Cat first started martial arts as a high school sophomore. She began her karate journey in September of 2000 after taking a summer of Iaido (Japanese sword) classes with Shihan Nicole Cardiello. She continued training under Shihan Nicole for several years. Iaido is not a style that gives out ranks in most traditional schools.
Cat's first school that she attended was World Karate Academy under the instruction of Shihan Chris Lohwasser (6th Dan recognized by The American Federation of Martial Arts and Hanshi Jerry Mercardo) in the mixed martial arts style known as American Concepts of Martial Arts. Shihan Chris teaches back in Center Moriches, NY where Cat grew up. His school is heavily Japanese karate based, but integrates many useful techniques from a variety of other styles as well. His training came from Shidoshi Ed Gross's Kempo Tae Kwon Do style, but all of the forms done there are the Japanese traditional shotokan forms.
While still in high school, Cat performed on the demo team at tournaments with World Karate Academy. She also competed on a regular basis often coming home with trophies, in her 3 years of high school competing she earned a total of 33 trophies in sparring, weapons, kata, and self defense.
When Cat moved to northwest Indiana for college in 2003, she taught karate lessons to students of Valparaiso University as part of the intramural program. This program lasted for a few years. She still practiced her upper level material regularly while away at college. In December of 2004 she tested and received her 1st degree black belt in karate while home on semester break for the holidays.
After graduating from college and beginning full time employment, Cat joined Tiger Martial Arts in Chesterton, IN under the instruction of Master Deborah Grimaldi (7th dan Kyusho Jitsu, 6th dan Tae Kwon Do, 4th dan Hapkido) in October of 2007. There she began to study both Tae Kwon Do and Small Circle Jujitsu. In May of 2009 she received her 1st degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Small Circle Jujitsu was a style which they ranked in through a partner school, and she reached the rank of purple during her time there as well.
In July of 2010 Cat moved to California. On the advice of a former martial arts colleague she decided to try out a kenpo school. In February of 2011 she enrolled in Bill Grossman's School of Kenpo Karate under 9th degree Master Professor Bill Grossman and his wife 8th degree Professor Pati Grossman. Master Professor also taught Iaido (Muso Shinden Ryu) there as well and Cat was able to get back into her first love which started her martial arts career originally. While still living in California, Cat was usually at the dojo a minimum of 4-5 days a week always practicing and teaching classes and private lessons. She also enjoyed going to tournaments to both judge and compete in the Gold Cup Circuit, CKC and NBL tournaments. Cat was also able to get back into demo team through this dojo and often helped choreograph as well as perform in demonstrations.
Cat moved to Austin in early 2016 and began training at Austin Kenpo Karate under Sifu Jeff Schroeder. In September of 2016 she received her yellow belt in American Kenpo. Cat only stopped training there when she decided to teach Shaolin Kenpo Karate full time instead as of the summer of 2018. Cat has also continued her Iaido training at Austin Komei Jyuku under Sensei Brandon Burkett. Cat still flies back to California a couple times a year to brush up her CA Kenpo skills at Bill Grossman's Kenpo Karate and test when able.
Classes in Shaolin Kenpo Karate first started this August 2017. In July of 2018 we moved classes from the former location, Austin Sports Center in Cedar Park, to our new location at Integrated Fighting Arts Academy.