Kung-fu fighting with Dish & Duer COO Jennifer Clarke

The martial art helps keep Dish & Duer COO Jennifer Clarke focused and driven in life and work

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Jennifer Clarke, COO of Dish & Duer, was an elite gymnast as a teenager

Kung-Fu Hustle

The martial art helps keep Dish & Duer COO Jennifer Clarke focused and driven in life and work

I’ve always been passionate about athletics and living a healthy life with a high work ethic because of the level of gymnastics I was training and competing at since I was in Grade 3. I was on the national gymnastics team growing up. I got a full-ride scholarship to do NCAA gymnastics in Maryland.

I got a business degree and started my career but was always very active on the side coaching gymnastics, doing choreography and training. Recently, I had friends who went into stunt work after gymnastics because there are a lot of similarities between having extreme body awareness and being able to flip and do crazy things with your body. A few people pushed me to try and get started in the [film] industry, so I started training in martial arts for that, getting back to gymnastics again, and it’s been incredible. I’ve been working in this community for almost a year, and it’s been busy, busy, busy.

I started doing kung-fu less than a year ago. There was testing going on for gold sash–level kung-fu, and the instructor I’ve been training with pushed me to do it. There are only three sashes in kung-fu. Generally, it’s a couple of years to get your gold sash, three to five more years to get the next level, which is red, and 10 to 15 to get the next level. We had to do sword work; we had to do kung-fu form; we had to run about 2,000 stairs; we had to do weaponry. I was so proud of it, and I am training to get my red.

I don’t sacrifice my ability to train and do what I’m passionate about physically because it has such an impact on who I am. It’s an outlet I’ve had since I was a child. That translates into how I plan my day and how I think strategically about what I’m doing. I’m very driven and competitive with myself more than anything.


Before joining performance-denim startup Dish & Duer in April 2016, Jennifer Clarke was director of retail at custom menswear retailer Indochino and district manager at Aritzia. Dish & Duer, which opened its first flagship store in Gastown last year, is also sold at Mountain Equipment Co-op.