Jenni, Australia

This week, ‘GKR Stories’ is shining a light on domestic and family violence and the impact it has on survivors. Jenni courageously shares her story to help others struggling to find the light at the end of the tunnel. We are grateful to Jenni for allowing us to share her story.

**Content Warning – this story describes details of Jenni’s personal experience with domestic violence


“Telling my story is something that is still very difficult for me to do, but it is necessary for my own personal healing and for raising awareness so that others can find the light at the end of the tunnel that I found.

Twenty-eight years ago, I enrolled in karate with GKR for my fitness and self-defence. I met my ex-partner at that time and was with him for 24 years. Ironically, he made sure that I quit karate before achieving my black belt. Over those years, he belittled me and my children and made me feel worthless and useless. He exploded in fits of rage and smashed things around him and us. We were scared, but he conditioned us to feel as though we were lucky to have him. Domestic or family violence comes in many forms and unfortunately, I experienced almost every single one.
I was constantly put down in front of family, friends, students and in private. On one occasion when I tried to call for help, he smashed both the landline phone and my mobile phone. He took my karate certificates, my treasured belt signed by Kancho and other GKR memorabilia, including my uniforms and set fire to them. Karate was very important to me, anyone who knows me knows that it is my passion. I loved teaching and loved my training even more. I ended up quitting karate and didn’t train for 15 years. Everything about my life became about him. I was miserable, defeated and felt worthless.

Eventually, my partner allowed me to try karate again alongside him. Little did I realise that walking back into a GKR dojo was about to change my life. My Sensei (Dave), asked me about my goals. I didn’t have any. He quickly realised that everything I did, I was doing for my partner more so than myself. Sensei Dave and a fellow student’s parent (Daz) noticed that I was experiencing verbal abuse from my partner during class. He would also try and make me stop training or take breaks away from the class. Sensei Dave and Daz, who became my closest friends intercepted and protected me at every opportunity they had. They showed belief in me and helped build my confidence. My fellow student, Axel who was only 16 years old stood with me in class and pushed me to believe in myself and to keep going. These friends convinced me to stand up for myself, knowing I had them as a safety net to call on if ever it was needed.

Sensei Dave set a goal for me to get my Shodan-ho. He introduced me to Personal Development and recommended books for me to read. In December of 2022, I had the amazing and unforgettable day of grading. Finally, my goal was being achieved after 28-years. At my grading, the person who was supposed to be my biggest supporter, my partner, told everyone around him that I was useless, that I didn’t deserve the belt and that I wouldn’t even be there if it wasn’t for him. Once I was presented with my certificate and belt, he announced loudly in front of everyone ….. ‘That belt means nothing; I can still put your head through a wall’. Again, I felt threatened, and humiliated. He also tried to stop me from celebrating and even demanded that I take the belt off. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

From that day on, I gradually started to stand up to him. It was the scariest time of my life. For the next 3 months I grew more confident. I trained harder and became stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. My friends and Sensei Dave stayed close to make sure I was protected and that I felt safe. Then, finally after 24 years, I got the courage to tell him enough was enough. I told him to leave. My body and my voice shook but I looked him straight in the face with my son standing by me and I told him to leave. Within a week he packed his things and left.

I have since graded to Shodan, I train, teach, and I have also become a Membership Consultant part-time for GKR. GKR and karate empowered me to change my situation. It wasn’t just the karate or the techniques. It wasn’t just the benefits you obtain from karate, although they played a big part. It was the family and lifelong friendships fostered in this environment that gave me the security, confidence, belief, and most of all courage to change it.

I’m free now to live my life and enjoy and appreciate each day.

Speak. Even if your voice shakes.

Help is available.”


Watch Jenni tell her story in the video below…

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic and family violence and needs to talk with someone call 1800-RESPECT (1800 737 732) in Australia, 0508 744 633 Shine Helpline in New Zealand or 0808 2000 247 for the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline in the United Kingdom.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger call 000 in Australia, 111 in New Zealand or 999 in the United Kingdom.


We want to hear your story

We’re inviting members to reach out to us and share how joining GKR Karate has been instrumental in crafting their personal tales of inspiration, transformation, or courage.

If you wish to share your story or that of a friend or family member, please click here.

Why GKR Karate?

GKR creates the right environment for our members to train in. Although we promote self defence and fitness, our style also fosters positive values, confidence, discipline, focus and well being. GKR teaches you not only how to punch and kick, it teaches you to be a better person.

We encourage students of all ages, from all walks of life to join our club and be part of the supportive ‘family’ that is GKR Karate.

  • Self Defence
  • Weight Loss
  • Focus
  • Family
  • Respect
  • Friendships

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Have a question or require further information? Contact us today.

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