APRIL 15, 2020
There was a day when I did not even think about martial arts. I focused on a career, marriage and eventually starting a family. But martial arts? I never considered learning one until my husband boldly mentioned that a local recreation center had martial art classes and we should try them. I was already 26 years old.
I was not the confident or super outgoing type, so martial arts scared me. After a few lessons, I felt stronger both physically and mentally. My confidence grew. Here presents reason #1 why women need martial arts. Every women deserves to be confident, whether about herself, her mindset, her body or her safety. Martial arts help you see your strengths, improve your weaknesses and define your confidence.
Martial arts are a workout with a purpose. In the 1980’s, when I began my practice, I stayed fit even through difficult times like a miscarriage and amazing times like the birth of my first son, then my next three children. While the miscarriage was difficult, and unfortunately it was not the only one in my pregnancy history, my martial art mindset helped me overcome from that difficult moment to move on to healthy pregnancies. This mental acuity gave me great strength to persevere and to become a mother. Reason # 2 is that every woman who strives to be a mother deserves to know her inner strength. And, if not a mother, a great role model who understands how to persevere when times get tough.
I learned to defend myself. While some ask me to show my “moves” out of curiosity, most martial artists are not about showmanship but about improving vulnerabilities. I would not be able to effectively prevent or defend an attack from a large man if I did not understand self-defense concepts, leverage, and even how to throw someone. Reason #3 why women need martial arts is that there may be no one there to protect you when you need it the most. Learn and practice self-defense until it feels natural to you. Martial art training gives you the practice that you need to understand what an attack my look or feel like and how you can defend yourself.
Martial arts bring together a sisterhood. I am not implying that women should be separated from men while training; quite the opposite. It takes everyone to make martial art training effective, enjoyable, and challenging. Still, when I check my social media, it is nice to see what women are doing to empower themselves through martial arts, how they are excelling, and to have the opportunity to share and discuss experiences with them. Reason #4 is that women need to encourage each other through their martial art journey because it is uniquely different from a man’s journey for the reasons expressed above. Women martial artists also need to defend against the sexualization of martial arts because martial arts are not for the sexy but for the serious. We don’t all have rock hard abs or kicks that go straight to the sky as depicted on social media or advertisements. We are everyday women who are confident, strong, and empowered due to martial arts.
I say women “need” martial arts instead of women “should learn” martial arts for a reason. Martial arts give me ways to cope, defend, persevere, understand, learn and grow in all categories of my life. Women share the same experiences in martial arts as they do in life, and that is why their dependence on each other for motivation and encouragement is so important. Hey, I am a martial art woman and I am proud of it. My life would have turned out differently if not for the confidence and empowered mindset that I earned with every single belt along the way.
I still need martial arts and I always will.