go, i was the youngest of four kids. There was a small dojo near where my parents bowled on
Friday night. I would go over to the dojo and watch their classes while my parents bowled. I
again wanted to pursue the martial arts, my Dad would tell me no, that isn't for girls, and the
money would be better spent on other things. The desire was always there and not until I
became a wife and mother was I able to fulfill this dream.

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

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.
May 2015 promoted  rank of Nandan by UMAA

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

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