Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ankylosing Spondylitis and Tae Kwon Do/karate

Chatsworth woman earns black belt despite limitations
by Trannon Goble
Chatsworth resident Elizabeth Doss received her black belt in karate at age 50. If that isn’t remarkable enough, she did it after nine years out of practice. If you’re still not impressed, Elizabeth also suffers from a rare disease that is even more rare in women called Ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

Diagnosed with the disease at age 22, Elizabeth says that she suffers from a variety of conditions that are effects of the disease. “I am constantly in pain. Even doing laundry hurts,” said Doss.

Ankylosing Spondylitis is an autoimmune disease that affects the tendons, joints, ligaments and sometimes the organs. “A normal night of sleep for me isn’t normal,” said Doss. “I may sleep for 50-60 minutes and get up.” This happens off and on every night.

Though Doss suffers pain and inflammation in her joints, insomnia, fatigue and back problems; this did not stop her persistence to achieve her dream - to become a black belt.

Elizabeth handles her problems through prayer and exercise rather than prescription medication. “I may take some super Tylenol, but that’s about it,” said Doss.

Doss received her 1st Gup belt from United Karate Studio in Ringgold where she and her husband, Stephen, and their three sons took martial arts. But after a nine year break she began another year of training with Christ Centered Martial Arts in Dalton, where she finally received her Black Belt. Doss credits her success to her faith in and help from God, as well as having understanding and patient Senseis at CCMA.

Stephen was concerned for her, “I was concerned that she wouldn’t be careful enough,” but he supported her in her efforts. He has since stepped away, but she has continued and will continue and she even hopes to start a new class to help others like herself. “I would like to see a class for those people who have limitations,” said Doss. “If I can do it anyone can.”

Regardless of her progressive condition and persistent pain, Elizabeth feels that she is blessed and will continue to push herself. “I have A.S., but it doesn’t have me!,” said Doss.

For more information on CCMA call 706-483-0007 or check out their website:

Read more: Chatsworth Times - Chatsworth woman earns black belt despite limitations