Women Proving They've Got The Karate Chops



Women proving they've got the karate chopsSometimes it's the no’s you get in life that push you into your destiny. It happened to a local woman.
No question karate is a beautiful art form. It’s the combination of high kicking, punching, blocking and other techniques.
Linda Podrazik loved it all.



"My mom is Japanese so I found that I absolutely loved the art, the fitness aspect, the meditative part," she explained.
However, 40 years ago, her gender made it hard for her to even participate.
"When I first called, the instructor was Japanese and said, ‘We don’t accept women,’" she recalled.
It took her a while but she finally convinced him to allow her in the class.
"They did everything they could to discourage me but that only encouraged me to fight to be able to stay," noted Podrazik. "It took probably a year to gain the respect of the other men who were there."
Fast forward to 2016 and she's still earning the respect of others, now as a "sensei" or teacher. She’s one of the few women to own a dojo, Fudoshin Karate School in Latham.
"I used to watch sensei and I was so inspired by her ability and her accomplishments that I very much wanted to train but was afraid to try," admitted Denise Buckley, one of her students.
That was 22 years ago. Today, Buckley joins other women loving karate.
"I get a variety of reactions," noted Kate Kowalczyk, another student. "I get some people saying, ‘Whoa, I’m not going to mess with you.’ I tell them that’s a pretty good philosophy," she joked.
Kowalczyk is a New York State budget analyst by day. She's also a 4th degree black belt. In fact, the need to protect themselves is why most women take karate.
However, Podrazik teaches them to fight in many ways.
"They didn't allow women and I had to fight my way in there," points out Podrazik.