TL FOX GOES ONE ON ONE WITH PAST STUDENT
When Greg Chambers was 14 years
old, he met Marion Bermudez who was an instructor at the Kenpo School she
taught at. He held Bermudez in high regard as she and Sifu Stille had
helped him through some hard times that were going on. His family then
moved to Idaho and he lost touch with her. Greg contacted WBAN to try and
get more info on Marion's fighting career. He and I began to talk about
why he had an interest in this past fighter, when WBAN found out that he
knew Marion from the past. Bermudez was one of the top women karate and
boxers in the mid to late 70's, and early 80's.
TL Fox: Greg, what has made you want to find out more on Marion Bermudez
after all of these years?
Ghchambers: Over the years I have tried to
find her, I even went to Tempe about 2 years ago with no success. I just
happened to be surfing the net when she came up on your site.
TL Fox: Can you tell boxing fans and
WBAN any and everything that you remember about this past fighter?
Ghchambers: She was incredible. She had
flawless technique combined with power. And she was a great teacher. She
love the sport and the art. But she never hurt you. I have been to many
schools that did. She just wanted you to be the best at whatever level you
wanted. She was the only belt test I ever failed. I did not think I had
made her proud and refused the belt until I had things perfect.
TL Fox: How old was Marion when you
had first started working out with her?
Ghchambers: I am old enough to know better
than to ask any woman's age.
TL Fox: You said that Marion and the
other instructor Sifu Stille had helped you through hard times, what did
they do to help?
Ghchambers: I was a victim of Physical
Abuse (beatings) at about age 10 at the hands of my new stepfather. I
watched "5 Fingers of Death" and found my answer. I came to
Karate to learn to beat him up and protect my family but instead I found
role models. Who I am today is a result of Kenpo instructors. One night I
arrived for Free Sparring class and all the instructors were gone except
for Marion. They had dropped by my house and explained things to my
stepfather. Nothing physical, but he left me alone for about a year. By
then I knew enough to keep from getting hurt. She probably saved my life.
And yes, I did have a huge crush on her.
TL Fox: Greg, WBAN has been looking
for Marion for the last few years, of what you remember about her, do you
think that she may have remained in Arizona, due to having family, etc.?
Ghchambers: Students don't ask Instructors
personal questions. I don't know much about her personally.
TL Fox: Can you tell me your
impression of Marion's abilities as a fighter?
Ghchambers: She was so precise. Kenpo is an
Art and she was an Artist. Each movement flowing into the next. She
understood the dynamics of Power and Speed and taught it in every class.
And she demanded perfection from her instructors. Each punch setting up
another strike using the minimum amount of force to get things done.
TL Fox: Was she working out in boxing
at the time you knew her or only Kenpo? Did you see her compete in any
Ghchambers: She had just started the boxing
idea and was working the heavy bag daily and sparring with everyone. I did
see her in the International tournaments in Long Beach, al.....Which she
won hands down.
TL Fox: Did you ever get an opportunity to spar with her?
Ghchambers: Yes, several times.
The first time I was stupid enough to tell her I did not want to hit a
girl. Bad mistake. She hit harder than anyone I had sparred with before or
since and she was fast as lightning. It was a rare occasion for her to
miss a block. She was very aware of her opponents. She knew my situation
and would always place me with large opponents. I used to regularly spar
with a Tackle who was from the Baltimore Colts. I also did the typical
things like mop the floor. She would walk past and say "Crane
stance" or "Horse Stance" and I would drop down and mop the
floor that way. Change the light bulb without using a ladder. I also would
get math and history questions and had to show my report card to my
instructors. I mentioned to Sifu Stille that I did not understand Aikido
and we drove to an Aikido school. I spent the next half hour get flipped
and bent but when it was done, I understood. And then had to tell him how
many miles to the gallon the car got during the trip. It was great. After
I had been teaching for a while, I was given a one armed student. And had
to adapt each movement in Kenpo to him. What a challenge. Then we would
compare my solutions to what Master Parker taught and refine some more. It
was an education beyond compare.
TL Fox: Were you aware that Marion
went on to fight a couple of males in the late 1970's in the amateurs in
the Golden Gloves in Arizona?
Ghchambers: I left just before she boxed,
But I know she never backed away from anyone or anything. She was a
TL Fox: If WBAN could locate Marion,
what would you like to say to her?
Ghchambers: I would just like to tell her…Thanks.
Wouldn't be here if not for you (Marion). (and I still have a crush on ya)
A special thanks to Greg Chambers for
giving some background details of Marion Bermudez. WBAN is still asking
the public to assist in locating her. Please
email WBAN if you have any information on the whereabouts of Bermudez.
Documentation found Bermudez by WBAN:
||Article on Bermudez
fighting in the 1975 Golden Gloves and KO'ing her first opponent in
BOXING ILLUSTRATED, JULY 1975
Event occurred March 28, 1975 mixed match
||Page two of a Press
Release by the Hyatt Hotel in Lake Tahoe
1976...A special thanks to Bill Dickson
who donated hotel records to WBAN. Dickson is now
A fight report in
the Reno Tribune about Bermudez's fight against Arvisu.
Excerpt only...WBAN has an original copy of the article.
*Contributed by Bill Dickson.
THE MOST "DARING" FEMALE BOXERS
IN THE 70'S:
MARION BERMUDEZ, A NATIONAL KARATE CHAMPION, COMPETED AGAINST MEN IN THAT SPORT, SHE ENTERED THE
A.A.U. PHOENIX GOLDEN GLOVES, BEAT HER FIRST MALE OPPONENT!
MARION BERMUDEZ caused headlines on March 28,
1975, when she entered a A.A.U. Arizona Golden Gloves Competition, and proceeded to
beat her first opponent. Two of the Phoenix Amateur Athletic Union officials
were suspended after allowing her to compete against the men. They went
on to say that Bermudez could be barred from any future events sanctioned by that
BERMUDEZ had only
practiced for about a week before the competition began. She
surprised the officials and the crowd when winning her first bout.
BERMUDEZ second opponent, who went on to win the championship,
stopped her in the first round. BERMUDEZ went on to to succeed
in women boxing by becoming # 1 as a World Featherweight, and #2 as
a featherweight in the 1984 ranking.
BERMUDEZ, who was the first woman to graduate
in Arizona State University's electronics technology program. She
entered the Golden Gloves to expand her knowledge of the martial
vs. EDWARD PARRAS
Win KO First round
MARION BERMUDEZ vs.
Loss KO First round
BOXING ILLUSTRATED, JULY 1975
Event occurred March 28, 1975 – mixed match, Also published in New