you want to try something called “karate?” When asked
this by her mother in April, 1972, Kathy Mercks
Kruisenga never dreamed what an important part of her
life Wado-Ryu Karate would become.
After a couple of months of trying the women classes in
Columbia, Kathy felt she needed a challenge. Seeking
out her instructor, Ron Johnson, she obtained permission
to try the men’s classes, which included a workout under
Shihan Cecil Patterson once a week. She never turned
back and convinced her instructor that women needed to
train with men. Upon training 4 to 5 days a week, she
advanced to the rank of Sho-Dan in December, 1974.
Continuing her training under Shihan Patterson, Kathy
competed for several years and has a room full of
trophies to remind her of the “old” days.
Kathy has been fortunate to attend numerous seminars
under the tutelage of various instructors including
O’Sensei Hironori Ohtsuka, Shihan Cecil Patterson,
Senseis John Patterson, Wayne Tyler, David Deaton,
Taylor Hayden, Bill Herzer, and “Superfoot” Bill
Wallace. During one seminar, a special moment occurred
when Kathy was selected to spar with a senior black
belt, who was being tested. O’Sensei Ohtsuka recognized
and commented about Kathy to Shihan Patterson. Soon
afterward she was advanced to Ni-Dan. Kathy now holds
the rank of Roku Dan which was awarded to her in 1995 by
Kathy has taught in several Wado-Ryu schools in Columbia
during her career and currently attends weapons classes
under the instruction of Tommy Jones, 4th
Dan, who is proficient in the bo, escrima, sai, and
several other weapons. Kathy holds a degree in
education and teaches 8th grade science. She
and her husband, Stan, reside in Columbia, Tennessee.
She works with the Karate for Christ schools and their
extremely dedicated instructors who use Wado-Ryu karate
as an outreach program in various churches.