Bexley businesswoman Kelly Muir has been named Black Belt Magazine's Woman of the Year for 2012.
"It was such a surprise," Muir said. "You can't apply to win and I had no idea my name was even nominated. I told a colleague that it was like winning an incredible race that I didn't even realize I was in. I was very honored."
"We moved all over the country as a child and I only moved to Bexley at 14," she said. "I lived here for three years before moving to the West Coast. I opened two schools out there and worked for over a decade. I returned to Bexley in 2000 because I had fond memories of being here as a teen. I thought it would be a great place to raise children."
She opened her business in 2005.
Muir owns and operates Team Karate Center Columbus, 420 N. Cassady Ave. Bexley, a children's-only martial art center.
"Students must be 10 years old or younger to enroll," she said. "The program has a maximum student enrollment of 120 children and maintains a wait list nearly year-round."
Muir said she credits her longevity in martial arts for the honor.
"I have been fortunate to have an enduring career in martial arts," Muir said. "During the 34 years I have been training, the number of women participating in martial art programs has increased and, as such, the number of women who pursue it as a profession are beginning to grow as well. Being awarded Woman of the Year and consequently getting inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame, is especially meaningful because it represents nearly three decades of dedication and effort. It also demonstrates to the young women who are beginning their journey in martial arts that their voice, their effort and their dedication is vital to the growth and professionalism of the entire martial arts industry."
Muir has been involved in Martial Arts for more than 30 years. Training since the age of 9, she holds a Master Level certification in both Shorin-Ryu Karate and Korean Tae Kwon Do. She was an Olympic Committee sponsored athlete until she opened her own Martial Art Training Center in 1992.
A pioneer in the development of curriculum for martial art centers, her innovative teaching style has been featured in many magazines and industry publications. She is the author of Instructor Revolution, a book designed to help instructors become more effective at teaching children traditional martial art skills.
Her desire to teach and educate others about martial arts and personal safety is evident in the nearly 25 year span that she has been filming instructional videos. She began using video as a tool for teaching in 1996 when she was one of the first women contracted to film an entire instructional DVD series with Panther Productions. At the time, Panther was the leading instructional martial art video training company in the world.
Her passion to teach and inform never stopped. As recently as 2011, she was featured in the Personal Defense Networks "Personal Firearm Defense -- Unarmed Series." Currently she is working on an additional project with the Personal Defense Network that will highlight video self-defense on the Internet.
Muir is also a columnist for Black Belt Magazine (Better Business Column) and a contributor to the Personal Defense Network.
Muir received a sponsorship from the United States Olympic Committee to live and train at the United States Olympic Training Center. After competing at the world class level, she retired to focus on teaching martial arts.
She has won national awards for creating curriculum and establishing programs for children. Her center in California has been named one of the "Top 20" Children's Martial Arts centers in the nation for three years running.