If we can look past the absurdity of what we’re doing and understand its importance,we can begin retraining our minds in ways we may not have believed possible. Retraining our minds for something better and more productive is difficult, but not impossible. Eventually it no longer feels so absurd. It begins to feel the like the right thing. It begins to feel like second nature. Honestly, it seems more absurd to do nothing and make ourselves vulnerable to a potential attack. Training to defend and protect ourselves is far more valuable as it keeps us safe from potential harm.
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.
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.
We are tougher. The fierceness of a warrior with the tenderness of a woman’s heart is an unstoppable force. Choosing to fight is what creates resilence. Choosing to not give up is what creates the fighting warrior spirit. Life will knock the wind out of you. But choosing to get up and not letting it keep you down is how you overcome. It’s how you heal.
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.
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.