Renee: A Female Instructor's Perspective

Two years ago, Renee enrolled at Calasanz and was amazed at the results of his program. 'In terms of overall conditioning," says Renee, " I have reshaped my body in ways I never could through regular aerobic exercise. An added bonus that Renee was not expecting, was the dramatic improvement in her strength.

Calasanz saw potential talent in Renee's abilities as a martial artist as well as an instructor. "Renee has been a tremendous help to the school," says Calasanz. "In the last two years, I have watched Renee emerge into a high quality instructor. I was increasingly amazed with her capabilities and that is why I have paid close attention to every detail of her training. She had the raw talent to learn my system and the ability deliver it to other students." Renee taught aerobics in the past and had learned how to develop a rapport with her students. "What I like most about teaching is the feeling of accomplishment when you see students improve," says Renee. "I get great satisfaction from seeing people succeed.'

Renee has noticed differences in the way men and women train and how there goals are different. Calasanz's student body is equally split between men and women, so instructors have to be aware of the gender issues that arise in teaching the martial arts. "Men want a tough workout, so I emphasize traditional techniques, weight training, combinations and more punching," she says. "Women, on the other hand, like to spend more time learning the exercises and are interested in developing long, lean, and toned muscles."

As a female instructor, Renee has at times had to convince male students of her skill and abilities. "At first some are skeptical," she says. "Once they see my technique and coaching abilities, I quickly gain their respect."

Renee is currently learning the Shaolin Long Fist form. "There are a lot of crouching movements in this form which makes it particularly challenging for a person like me who stands 5'10''," says Renee. "What I have found working on this form over time has helped me improve my balance and softened my blocking abilities."

This year was marked a milestone in Renee's martial art career in that she earned her black belt. Renee doesn't see her black belt as an end, but rather a beginning of advanced level training. "What I like about this place the most is that there is always a challenge. I come in some days and feel like a beginner and other days it just comes naturally."

"Calasanz has you incorporate the use of light hand weights in some of his exercises, and I was astounded to see how my strength level had increased without the use of heavy weights."