As the manager of a karate school in Roswell, Georgia in 1989, Kerry Kollmar
got a phone call one day that changed his
life.The distraught mother on the other end of the line expressed to Kerry
the frustration she
was feeling over not being able to find a karate school that was willing to teach karate to a group of junior high school children with disabilities, including her
son who had Down's Syndrome.It just so happened that Kerry
was looking for a volunteer opportunity at the time and had a long history of working with people with disabilities. Kerry
began with a 10-session, experimental karate course at the junior high school, which proved to be more than just fun for the kids.It seemed that karate was a tremendously beneficial, virtually therapeutic activity for them.Their hand/eye coordination improved, their muscle tone increased and, more than anything, their self-esteem shot through the roof.So, Kerry
took on another class and another, and on and on.
One night while cooking dinner in his
kitchen, without any conscious wondering or searching, the words "Martial Hearts
" blew into Kerry's head.Those words seemed to fit, to a "T", the work he
was doing with disabled kids.Shortly thereafter, Kerry
job at the studio to form his
own company and started teaching martial arts full-time.
Not long after that, Kerry
started noticing that more than a few women were approaching him, wanting to learn "self-defense".Being male and not knowing any better, his
response was usually to suggest that they sign up for martial arts classes, assuming that would satisfy them.It didn't.As it turned out, most women were not at all interested in studying the martial arts for a number of years in order to feel safer in their lives.
But they sure were interested in feeling safer in their lives.So, Kerry
wife, Maureen, did several months of research into two main areas: 1) the distinction between traditional physical techniques taught in martial arts systems and simple, basic self-defense techniques and 2) the issue of "violence against women".In the first area, they found many easy-to-learn, powerful techniques that could be implemented without years of practice.And what they discovered in the researching of violence against women shocked and appalled them.It was then that Kerry
understood what those women were looking for when they asked to be taught "self-defense".
They set to work on creating what became The Women's Course: A Self-defense and Empowerment Seminar, hoping that, if they did it right, there would maybe be demand enough for four or five courses a year.When, in the 2nd week of January, 1992, after weeks of tireless efforts at enrolling women in the course, Kerry
stood before the first group of only four women, his
enthusiasm was, to say the least, tempered.
...Kerry KollmarKerry Kollmar is the President and founder of Martial Hearts, Inc., a Roswell, GA based self-defense organization committed to stopping violence against women and children.
Named the 1998 Crime Prevention Practitioner of the Year by the GA Crime Prevention Association
powerful seminars to schools, civic groups and corporations throughout the United States.He
is self-defense consultant to both The Shepherd Center
, teaching safety workshops for para- and quadriplegics as well as the Atlanta Center for the Visually Impaired
, for whom he
, Dr. Wendy David and Scott McCall created a powerful self-defense course for blind and visually impaired people called Safe Without Sight.A book of the same name, authored by Kollmar
, David and McCall was released by National Braille Press
in June of 1998.
...Kollmar is a certified rape crisis councilor and works with all five of the metro Atlanta Rape Crisis Centers as a volunteer and staff trainer, on their speakers bureaus and as a fundraising partner and event sponsor.He is also a black belt martial arts instructor.