Mrs. Judy Rigby started her karate training in 1973 under her husband Reese Rigby in Dover, Delaware. She did this with the intention of spending more time with him.
She became her husband's first Black Belt in December of 1977. She will be the first to admit she was not a natural athlete, and although the moves did not come easy for her, she had a lot of determination and just loved to train!
In the late 70's and 80's she became one of the top fighters in the Mid Atlantic region. She was very instrumental in getting the Black Belt Women Divisions out of the "back rooms" at tournaments and into the center stage with the Black Belt Men.
In 1991 Judy and Reese Rigby had the honor of Grandmaster Uezu staying at their home during his U.S. Tour. This gave her a new insight and respect for the art of lsshinryu Karate. Since that visit, Judy and her husband have entertained Grandmaster Uezu an additional six times in their home in Delaware and have traveled to Okinawa, Japan three times, in 1992, 1995 and 2002 to train with Grandmaster Uezu. In 1992, Judy and Reese Rigby traveled to Okinawa Japan to visit Grandmaster Angi Uezu, to practice lsshinryu Karate in its homeland, and to participate in the dedication ceremony of the re-opening of Shuri Castle, which was destroyed during World War II. As part of a group of 27 of Grandmaster Uezu's senior students from the United States, and in addition to other lsshinryu karate-ka from various locations around the world, Judy & Reese Rigby performed with the group in a demonstration of lsshinryu forms for the audience as part of the ceremonies.
In May 2000, Mrs. Rigby was inducted into the 2000 OIKKA Hall of Fame in Gettysburg, Virginia.
Mrs. Rigby retired from her fulltime position as Human Resources Director for the City of Dover in May 2002.
Mrs. Judy Rigby was promoted to the rank of Nana (7th) Dan in December of 2004.
In addition to her lsshinryu training, Judy practices and helps teach Tai Chi Ch'uan, which is an ancient martial art often referred to as "moving meditation". Tai Chi Ch'uan is an ancient, slow motion exercise for health, self-defense, mental accomplishment and spiritual development. Judy has been practicing Tai Chi for 10 years. She and her husband Reese have learned the Yang style long form, numerous tai chi weapons forms, including the saber or broadsword, the double-edged sword and the fan. They have also learned the San Shou, which is a two-person dance.
Mrs. Rigby currently is in charge of all the beginner karate classes and the Tiny Tigers classes. She and her husband Reese operate a very successful school in Dover, Delaware with an active enrollment of 375+ students.