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.
Self-defense training is very tough. But I believe it’s also very necessary. We tend to think nothing bad will never happen to us — until it does. Doing the necessary things to train is part of protecting oneself. For me, seeing my friend as my opponent or foe, is part of the discomfort of protecting myself. If I’m ever in a dangerous situation with someone trying to hurt me, I need to know what to do. That person would not be my friend. Their motivation would be to hurt me or worse.
In self-defense, it’s the same idea. I am constantly being challenged to do the hard things. I’m challenged to push myself. I feel the same discomfort and fear at least once during class. There are times when it’s a lot tougher to overcome, because PTSD is involved. I start to cry and really think I can’t do it. It isn’t just the normal discomfort. It’s flashbacks and memories of things that my younger mind had buried to protect itself. Or it’s the present day reality of my divorce and what my ex-husband put me through. It’s feeling the hard things and doing them anyways.