I’ve learned a lot about myself in the past 2 years as a martial artist, and as a woman I don’t think I could have learned in just any environment. Learning a martial art takes a lot of perseverance and grit, it’s not easy, and it shouldn’t be. I’ve been downright frightened at times and had to grit my teeth and force myself to keep going. Because of this, the greatest lessons I’ve learned through ninpo have to do with my internal life, how I think, how I behave, what I allow to bother me, or not, and what I think about myself and others. My sense of value changed through several intense experiences in class and private lessons. I went from only valuing my usefulness, to valuing my existence. Learning one’s true value is something I desire to transmit to other women.
I held my first women’s self-defense class today. This is something I am passionate about and plan to use to proclaim the message that women have value beyond their usefulness to other people. I think too many women only feel valued when they are being a wife, a mother, a boss, or coworker or any other role women fill. I believe that women are not generally attracted to defending themselves, or violence, because the innate sense of inherent value is missing. However, often women will become violent when necessary to defend their home or loved ones.
I’d like to bridge that gap between the instinct to defend others and defending one’s self.
I believe that self defense starts with understanding one’s value. Developing a fighting spirit comes from this understanding. A fighting spirit is a tool we can use to give us the strength and energy to be violent if necessary. If this piece is missing, defending ourselves won’t be quite as effective because fear can take over and cause us to cower. I discovered through a grappling lesson that I had no desire to fight back if someone was attacking. Even in the calmer environment of the dojo, I felt intense fear and blanked out everything I had learned to that point. Unbeknownst to me at that time, I didn’t know my inherent value. Once I learned about it, and made it part of myself I developed a fighting spirit fairly quickly.
I believe learning one’s value, and learning techniques for fending off an attacker are valuable to any women of any skill and physical capabilities. Heck, a woman in wheelchair can find ways to defend herself given enough learning and practice. We just have to change what we think about ourselves and dig deep into our sense of self to find what we need, when we need it.