Three Generations of Butt-Kickers

Some families pass down names, this Chicago land family does black belts

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Grandmother and third-degree blackbelt Pam Neil teaches NBC Chicago's Daryl Hawks a thing or two about karate. (Published Thursday, May 12, 2011)

    Pam Neil, the 72-year-old grandmother who last year earned her black belt, said she would have nightmares of an attacker grabbing her daughter and granddaughter.

    “Now those nightmares are completely gone,” said Neil. Neil, her daughter Jacky and her granddaughter Morgan are all capable of taking care of themselves now that th entire brood owns high-level black belts.

    Almost exactly a year ago, Neil and her daughter, Jacky Ormsby, 46, earned 3rd degree black belts in from the National Karate Schools of Chicago. On Jan. 22, Neil’s granddaughter, Morgan Ormsby, joined the group making three generations of butt-kicking Ormsby women.

    “She is amazing. She can really hold her own,” Neil said about her granddaughter.

    The 13 year old martial artist has been practicing Karate since age four. She never thought she would make it as far as she has, but now that she's a master pugilists she's stoked to join her mom and grandma.

    “It’s awesome that they are involved because if they weren’t, I wouldn’t be involved either,” Morgan said.

    Now that all three women are at about the same level, they attend practices and tournaments together, sharing a common ground and common friends.

    “It’s great family bonding, and pretty rare,” said Ormsby.

    Karate to them is something that that teaches dedication, builds confidence, promotes physical fitness. Plus it really helps with respect. Neil says she has really seen the effects on her granddaughter.

    “Morgan never used to be as confident but she has blossomed along with her karate progress,” she said.

    Grandma and Mom are so proud of their karate kid’s focus, especially at age 13, which usually is accompanied with many distractions of friends, boys and clothes.

    “It was more of a physical challenge for me and more of a mental one for her,” granny said.
    Morgan had to work through a series of tests that included fighting, forms, self-defense, kicks, and marches before an audience of about 1,000 and a panel of judges at the Schaumburg Sports Center. In order to complete the test, she had to take on her mom, Jacky.

    “They’re both tough ladies, but I’m pretty tough too,” Morgan said fearlessly in reference to mother and grandmother.

    As for future endeavors, Ormsby says the three plan to continue practicing together, ultimately earning 12th degree black belts.

    “It takes time and commitment to work up the ladder, but we’re ready for it,” she said.