Tammy Fry Kelly, vegan karate expert
Tammy Fry Kelly is well known both for her business activities and her achievements in sport.
The karate 5th Dan black belt has competed nationally and internationally for over twenty years, and was part of the South African Senior National Karate team for ten years. She has won medals at the Junior World Championships and the All African Championships. Tammy competed at tournaments including the World Games and then stopped competing karate to concentrate on her family, which then included two young children.
“I am proud of winning the junior World Championships in 1998” she tells us “and representing my continent (Africa) at the World Games in 2005. My karate career has been a long one – I started when I was 5 and started competing and representing my country at age 9. I have competed for over 25 years!”
In 2016 Tammy started competing again and placed 1st in Queensland, Australia and in 2017 placed 1st in the Australian Open in the Women’s Veteran Category, both in kata.
She competes in kumite (sparring) and also in kata, a choreographed pattern of moves to demonstrate a range of karate techniques.
In business, Tammy is part of the Fry family known for a range of popular vegetarian foods including sausages, burgers and nuggets. She works as the Marketing Director.
Vegetarian since birth, Tammy has never eaten meat turned vegan in 2013. “We moved to Australia in 2013” she tells us “and there were so many more options for Vegans so it was a natural progression for me. That’s when I truly realised the importance of dairy alternatives!”
One of her favourite foods now is a smoothie.
While Tammy is proud of her record in competition, she also draws great satisfaction from her teaching activities. “I also run Self Defence programs for women in Australia. These programs fund similar programs in South Africa.” The ‘Tough Love’ programme is described as “a self-defense and functional fitness program designed to empower women. The program which is run in Australia funds similar programs in South Africa where women exposed to violence can be taught the skills necessary to defend themselves in dangerous and violent situations. Many of these women are victims of rape or domestic violence and if not physically, certainly mentally scarred for life. This program is also designed to build self-confidence and a sense of self-worth.”
“The most rewarding moments are not personal achievements – they are the ‘giving back’ achievements. I run self-defence seminars in South Africa free of charge to women exposed to violence – this I feel is my greatest achievement.“
A healthy vegan diet fuels Tammy’s active life which includes 3-4 karate sessions per week and CrossFit training. “CrossFit is a great way to build strength, agility and plyometrics” she says. “My husband, Richard, (also a vegan), is the head coach and owner of a CrossFit box (www.crossfit4566.com), so having a my own “personal trainer” that understands me helps enormously!”
With so many successes, Tammy has seen others recognise the part veganism has played and has seen some of them move to a vegan diet. And influencing positively is a big part of her objectives.
“I am at the point in my life where my focus has shifted from aiming to be the champion to giving back to others and empowering others with the knowledge to defend themselves. I am also passionate about being a role model for other women wanting to be vegan athletes.“
A large part of this practice is veganism.
“My philosophy in life is simple – be kind & compassionate, aim to be the best version of yourself, be true to your word and dream big. Anything is possible! My mantra is ‘Eat, Live…Consciously".