Chon-Ji Martial Arts Academy, situated in the Uptown in Richland, is a woman-owned Tae Kwon Do school that prides itself on providing a safe and healthy environment for all to learn. On April 15, Chonji will host Bruises and Babes: the first all-women martial arts tournament in eastern Washington. “It’s the first of many tournaments to come in order to help female martial artists stay inspired and feel a greater sense of community,” said Master Shelby Reid. This women-led and woman-only tournament was open to all martial arts disciplines.

Master Lorraine Reid, who organizes the annual Battle on the Columbia tournament, has observed that women who are talented martial artists often end up managing the logistical aspects of contests, such as handling the rings and aiding their partners, children, and students in preparing for the event, rather than having the opportunity to participate and train themselves. She was determined to create a space where women could focus on themselves and their skills, instead of being in the background during tournaments. Master Reid aims to change that.

Now, Chon-Ji has created a tournament that enables women and girls over the age of 12 to compete for themselves and have a space where women can concentrate solely on their martial arts practices. “It’s time for women to shine!” said Master Lorraine Reid. She hopes that this is just the beginning of many more women-only tournaments to come.

If you or someone you know wants to embark on a martial arts journey, you can contact Chon-Ji Martial Arts Academy at, or drop by during the evenings Monday through Thursday to chat with one of their instructors.

Melia Diaz is a second-dan black belt from Chonji Martial Arts Academy. She finds it a joy to share a peek into the world of martial arts with everyone.