Blog Martial Arts

How the Martial Arts changed my life!

I could talk for hours about how the martial arts changed me, but here is a brief version!

I was born the oldest of 6 children.  My parents were good parents, but I was a shy and timid child to a fault.  I wouldn’t look or talk to anyone.  When I was 12, I decided I wanted to do karate.  I have no idea where the idea came from, but walked to the YMCA and asked about starting.  The lady at the counter said girls don’t do karate and told me what it would cost.  I don’t remember the cost, but knew my babysitting money would not be enough, so I walked home a little defeated.

4 years later I went to a karate tournament.  When I saw the fighting, I was hooked!  It seemed like a win, win situation, I get to learn how to fight, could compete, and my parents would give me some freedom as I would now be able to defend myself!  In addition I had a job so I could afford it!  So I signed up at the YMCA, and started training under Michael Bailey and Steve Ross.

To say it was hard would be an understatement.  Mr. Bailey clapped his hands and everyone lined up.  You didn’t speak, just followed the instructors commands. Although there were a few women in class, it was a man’s sport.  My parents always said I was stubborn, and perhaps that was the reason I would not quit.

Because I was shy and timid, karate was perfect for me.  I could train in a group and rarely have to talk to anyone.  Although I was a slow learner, it took me about 6 months to learn my first kata, I was in control of how hard I worked.   It still took me a long time to be confident enough to yell, especially when performing by myself.

I believe karate is the best thing I could have done to become confident.  It didn’t happen overnight, but it changed me.  I learned to believe in myself and developed a strong sense of self worth.  I have learned to face the things that frighten me, and work harder to improve.

The martial arts have changed over the years.  Some say it’s not hard enough anymore, but I believe it is just more accepting for women, children and older adults, so they can train at a pace that works for them.  I believe in the power of the martial arts and have watched it change the lives of thousands in my 40 years at Bailey’s Karate!


  • Sensei Vicki Gillen


Bailey’s Karate School in Rome has been serving Rome and the surrounding areas since 1980. Our programs have helped thousands of students feel better about themselves and perform better at school, work, and in life. Bailey’s Karate offers award winning programs for ages 4-70. All programs focus on building self confidence, discipline and leadership qualities with an emphasis on academic achievement for those in school. Classes will improve strength and flexibility and reduce stress. All students develop age appropriate conflict resolution skills to become more confident and assertive.

Schedule your trial program now!  315-339-2570