"Life is a lesson from the day you are born to the day you depart."
Sensei June Allen has been interested in the Martial Arts since she was a little kid growing up in Michigan. She was always physical and very active as a child. "I liked to watch boxing, and many martial arts related movies." As a young female, her parents could not grasp the idea of their little girl getting involved in a "man's sport." Like many parents today, they only saw the physical aspects the sport has to offer...but the Martial Arts has so much more than that. Who Sensei is today is because of the mental elements the art offers. This is what draws her to it, this is why she wakes up every morning ready to inspire young minds in the world.
She left the notion of enrolling into the martial arts until later in life. "I knew I would do it some day, I just didn't realize it would take me so long." After she got married and had two beautiful children, her son Brandon at the age of seven, began taking classes at a local karate school in Toledo, Ohio. Shortly after he enrolled, June did as well. "I started because my husband knew it was always an interest of mine and he bought a trial lesson and gave it to me as a Christmas gift." The second her trial lesson was over, she knew that she was going to be passionate about martial arts. Three months after she enrolled, she decided to get her five year old daughter enrolled as well. "It was fun to train together even though her curriculum required different techniques. We would practice everyday to prepare for our belt tests."
Mrs. Allen was training hard and moving up in belts very smoothly when devastation hit. Months before she was to test for her black belt, she came down with pneumonia and was hospitalized for a week. "All I could do was think about how I wasn't going to be able to earn my Black Belt in the desired time that I figured. I lay in that hospital bed and mentally reviewed every technique." She was determined to walk out of the hospital and get back to the dojo to graduate with the people she had trained with for three years. Two days after she was released from the hospital she showed up at the dojo for training. "I knew it would be difficult but I was ready to train. The only problem was, my instructors did not agree. They felt it was too soon and with my best interest in mind they sent me home. Don't get me wrong, they were pleased to see the dedication but knew I would not be able to put forth my best effort. I knew I was pushing it but thought I would give it a try." She ended up earning her black belt with the next graduating class.
She traveled around the United States with her son and daughter who were intensely involved in Martial Arts Competitions. She supported their enthusiasm and dedication to the sport and found herself traveling to tournaments every weekend with her husband. She coached both of them before they entered the ring. It was a very exciting time for her and her family. They were enjoying this experience together. The joy and excitement trickled into her training as well and Mrs. Allen began competing in the Professional Karate Circuit.
While in competition the Allen family met many Martial Arts Greats, such as; Richard Plowden, Jerry Roberts, and John Sharkey. She enjoyed the competition aspect of karate and sometimes while at competitions, she also found herself in the judge's seat watching and critiquing others.
As a first degree black belt, she began making her own work-outs. She knew then that she was hooked. "I would read, watch, and search for material on martial arts. It didn't matter what style it was, I just wanted to learn. I was like a sponge absorbing the knowledge and traditional beliefs of martial arts." For other martial artists, it is not hard to see Mrs. Allen's passion, desire, and dedication to the sport. She lights up whenever she talks about it and anyone who knows her, knows that she is a natural at exemplifying the true black belt way. This transitioned her into her teaching career.
June was given many offers to teach at schools but was very hesitant at first. Once she did it a couple of times, she loved it! "I really enjoyed the chance of getting to pass down the knowledge." She became head Instructor after a couple years and was then offered to take over the school. "I was afraid to take a chance and questioned myself as to whether or not I was ready. If it was not for my family who supported, encouraged and convinced me that I should give it a shot, I would not be standing in this rewarding position today."
Allen's American Martial Arts was now in the hands of the Allen family.
During the transition of ownership, Mrs. Allen got a chance to meet one of the most influential men in her life, Grand Master Charles Platten from Ontario, Canada. He came to Allen's American Martial Arts to teach the art of Chukido-Kwan more easily recognized as combat hapkido. "Grand Master's teaching style was a bit different from what I had experienced in the past. He pushed you to the limit even when you thought you might give up he kept pushing. I understood his madness, he did this to prove that even when you're tired you must not quit, do not give up and strive to survive." Grand Master Platten believes that everyone could be better than their best and he truly cared about your success. After learning some techniques Mrs. Allen was hooked on the art of Chukido-Kwan. Grand Master Platten became a mentor for the Allen family. He became the person who the Allen Family could turn to when it came to expanding their training in the martial arts. Even further, he is their friend and a member of their family.
"THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Sensei for all of your love and dedication and for taking us under your wings. We are TRULY GRATEFUL for you and your knowledge." Now, Mrs. Allen held the confidence in her hands, and a Grand Master at her fingertips.
Today, Sensei Allen holds a 5th Dan in American Karate, 5th Dan in Tae Kwon Do, and 4th Dan in Chukido-Kwan and Hapkido. June is also the first United States female to achieve black belt in Chukido Kwan, and the first female to ever hold the rank of master in the Chukido Kwan lineage. She owns Allen's American Martial Arts and is the Chief Instructor. Sensei Allen is heavily involved in teaching martial arts in academic schools across the Toledo area. And in addition, she works hand in hand with her daughter Rachelle to implement the Special Ninjas program, which is a martial arts designed therapy for youth and adults with special needs.
Sensei June Allen is not only a mentor for the arts, but a mentor of humankind. She inspires everyone around her to walk a little taller, to have a clear conscious, and to be the best you can be...always!!! She knows that every student is capable of succeeding. She enjoys helping those who think they have mental or physical challenges holding them back and realizes that they CAN do it. She gives them a glimmer of hope. "To see them do more than they could ever do and to embrace the smiles and look of satisfaction that they did it, is rewarding to me. I want them to believe in themselves and know that they are worth something not only in class but in life."
Sensei Allen is a mentor and a friend. She is someone who encourages you to do what you may deem to be impossible, above and beyond your own expectations.