My name is Karin Konkle. Basically, I would define myself as someone who has learned from my experiences, has found the tools that I needed, and has found or created structures to be able to share what I know with others.
While still a teenager, I experienced physical illness and gender violence myself, and this was part of what sent me searching for tools. I have a degree in Women’s Studies from Columbia University, in New York, and I have a 3rd degree black belt in Aikido from the Ki No Ken KyuKai International Association, headed by (Doshu K. Yoshigasaki. I have done a variety of specialized self-defense courses (IMPACT, Model Mugging, etc.) as well as training in a variety of martial arts (judo, tae kwon do, tai chi, systema).
I have also completed studies in Spain of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Polarity Therapy, and the Grinberg Method, always searching for new tools to help me to work with the body and mind together as a whole..
I’m American, but I have been living in Spain since del 1992, and I have been teaching martial arts (aikido and tai chi) and self-defense for women for the last 15 years. I have been self-employed all of this time and I work with town halls and associations to organize courses. I have taught teenagers and adults, men and women, both separately and together, as well as developing specific LGBTQ courses to help combat homophobic violence.
I believe that social commitment and personal growth can go together and that they can lead us toward a world that is freer, more egalitarian, and happier. For this reason, I work both freelance and as a volunteer with a variety of organizations, depending on mutual interests and financial possibilities.
Apart from my teaching activity, I have also coordinated conferences on gender issues, and I coordinated and directed the work on a teaching DVD for a course called (in Catalan, the language of the region of Spain where I live) “Autodefensa contra les Agressions Homòfobes,” which was released by Col·lectiu Gai de Barcelona in 2009. In 2012, I published a book in Spanish about self-defense for women, called ¿Estás segura? Autodefensa y las claves de la auténtica seguridad, which explains the basic lines of my work teaching self-defense for women over the years, with a body-mind focus. It will hopefully be available soon in English as an e-book. Meanwhile, in 2021, Larousse published a second book of mine in Spanish, Autodefensa feminista para todo el mundo, which deals with self-defense in a wider sense. It looks more at the different ways that men and women are trained in patriarchy to exercise violence or not, and how one can defend oneself and others in different contexts, and from different roles in situations.
In this sense, in all of my work, I seek to promote non-violence (or minimal violence), intuition, self-esteem, self-awareness, communication and physical strength... I think that these form the basis for a healthy, safe life.
My motto is that when we are faced with violence of any kind, in the end “living well is the best revenge.” To me, living well means recovering freedom, independence, self-sufficiency, and a feeling of calm. I have created a variety of courses with a very specific structure, designed to help people go through life safer and calmer. In a way, I teach self-defense to people so that they can forget about it, knowing that they have tools to protect themselves if they need to. The blog allows me to share reflections and teach things that are beyond the scope of current courses. I can talk about subjects that have to do with self-defense, women, and mind-body health, in a wider sense. Not only defending ourselves from attack, but also living more freely and with greater self-esteem and empowerment.