There was a small dojo near where my parents bowled on Friday night in the early 1960's. I would go over to the dojo and
watch their classes while my parents bowled and I would practice what I watched, we could not afford lesson at this time
and not until I became a wife and mother was I able to fulfill this dream to train in the martial arts

One of my greatest personal pleasures of my martial arts training was being able to share this experience with my
husband, Gary, and daughter, Christina. We started our training as a family  under the instruction of Grandmaster Al Smith
at the Red Dragon Karate School. The reason we decided to learn the art was due to our teenage daughter getting
teased by the other girls in school. We did not want her to hurt those giving her a difficult time, but we did want her to
learn how to defend herself along with increasing her self-esteem.

Our daughter has not continued her training, but since taking the introductory course that was offered, we were hooked,
and never lost interest. My husband and I started the training together, received a lot of our promotions at the same time,
operate our dojo together, and even perform our full time job together. There isn't much, we don't do together as a
couple, so I suppose if one of us had started karate and the other hadn't, we probably would not have reached this point
in our lives. I truly believe there is no such thing as a coincidence, everything happens for a reason and there is a reason
for everything that happens. This was meant to be.

When I first started training when I was in my 30's, I first wondered how I would find the time to practice, now I wonder
what I would have done with my time if the martial arts did not become my way of life. I trained two nights a week, and
took private lessons to help with my learning, as it sometimes took me longer than the younger students to remember and
be able to perform the techniques properly. This made my training more worthwhile. I was able to prove to myself, and
others that I could do it, and that no one is ever too old to start karate lessons.

If someone had told me that I would compete in tournaments, and someday even be a judge, I would have told them
they were crazy. And if someone one day told me that I would be a black belt, I would have said, "that will never happen,
not to me, plus I am too old". Well, look at me now; I am a 7th degree black belt  and now owning my own martial arts
dojo, and instructing my own students and black belts. I guess I wasn't too old after all.

Many people believe that martial arts training is about punching, kicking, blocking, fighting and breaking boards. My
favorite aspect of teaching the martial arts is receiving a new student that is shy, uncoordinated or has learning
disabilities, being able to help them, teach them and watching them blossom. Parents have thanked us for reinforcing
positive values and providing an environment that fosters better relationships at home and in the community. It is such a
reward to see martial arts make a difference in a person's life. I myself was a very shy person when I first started my training.

We started Golden Dragon Karate School in 2002, we are the only dojo in Alpha, NJ. We teach Matsumura Okinawa
Shorin Ryu style of karate.

We are life members of the Universal Martial Arts Association, and I am the New Jersey State Representative.  We are also
members of the World Karate Union, the International Federation of jujitsu, World  Black Belt , and Okinawa Hozon Kai,
where Yoshimatsu Akamine is the President, as of this time, I am the only female member of the Hozon Kai..

The awards I received:
September 14, 2001 IAMA "Outstanding Martial Arts Female of the Year" from Shihan Gary Alexander.
June 29, 2002 WKU "Outstanding Contribution to the Martial Arts" from Sensei Frank Tasetano. 2005 "Bushido Award "
from Soke Michael DePasquale Jr.  
January 2006 Action Martial Arts  "Dedication to the Martial Arts" from Master Alan Goldberg.
October 21, 2006 AMAA "Female Shorin Ryu Instructor of the Year" from Master Jesse Bowen. September 29, 2007
UMAA "Regional Instructor of the Year" from Shihan Frank Williams.  
June 28, 2008 WKU "Outstanding School of the Year."
September 5, 2009 UMAA "Bronze Life Achievement Award" from Shihan Frank Williams.  November 14, 2009 IFOJJ
"Shoto Award " from Soke Michael DePasquale Jr.
November 21, 2009 IAMA " Matsumura Shorin Ryu Female Master of the Year" from Shihan Gary Alexander.   
December 15, 2009 I was named "UMAA State Director of the Year for 2009" by  Shihan Frank Williams.
December 29, 2009 I was appointed to the UMAA Renshi Board of Directors by Shihan Frank Williams.
May 21, 2011,  I was awarded Female Matsumura Shorin Ryu instructor of the year at "Legends of the Martial Arts" hall of
fame
November 17, 2012 IAMA Matsumura Seito Hozon Kai Sensei of the year for 2012
September 23, 2015, I was appointed to the UMAA Board of Advisors
May 21, 2016 Who's who international hall of fame presented by GJ Torres.
April 1, 2016 presented with Life Membership to International Okinawan Budo-Kai
July 2017 Inducted into the S.O.B.B.A. Society of Black Belts Association by Dr. Christopher  Viggiano

I received my promotions up to and including 3rd degree black belt from Shihan Al Smith.  Since being with the UMAA
and Shihan Williams, he has promoted me to 4th degree black belt, May 5, 2005 I was given the rank of Renshi, a
teaching certification.  
June 1, 2006 rank of Godan, 5th degree black belt.  June 1, 2011 rank of 6th degree (rokudan) black belt.
August 11, 2011 title of Kyoshi presented from Yoshimatsu Akamine Sensei Okinawa.
January 2014 I was given the title of Shihan from Hanshi Matthew Molineux
May 2015 promoted  rank of Nandan by UMAA

I have also trained with Soke Michael Depasquale Jr. in  Japanese Jujitsu in 2005-2006

Spring of 2008 I started back competing in Karate tournaments.  What a great feeling to be able
to do this again at my age, proving you really are not too old to do martial arts.

I have gone to Okinawa with Gary to train every year since 2009.  While in Okinawa we train almost everyday  with
Yoshimatsu Akamine Sensei, our instructor.  One never stops learning or training.
Proving Martial Arts Training is not only for the Young
Sensei Polly B. Melick 7th degree Black Belt
Student of Yoshimatsu Akamine Sensei of Okinawa
e-mail: goldendragonkarate@verizon.net