The redheaded blackbelt is a rare sight in the martial arts world, but that’s what I am. Growing up with red hair and freckles was difficult for me as a kid. My classmates would tease me and call me Carrot Top or Ginger Snap. But my red hair also gave me an advantage because it provided camouflage when I sparred on the mat during karate class!
I started red belt when I was just 12 years old. While most kids my age were playing video games, drinking soda and eating fast food after school, I was practicing karate five days a week. Sometimes it felt like more like work than play but the redheaded blackbelt in me knew that those hours of hard work would someday lead to success in tournaments around the world!
My first major tournament victory came at a young age. At 14 years old, I won gold medals in both sparring and forms competitions against teenagers twice my age at an international competition for children under 18 years old. Winning this medal gave me not only confidence as a martial artist but also helped me feel good about myself because we all need some positive affirmation when we’re redheaded and freckled!
The redheaded blackbelt in me kept on training hard after that. I continued to win at tournaments around the world, which gave me more confidence as a martial artist but also helped make my red hair just one of many things that set me apart from other kids my age. I was sought out by college scouts looking for redheads with special skills because they knew it would be so difficult to find them anywhere else! So while most high school seniors were weighing their options between going back home or continuing onward down post-high school paths, I decided instead to pursue higher education. That’s when I went off to college and earned two degrees not only in karate but also business administration. Now I’m a redheaded blackbelt in the business world and I couldn’t be happier.
I’ve redheaded blackbelt power!
So now you know about the redhead in me. I hope that my story inspires other kids with red hair and freckles who are teased to never give up on their dreams because anything is possible if you believe it can happen, deep down inside where your redheaded blackbelt spirit lives.
Redheads make up less than two percent of the population—and yet they represent a surprising number of martial arts champions including Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee, and Gokor Chivichyan (the coach for Olympic gold medalist Ronda Rousey). The redheaded Black Belt tells one such famous martial artist’s redheaded blackbelt story.
I am a rare sight in the martial arts world, but that’s what makes me so unique. Growing up with red hair and freckles was difficult for me as a kid. My classmates would tease me and call me Carrot Top or Ginger Snap. But my red hair also gave me an advantage because it provided camouflage when I sparred on the mat during karate class! It wasn’t until high school that people started to take notice of who I really was inside – not just how I looked outside. Today, being ginger is one of my greatest strengths because now everyone knows exactly who they’re dealing with if they mess around with this fiery-haired blackbelt!