Tribute To Our Fallen Sister

MJS

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I'm posting this on behalf of my teacher, Brian Zawilinski


Tribute to our Fallen Sister

We have lost our friend, our sister in the Arts, of utmost importance, Frannie and Phil and have lost their Mother, some have lost their instructor. IMAF has lost one of its most highly skilled female instructors in the world . .

All of these roles have been fulfilled by one beautiful woman . . . Karen. After a very difficult battle with brain tumors that lasted just over a year, Karen passed away Monday morning (2/11). It was a very difficult year for Karen, her children, her family, and her friends/students. There were constant tests, assessments, adjustments to her treatments and medications, etc. As if the prognosis wasnt enough, those that visited her and stayed by her side had to contend with the uncertainty of the progression and effects of the tumors.

Throughout this ordeal, in typical Karen fashion, her concerns were not of herself, but everyone else around her. Jeanette Brook and I can attest to the fact that Karen knew she was being called home to none other than God himself. Karen placed her life in Gods hands several years ago and what a beautiful transformation it was to watch the effects of her faith growing stronger and stronger as time progressed. Karen is in a much better place now and is no longer suffering. She is at eternal rest and at peace. While it is very difficult to lose a loved one, a family member, or a friend, rest assured, Karen is safe in the arms of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Of the many things I would love to brag about regarding Karen, (aside from her love for life), one of the most profound strengths she had was her desire to learn our Teachers Art from the front lines and with no punches pulled. This doesnt just apply to her training in Modern Arnis, but more importantly to how much she loved life and her passion for people.

Many times over the years, I would be walking around during an IMAF workout and as I walked by Karen while she was training, she would ask me to demonstrate the technique or drill on her. I would oblige at about 50% intensity, only to have her ask me to do it harder. I obliged and cranked it up another 25% or so, only to have her once again . . . ask me to do it without holding back. Only after I executed the technique with enough force to warrant an audible gasp or yelp would she be content. Without fail, she would approach me later in the meekest of voices and apologize for being so insistent! Karen knew that one of the most important factors in learning a technique in Modern Arnis was to experience it first hand and at a very high level of speed/intensity.

I made the mistake of exchanging low level kicks with her (targeting the thigh) on one occasion, needless to say, I never made that mistake again. She was completely committed to what she was doing. She wanted to do it right, with conviction and good results, but she did it with a smile/concern that no one got hurt. This was one of the finest examples of what defined her as a martial artist she had a beautiful heart, intention, smile, and voice, yet she had the tenacity of a warrior. A masterful and powerful combination that positively impacted many people over the years. This would include traveling overseas to volunteer her time and compassion to those in need in third world countries.

As the years progressed, even though Karen was teaching her own group on a regular basis, and had attended dozens of IMAF events, she preferred to be labeled as a high-ranking student, rather than a veteran IMAF instructor. She shunned any kind of formal title and did so by choice. Karen my dear friend, on the mat, you were a lot better than you realized and off the mat, you were a beautiful human being.

Life has taught me that there are no words that can make anyone feel better while mourning the loss of a friend or family member. Life has also taught me to cherish the memories shared, the lessons learned, the bruises exchanged, and to never forget what an honor it was to have walked alongside our sister Karen in life and on our martial journey. . . While her accomplishments, skills, attitude, and demeanor were approaching very high levels on the mat, she had already mastered how one could live life putting the needs of others ahead of her own. . .

In celebration of Karens life and the time we shared with her here on earth, make it a point to do something good from your heart this week for someone else and/or get together with as many folks as you can and train, train, and train!!!!!!!

Karen Callahan, you will be missed, always remembered and loved by many. . . .



Warmest regards,
International Modern Arnis Federation (IMAF, LLC.)
Master of Tapi Tapi Brian Zawilinski
 
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MJS

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I had the chance to train with Karen at a few different Modern Arnis camps. She was always full of energy, more than willing to help someone if they had a question or problem with a technique. Her passion for the art was very obvious. She would also put 110% into everything she did.

RIP Karen
 

HenchmanNoNameTag

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How incredibly sad. Karen was an excellent teacher, training partner, and wonderful person to talk with. My first experience training with her was learning the bow-tie lock for the first time at a Michigan camp. (Talk about a hard lesson!)
Her energy was extremely contagious and fun to be around. RIP Karen, you will be missed.


-Henchman
 

Mark Lynn

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Very sad news.

I met Karen at the Texas Modern Arnis camps, she was a great student and workout partner. I even took home a counter that she did to us (my camp workout partner and I).

While doing the Left vs. Right Tapi drills when you captured your partner's stick and went to feed in the outside punyo as bait. Karen countered by ripping her stick right out of our hand by driving in under with her elbow to force her arm back and thus release our grip from the stick. Re chambering her stick and the re feeding the #12 punyo. My camp partner and I stayed up late in the night working on that technique, because it was so simple and it worked but you had to have great timing to pull it off, as I remember it.
 
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