TANYA Z. JONES
My name is Eddie Morales and welcome to Martialforce.com
Online Martial Arts Magazine. I want to introduce our readers to a person
that has been training for many years and as a result progressed in life by
using the martial arts as her
core strength. As you will read she has climbed the latter of
success with the will and confidence of a true warrior. I want to introduce
you to Tanya Z. Jones, who believes in helping the community and giving back
to those in need. She finds no task too difficult because of her adapt and
overcome attitude. We here a Martialforce.com hope you enjoy this interview.
Interview by Eddie Morales
Where are you originally from and where did you grow up?
TANYA Z. JONES: I was born and raised in New Haven, CT until the age
Martialforce.com: What is your current
TANYA Z. JONES: I currently work for the United States Air Force
Reserve on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBM-DL) as a Human Resource
Technician. In addition to my full time position, I am the Martial Arts
instructor in Pemberton New Jersey where I teach Nisei Goju Ryu. In my
spare time I also volunteer in my community to teach basic self-defense,
workshops and seminars.
When was your first introduction to the Martial Arts, what
Style of Karate, and who was your instructor/s?
TANYA Z. JONES: I was introduced to the Martial Arts at the age of
eleven. A friend invited me to come watch his karate class. The dojo
(Training Hall) was called Dynamic University (Dynamic U) located on Park
Street in Downtown New Haven. There I met a female named Breeze, she was
amazing, my inspiration. I said to myself "I want to be like her". I called
my mother and she enrolled me that day. The style was Shotokan with a mix
of Akido and a flare of Jujitsu. My instructor was Sensei George E. Brumsey,
currently known as Professor Jahad Shabazz.
Do you believe the practice of Kata is useful and important
and if yes or no, why?
TANYA Z. JONES: The practice of Kata is very important, there is no
karate without Kata. Kata teaches you the dance of timing and rhythm. As
progress and understand the movements, the Bunkai (application of technique)
are revealed and you become the Kata, it is engrained in your spirit. Your
focus is increased and you are able to see the opponents you are simulating
in the fight. Once you reach this degree of mastery, it is said that you
have 'come out the dance', per Peter Urban. Sensei, A. D. Lingo., 8 dan,
Chief Instructor of the New Jersey State Black Belt Association, is quoted
to have said that 'Kata is the distillation of past masters' secret
movements'. The Kata is the legacy of the original Martial arts; it
simulates the martial movements of our predecessors.
Do you practice weaponry and if so, what weapons and from
whom did you gain this knowledge?
TANYA Z. JONES:
Yes, I do practice weaponry, sword, seigo, bo, sai, jo, nunchaku, naginata,
ekku (Oar). I came to really appreciate kobudo under the tutelage of Sensei
Lingo. My weapon of choice is the sword
for which I am becoming known for thanks to Sensei Lingo. In fact Fairview
dojo host an annual Twenty First Century Samurai seminar that we are very
proud of. Its held the third week of May of course in celebration of Musashi
Myamoto. Next I would say is the seigo which is the nylon rope most often
seen strapped to the samurais' back you can't have one without the other.
The Bo of course is an extension of arm. The Jo is most beautiful and the
only weapon to beat the sword by Musashi Myamoto. I love the rhythm and
sound and speed of the nunchaku. The naginata and the bo I love the flow and
you can add the ekku in that flow.
Do you feel that Martial Arts played an important role with
who you are today?
TANYA Z. JONES: Without a doubt! The discipline of Martial Arts has
taught me so many things, from something as simple as how to breathe
correctly, to meditation, and the use of self control. My training has
taught me patience with my children, an acceptance of all people and
peacefulness to my spirit that I would not have been able to achieve without
it. I am recognized as a mentor for all types of individuals, in the dojo
and out. Having the discipline of the Martial Arts, my mentors and my
instructors has helped to shape me into the teacher that I am today.
What are your thoughts on cross training in regards to other
styles of Martial Arts?
TANYA Z. JONES: Cross training to other styles broadens your martial
skills. However, I suggest that before you branch out, you be firmly
grounded to the style you practice and define yourself. Know your legacy
and what was taught from our predecessors. You must be careful not to be
like "The Wind" going here and there and never achieving "The Way ". Master
Musashi talks about people being blown from place to place and looking for
grander, bigger and faster techniques. If you try to learn too many
techniques you can become mixed up. Do not be the 'Jack of all trades,
Master of none'. You can add to your style but be aware of the weaknesses
of that new style and understand that the trained practitioner is watching
like the "Fire" for defects and weakness which will be used against you.
Who do you feel influenced you the greatest, in Karate or
life in general and why?
TANYA Z. JONES: I draw my influence from several of my mentors and
instructors. Each of them has played an integral role in my development as
a martial artist. However, Professor Jahad Shabazz, was my greatest
influence. He taught me everything that it took to stay focused and give
back to society, not to be a quitter, not show pain and push through the
physical road-blocks. He taught me patience and how to teach. Kyoshi Wynn
taught me to watch people in my path and remember not everyone deserves my
trust. My past prepared me for my current journey with Sensie Lingo. He's
given me the tools to enhance my knowledge. For instance not to just wear
Kanji (Japanese character writing) on my gi as decoration but to be
intelligent enough to know the kanji and be able to write and most of all
recognize it where ever you see it written down. He placed on me the need to
understand the life and training of the predecessors, which has given me a
greater appreciation for the art and for that I am truly grateful.
Martialforce.com: Do you think
Tradition is important?
TANYA Z. JONES: Tradition is like a mighty oak tree with strong
roots. Tradition is very important as it is the stabilizer, the grounding,
of a system. It carries the weight of a strong legacy. It teaches the how,
why and when to, in any given situation or ceremony. It builds the way for
the future. It keeps the foundation pure, preventing it from dying.
would you say is your greatest achievement?
TANYA Z. JONES: Passing on my art is my greatest achievement.
However, my greatest tangible achievement is my Master's Thesis. I was
challenged to complete the thesis from my instructor Kyoshi David L. Wynn,
while under his guidance practicing Chinese Goju at Darlung Martial Arts in
Willingboro, New Jersey. That thesis is now a permanent document in the
Fairview dojo curriculum. Next I would say is the success story I received
from a woman from Thailand. She attended my yearly visiting Aupair safety
and self defense class in New Haven, Ct. This young woman was attacked
outside her home and due to the training she received from me, she was able
to fend off her attacker and save her life. She sent an e-mail to the
Aupairs organization and the e-mail was sent to me. I was very honored.
What is your Long or Short-term Goals in Martial Arts?
TANYA Z. JONES: My long time goal is to eventually own my own dojo
for which I have already named. On the short-term, I plan to continue doing
work in the community, for seniors and community centers. I will also
continue my goal to reach out to women who experience domestic violence,
helping them to empower themselves, reminding them that they are no longer
What would be your advice and guidance for a child,
youngster, or adult who is interested in starting training in the martial
TANYA Z. JONES: There are three things that have endured throughout
ages, which is medicine, religion and the martial arts. My advice would be
to determine your strengths and weakness. This will help to decide which
style of martial arts is best for your body type. I would let them know
that what is on T.V. is not reality. Ask yourself the question, ‘what am I
looking for'? What do I expect to gain from this type of training? I would
also remind them that martial arts is a way of life and not just something
to do in your free time. What is given to you, you give to others.
At this time I want to thank you for accepting this
interview and we here at Martialforce.com wish you future success in all
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