Chrissie has one of those most endearing of personalities, wherein she knows no stranger. Full of life, she throws herself heart and soul into whatever project she's involved in. At the moment, she's coaching and competing as part of a team for the Maestas Team Challenge in April, coaching the team going to Nationals in June, and trying to find time for her own training. Chrissie, who is a veteran competitor at Nationals, won a spot to World two years ago, along with another Wyoming team mate, DeeDee Connell. This year, they'll be joined by Chris Schulte, third dan; Amy Wilcox, 1st dan; Jennifer Lussier, Noel Konkler and Alexis LeValle.
Chrissie is every inch a lady, but she has her fun times as well. The first time I really noticed her was at one of my tests coming up through the ranks. As I was glancing nervously around Master Martin's dojang, trying desperately to find anything to think of except the upcoming ordeal, my gaze passed over her. It took a minute for my brain to register what my eyes had seen, and I remember distinctly the feeling of my head snapping back around at Mach 9 to focus on Chrissie. I grinned, totally forgetting about my terror as I looked at this lovely head of blond hair . . . which was liberally streaked with blue! It became a ritual for me everytime I tested to look for her. As she tested for 1st dan, I remember nodding with satisfaction when I noticed the tiny Roman Numeral "1" painted on her toes! Only Chrissie could pull it off with such panache . . .
She began practicing Taekwon-Do six years ago (my, how time flies, eh?). Here's why she started . . .
"I took a self-defense class that the black belts did. I loved it, and they invited me to a regular class. I was hooked! I love the challenge it gives me each day and each level/belt rank. You can continue to measure your progress . . . or lack of progress. You never stop growing or learning."
And as for the changes in her life or what benefits she's seen? "Wow! How can I sum this up? I am what you would call a free spirit. I love living life to its boundaries. TKD has given me disipline and guidance in my life. I would say I am very goal oriented now. But I still live life to its boundaries--isn't that the only way? Not to mention the wonderful friends I have made over the years.
"If you would have told me five years ago that I would be on Team USA and go to Australia, I would have giggled and smirked with an 'okay'. But with hard work, BIG dreams, determination and great instructors, that dream came true. While being the great experience it was with the womens Team USA bring home gold, silver and bronze medals, I must say the biggest lesson was in perseverance. I really had to take a hard lesson in what I wanted from TKD and what the future would hold. After a blown knee and broken kneecap (not once, but twice!), I had to ask 'is this really what I want?'. The road back held steep hills and low valleys, but through hard work and wonderful friends, I have come back very strong with a will and desire that is unmatched like any I have experienced before.
"With the great heros I have in my life who others see as ordinary, yet to me are extraordinary, propelling me forward, my goal is to be the best student, coach and friend that I can be."
So what makes Taekwon-Do fun for Chrissie? "100% the people!! TKD has brought wonderful people into my life. I enjoy training and spending time with them. I love how each day is a new challenge to kick harder, jump higher, or just to find your balance, and remember which is your right or left!"
Chrissie is an independent business woman, co-owning and operating a day-care center, Your First Steps--A Child's Learning Center. She teaches in the one to two year olds room. (And as an aside, having seen her in action first-hand . . . the children love her.) Along with spending her leisure time making jewelry and playing with her animals, Chrissie loves to fish, mountain bike and camp with her wonderful husband and friend of the last nineteen years. As she puts it, "I am very proud to tell you that I am 39--no, not holding, but moving forward and excited to see what 40 has to hold!"