Gabrielle Dunn Rudolph
Gabrielle Rudolph has been honing her martial arts skills since childhood. Her parents own a martial arts school where she learned Jhoon Rhee Taekwondo, Kukkiwon Taekwondo, Goju Ryu Karate, and even dabbled in Muay Thai.
Gabrielle's dedication and hard work have paid off, as she is now a world champion in multiple sport karate circuits. She has earned world championship titles in Japanese Okinawan kata and Korean Poomsae. And is currently ranked number one worldwide for women's traditional forms by Black Belt Magazine.In addition to her impressive titles, Gabrielle is also a member of the Paul Mitchell karate team, the longest-sponsored team in the history of competitive martial arts. Gabrielle has always aspired to be a part of this prestigious team. It is an honor for her to represent them and be a part of their family
Martial Arts are 90% Mental and 10% Physical
Gabrielle is a prime example of a true martial artist. She understands that her strength comes from within and not only from her physical abilities. This has taught her discipline, control, and perseverance. And from this, she learned to channel them into her training and life to create positive changes that allow her to push past her limits and achieve new heights. Her dedication to her craft is evident in her unwavering commitment to training and the constant pursuit of self-improvement for herself and others. She embodies martial arts principles and core teachings inside and outside the dojo.
However, martial artists have weaknesses and are vulnerable in life. But it is through weakness and vulnerability that true strength, dedication, and self-realization are found.
Everyone faces challenges in life, but how we handle them sets us apart. For example, Gabrielle decided to take a year off from competing at fourteen. She needed to take a break from many distractions like social events, homework, SAT prep, martial arts practice, and competition.
However, during this hiatus, she hung out with the wrong crowd and lost sight of her identity. It was a wake-up call for her, realizing she was becoming someone she didn't want to be. But it was also a valuable experience that helped her understand herself better. She learned that determination combined with strength creates persistence. This realization enabled her to pick herself up and return to the mats with renewed vigor. Like Neo in the Matrix realizing he was the One. Her fortified mind and unfaltering determination allowed her to overcome the obstacles in her path and emerge stronger than ever before.
In the end, she learned perseverance in the face of adversity. This showed her that anything is possible with the right mindset and a willingness to persevere. And today, it serves her well on her journey to improve her potential, deal with issues on social media, and challenges in a male-dominated sport.
Social Media Challenges
Being a champion is not a walk in the park. It comes with its own set of challenges that test one's mental and emotional ability. Like a vase, the competition constantly tries to shake her off the pedestal to the floor and shatter. However, Gabrielle’s mind is not so quickly shaken to wobble and smash on the floor.
To maintain the top spot, one must constantly strive to improve their game. This requires a great deal of mental and emotional effort, which can have an instant and negative impact on performance. Social media can be fierce in this regard, with many individuals leaving disheartening comments aimed at breaking down the champion's spirit.
However, she refuses to let these comments get to her. Instead, she uses them like gasoline on a fire to fuel and ignite her determination to train harder but, most importantly, smarter. As her mother once wisely told her, "Kill them with kindness." Therefore, you remain positive and avoid the mental anchor of negativity that disrupts your potential.
It is disheartening to see such harassing and taunting behavior coming from fellow martial artists rather than support. And this behavior goes against the traditional core values and philosophy. However, her concern is that many other women may not possess the mental fortitude to block out such negativity. This weighs on her mind, as she knows firsthand the toll that harassment can take on one's mental and emotional well-being.Therefore, she is committed to leveraging her platform to raise awareness that women possess the same skills as their male martial arts counterparts. And she should not be knocked down or slapped around by unsupported ignorant comments. Or maybe she should. Because she will take the ignorance and recycle it into greatness and positive changes.
In July of 2022, Gabrielle was invited by the WWE to attend an invitation-only tryout for a chance to be signed as a future WWE Superstar. Gabrielle used her martial arts athleticism to shine during the audition, and was able to adapt to wrestling with ease. Given that she has performed on the biggest stages in sport karate, she was able to perform well under pressure. At the tryout, she was offered a contract with the WWE. After taking a month to think about it, Gabrielle had decided to decline their offer. She was not ready to give up on her biggest passion- martial arts.
Gabrielle feels a sense of unfairness that lingers in karate competitions. For example, women are given less stage time and are often placed into only two divisions, while men get four. This disparity does not sit well with Gabrielle. She believes there must be equality in the sport, regardless of how it is achieved. Women train just as hard as men, and if there was more female representation, the sport could be taken more seriously, and participation could be boosted.
Gabrielle's dedication to gender equality in martial arts is inspiring. She recognizes women's challenges in this male-dominated sport and is committed to making a difference. She recognizes that male dominance creates inequality that leads to privilege, not recognition. It must be addressed.By raising awareness and advocating for change, Gabrielle is helping to create a more inclusive and equitable environment for all martial artists.
Motivating Words from Gabrielle
“Martial arts have also taught me to appreciate the importance of determination and resilience. Even when achieving my goals seems impossible or unlikely, I can overcome adversity through hard work, intelligence, innovation, and persistence. As a result, I am resilient, passionate, and a go-getter.”
“Martial arts have taught me that it is OK to be unique and different. There are no martial arts without the art aspect. If everyone were to look the same in a competition, it would be awfully boring. I love that I can do my kata by myself, and it does not need to be a clone copy of someone else. As a champion following this philosophy, it has helped me become my most confident self on and off the mats.”
“Martial arts have helped me become a more patient and disciplined person. However, I did not become a martial artist overnight. It takes countless hours of practice and sacrifice to learn martial arts. However, it should not be seen as a sprint but as a beautiful stroll to enjoy every moment.”
“Never quit! I have never heard of anyone glad they quit martial arts. When you hit a wall, remember why you started in the first place.”Gabrielle does not see challenges as issues. She sees them as a means of training strength. When challenges see Gabrielle, the challenges start making excuses. LOL
Advice for women thinking about martial arts
“Be prepared to have an incredible experience. It's so wonderful to have a blank slate before you. Research different styles you may be interested in and be selective when picking your Dojo. Take trial classes until you find a school and a discipline that fits your style and that you're passionate about.”
Despite her challenges, Gabrielle remains steadfast in her passion for karate and inspires others to pursue their dreams. She demonstrates and believes that anything is possible with hard work, dedication, and a strong mindset. And that anyone can achieve greatness, regardless of gender. Because true greatness is not determined by one's gender but by qualities such as tenacity, sincerity, passion, and honesty.
By promoting equality and embracing diversity, we can create a society where all individuals are empowered to reach their full potential and where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
Gabrielle's passion for martial arts is evident. She is a true inspiration to aspiring and all martial artists.
- Jackson's Five: The Ocean State Grand Nationals ›
- The Black Belt Magazine World Sport Karate Rankings ›
- Team Paul Mitchell welcomes Gabrielle Rudolph ›
- Trailblazer: Gabrielle Rudolph - Black Belt Magazine ›
- Jhoon Rhee: Why Martial Arts Discipline May Be the Key to Happiness - Black Belt Magazine ›