Reiser's edge

'Why not?' asked assistant prosecuting attorney, now a black belt

By Brian Cox

Legal News

It was something she wanted to do ever since she was a little girl, but with college and then law school and then a career as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Washtenaw County, Patricia Reiser never got around to it.

Next thing she knew, she was approaching her 30th birthday and re-evaluating her life goals and realized she still hadn't tried learning a martial art. It was time.

"I thought why not? Why am I not doing this?" she says.

She walked down the street to Keith Hafner's Karate and started taking classes.

The experience exceeded her expectations.

"You find out what you're capable of that you didn't know you could do," she says. "I remember the first time I broke a board. It was amazing to me that I just broke a board with my fist."

Her goal from the outset was to achieve a black belt degree, which she did in about four years. Ten years later, she is now a third-degree black belt and makes class twice a week in addition to running and working out. She says studying a martial art has helped her "create time" by being better organized and more focused.

"Everything you're learning bleeds over into your daily life," Reiser says. "Everything affects everything else."

Like her interest in martial arts, Reiser knew she wanted to be an attorney since she was a young girl. More than that, she knew she wanted to be a prosecutor. She says she knows it sounds corny, but she had a sense of wanting to see justice done, of wanting to right wrongs.

She majored in physics at the University of Michigan before earning her law degree from Wayne State.

Reiser says studying a martial art helps her manage the strains of her job.

"There's nothing like kicking a bag to relieve stress," says Reiser, whose daughter, Molly, started taking karate classes last summer. "It's a great way to focus your energy. Knowing you can do things that are hard is a great stress reliever."

This story first ran in the Winter 2012 issue of Motion Magazine.

Published: Thu, May 10, 2012

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