Elnora’s Anita MacDonald is one tough great grandma.
MacDonald, at the spry age of 72, recently earned her black belt in Shotokan karate.
Her goal wasn’t to test for a black belt in 2004 when she moved from the sidelines into the dojo, or studio.
“My attitude was I am going to get my white belt and that’s good enough for me,” said MacDonald. “All I need to do is keep in shape for my old age.”
That was seven years ago.
“Age shouldn’t be something that holds you back,” said MacDonald. “Age doesn’t hold me back, let’s put it that way. It’s not like I am trying to be anybody special because of my age. I just do what I can do when I want to do it, when it comes to karate especially.”
Last month with the support of her sensei (instructor) and her family, MacDonald earned her black belt, proving age is nothing but a number.
The septuagenarian decided in September to lock herself in her house and do nothing but practise karate forms and kicks to get ready for the November test. MacDonald and her husband, Ken, live on a ranch in the small town southeast of Red Deer. They have a son, two grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Ken is also a black belt and has practised karate for several years.
Because of scheduling, MacDonald is a member of the Three Hills Karate Club while her husband is a member of the Shotokan Karate Club of Red Deer. MacDonald takes the odd class in the city.
MacDonald said one day she watched a group practising karate and something clicked.
She was 65.
“I thought I should do it, too,” remembers MacDonald. “Never in a million years did it occur to me that I would be grading for a black belt.”
When MacDonald turns 73 on Sunday, it’s a good bet slowing down will not be one of her New Year’s resolutions. She says she wants to encourage her peers and to demonstrate there’s no reason not to stay active.
“I’ll just keep going,” said MacDonald. “I am not going to stop. I wouldn’t be able to test for my second-degree black belt for two years. It would all depend on my health and how capable I was. It’s not like this is something I have to do. If it works out, it works out. If it doesn’t, that’s great too.”
Never say never.