I doubt that many would know of her especially since she is not a martial artist.
But there is something unique about Janet Stephens. Basically, she reminds me of something that I read in Taleb’s Anti-Fragile.
Janet’s story is also a good illustration of the point that Taleb made about confusing between the unknown and being non-existent.
OK, so who is Janet Stephens?
Janet’s story appeared in The New Paper of 17 Mar. She is basically a hairdresser in US who is also interested in archaelogy.
For a long time she wondered if it is possible to recreate the hairstyle seen on the statues of females of high society standing such as Empress Faustina. However, not only no one knew how to do the unique and complicated hairstyles but many told Janet that those ancient hairstyles were wigs or just something made up by the sculptors of those statues.
There the matter would have rested until Janet figured out how to actually recreate those ancient hairstyles and proved that experts were wrong. The tipping point came when she figured out that a word used in ancient times “acu” didn’t always mean “pin” but originally meant “needle”.
Thus, those ancient hairstyles can be recreated not by using pins but through the use of needle and thread. Here, see for yourself at this clip how Janet does it. Here is a story and yet another story on her.
So you see if today I tell Wing Chun practitioners that Ip Man Wing Chun is not a short range but actually a long range system not only would few believe me but most would snigger if not laugh their heads off until I posed the Ip Man Koans to them and watched them fumble and fluster when they realized that they cannot provide an explanation. The unknown is not non-existent.