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women in martial arts

We owe an unpayable debt of gratitude to a countless number of female martial artists all over the world for their dedication to their arts, to sport, and to overcoming prejudice, gender bias, and often to outright discrimination. The women on the following pages are some of the most respected and notable pioneers on women in the martial arts world, martial artists who bravely pursued their passion for the arts -- to the benefit of all of us. If you know someone who should be included in this hall of fame, please contact us.

Christine Bannon Rodrigues

When Christine Bannon-Rodrigues first bowed in she was 13 years old. At the time the Rhode Island teenager never realized that she would one-day reign supreme as one of the super stars in the world of martial arts.
Christine studied Kenpo and Wu shu, earning her black belt at age 17. She q View Detailed Information


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Monika Bertaggia

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Chloe Bruce

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Gina Carano

Gina Carano was born on April 16, 1982 in Dallas, Texas. Gina Carano is a Muay Thai specialist who got her start fighting out of the famed Master Toddy Gym in Las Vegas, NV which led to a role in the reality series “Fight Girls”. Under Master Toddy, Gina competed multiple times internationally, garn View Detailed Information


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Liz Carmouche

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Graciella Casillas

Graciela Casillas, Black Belt Hall of Fame inductee, Women of the Year,has earned international acclaim as one of the world's top martial artist, and as a teacher of the art of self-defense. Casillas's 37 years as student, instructor, and professional competitor has giver her an eclectic approach View Detailed Information


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Sophia Crawford

Sophia Crawford was born and raised in London, England. She is a fraternal triplet and has an older brother and sister as well. Her father was an accomplished economics journalist and her mother a model and teacher.

After her mother died of cancer when Sophia was only twelve years old, View Detailed Information


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Cris Cyborg

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Veronica  De Santos

Ms. Veronica De Santos is a 6th Degree Black Belt who has been teaching martial arts for over 25 years and through her hard work, experience and all that she has given back to the martial arts community, has earned the title of Kwan Jan Nim a Korean term which means Master Instructor or Master of on View Detailed Information


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Linda Denley

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Keiko Fukuda

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Alexandra Fuller

Alexandra (Ali) started dreaming about the concept of Level Ground from the first day that she walked onto the mat. A committed proponent of social justice for the last eight years, she firmly believes that mixed martial arts has a unique power to instill confidence and self-determination to the ind View Detailed Information


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Kyra Gracie

She is one of the few Gracie women to achieve a black belt in BJJ and is the first Gracie female to actively compete in the sport. For several years she lived full-time in the United States, where she is associated with the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York and the Gracie Barra Academy in Lake Forest View Detailed Information


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Dana Hee

Olympic Gold Medalist at the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul, Korea. Taekwondo (Demonstration Sport).
Hollywood Stuntwoman in Batman movies, Independence Day, Lethal Weapon IV, Terminator III, Charlie's Angels, etc.
Motivational Speaker for dozens of clients including Hewlett Packard, IBM, United W View Detailed Information


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Addy Hernandez

Some may dismiss Addy Hernandez as just another pretty face; buff and bodacious, she sports the hard-earned physique of a woman who takes her training regimen seriously. But make no mistake: the hours she has racked up at the gym are not just for show.
Hernandez is all about fitness with fu View Detailed Information


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Kimber Hill

Sensei Hill coordinates the programs and activities for the students at the Academy. As one of the nation's top experts on teaching martial arts for children ages 4-8, she is the national spokesperson for Century Martial Arts Supply - the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of martial arts View Detailed Information


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Diana Inosanto

Diana has been the feature cover story of several magazines worldwide including BLACK BELT MAGAZINE, INSIDE KUNG FU, INSIDE KARATE, and WORLD OF MARTIAL ARTS. In Europe she was the cover story in Germany's KUNG FU ILLUSTRATED, France's TOMOE Magazine, England's MARTIAL ARTS ILLUSTRATED, and Sweden's View Detailed Information


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Michelle Lee

Master Michelle Landgren Lee, 7th Degree Black Belt, owner of 7 ATA Martial Arts Academies in Arizona. Over 25 years personally competing on a World Level with 11 World Champion Titles in traditional forms, xtreme martial arts and traditional weapons. She is a certified Taebo Instructor and has 18 y View Detailed Information


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Teri Lee

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Arlene Limas

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Kathy Long

Female Kickboxing Champion View Detailed Information


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Liz Mahler

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Angela Mao

Angela Mao (born 20 September 1950), birth name Mao Fujing , is a Taiwanese actress best known for appearing in many martial arts films in the 1970s. She is sometimes credited as Mao Ying or Angela Mao Ying. She is nicknamed "Lady Whirlwind" and "Lady Kung Fu" by her fans.
Mao trained in hapk View Detailed Information


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Rondy McKee

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Kelly Muir

Kelly has been involved in the Martial Arts for nearly 30 years. Training since the age of 9, she holds advanced certifications in traditional Shorin-Ryu Karate and Korean Tae Kwon Do. As one of the few women in the professional world of Martial Arts, she has had the opportunity to train under some View Detailed Information


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Carrie Ogawa

A 2005 inductee into the Martial Arts History Museum Hall of Fame, Sifu Carrie is an energetic mother, wife, martial artist, author, instructor, and competitor. She has managed to balance her heavy schedule to enjoy her love for the martial arts and her family. In addition to White Lotus Kung Fu, sh View Detailed Information


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Felicia Oh

On a long drive to a fateful camping trip soon to-go-very very bad, Felicia Oh was introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by her friends husband. Intrigued by the notion that technique and skill could overcome size and strength, she went to watch a class. She signed up and started training the next day. View Detailed Information


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Lucia Rijker

Lucia Rijker (born December 6, 1967) is a Dutch professional female boxer, kickboxer, and actress.
Rijker has been dubbed by the press and opponents "The Most Dangerous Woman in the World".[1] She can speak four languages and is a Buddhist, dedicating time daily to meditation and chanting.[ View Detailed Information


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Bridgette Riley

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Lura Roberts

CMD TinT training in MA for 10 years. Her unlce is Benny The Jet Uriqudez. Lura is a certified nutristist and heads the Elite Martial Arts Youth Program. View Detailed Information


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Cynthia Rothrock

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Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey (born February 1, 1987 in Riverside County, California) is an American judoka and mixed martial artist. She formerly trained at Pedro's Judo in Wakefield, Massachusetts under guidance of Jimmy Pedro and is now part of Team Hayastan in North Hollywood, California. She also trains View Detailed Information


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Joyce  Santamaria

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Karen Sheperd

Karen Sheperd is considered a role model by martial arts fans and action oriented film and television audiences worldwide. The former #1 Black Belt Martial Arts Champion has successfully converted the focused determination of an awarded athlete into a steadfast passion for acting and stunt fighting. View Detailed Information


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Melody Shuman

Melody Shuman has over 20 years of experience researching childhood development as it relates to sports, coaching, and parenting. Her first influential development was the creation of the Little Ninja program. Through the years she has re-defined the children’s martial arts market with inno View Detailed Information


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Kim Stahl

Ms. Stahl has trained in various martial arts over the past twenty-five years. She holds kyu-level rank in two styles of Karate, substantial training with firearms, and has studied Tai Chi and Systema as well as some exposure to several other arts. She holds a 3rd Dan, and Instructor rank in her View Detailed Information


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Teri Tom

Teri Tom writes Black Belts monthly Jeet Kune Do Source column. Tom is the only female jeet kune do instructor who trained under first-generation Bruce Lee student Ted Wong.
She is a board member of the Bruce Lee Foundation and is the author of The Straight Lead: The Core of Bruce Lee's Jun View Detailed Information


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Lilly Urquidez Rodriguez

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Nassim Varasteh

With a blend of determination, confidence and years of intense training, Nassim Varasteh's achievements in Karate have captured the attention of competitors, judges and even the Canadian Prime Minister. Nassim began her karate training at the age of six under the instruction of her father, Gra View Detailed Information


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Cheryl Wheeler

After all, she has etched a legacy of herself and is enshrined in the Black Belt Hall of Fame, as a 2nd degree black belt and a former world kickboxing champion.
Standing tall with a bold sense of adventure and a curiously intriguing capacity for experiencing something new, she took up Yosh View Detailed Information


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