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.
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.
It’s about standing on my own two feet and roaring in the face of anyone who seeks to violate me, whether emotionally, spiritually, or physically. You don’t have the right to violate me. I won’t be a victim. I will stand for what’s right. Protecting myself — all of me — is worth it.
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.