Gina Thornton

Team: Impex

Date of Birth: November 21, 1984

Style: American Freestyle Karate

Specialty: Point Fighting

Hometown: Charlottesville, VA

Location: Roanoke, VA

Experience: 20 Years


Gina "The People's Champ" Thornton has been training for over 20 years and holds black belts in Tae-Kwon-Do, Karate Kempo, and American Freestyle Karate. American Freestyle Karate is her main system of study. Thornton trains under Sean Elliott at Elliott's Family Karate Academy in Roanoke, Virginia. As a member of Team Impex, she is also coached by Richard Plowden.

Thornton has achieved 28 world championship titles, claiming championships in every league she has competed in. Her titles also span multiple contact events including point fighting, team fighting, and continuous fighting. She has been ranked by multiple organizations as the top female super lightweight fighter in the world, and is considered one of the best overall as well.

Her success in the ring has culminated in numerous grand championship titles at prestigious events like the U.S. Open, Diamond Nationals, Quebec Open, and more. This success has also increased demand for her sparring seminars around the world, which can be booked by contacting her on her social media platforms. On multiple occasions she has been one of the featured instructors at Jadi Tention's legendary TCK Winter Camp. She also coaches a small school team (Team EFK) in addition to her own rigorous training schedule. Thornton is extremely passionate about sport karate and her energy is contagious. Aside from martial arts, Thornton is also a proud graduate of Lynchburg College.

That a director of my city's opera company would call me seemed a little odd. There are probably some monkeys who know more about opera than I do. But the director was inviting me to lunch, so of course I went.

It turned out the company was producing a performance of Madame Butterfly, the Puccini opera that tells the story of a doomed love between a French military officer and a geisha in early 19th-century Japan. The opera has come under fire for its stereotyped, utterly fanciful depictions of Japanese culture. The local company was trying to anticipate such criticism, and the director asked me, since I serve on the board of some organizations related to Japanese culture, what I thought.
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