So I was talking to The Scribe last night in the lobby of F&F after class, telling him I'd like to write more about martial arts. He asked if I wanted to focus on women in MA & I realized I actually do. I was a bit surprised, because I've generally preferred training with men, but when I'm teaching I do find myself gravitating more toward women. And here's an example of why that is: there's a particular woman in level 1 I've thought about frequently because when she strikes she's very meek about it, she looks uncomfortable doing it, and I've wondered how I can help her past that. Then last night I peeked into bag class & saw her going crazy hard on the bag! So, what's the difference, mentally and emotionally for her, between striking a person holding a bag & just beating up a freestanding inanimate object? This is true of female beginners more often than not.
Part II of this is a strong memory I have of when I was very new to training, at Kim Soo Karate. There was a head-turningly beautiful woman, a brown belt, who was teaching me some basic strikes on the heavy bag. I was striking veeery meekly, very lightly. She asked me, "Why are you doing that?! Why do women always strike so softly? We have so much power and we never use it!" Then she started going apeshit on the bag to show me how to do it. But I simply could not get my head around behaving like that. It was like we were two different species & I just did not believe I could ever do what she did. I wish she could see me now! And still, I know I'm not delivering as hard as I can, as hard as I will be this time next year. That block isn't completely removed, though its on its way out.
This, in a nutshell, is why women like me find martial arts so addictive. I once saw myself as weak, and now I see myself as strong, and I run toward that vision like an escaping prisoner runs toward freedom.