I am really excited to talk about today’s featured martial artist!
During the 70s and 80s while living in Germany, it was a real challenge to get my hands on American karate magazines. But whenever I did, it sure felt like Christmas and I devoured every page of information and inspiration. Especially articles and reports on Linda Denley.
For those of you who have never heard of her, let me warn you in advance. After this post you will be impressed. Very impressed, with this true living martial arts legend.
A native of Houston, Texas, Linda Denley grew up one of 12 children and as a teenager she excelled at just about any sport she took up, such as track and field, in which she even qualified for the Olympics in 5 events!! She couldn’t go to the Olympic Games simply because of her professional karate winnings.
Basketball was another example of her natural athleticism, in which she could have played semi-professional for the Houston Angels, but didn’t because of her karate career.
Linda Denley was THE female competitor to beat for many years.
Her aggressive fighting style earned her the nickname “Texas Terror” and boy, did she back that up with a record that is unheard of.
Starting with Tang Soo Do karate in 1973 under Master Robert Torres, she earned her black belt within 5 years, all while collecting trophies at tournaments.
Get this: Linda Denley was the top rated female kumite competitor from 1973 until 1996. That’s right, for 23 years. I am in awe!
She fought for nine years and did not lose a match. That’s just crazy stuff.
If you’re at all familiar with prestigious karate tournaments in the U.S., then you will appreciate this piece of information, too:
Linda Denley won the Battle of Atlanta not once or twice, but eleven times. Yes, that’s right, eleven times!
The other big-time tournament on the West Coast, simply known as the Long Beach Internationals, she won an impressive four times.
She really left “a path of destruction” in countless other tournaments. At least that’s what it probably felt like for her competitors in those days.
For all her accomplishments on the karate circuit, Linda Denley has been acknowledged in so many remarkable ways such as “Competitor of the Year” and not surprisingly “Instructor of the Year 1999″.
In 1980, she was the very first female to be inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame!
Her fighting skills did not go unnoticed by the TV and movie industry either:
Linda Denley worked with Jackie Chan in “The Armour of God” and Chuck Norris in an episode of “Walker, Texas Ranger”.
Today, 6th dan Linda Denley owns the Texas Black Belt Academy in Houston and has dedicated her time and energy to helping kids reach their full potential not only inside the dojo, but in whatever they do in life.
And here, I believe Linda Denley, Karate Superwoman from Houston, Texas, is paving “a path of inspiration” for many.