OHANA KENPO KARATE ASSOCIATION
Lee Braden - Communications Director
At age 18, the day following her high school graduation, Lee Braden transplanted with her family from coastal North Carolina to rural Missouri. This relocation caused her to spend quite a bit of time at the local library where she discovered a flier on the bulletin board advertising karate lessons at a nearby community center.
Lee’s journey on the mat began on July 21, 2008; in her first school located in Cameron, Missouri. She would spend the first 3 years of her training in that school. She would meet many outstanding individuals that would inspire her to jump wholeheartedly into Kenpo and embrace the lifelong journey it had to offer.
In the summer of 2011 Lee along with her partner, Gene Braden, embarked on a new chapter and decided they should consider opening a school of their own. Mr. Braden had recently received his 3rd Degree Black Belt promotion and was ready to take the next step as Head Instructor of a school. On September 26, 2011, they opened the doors to Scholar and Warrior Kenpo Academy in Downtown St. Joseph, MO. Since then operations have continued on a weekly basis serving the St. Joseph community and continuing to keep the flame of Kenpo burning.
In Grand Junction, Colorado on March 18, 2017, Lee, to her great surprise, received her promotion to 1st Degree Black Belt. This day has gone on record as being the best moment of her life as it represents not only her transformation from White Belt to Black Belt; but also, an emotional and physical transformation that she experienced as well.
Throughout her training time, Lee has had the honor to share the mat with many high ranking Kenpoists, which is her favorite way to see Kenpo. Because it is such a unique and tailored art, Kenpo is best experienced when learning through multiple lenses.
Kenpo to Lee is the main artery of her entire life. She shares that all major portions of her life and facets of herself can be traced back to Kenpo. From life-altering relationships and friendships to discovering and establishing the type of person she wanted to be, to how she could serve her community while also nurturing her soul. All stem from her time spent in Kenpo.
Lee has been an enthusiastic member of the Ohana Kenpo Karate Association since 2011 and looks forward to serving the Association and the Kenpo community in her new role.