By: Deanna Corarito, KCA Director
Your KCA Board of Directors wear many hats, and Board Director Janise Man-Son-Hing is quite accustomed to it. After wearing the hat of Senior Detective/Street Supervisor with the Tampa Police Department, Janise also wears the hat of a martial arts instructor as co-owner of Man-Son-Hing Martial Arts Studio in Lutz. Together with husband Chris Man-Son-Hing who is also retired from the Tampa Police Department, the martial arts studio is their retirement work and their passion.
Master Christopher Man-Son-Hing, 6th Dan Black Belt, opened Man-Son-Hing Martial Arts Academy on Waters Avenue in Tampa in 2007. When Chris retired from a distinguished twenty-one-year law enforcement career, he took the business he started in 2000 from part time to a full-time academy. In 2017 an unexpected real estate offer was made on the building they owned and Master Chris believed at the time, that this would be retirement.
However, in February of 2018, they found a traditional studio nestled within a horse farm in Lutz and re-opened there. Janise said, “This is our retirement business and it is the best chapter of our business lives. This is our twentieth year in business and going from conducting over 100 lessons a week, owning a traveling women’s dragon boat team, working as the only accepted martial arts program for the JCC, HCSD and the United States Special Operations Division, along with summer camps – it’s a dream come true to size down to a family-oriented client base where there is such quality time for each student and parent.” The Mon-Son-Hing Martial Arts Studio went from part-time to a full-time operation after retirement from the police force in 2007.
From the Man-Son-Hing Studio website: “Master Chris joined the Tampa Police Department in 1987 and was the first Asian to be hired with the department. He brought his martial arts experience to the job and became an expert in unarmed self-defense. In 1999 Master Chris created the first youth martial arts program for the Police Athletic League of Tampa, Florida. Since his retirement from the Tampa Police Department in July, 2007, he left an unmatched legacy in training to improve self-defense tactics for the street officer.”
Master Man-Son-Hing has studied under Grand Master Park legacy for over a decade. Grand Master Dr. Jung Hwan Park was born in Korea and was a member of the Korean National Taekwondo Team. Dr. Park is an icon in the martial arts world and has achieved the elite status of a 9th Dan Black Belt in 1985. He is also a renowned author of numerous bestselling martial arts books. Master Man-Son-Hing is internationally recognized and has competed all over the world against the best martial artists. Master Chris is experienced in Taekwondo, Hapkido, Tang Soo Do and Shotokan. Master Chris holds 6th Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo and Hapkido giving him a ranking in 159th in the World Taekwondo Federation.
While working hard at martial arts training, co-owner Janise noted that many of the mothers of students would ask if there was a self-defense classes for their family and friends. That’s when Janise felt the need to facilitate a program, so they began research in 2008 and developed the new self-defense program, The Right Defense for Women. Janise said, “Since 2009, thousands of students have entered our doors to participate in The Right Defense for Women. We also customize self-defense programs for women of all ages, along with seminars for businesses.” Janise explained, “Utilizing Master Chris’ lifetime education in martial arts and our background in law enforcement, we discovered the majority of attacks ended on the ground. Using our combined experience, we developed a series of techniques and principles designed specifically to prepare women to defend themselves in any situation. These techniques are simple, but effective life-saving techniques. We also created a DVD so our students can practice the techniques anywhere, anytime. We were honored that Oprah liked us on her website in 2009 when we first launched the program. The Right Defense belief has always been: ‘Bulletproof your mind, know how to react in a bad situation, and give yourself a chance.’ We work hard to keep an encounter from happening by teaching an abundance of awareness of your surroundings. With that in mind, one of the best books I’ve ever read on intuition is The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, and I highly recommend it to everyone.”
Prior to moving to Keystone, Chris and Janise lived in Carrollwood. One day several years before while horseback riding with a friend in Keystone, Janise recalls riding by a cute house across from beautiful pastures and thinking how lovely it was. Coincidentally, that is where Chris and Janise moved to in 2016. I guess it was fate that brought them to Keystone! Of course, they are equestrians as well, which is just another hat for these two.
Janise lights up when the topic turns to her two beloved horses. The first being Rommy, who is a gorgeous 22-year-old black Registered Friesian. Rommy’s greatest accomplishment is being the first Friesian to participate in the 2004 Equine World Cup held in Kentucky with the South African Team. His Solo Pattern scores, the highest of the competition, would help bring the team a Silver Medal and change history allowing many more breeds to be entered to the World Cup. Rommy was the first Friesian to ever compete in the World Cup and is the Friesian Ambassador for his breed. Rommy’s horse mate is Midknight Lily, a 16-year-old Red Dun Overo Paint mare. She holds the distinguished honor of 2006 UPHA Western Pleasure Reserve Champion. Midknight Lily still trains and shows. Janise tells the unique love story between their two horses, Rommy and Lily. “They met in 2004 when they were both show horses in training at Avalon Stables of Florida. They would continue to make this their home and training facility and five years later in 2009, Janise purchased Rommy. During this time, Christopher met Midknight Lily’s owner, Retired Colonel Patrick Niemann. They became friends and they rode the trails together after their lessons. Lily only had eyes for Rommy, paying no attention to any other geldings at the barn. When they were out riding on the trails, Lily always wanted to be right next to him. Once they went through a little creek and Lily waited for Rommy to go first and she followed. She trusted him completely.”
Along with sitting on the Board of Directors for the KCA, Janise currently is also a member of the Hillsborough County Greenways Citizens Committee which focuses on recreational greenways for the citizens of the county. She is the Member Equine Representative and her focus is the equestrian trails, their maintenance and safety. She is working to solidify an equestrian committee within the KCA as well. Janise also is the KCA Chairwoman for membership enrollment and renewal and handles the Membership Works program that is used for membership. She is definitely an asset to the KCA!
Man-Son-Hing Martial Arts Studio offers classes for adults, youth and children as well as personal training and Self-Defense classes. To contact Man-Son-Hing Martial Arts Studio or Janise Man-Son-Hing, call 813-310-2390 or visit www.mshmartialarts.com.