I really think this can be a metaphor for our lives. There’s so much we think we can control. But there really is so little we actually do control. All we can do is relax into things and let them happen. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t fight when we need to. I’m certainly not saying we should be passive. But when things are going out of control and there’s nothing we can do about it, instead of freaking out, getting upset, or throwing a fit, we should relax into it and let things happen as they will.
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.
In the simplest terms, self-defense training is learning techniques that keep you safe all of the time. This includes scanning your environment for danger, hiding, when to do (or not to do) something, proper punching and kicking techniques, how to fall correctly, grappling, and other movements that reduce harm and allow escape from an attacker. But this kind of training does so much more than teach physical skills. There are emotional turning points and cross roads we reach in the midst of the physical aspects, like learning one’s worth and value.
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.