Tennessee Chief Justice Holder Hacked at by "Swordsman" on Mom's 90th Birthday

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It is well known — at least in state government circles — that Janice Holder of Memphis, Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, is a lioness of self-defense. The diminutive jurist is a multi-degreed black belt and is not to be trifled with, in or out of court.

But Justice Holder took it to the limit on Sunday when, as part of the celebration of her mother Sylvia Holder’s 90th birthday at The Parkview on Poplar, she agreed to lie supine on a table and let her martial arts instructor, Patrick Wrenn, hack away at her midriff with a ceremonial sword.

Wrenn’s target was not really Justice Holder’s mid-section, of course. Rather the bell pepper she had balanced on her tummy. The aim was to slice it in half without harm to Holder.

Oh, did we mention that Wrenn was blindfolded?

The beneficiary of this demonstration, Sylvia Holder, is surely deserving of a celebration so exceptional. A retired jazz singer who worked with numerous famed bandleaders, she served in recent years as an usher at the FedEx forum. She is also a poet and the author of a recent book of recollections, Poetry & Memoirs.

And, like her daughter, Sylvia Holder is a model of poise, taking Sunday’s demonstration in stride. See the video. (Enlarge to full screen for best effect.)


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