We at Kenpo Women would like to honor Lyn Schenk, our sister in Kenpo. She passed away August 2019 from Cancer. The photo below captures her smile and fun personality. She will be missed.
“Years ago on a Friday night I was getting ready to close the studio for the day and a young lady walked in the door inquiring about lessons at the school. I answered her questions but I honestly didn’t think she would go on to become a student. She thanked me and walked out to her car. She stood there for a few moments and turned around and came back into the studio. She stated that she wanted to enroll and we did all the paperwork and I gave her a uniform. She was not a great athlete and karate did not come easy for her but she applied herself and signed up for individual classes. She was very likable and soon made friends at the school. As a result of her commitment and desire for improvement she got better. She came up through the ranks and lead by example. Lyn Schenk rose to the level of 3rd Degree Black Belt which is considered a Head Instructor. This is a major accomplishment and it takes a very special person to obtain this rank. Lyn Schenk was a very special person. When Lyn was diagnosed with cancer we were all shocked. What was amazing was watching her battle this terrible disease and still continue her training while her energy was drained she still maintained her desire to keep going. Lyn is gone but the memories she left behind will stay with us forever. Her kindness and attitude toward life are something we can all grow from. We love you Lyn and you will be missed.” Bob White
“Lyn started as a white belt at BWKS and became friends with two other women of the same rank, Karen Schuster, now third degree black belt and Lisa Montedore, second degree black belt. The trio were soon dubbed, “Charlie’s Angels” by Vishal Shukla and they went up through their belt levels together. They eventually tested together for their black on December 14, 2002 and have remained friends ever since.
For many years Lyn trained every Saturday, rain or shine, with Tom Cammann, a fifth degree black belt at our school. They would go over forms and techniques and would occupy the top right corner of the school. Everyone knew not to train in that area at 8 am because the space belonged to Lyn and Tom for the next hour.
One of the things that really brought out Lyn’s character was when she received her diagnosis of rectal cancer. She approached it like the warrior she was; with determination to beat it.
Throughout her battle, Lyn came to the studio on as many Saturdays as she could. Eventually her training venue switched over to the coffee shop across from our studio. From there, she shared with us her progress, difficult and painful side effects, and her hopes for a complete resolution of her disease. Lyn opened her heart to us, her friends, and fellow sisters and brothers in Kenpo. Lyn expressed tears of thankfulness for life and friendship during these times. Her transparency and unguarded willingness to include us in her battle, and all that went with it, opened our eyes to her deeper, more intimate, layers. She gifted us the chance to see her; her resiliency and determination to not give up. Although we hoped to give to Lyn comfort that she knew we loved her and that we wanted to be with her through her battle, she gave us much, much more.
Thank you Lyn for sharing your life with us. We learned what courage looks like when faced with fear and how to be tough when feeling weak. You are missed dearly.”
“There are many qualities that are needed to achieve the rank of Black Belt. I believe the most important one is perseverance, the willingness to continue through difficult times. Karate, and life, wasn’t easy for Lyn. From the day she started at BWKS she suffered from a very bad back. That, in addition to insecurities and other issues, made her journey especially difficult. Through it all, Lyn never gave up. As mentioned, she came up through the ranks with Lisa and Karen and she had to train twice as hard to keep up. So that is what she did. She never gave up, even when diagnosed with cancer. She had no doubt she would beat this horrible disease and right up to the end was making plans on how to adjust and continue her training and life when she recovered.
It is often asked “how long does it take the average person to get a Black Belt at Bob White’s Karate?” The answer is that “average people don’t get Black Belts at Bob White’s Karate. You have to be above average.” Lyn’s determination and courage certainly are great examples of being well above average. She will be missed.”
Lisa, Vishal, Karen & Lyn Black Belt Test
“It is not the aim of Kenpo to merely produce a skillful as well as powerful practitioner, but to create a well integrated student respectful of all.”
Over the past 21 years I’ve been blessed by many deep friendships developed at BWKS; and at the top of that list is Lyn Schenk. Lyn and I grew up together at the studio, starting and proceeding through the ranks at roughly the same time. Through years of drills, working on forms, sparring, and our favorite pastime – techniques with partners – we forged a profound connection that carried on beyond karate. My wife Bonnie, Lyn and I became best of friends.
Lyn was a skillful practitioner of Kenpo; her work ethic was exemplary. Many BWKS students – and more than a few black belts – are the better for training with her. A great instructor, she had a keen eye to identify areas for improvement. She’d push her students, but always with a loving hand and encouraging word. And her power wasn’t just in her left hand body punch or techniques, and it was there in spades, it was in her character. Lyn had a powerful sense of right and wrong, and would stand up to defend justice be it for herself or others. Lyn was a woman of integrity.
A lot of words get tossed around in our art with some regularity; fierce, tough, warrior. I’ve used them to describe others before, but will do so very sparingly from now on. Because in addition to coming back from brain aneurysms and a stroke, and then her battle with cancer, Lyn showed me what those words really mean. She was the embodiment of courage.
I’ve lost track of how many years it’s been that Lyn and I would meet at BWKS on Saturday morning for an hour’s workout. While we met for coffee periodically – until her doctor cleared her after her stroke and during chemo – we both counted on that hour to catch up, break a sweat, and hit each other.
Lyn is the complete Kenpo practitioner. It’s hard for me to accept that I won’t get to work out with my partner on Saturdays anymore; I’m just so grateful that I got to for so long, and that she was my friend.
Lyn worked for me for about 12 years and was a project secretary. Later we got to know one another thru karate and became friends when she left my employ. She was always on time, loyal and dedicated. The people she worked for said she did a good job. We tested for our blackbelt on the same day as I recall. She was plagued by hip problems from early on which kept her karate to a minimum. She loved karate and always expressed that she wished she could do more.