Robin King’s achievements in martial arts have greatly benefited the Jackson Center area community, as well as herself. Her story is as inspiring as is the many lives she has touched with her knowledge in kung fu and tai’ chi.
The Stoneboro area woman was 21, working a night shift and making many wrong choices in her life. She said she had a bad feeling about how things were going.
Her brother told her he was taking kung fu classes in Franklin, and she knew then this was something she wanted to do, too.
Her first morning class, January 1982, was in a church and taught by Sifu (or “teacher”) E. Harris.
“Things were so strange that they showed us. I never thought of any martial art before. i just went to the class,” she said.
She realized that gradually she was learning more and more. Her teacher would tell the class stories of people in the arts and how it became a part of you.
“One starts thinking about how the teacher is moving. Does it mean something?” she said.
King said attaining the white belt is about the best, and one can always tell when there is a white belt in the house: They can’t keep the smiles off their faces.
She recalls another story from Sifu. He told the class that only one in 100 students stay in the arts. “Wham, like a freight train running through the back of my head, (was,) ‘I will be one of the 100,’” she said.
Learning sometimes came quickly to the new student, but there were times that she just didn’t get it. She would look around the class thinking others seemed to know so much more. She admired the students of higher rank, wishing she could just move like them.
Then one day, she was in the front row and she wondered, “Where did the other students go?”
More than two decades ago she began learning tai’ chi. She had started several times before, but it just didn’t stick, she said; this time was different.
There is no rank in tai’ chi, only a beginning. Sometimes the only way to know how far you have come as a student is when a new student arrives, she related in another story from Sifu. Something happens Ð you feel better, you move with ease, things are just better.
Now, King is the teacher with her own Stoneboro School of Kung Fu and Tai’ Chi.
King said a student once asked her, “What is the purpose? There is no show to perform, no games to play, no end. Just go to class.”
The instructor pondered the question. “I could fill a book with reasons. For me, it is just who I am,” she said.
King offers kung fu classes for kids ages 5 to 12 on Monday evenings; for those age 12 and up, Monday and Wednesday evenings; and tai’ chi classes Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings, all at her Stoneboro School of Kung Fu and Tai’ Chi.
For more than a decade, she has taught a weekly tai’ chi Wednesday afternoon class at McQuiston Center by the Park, Sandy Lake. Over the years these students have included younger and middle-aged adults along with senior citizens, with her eldest student who came faithfully in her late 90’s.
To reach King’s school, call 724-376-7201.
World Wide Tai’ Chi Day is April 24. On that day, tai’ chi will be done in parks throughout the world.