Training in self-defense automatically brings you into a state of self-awareness. Learning to move your body in specific ways, feeling the desire for self-protection, being acutely aware of your current environment, learning how to react calmly to danger and other such training phenomena hone your sense of self. You may find feelings you didn’t know you had, or ideas that are self-destructive as you become aware of your thoughts and emotions. This benefits your personal life because becoming aware of yourself and your inner workings helps you start to turn the tide on the aforementioned self-destructive cycles.
Going to classes some weeks later I realized I opened, not a Pandora’s Box but a Treasure Trove: I awakened a long-squashed confidence. I dusted off some self-esteem, I really believed I was worth defending. I was — and am — valuable. Not for what I can contribute to this world, but just because I’m alive. I pulled a brassy bit of boldness out next, realizing for the first time in forever I’m not an underdog. My voice matters. A cluster of pearls glows gently, heart humility — I can listen and truly honor the person in front of me, for we are equals here. Ah, and the fine fabric of a teachable heart and mind. There’s so much to learn, so much I want to know!
In the most basic sense, fear of the unknown is a normal response to what we don’t know a lot, if anything, about. But staying in that fear and letting it rule prevents growth. If we choose to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations — like learning a technique involving close contact with other people, (like grappling) — we can grow from the experience.
I was disempowered, dispirited, and disheartened by the abuse my mother poured out. The bruises she gave me are a part of my story, but they don’t represent strength and resolve. My current bruises do.
What we all seem to have in common (whether her busyness looks like 5 kids under the age of 5, busy working mom with kids in school, wife and mother and executive, single 20-something with a new job, new apartment, pile of bills, you name it), basically…
We go through the fires that hardens the clay and solidifies the shape we were when we stepped into adulthood. Because life is like that. Trial by fire. Will we survive, or won’t we?