Grandmother Becomes Karate Queen

Wednesday, April 30th 2008, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

Retirement age, for most folks, is the signal to slow down a bit and relax.  That's not so for 73-year-old Jeannie O'Connor.  The Claremore grandma took up martial arts training at 68 and has earned a second degree black belt.  The News On 6's Rick Wells reports she's looking forward to earning her fifth degree black belt when she's 85.

She is part of a mixed group of Tae Kwon Do students.  They are students of master instructor David Beavans.  Jeannie O'Connor signed herself, her daughter and her grandson up for classes five years ago thinking it was something they could all do together.

"He just lasted a month.  Cookie and I fell in love with it.  It's like a big family here," said Jeannie O'Connor.

Everyone calls her Mamaw; she's like an extra grandma.  She takes strength training kick boxing, Tae Kwon Do classes and even teaches some.

Some might figure 73 is a little old to be doing this, but Master Beavans says really there's no upper age limit.  And, he's had quite a few older students.

"Like they say 70's the new 50," said David Beavans.

In five years, O'Connor's worked and tested and earned a second degree black belt.  And, she has loftier goals.

"Good Lord willing and the cricks don't rise; I'll get my fifth degree when I'm 85. Why don't you come back and see me then?" suggested Jeannie O'Connor.

Jeannie says she takes strength training which has helped her bone density.  Kick boxing has improved her cardiovascular health, and she says she's busier now than she's ever been.