By Marco MoralesOctober 29, 2008
People who have met Dottie White, the public affairs specialist, and who don't know much else about her also don't have a clue about her warrior side. Her quiet demeanor and glowing, fair-haired youthful appearance give the impression that she wouldn't hurt a living insect, much less a human being. However, people who have competed with Dottie in martial arts have a clear understanding of her fierce, warrior side.
Dottie is an 11-time world champion in women's black belt martial arts fighting. She is also the 2008 World Champion, ages 30 and above, in the women's black belt weapons category and the 2008 World Champion, ages 30 and above, in the women's black belt fighting category.
During four recent competitions which were conducted from early July to mid-October in Orlando, Fla.; Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; and Minneapolis, Minn., she won 1st place in the women's black belt weapons, forms, middleweight fighting, and as the age 30 and above overall grand champion.
"I believe training along with knowing Tae Kwon Do with a passion is the key to being the best during competitions," said Dottie. "I have spent many long hours in training facilities focusing on forms coupled with building up my physical stamina and endurance," she said, adding, "It's a regimen that doesn't lend itself to shortcuts."
When she isn't at work as a civil servant in the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command public affairs office or focusing on pursuing a bachelor's degree at Athens State University, she is training or teaching martial arts at the River City Karate Studio in Decatur, Ala.
The sensei at the studio, Chase Russell - a 3rd degree black belt and owner/instructor -assists Dottie in her preparation for each tournament.
"Chase is a great sensei. All of the students there learn from his structured and disciplined style," Dottie said. Dottie is a 4th degree black belt. "I still 'learn' from Chase during sparring sessions to best prepare me for competitions."
But one would wonder how much more Dottie can actually "learn" after achieving so much and winning so many martial arts tournaments.
Initially influenced by her brother-in-law to try the martial arts experience when she was 20, White's preparation for competing in tournaments reflects personal dedication and discipline.
"When I first started I thought maybe I was too old and clumsy," she said. "My self-confidence was so low that I avoided eye contact with people."
Then she was introduced to Wilburn King, owner and instructor of King's Southern Karate Studio, which used to be located in Decatur, Ala., and no longer exists. The late Mr. King taught Dottie to be the best in martial arts.
"Through martial arts training I have overcome my shyness and have also gained a great deal of strength and self confidence, thanks to Mr. King," White said. Her training warm-up session includes doing some 200 side-straddle hops, 75 push-ups, numerous rigorous abdomen crunches and a series of stretching exercises.
"Tae Kwon Do is a passion I take seriously," she said. "It is like a shining light inside of me that never flickers or dies."