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.
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.
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.