Grand Master Margitte Hilbig

Margitte Hilbig 1995

1938 - 2016

"Imagine facing off against a 200-pound martial artist who can kill you with nothing more than their hands and feet. Now imagine doing it as a 5-foot 3-inch, 120-pound woman during the 1960's when women were expected to cook, clean and answer phones. Only then can you get a glimpse of what life was like for Canada's first female karate black belt.

MARGITTE HILBIG is a pioneering martial arts master who fought against men in competitions long before the use of mouthpieces, gloves and shin pads became common. She became the first Canadian woman to earn the rank of black belt in kenpo karate and was one of North Americas first female instructors of any fighting style. Hilbig helped establish Asian self-defense systems in mainstream Western society, teaching the Canadian Armed Forces, police officers and the general public for decades..."

-"From Walking a Tiger's Path: The Story of Canada's First Female Karate Black Belt"
by Margitte Hilbig with Patrick Vuong (2003)

1961 - Co-Founder of 'Simon's Karate', the first Martial Arts school in western Canada (With O. E. Simon)

"... Around 1961 M. Hilbig saw an ad in a magazine about a brand of Japanese Karate called "American Kenpo" which was taught by a man named Ed Parker out of Pasadena California. Hilbig called Mr. Parker and arranged a meeting with him in the California city. Master Parker was not only gracious enough to grant Hilbig a place to train, he also allowed her to stay with his family during her trips to California. Thus begun Hilbig's study under Master Ed Parker... When Hilbig returned to Canada she returned with a rudimentary foundation in a true Asian-based martial art. This was a turning point for Martial Arts in Alberta. Throughout the 1960's Hilbig continued to teach in Calgary, Banff and Edmonton, while making regular trips to Pasadena to complete in tournaments and study under master Parker..."

-From old Panther Karate website "The Origins and History of Mo Kempo Karate"

1964 - First Canadian woman to recieve a Karate Black Belt (2nd in North America).

1964 - Entered her first competition at Ed Parkers inaugural Long Beach International Tournament (From her autobiography)

Margitte Hilbig competing 1967

1969 - Began training under Grand Master Stan Lee (Canadian Ging Wu Kung-Fu Association)

1995 - Recieved her official Masters rank from GM S. Lee and was inducted into the Alberta Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

 Margitte Hilbig news article Margitte Hilbig news article 
Interview from Grand Master Magazine (1995)
(Click on images to enlarge)

"(Margie), has been involved directly or indirectly in the teaching and influence of thousands of martial arts students... We owe a debt of gratitude to the pioneers of the arts who made our way easier and lit the path for our journey..."

-From interview with M. Hilbig, Grand Master Magazine, 1995
Margitte Hilbig and her Sifu's
Master M. Hilbig with her top students (1995)
(Click on image to enlarge)

From Left: R. Shergold, D. Philpotts, J. Gosche, E. Willis, G. Martino, B. Cruikshank, M. Hilbig, J. Brinker, B. Macdonald, T. Higgs, A. Macdonald, G. Vig, E. Bruneau, E. McIsaac, M. Bonde, C. Janiszewski, G. Lafantaise.

(Special thanks to R. Shergold and B. Macdonald)

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