting in us to help you along your way.
Bill Maderas - My first instructor- thanks for all the repetitions of basics- I didn’t understand it at the time, but now I understand all too well why we had to train them so much! “Repetition is the key!!” You gave me my love for the art- thank you so much!
Phil Streeter - R.I.P.- I will never forget you and your dojo, doing push-ups on the hardwood floor and sparring in my first tournament there and getting a 1 st place!!
Gary Cropley - In my brief time under your instruction, I learned a lot about improving my forms- thank you!
Gordon Buck - Thanks for taking me in as a purple belt and teaching me all I needed to know up into my browns. Those were some good times there in that little dojo on Main street- we miss you around here!!
Chris Davison - Thank you for helping me to re-learn some material and fine tune things. Also for the Doce Pares training- it was good to do sticks again! You are a good friend!
Scott Halsey - You are an AWESOME instructor!! Thanks for all you’ve done and continue to do to help me improve- I swear- even if my big toe moves too soon, you’ll catch it!! Thank you so much for your on-going encouragement and unwavering friendship. Also for keeping Camp Kenpo alive- it’s a good time every year- all of you should go!