Karate grandma takes on new challenge

75-year-old is going for 2nd black belt
Posted: 6:42 PM, Sep 29, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-29 19:42:40-04
Barb Estabrook can easily take down someone decades her junior.
"My grandson said you don't mess with her cause she's a black belt.  So if she says something, you'd better listen," exclaimed Estabrook.
At 75 years young, she's always been fascinated with martial arts.
"It was Chuck Norris that had a tv show.  He was a sheriff and he and his wife did karate," explained Estabrook.  "I don't know, I've always just been interested."
The real estate retiree went beyond just supporting her grandson who was going to take lessons.  She suited up herself and hit the mat.
"I caught onto it right away.  It was something I'd always wanted to do and I was finally doing it and I was having fun doing it," said Estabrook.
Estabrook started the journey at 58, worked her way to a fourth degree black belt in mixed martial arts and then even taught beginners at the YMCA.
She explained, "It just keeps you going.  It just makes things good.  I don't know why, but it just does."
When she recently moved to Appleton, she wanted to volunteer her services, but instead came across a new challenge.
"The taekwando was so different from any of the mixed martial arts that I'd taken," said Estabrook.
Fusion Martial Arts owner Shawn McNeil made a suggestion,"We went back to square one and said, let's start over at white belt."
"I said to him, how long do you think I have to become a student and get to black belt," exclaimed Estabrook.
"It's always great when you have a student say I'm ready to start over and learn something new.  She's a wonderful example," said McNeil.
Barb finds many benefits through doing martial arts but one thing she's very passionate about is self defense.
"To have a very, very basic sense of how do I keep myself safe.  Barb is the heart of that.  She's really excited about reaching out to the local community to her local church, however we can help her, that's our job," explained McNeil.
Estabrook added," Just to stay safe, to get away, easy methods.  We need it big time."
Despite having osteoporosis, she's not going to let that stop her from kicking butt.
"I'm just going to try to be as careful as I can and enjoy life.  Everybody's going to age.  It doesn't mean you have to stop doing the things you love to do.
And for Barb, being a student again, is her own anti-aging serum.