At an Aboriginal town camp in the Central Australian desert, teenager Chrissie Davis knows how to fight, but not all the locals believe it.
The 19-year-old is better known in Alice Springs for her talents on the footy field, and few people know she is also a karate expert who packs a punch like Bruce Lee.
“Sometimes when I go back home in my karate uniform some people walk past and they see me … and they ask me, ‘are you really into karate?'” Chrissie said.
After six years of training, she has notched a black belt in Shotokan Karate, the martial art’s highest rank, and it is raising eyebrows in the Ilpere Ilpere town camp where she lives.
“Some [people] you tell them, but they wouldn’t believe it,” said Chrissie’s father, Stephen.
He enrolled his daughter in martial arts to keep her occupied on the days she didn’t have football, but he never expected her to bring home a black belt.
“I was very shocked, and I was very pleased with her. I am very happy for her,” he said.
“I got behind her and said, ‘well you’ll have to keep on going, just try, don’t go looking at these other kids on the streets or anything, you just try it out and see what you can do’,”.
The teenager was graded her black belt by an international karate master, who flew into Alice Springs from Japan in 2018.
She now competes in competitions interstate.
From black belt to policing?
NT Police detective Michael Schumacher, who has been Chrissie’s karate coach from the beginning, said the 19-year-old is his first Aboriginal recruit to make it so far.
“She’s very quick, she’s very fast, she’s very flexible,” he said.
Chrissie Davis sees herself as a role model to other young people in Alice Springs, and said she wants to take it further by entering a career in policing.
“My cousins, brothers and sisters they always walk the street and they always get caught by the police and that, and they always feel scared of the police,” she said.
“I want to be there to help them and to tell them not to do things, and to speak in language because some of them might not understand English,” she said.
Her coach is keen to see that dream happen and believes Chrissie has all the right attributes to make a good police officer.
“It may be that she starts at the liaison officer role and then moves into an ACPO (Aboriginal Community Police Officer) role, but whatever she does I am sure she will show the same amount of dedication and keenness that she has done with karate,” he said.
Detective Sergeant Schumacher spends his days as a police detective working in the major crash division with NT Police.
His job sees him attend most fatal car crashes throughout the southern half of the Northern Territory.
He treats his karate class as a break away from the pressures of the job.
Detective Sergeant Schumacher has also been exposed to domestic violence in his 33-year career working at police stations across the NT, and says he is passionate about teaching self-defence — especially to the girls in his karate class.
“If they train diligently and long and certainly like Chrissie has done, they are less likely to be a subject or a victim from domestic violence” he said.
“I am really keen in trying to teach the kids and trying to teach the girls that.”
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