Vey was interested in karate from a very young age, but she thought that the idea of training and competing with fighters was simply too intimidating for a young girl. It took her a long time to finally be confident enough to join a martial arts school. In fact, it was only after she took the bar exam that she found she could do such a thing. “Taking and passing the bar exam was the hardest thing I had done up to that point in my life. When I found out I passed, I realized that other things I considered to be unachievable actually were possible. So I fulfilled a childhood wish and started to train.”
Vey didn’t want to pay for a black belt, though, like some McDojos allow. She wanted to earn it. “I hopped around from a few martial arts schools in the area trying classes out, but none of them particularly appealed to me. I wanted a more traditional school. One day I found the Louisiana Karate Association. It was established in 1961 and the chief instructor, Sensei Mikami, was and still is the highest ranking Japan Karate Association master in the United States. He also won the All Japan Championship in both kata and kumite multiple times before coming to the United States. Everything I learned about the LKA showed it was a dojo of tradition and excellence. I realized the school was a perfect fit for me.”
“Training has been hard, but it has been completely worth it. Sensei is an amazing teacher his accomplishments are so inspiring. He has particularized our training to create a strong foundation in basic technique which is truly the defining characteristic of everything in karate. There’s just so much to learn and perfect in karate. Sensei has the ability to see everything that you are doing and he can identify the smallest movement you make that throws the rest of your technique off. Once he points it out, then the real work is on you to change it in yourself.”
“I needed every lesson he taught me to pass my shodan test this past June. I also think about the things he’s taught me when I am dealing with difficult attorneys,” Vey laughed.
Vey is also inspired by 9 year old Mahiro Takano who also trains in Shotokan karate and is quite the rising star. “I wish I had started karate at 7 or 8, because I think if I had done so, it wouldn’t have been as intimidating as I’d imagined. And young girls excelling in karate are so empowering. Just look at Mahiro. She says that you should always train like you are competing and put forth your best effort. That’s such a powerful mentality to have. There’s a lot I need to work on before my nidan examination- particularly my stance- but I try to train with Sensei in that manner. If you train like you’re competing, then the competition itself is just another training day and nothing can intimidate you.”