Anneke’s Story - Phoenix Rising

When Anneke was a teenager, her family made the decision to leave their homeland of England and move to New Zealand. The first crossroads she faced, was whether or not to do what felt right for her. In this case, continuing on in England to complete her studies. It wasn’t easy for her, but it resulted in helping her discover her own identity.

Coming from a family of scientists, she pursued a science degree and found that while it came easy to her, it wasn’t fulfilling.

Martial Arts on the other hand, proved the exact opposite. What first began as a hobby, quickly evolved into a passion.

Turning your back on the professional career track to work as a Martial Arts instructor is a radical decision in a world that places so much emphasis on security. But following the path of the heart leads to surprising things.

While Anneke loved teaching Martial Arts, she began thinking there was a better approach than simply training people in self-defence. She saw Martial Arts as a way for young people to gain self-mastery and help them grow.

Taking a huge leap of faith, she went out on her own, and with the support of her partner, created a Martial Arts studio with a difference. A big part of their approach is having young people instruct other young people, giving them a sense of confidence in their leadership abilities and leaving them feeling more empowered.

Having come to believe that the goal of Karate lies in the perfection of the character of the participants, students are set challenges to demonstrate their knowledge of particular character traits and learn how to apply it at home, school and in the Martial Arts.

Other points of difference include the creation of family programs, having witnessed how the bonds of parent and child have been fracturing due to our fast-paced existence.

Juggling a family while creating a new business, should have been enough to contend with, but life then blindsided her with another epic challenge. While riding her motorcycle she was hit by a car. Not only did she have to undergo extensive rehabilitation, she still had to continue building and operating her business.

Robert Walter said we each choose one of three attitudes to life:

“You can either surrender to victimhood – and a lot of people do – or you can surrender to a fundamentalism – you can basically give your responsibility to someone else and say, ‘Tell me what to do and I’ll do it’ – or you can say, ‘I have a choice here and I’m responsible’. What does it mean to be the hero of your own life? It means to be responsible for your own adventure.”

Which is precisely what Anneke did. Rather than allow unfortunate circumstances to keep her down, she viewed the experience as one more of life’s opportunities to learn from and grow through. In doing so, she embodies a sense of equanimity and strength.

Interestingly, before the accident occurred she named her studio Fire Phoenix Martial Arts. In mythology, the Phoenix was a fabulous golden-red feathered bird whose body emitted rays of pure sunlight. It became reborn through rising from it’s ashes, a fitting metaphor for how we can undergo trials and become more than we were.

It was of the size of an eagle, but its eyes were as mild and tender as those of the eagle are fierce and threatening. Its beak was the color of a rose, and seemed to resemble, in some measure, the beautiful mouth of Formosante. Its neck resembled all the colors of the rainbow, but more brilliant and lively. A thousand shades of gold glistened on its plumage. Its feet seemed a mixture of purple and silver; and the tail of those beautiful birds which were afterwards fixed to the car of Juno, did not come near the beauty of its tail. - Voltaire

With greater and grander aspirations seizing her imagination, we look forward to hearing about her next chapter.