Maria C. Kristensen began training in Tae Kwon Do in 1973 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She also trained briefly in Goju-Ryu, obtaining a green belt from Jundokan International. Her Isshinryu Karate training started in 1987 in the Jersey Judo Karate Kai and continued in Texas under Hanshi Robert Kristensen. She earned the rank of Sho-Dan in 1994 and at the Winter Shiai on December 12, 2015 she was promoted to the rank of Sichi-Dan and given the title of Kyoshi.
Throughout the years she has received many awards from different organizations, including “Instructor of the Year” – Okinawan Arts” from Texas Martial Arts Hall of Fame, “Isshinryu Woman of the Year” from the Universal Martial Arts Hall of Fame, “World’s Outstanding Competitor of the Year” from the World of Head Family Sokeship Council, etc. Although she claimed that she was not fond of competitions, she competed frequently, always being a top contender placing 1st or within the top three.
She is one of the most dedicated teachers; is tough but caring and has a special bond with her students, in and out of the dojo. She has been known to leave her office early to meet students having family problems to make sure their school homework was completed or tutor them so that they succeed in school and continue their karate training. Through Isshinryu Karate she has touched the lives of many and is continually striving to make a difference in the life of our young generation by motivating and helping them become strong, confident and good human beings in general.
She is a devoted mother, wife, grandmother and loyal friend. She was instrumental in establishing and launching Texas Isshinryu Karate Kai and works alongside her husband, Hanshi Robert Kristensen, to keep it growing as well as promoting Isshinryu around the country.
Maria Kristensen is an inspiration leading by example, not only as a martial artist, but also as a humble, kind and giving human being. She reflects the values, enthusiasm and love for the martial arts, her students, all Isshinryu practitioners, her family, her church and local community.