Posted: Summer 2002
Honoring Yourself: Women and Self Defense
Since September 11, the word "terrorism" has permeated the English language. Turn on the television or radio, pick up a newspaper, book or magazine, eavesdrop on a conversation and we're talking terrorism. We did not however have to wait to September 11th to realize that terrorism is alive and well in this country, as well as around the world. The terrorism I am talking about is violence against women.
Women and girls live with the reality of violence on a daily basis, whether it's date rape, domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Women have to worry about going out at night, what they're wearing, where they're going and who they're going with. Many can't even find refuge in their own homes. One out of every four women is a victim of violent attacks and violence does not discriminate. Violence knows no age, marital status, class, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Regardless of the pervasiveness of violence against women, we have yet to see a war against it.
The war against women must begin in the heart and soul of the female population. On a mental level, we must realize that we are worth defending and that we are our first line of defense. On a physical level, we must realize that we can make our bodies strong and learn the tools necessary to defend ourselves if our lives are being threatened. Why spend endless hours in a gym peddling a stationary bike that gets you nowhere? What utility is there in zoning out on an elliptical trainer? Why not opt for a fitness regime that not only makes you strong and healthy, but also teaches you how to use your body as a weapon?
While many fitness centers offer kickboxing, don't be lulled into a false sense of security that the class you have been taking will do you any good in a real self- defense situation. Many of these courses are taught by fitness instructors who have no idea of how to teach the martial arts, let alone apply them in a self -defense situation. We have seen a mass exodus from many of these so-called kickboxing classes with women (and men) suffering from a variety of injuries due to a lack of knowledge on the part of these instructors. We have had to undo the bad habits learned in these classes that lead to poorly executed techniques, torn ligaments and even broken bones.
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