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82-year-old Merrimack Valley grandmother trains for her 2nd black belt

MEDFORD, Mass. — It’s safe to say Stephanie Brooks gets a kick out of life. The North Andover grandmother is 82 years old and is training to earn her second black belt in martial arts.

Stephanie earned her first black belt in Taekwondo at the age of 66. “Since the first one didn’t give me any satisfaction or joy, I take great joy in this, a black belt,” she said.

Training for another black belt, this time in Tang Soo Do karate, has helped Stephanie navigate through the pain when her husband passed away in 2002. They were married for nearly 40 years. “I encourage people who have grief to find something to do and do well,” she said.

Training and keeping busy has given Stephanie the spark in life she says she was so dearly missing and her enthusiasm is contagious, every time she steps into the Medford studio. “A big moment for her. She’s been training for years and I can’t think of anybody with more spirit than she does,” said Grandmaster Marco DiScipio, owner of Salem Street Studio.

Stephanie proves that age is just a number and that it’s never too late in life to attack a goal. “I feel as if I’m living again. I hope I can do Tong Soo Do right up until I kick the bucket with a good side kick,” Stephanie said.

Stephanie is planning to test for her Tang Soo Do black belt in early October.

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