Right. I’m standing on the mats. It’s time for Women’s Self-Defense and the teacher just said something but I don’t know what… I really need to focus. Seriously. I’m here but not really here.
I’ve recently decided to considered myself built like a female sumo wrestler and to use that to my advantage in my martial arts training and teaching women’s self-defense. Why not? My training helps me to control my body weight and use it to my advantage. I can do things now that I couldn’t do a year ago. I’ve accomplished so much in a year’s time. I’m on my way to healing for terrifying traumas, ready to test for black belt, and getting stronger every week. My heart rate is great, my moods are generally better, my abilities are better and lifting 155 lbs. off the floor seems like a miracle –but it isn’t; it’s payoff.
Almost every time I walk into Women’s Self-Defense class, I’m dealing emotionally with whatever the day served me — usually a cocktail of fear, disappointment, maybe some grief or mental or physical pain, often a racing mind that just doesn’t want to calm down. Sometimes I don’t want to face whatever will be served up in class — but what can I say? I kind of have to be there. So unless I’m contagious or injured I show up and start preparing. I decide to set aside everything that doesn’t have to do with class for the next hour or so.
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.
But isn’t that mindset the very essence of fear? And fear attracts attackers like little else. The strong prey on the weak, that’s just the way it goes. News reports are filled with victims crushed by cruel oppressors. And really, none of us was made to be a perpetual victim, in mind or body (or, in most cases, both). We were made to grow strong and to push the forces of evil back, not to get crushed by them.