What’s a stubborn, prideful girl to do? Well first things first. Do I really want to learn this stuff? Yes. Am I willing to be a student? Yes. What does it mean to be a student?
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.
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.
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!