I’m originally from Michigan’s upper peninsula, but my family moved to the lower when I started school. My passion was art.
Design and marketing enabled me to support myself. For this I needed the big city, and I moved to Detroit. In Art, your portfolio above all else, is what opens doors and I found myself working at various agencies before starting my own Ad Agency at only 19 years old.
Being a young woman in a big city quickly proved to be dangerous at times. It became apparent that I needed to learn some self defense.
Fast forward a decade and a lot of hard work later and I am not only still training, but teaching self defense. In advertising, you can influence customers’ buying decisions. In teaching martial arts, I could influence lives. Students gained confidence, became empowered and followed the ancient martial arts code of conduct: Honor, respect, integrity, perseverance, self control and indomitable spirit. Teaching martial arts gave my life more purpose.I had earned several black belts, competed in different countries, and my master felt it was time to take it to the next level. He took me to South Korea to learn from the world’s most elite martial artists - the The Korean Tigers, known as the K-Tigers nowadays. I only went to watch and learn, but I ended up being offered a position on the team. This was an incredible opportunity and honor. Against the advice of my friends and family and every person I knew, I accepted. I could not live with the “what if” of a lost opportunity. I returned briefly to the states to sell my vehicles, put my house up for sale, passed along my advertising client accounts and dropped my pets off at my parents’ house. Living in South Korea in the 90’s, before social media and cell phones was a huge culture shock. I stood out from the others and my Korean Tiger teammates nicknamed me “the White Tiger”. It was the adventure of a lifetime. After a few years, the skills and traditions I had learned in Korea combined with my advertising and business background, put me in a position to make a huge impact in the martial arts world. From my own demographic study, I selected the Triangle area North Carolina as the location for my own Martial Arts School.
Fast forward two+ decades later, my school “White Tiger” had grown into the largest and most successful martial arts school in the world, earning numerous titles and international awards. I had the opportunity to teach seminars around the world, learned from some amazing instructors, watched my own students have successful competition careers, served as a bodyguard for several Governors, politicians and celebrities. One contract led to meeting the singer of a famous local band called Rey Norteno and later resulted in my husband, Fred Huerta.
Early on in my business, I had selected students to train to be future leaders and one day take the reins. After almost 25 years of running White Tiger, I felt it was my students' time to shine, and I passed the school on to them.
Last year Black Belt Magazine named me “the Woman of the Year”. My retirement was announced in that article.Over the years, my husband, now a solo act, continued to write and perform his music. He also learned martial arts. Last year, he was certified as Master level for the Korean Hapkido Federation in South Korea.In retirement, we moved the Puerto Vallarta. We started a martial arts class in the grass, on the beach at the Grand Venetian. Classes for Taekwondo, Hapkido, Wing Chun Kung fu and self defense are offered every Monday and Thursday at 6:30pm.
Training in Martial Arts is empowering, come see what you can achieve - first class is free!