Athlete Spotlight: Kelly Rife, Karate

By: Abby Murphy 



After getting out of the military, many veterans struggle with PTSD, anxiety, depression and more. They are recommended to try and be active as a way of dealing with it. For veteran Kelly Rife, she found her anxiety reliever through karate. In 2009 Rife turned to karate and has never looked back.

Rife loves karate because it helps her mentally and physically, but her favorite part about it is all the friends she makes.

Rife says, "At every tournament, I seem to make new friends. Not just the kind of friends you see once a year, but some of my best friends that I know I can call any time to talk and they will answer. I have somewhere to stay for almost every tournament I attend because of all the friends I have made."

Rife said that having all these friends is very motivating. They help push and keep up each other’s spirits. In 2013 when Rife was in Cancun for a competition, she was rooming with a seventy-year-old lady.

She said she just looked at her and thought, “If she can do karate at her age, I can at mine. It is so great and inspiring to see older women doing this.”

Rife appreciates how everyone in karate is always helping out and engaging in positive sportsmanship. The atmosphere in karate is just as good at helping Rife with her anxiety as it is with her actual physical activity.

As much as karate has helped Rife, it has not always been the easiest. In 2012 she blew out her ACL and was told she was not going to be able to compete again. Rife took that as a challenge. Just one year later she was back to competing. It was a lot of work but Rife never gave up. She spent that year building up her strength and working hard to be sure she was going to be as good as new.

Five years later Rife is still training hard and competing. She has black belts in four different styles of martial arts. Rife has begun getting more involved with Jujitsu and has greatly enjoyed it.

She explains why and her goals for the future, "It is much more physically demanding so I have liked the challenge. Getting my blue belt in Jujitsu was very exciting for me because it was so different. Now I want to eventually earn my black belt in Jujitsu and am working towards that."

Rife also wants to open her own school one day. Karate and martial arts have done so much for her; she wants to be able to pass that along to others.

To compete with Kelly Rife check out Karate.



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