From the Karen Sheperd Web
Martial arts were always my inspiration. They helped me maintain
my drive for success and gave me the discipline to follow my
heart toward achieving my goals."
Sheperd is considered a role model by martial arts fans
and action oriented film and television audiences worldwide.
The former #1 Black Belt Martial Arts Champion has successfully
converted the focused determination of an awarded athlete into
a steadfast passion for acting and stunt fighting.
been a gymnast, Karen was first attracted to the physical beauty
of martial arts movements and quickly found herself deep into
studies ranging from Tai Chi Chuan to Shotokan Karate . . . and
many systems in between. Having found a physical art that also
emphasizes spiritual and mental development, Karen became hooked
for life. She began competing in and consistently winning national
competitions. Karen was the first woman to hold the title of #1
USA Women's Black Belt Champion in Forms (Kata) competition,
a title she held for two consecutive years. She was the first
woman to win the Grand
Champion title at the prestigious U.S.
Open Karate Championship, a win so unprecedented that it
attracted much publicity, including the national evening television
news. Karen's showmanship and prowess with forms and weapons
wowed audiences worldwide and help set a new standard for forms
competition. She excels with such weapons as the Double
Broad Sword and the Steel
is one of an elite group of individuals to have been inducted
into the Black Belt Hall
of Fame. Respected worldwide for her expertise and skill,
Karen has been featured on the covers of every major martial
arts publication and in hundreds of articles worldwide.
was in the middle of a successful national tournament tour when
she was approached to star in her first film. She went to Japan
to film Shinobi (also
starring Tadashi Yamashita and Eric Lee) and realized she was
hooked. She left the competition circuit and relocated to Hollywood
to immerse herself in acting studies. Karen also taught
fitness, aerobics and martial arts. She landed a role in the
Universal Studios stage production of The Adventures of Conan
where she performed as the sword wielding "Red
Sonja" in over 3,200 performances.
the way she went to Hong Kong to appear in what would become
a martial arts cult classic, Righting
Wrongs (a.k.a. Above
the Law), directed by Cory Yuen.
of Karen's other films include: Eliminator
Woman, Cyborg 2 (with
Jack Palance and Angelina Jolie), Markus
4 (with John Savage & Robert Caradine, For
Life or Death (with Nancy Kwan and James Lew), Boogie
Boy (with Joan Jett, Frederic Forrest, Emily Lloyd & Mark
Dacascos), Mission of Justice (with
Brigitte Nielsen and Jeff Wincott), and Operation:
Golden Phoenix (with James Hong).
been a longtime fan of martial arts movies, Rob Tapert (the producer
of the Hercules: The Legendary
Journeys television show) offered Karen the role of The
Enforcer. Under the direction of T.J. Scott, Karen turned
in a most memorable performance in her first episode which drew
the highest ratings garnered to date for the entire series. The
Enforcer role is one of Karen's favorites: "On
my first day in New Zealand, I had a costume fitting and a make-up
test. When I put on the costume and the black wig, it felt
right . . . but not complete. The director, T.J., suggested
the black contact lenses. When I popped those into my eyes
and turned around to face the mirror, it was as if I became possessed.
The Enforcer was born ... her movements, mannerisms and focus
came to me like magic."
has also guest-starred and co-starred in other television shows
such as Diagnosis Murder and V.I.P. Besides
acting, Karen lends her expertise to the stunt business. She
regularly performs all the fights for "Nikki" (played
by Natalie Raitano) on V.I.P. Karen
has turned in some memorable fights (doubling "Faith" and "Kathy" the
roommate) with "Buffy" (doubled by Sophia
Crawford . . . a hot Karate Diva herself!) in Buffy
the Vampire Slayer.
an irresistible combination of beauty, lethal martial arts skills
and theatrical range, Karen has proven her status as one of the
top ranked action actresses around and was named among the "Top
10 Martial Arts Movie Stars" in Black Belt Magazine alongside
Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme. She was
voted "The Most Popular
Female Martial Arts Superstar" by Inside
Kung Fu magazine.
is a contributing editor for Martial
Arts Training magazine where she writes a regular motivational
and training column. She travels the seminar circuit sharing
her knowledge and insight on training tips, martial arts conditioning,
the secrets of winning forms, combat for film and stage and motivation
and focus in the martial arts. Karen continues to support
her art with personal appearances at martial arts tournaments,
charity benefits and conventions.
of the most versatile talents to go before the camera, Karen
possesses a winning mixture of self confidence and unorthodox
determination. Film makers seem to like the combination as Karen
continues her steady rise to prominence as a member of an elite
fraternity of performers and martial artists dedicated to the
mastery of their craft.