Now a Certified IKCA Instructor and co-owner of Old School Kenpo, Jennifer Thomas spearheaded the development of Basic Yet Brutal: Women’s Self-Defense to expand her and her partner’s outreach to women and girls from every walk of life. In every class she strives to empower her students—physically, mentally, and spiritually.

A lifelong athlete, Ms. Thomas began training as a competitive gymnast at age six. She has also taught and performed on dance teams and cheerleading squads since a young age. It wasn’t until later in life, however, that she finally found her true passion.

Entering John Barnett’s KICKS Kenpo studio, she thought Karate might provide a good athletic workout. Plus, she had always wanted to try martial arts. “It was on that long list of Things to Do Before I Die. ”

Within a few months, she was hooked.

Over the next few years, she trained vigorously in group classes and under the personal tutelage of Tony Glorioso. Through this intense training, she was able to achieve more than she ever imagined possible, and at an astonishing pace. Receiving her Black Belt in October of 2005 was the achievement she considers the greatest and most meaningful of her entire life.

“For me, the main challenge of Kenpo is not physical, but mental. Pursuing Kenpo helped me to transform my life—to become more effective and fearless in every area.”