I’m a firm believer that in most cases anybody can learn to do anything given enough time, space, and creativity in both learning and teaching. When I encounter women who say “Oh, I could never do THAT,” what they are really saying is “I don’t have enough belief or confidence in myself to even try.” Getting people over that hump is my greatest task as teacher. I’ve seen the fear in the eyes of my partners as I’ve taken them through learning to grapple, hit each other (in sparring), taking throws, experiencing pain in techniques, and the falling techniques. I had to inspire belief in their own minds and hearts. I had to gain their trust and show them the way.
None of us wants to think about these questions — oh how I wish I had an invisible bubble I could shield myself in so I didn’t have to think about any of this! Even typing the questions I felt fear well and swell in my belly. But if we’re wise, we choose to go there, to actually strategize.
I often say that supernaturally I’m an emotionally sensitive person. Naturally, however, I’m not. I can easily detach from everything. This has been a helpful tool when I’ve gone through some difficult times, especially in times of intensive therapy. But I can’t use it for what did in the past.
It’s just as important to love ourselves as it is to love others. Loving your neighbor as yourself indicates that. When the emphasis is placed on the neighbor and not ourselves, the idea can become distorted. Are we to hate ourselves? Or be indifferent? No. We are to love ourselves as God loves us. We are “neighbors” as much as anyone else. And we are loved.
As I thought about that moment, I began to understand what it meant to feel the aggression about injustice. As the emotions started to flow, I could feel the intensity escalating. There was definitely a good vs. evil, God vs. Satan battle going on in the spiritual realm. The enemy had several footholds in my life that I wasn’t even aware of until I began the process. My sister gave me things to say out loud. This at first was very uncomfortable and a felt a bit silly to me. But then I felt God say, Make it your own.
Using self-defense as a therapeutic tool is a surprising thing. You don’t expect emotional issues to come up while you’re learning to kick, punch, and do life saving techniques. But they do. It really seems inevitable. It’s hard to deny what’s happening. But if you’ve been harmed in some way, felt powerless, or been exposed to ongoing abuse, there is a very good chance you will find yourself confronted with the resulting pain and emotions.