E. D. Erker
E.D. Erker has traveled the globe, emersing herself in the cultures of the people. From Panama and Mexico, to Turkey, Germany, India, the tops of the Hymalayas in Nepal and countless other countries. It was when her boots hit the ground in Africa, that her heart sang for the people, and this courageous warrior woman was at last in her element. Traveling down crock and hippo infested waters of the Zambezi by two man canoe; witnessing the effects of poaching personally in Zimbabwe to nearly die from West Nile Virus. Erker spent joyous time living among the Himba Tribe on the border of Namibia and Angola, helping in their efforts to thwart the building of a Hydro-electric dam destined to destroy their tribes.
Canvasing thousands of miles of dry desert, by cessna, by a personal 4×4, sometimes even on foot, through S. Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Swaziland, and to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. As she trecked, she instructed her young African friends in the art of Krav Maga and other combat skills, so that they might better protect themselves when they returned to the Central African Rebublic, and the threats of Kony. By 1700′ in altitude, they were chanting ‘Mara Camba Simba’,(Strong like lion).
The Angolan witch doctor, who cared for the Himba villages, honored Erker in several of his tribal ceremonies, spitting into her face and blessing her. She then received the name ‘Bembee’ from the Chief, which means Strong Woman.
Returning to the states, to her family in her native Colorado, and to her beloved dog, Erker is spending her retirement writing, teaching Krav Maga techniques, Self Defense and weapons training for women. She is a welder and metal sculptor, and a happy grandma. Erker hopes to use her skills to raise awareness and offer programs for those who suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) and their affected families.
Erker was about to leave for Central Africa when she contacted me through my website in April 2011. She was requesting I train her in Krav Maga (Hebrew: Close Combat), specifically unarmed hand-to-hand combat to enhance her training in preparation for this assignment. I felt honored and a bit humbled- here was this bad-ass woman asking me to train her! She flew out to me in San Francisco and we trained in defending against unarmed attacks, knife, gun, stick and blunt object attacks. Erker was an astute student, both physically and mentally, and left a strong impression on me.Uncompromising with a forceful will, focused, strong and serious but with a selfless giving heart. Like the leading character in this story, she is woman who proves that anyone can rise above what they believe they are capable of-and that by challenging themselves physically and mentally they can indeed live a life beyond extraordinary. Her life experiences prove how training in Krav Maga can eliminate dangerous threats in everyday situations, as well as in extreme hostile arenas such as the Congo.
I’ve been teaching Krav Maga since 2006 as one of the few high-rank certified female instructors of the combat system in the United States. I recently asked her if she had used any of the training I taught her, and in the pages that follow she describes an encounter that demanded she overcome her natural impulse for compassion toward others in order preserve her life, protect her dignity, her possessions, and perform her duty. Erker’s inspiration to write this story comes from her love of humanity and belief of bonding with others to create a strong and loving universal community, and I am honored to call her my student-but more importantly my friend.
Favorite food: “blueberry pie, peach pie, cherry pie, fried chicken in a cast iron skillet, Corned beef and cabbage with carrots and potatoes.”
Favorite weapon: “Sig .40 cal P229, and my Sig P226, but I also like all of my 1911 .45’s from a variety of manufacturers, and I am fond of my very impractical but pretty Colt .38 Super, it fires like a dream, has excellent balance, perfect grip for me, and I love the sights. The ammo can be tough to find.”
Relaxation: “Welding, fishing, exploring the mountains and fields with my dog, working in my biology lab, being outside as much as possible.”
Favorite movies: “The Usual Suspects, The Big Lebowski, The Reverant, Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs, Lonesome Dove, Pulp Fiction.”
Favorite music: “I don’t really have favorites when it comes to music, I just know what I don’t like and avoid that. I do feel that music was really great from about Woodstock until 1989 and then it seemed to all go to crap.”
There are certain events you don’t forget where you were when they happened. I had just sat down at a coffee shop in Nashville, Tennessee when I pulled out the first few draft chapters of Orion One from my tattered canvas bag and began reading, tuning out the acoustic guitar in the background. The first chapter was so riveting, and in some ways tragic, that I couldn’t hold back the tears streaming down my face. As I read on, engulfed in this incredible introduction to a Superhero protagonist we know as “G.I. Jane,” I experienced a plethora of emotions. Jane’s humor made me laugh so hard I nearly spit out my coffee. Her inner strength made me proud; so proud that I felt myself puffing up my own chest inadvertently. I didn’t even care what the people around me thought. I wanted to hand the book over to them and say, “Wow, you should really read this!” Hooked, I read on until I finished the first few chapters, determined to be a part of this journey with Orion One as editor and E.D. Erker’s “partner-in-crime.”
As I finished the book, I realized that Jane was incredibly multifaceted. I admired her guts, her raw nature, and her physical strength. While those qualities tend to be looked upon by society as “masculine,” Jane never tried to act like or be a man. She remained grounded in, yet struggled with, her femininity throughout the story. What I find most powerful is that her character encompasses what most people would consider a “man’s” world. Yet, she is the general managing a team of men of elite soldiers. She is above them in rank, but loves her team like a sister would love her brothers. In fact, she loves them so much she would die for them.
As a mother of two young daughters, I am dedicated to raising them to know themselves. To help them build their inner strength, learn how to say “no” (and forcefully), and to stand up for what they believe in. For me, simply knowing E.D. Erker and her activism for PTSD awareness, and becoming immersed in the characters of Orion One has strengthened me personally for that task. The world needs a strong female fighter, and one with the most enticing flaws you can imagine. Through Jane’s eyes, we learn not only what survival looks like, but also what thriving does.
Denise C. Powell, Editor