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Fit Folks: Grandmother earns fifth-degree black belt

Staff Writer
Austin 360

I've been a martial artist for 18 years. I started just to have something fun to do with my children. Now I'm a 50-year-old grandmother who just earned her fifth-degree black belt from Grand Master Ernie Reyes at a grueling, five-day exam in California. I stay fit with a weekly regimen of teaching three high-intensity cardio-kickboxing classes, training two days in mixed martial arts, doing two days of strength training with hand weights or bands, and taking two hot yoga classes. I'm the co-owner of Ernie Reyes World Martial Arts in Steiner Ranch.

Training in martial arts completely changed my body and my mind. It's a wonderful stress reliever and a great confidence booster.

My favorite part of training is working with other women who have gotten out of shape or aren't feeling a lot of self-confidence. After a very short time, they are feeling fit and strong, and it's hugely rewarding to be a part of that transformation. Two years ago, I had a total knee replacement on my right knee, so if I can stay fit, anyone can do it.

We're looking for Central Texans who keep fit with interesting activities. Tell us — in 200 words or fewer — about yours. If you have a photograph, include that as well. Send your name, age and contact information to Pam LeBlanc, Austin American-Statesman, 305 S. Congress Ave., Austin, TX, 78704, or email it to pleblanc@statesman.com.