Monroeville karate student in hall of fame
When Elizabeth Lindsay heard she had been nominated to be placed in a national Black Belt Hall of Fame, she was incredulous – she even hoped she wouldn’t get the honor.
“I’m a very young person to receive that award,” Lindsay said. “I always watched people receive it, and they’d be people who I’ve looked up to and respected for many years.”
Nevertheless, after a lengthy interview process of nominees from around the nation, she won. The honor comes from the National All Martial Arts Championship, of which Master C.S. Kim, of Monroeville, is part.
Master Lindsay, originally from Freeport, is a fifth-degree black belt in karate and operates C.S. Kim Karate in North Huntingdon. On April 27, she will officially become one of 46 people in the hall of fame and its fifth woman. She is 33.
“It’s humbling. I look at it like I haven’t lived a long enough lifetime to earn it,” Lindsay said.
But her rap sheet of success – and former teacher, C.S. Kim – say otherwise.
The martial artist had her first class at a C.S. Kim Karate location in Natrona Heights when she was 5 years old.
“My mom got me started then because I wouldn’t stop talking about karate,” she said, reminiscing on the days she acted like a Ninja Turtle and obsessively watched Bruce Lee movies.
“I never got out of that stage,” Lindsay said, laughing. “So I’ve been doing it pretty much ever since.”
By the time she reached her eleventh birthday, she earned her first black belt. At that time, in 1997, a black-belt donning 11-year-old was rare, she said. It was at a time when the sport was just beginning to touch a young generation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other martial-art-pop-culture fanatics.
Lindsay stuck with the sport up until her last two years of high school, when varsity athletics and academics kept her busy. By the time she graduated with a teaching degree from Mercy Hurst University, she missed karate. When she moved back home after college she helped out at C.S. Kim promotional events just to be around the discipline again.
Lindsay eventually learned C.S. Kim’s karate school in North Huntingdon was going to close unless someone stepped up to replace the teacher. She decided, at age 22, that she was that person.
The school, one of 13 locations through the Pittsburgh area, had around 20 students.
“And only a few of those were actually attending,” Lindsay said. Now, the school has over 100 students.
Lindsay has now earned her fifth-degree black belt and has won six individual world championships.
Watch this fifth-degree black belt karate teacher, Master Elizabeth Lindsay, kick this one-inch-thick board right in half. Yes, it was awesome. And no, this doesn't just happen in the movies. pic.twitter.com/CzPZGg5Wps
— Dillon Garrett Carr (@dillonswriting) April 19, 2019
Master Kim, 78, is proud of Lindsay, who tried to quit once after earning her yellow belt at a ceremony when she was 8-years-old. She said she was tired of getting yelled at.
“I remember that – she did very good (at the ceremony). But she said, ‘I’m just too tired,’” Kim said. “I talked to her for some time. I told her not to quit … it’s just like climbing a mountain. You continue climbing even when you see the end. And then, you see a higher one when you finish. But you do not quit.”
Kim said he’s glad Lindsay didn’t quit.
“As her teacher, I am very proud of her. Not too many females continue training. They learn some, train, get married and move on. But she’s not like that, this is her life,” Kim said.
Kim moved to Pittsburgh in 1974 to found the martial arts schools around the area. Ten years later, in 1984, he organized the inaugural National All Martial Arts Championship.
The championship grew and grew, meeting for years in Gateway’s high school gymnasium. About five years ago, the championship moved to its current location at the Monroeville Convention Center.
On April 27, the invitational championship will have its 45th anniversary with an expected 700 competitors from Pennsylvania and surrounding states. People will compete in a variety of martial art styles and forms.
Lindsay will be presented with the honor during the championship, which opens its doors at 7 a.m. Opening ceremonies start at 9 a.m.
Martial arts students wishing to compete at the event can register online and have April 22 to do so. If that date is missed, competitors can register the day of.
Tickets for spectators purchased at the door cost $15 for adults and $10 for children aged 5 to 12, free if under age 5.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .