Janet Walgren is the second oldest of ten children. Janet began studying cosmetology at age sixteen, attending beauty school in the summer, at night and on the weekends, while she attended high school. She graduated from Aladdin Beauty College in April 1965 and was hired as a high-fashion stylist in one of Kansas City’s most exclusive beauty salons, which catered to Playboy Bunnies and showgirls. Six months later Janet was recruited to be a lead stylist for The Jone’s Store Company, a large upscale department store in Kansas City, MO.
While riding the bus home after work late one night, Janet had a very harrowing experience that created an urgent desire to learn self-defense. She signed up for judo lessons at Bushidokan. Not long after she started taking judo lessons, Janet’s sensei, Jim Harrison, asked if she would be willing to do a woman’s self-defense demonstration for an event featuring the Korean National Olympic Yudo Team. Being an adventurous woman, she said, “YES!” After the event, Walgren continued to do women’s self-defense demonstrations for business and civic groups, to promote the martial arts.
Nine months after she started taking judo lessons, Janet was invited to do a women’s self-defense demonstration at the All American Karate Tournament in Ft. Worth, TX. At this point, Janet had never taken a karate lesson. When she arrived in Texas, Walgren found out that her sensei had signed her up to compete in the tournament where she placed second starting her career as a karate competitor. (see martial arts photos)
In 1975, Janet was named in the first Who’s Who in the Martial Arts along with other karate greats like Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. Following is an excerpt from the entry about her:
Although she competed in Karate tournaments before there were ratings for women and retired from competition in 1970, Janet has been mentioned in every retroactive Top Ten poll published since then. Winning or placing in every tournament she entered, she was the 1966 All-American runner-up. 1967 U.S. Championships finalist when disqualified excessive contact. 1968 Central States Champion. 1968 U.S.K.A. National Champion. 1968 Grand National runner-up, and she returned to the U.S. Championships – 68 and won it. In 1969 she again won the U.S.K.A. National Championships, the 1969 National Open Championships and was named the “Best Woman’s National Tournament Champion” in women’s sparring by the U.S.K.A… In 1968 she staged a demonstration at the World Fair “Hemisfair” in San Antonio, Texas and received the Worlds Fair Award for “Outstanding Achievement” by a woman in the martial arts.
Who’s Who in the Martial Arts.
Robert Wall. 1975. p. 50-51
In 1975, Janet decided to take flying on a dare. One of her associates started flying lessons and it took him almost one year to solo. Janet didn’t think that flying would be all that difficult so she marched into a flight school and announced, “I don’t care if I’m ever a pilot, but I want to solo in less than ten hours, in less than one week! Can you do it?” The flight instructor responded, “Well, that depends on you!” Five days and seven hours later, Janet had soloed and continued on to earn her Private Pilot’s Certificate in a little over sixty hours. She later took aerobatic lessons and managed Jonas Aviation, a fixed-base operation and flight school at Gardner Kansas Airport. (see pilot photos)
Janet first became a mother in 1972 then continued on to have six children. When Janet’s youngest child entered Kindergarten, Janet enrolled in college and in 1992, earned her Associate’s of Arts degree fromSpokane Falls Community College. When Janet’s oldest daughter earned her Associate’s of Arts Degree in 1996, Janet walked the stage again to receive her Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Eastern Washington University majoring in Government with a pre-law emphasis.
Janet is the owner of Walgren Enterprises and works as a writer, ghost writer, consultant and personal coach. Janet’s interests include blogging, writing, photography, art, classical music, books, nature, and playing with her children and twelve grandchildren.
At heart I believe very deeply in old fashion traditional family values and gender roles. Having lived in both the feminist’s dream paradigm (not by choice or design) and as a stay at home mom and homemaker I can truly say that a six foot trophy, red carpet treatment, and public accolades can in no way compete with the simple words, “I wuv woo mommy!” or “Gwama woo is so boo-tee-full to me!”
I lived a necessity to its fullest. Everyone should do the same. I encourage everyone to bloom where they are planted. Make the most of your lives! But know this, if you have a choice, be a man or a woman the way God intended you to be. Live for your family, for your marriage and remember what work is for. Motherhood IS a career! Attend to each other; love each other and you will be more fulfilled, more intelligent, more satisfied and happier than you could ever dream possible.