Kym Rock lifted herself from her personal hell to seven world karate championships and launched "Fight Like a Girl."
Hollywood director Barry Caldwell decided that story would make a dandy movie. They're on hand for the Vail Film Festival, trying to gauge support for their movie project, "Fight Like a Girl." She says if the movie is successful - fine. If someone avoids the abuse she suffered - better.
Ask her about the movie, and we did, and she'll start talking enthusiastically about the iPhone app that can save your life. Tap it twice and it sends a silent alarm to police with your location.
"It can save anyone's life," Rock said.
She's also working on a gadget for little kids that attaches to the top of their shoes. When they stomp down on it, it starts shrieking, "Police are on the way! Police are on the way!"
"All these kids have a smart phone," Rock said.
Luck, she says, lives at the intersection of preparation and opportunity.
"When opportunity knocks, the answer is always 'yes,'" she said.
Caldwell's mom is a real estate broker in Virginia. She called him and said there was a woman he needed to meet and her story would make a great movie, something he hears all day, every day.
"I ignored her like I do everyone else. I told her, 'It's the burning bed. It's been done over and over,'" Caldwell said.
His mom knew Rock because she was also taking karate at the same studio where Rock learned it, so when he went to his mother's for Christmas, his mom arranged a meeting. They hit it off immediately.
After they talked, Caldwell asked why she hadn't sold her story yet.
Rock, who speaks her mind, said it's because everyone who talked to her was a dirt bag.
The movie is in pre-production and Caldwell is keeping things moving forward, Rock said. His credits include television's "Grey's Anatomy" and the movies "Straight A's," "Cabin Fever" and "Post Grad."
The strength to leave
Rock's story has it all. She was a small-town high school athlete who thought she'd hit the boyfriend lottery with the star football player from a nearby private school. Speaking of hits, that's what he started to do to her when they married, shortly after graduation. The beatings resulted in broken bones and him raping her. Local police turned a blind eye to her black eyes.
She told her husband she was taking banking classes when she started studying karate under Sensei Jerry Lemon. The confidence she regained through martial arts gave her the strength to leave her husband.
Besides fighting her way to freedom, Rock fought her way to a Virginia state championship, the U.S. national championship and is a seven-time world champion. She's been inducted into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame and the U.S. Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
She's even a cancer survivor - malignant thyroid cancer.
She's been doing martial arts for 27 years, and teaching for 13 years. Fight Like a Girl is in more than 30 states and is available online.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.