A monthly newsletter for students and friends of  Kicks Martial Arts for Women
Inside this issue:

You Are Worth Defending
by Jennifer Lawler

The 2004 Resolution
You'll Love Keeping

Cool Link of the Month

Rank Promotions

Upcoming Events


Located at the Heiter Community Center • 100 North Fifth Street •  Lewisburg, PA 17837
January 2004

You Are Worth Defending
* Excerpt from "Dojo Wisdom" by Jennifer Lawler
Happy New Year from Kicks...
CardioKicks! Fitness Tip of the Year

    When I first began teaching martial arts, I showed a woman who had just started taking lessons some basic techniques, including what’s called a “two-finger strike,” a jab with the index and middle fingers to he attacker’s eyes.
    The student recoiled and said, “Oh, I don’t think I could actually hurt anyone!”
    “But,” I tried to explain reasonably, “you use this technique if someone is trying to hurt you.”
    She looked doubtful. “I wouldn’t mind learning how to get away from an attacker. But I could never hurt someone else.”
    I was surprised but later I found that many women (and some men) feel this way. While an instinct to avoid causing pain is admirable, and avoiding the necessity of doing so is ideal, there are times when an attacker just isn’t going to listen to reason, and you have to be prepared to punch him in the nose (or gouge him in the eyes.) Refusal to cause physical harm to others may be the goal of a pacifist, but these people who didn’t want to hurt anyone weren’t pacifists. If you asked them, “What if someone were hurting your child or your elderly parent?” they would invariably respond that yes, in that case, they would be able to hurt an attacker if there were no other way to stop the attack. In fact, they could get pretty lurid in their descriptions of what they’d do to someone who hurt their child.
    Even if you would choose, for moral or ethical reasons, not to inflict injury on another person, being incapable of doing so does not make you morally or ethically superior. Being capable of violence but choosing not to use violence is actually the position a pacifist takes. Choosing not to and not knowing how are two different things.
    In most cases, the people I teach don’t have an ethical reason not to defend themselves. They just feel uncomfortable with the concept. They think they’re not worth it. They think someone can hurt them, but they have no right to hurt that person in self-defense.
    This attitude is, sadly, prevalent among women who are willing to do anything to keep their kids or their dog free from harm, but jut don’t feel entitled to do the same for themselves…as if saving themselves from harm is somehow selfish. Many self-defense instructors give in to this cultural assumption and say, “Pretend you’re fighting for your child.” Some of the more enlightened say, “If you’re hurt, you won’t be there for your kid, your dog Rover, your elderly parents.” But this still implies that you’re not important in and of yourself. The truth is, just by reason of existing, you have a right to exist free from harm. Few instructors say, like I do, “You should learn to defend yourself because you’re worth defending.”
    And you are worth defending.
    It won’t always be a mugger who wants to drag you down an alley that you have to defend yourself against. In fact, you don’t often have to. If you’re a woman, you’re far more likely to have to defend yourself against someone you know, a boyfriend who doesn’t listen when you say “no,” the neighbor who comes over to fix your leaky sink and reads more into the situation than exists.
    The threat isn’t always physical, either. It might be a threat to your dignity or self-esteem, such as when your boss tells an off-color joke at work, or your father belittles your abilities. Letting people get away with this behavior simply reinforces the message that you’re not worth defending—both to them and to you. If you stand up to this, you teach yourself that you’re worth defending, and it becomes easier to do with each successive event. And it also teaches people that you won’t put up with their disrespectful behavior, and they’ll stop doing it. Usually.

Try this exercise…

The next time your boss or co-worker tells an off-color joke, or someone insults you, don’t tell yourself that only a jerk would draw attention to this behavior. (The jerk is the person engaged in the behavior.) Simply but firmly say, “I don’t find that kind of humor amusing.” Or, “Don’t insult me. I would appreciate an apology.”
    You may be accused of having no sense of humor…you may even be accused (as I have been) of creating the conflict. But off-color jokes aren’t funny at work, and an insult directed at you is already a belligerent act. You’re just identifying it and bringing it out into the open.
    By exercising your right to defend yourself, you will teach people to treat you with respect and consideration. You are worth defending.

Jennifer Lawler is a black belt and author of twenty books including, “Tae Kwon Do for Women,” “Coaching Women in the Martial Arts,” “Kickboxing for Women,” “Punch: Why Women Participate in Violent Sports,” and “Martial Arts for Dummies.”  She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Kansas in 1996.  She is experienced as a tournament competitor, judge and referee, and martial arts and self-defense instructor. Currently, she devotes most of her time to writing and speaking about martial arts training. Her latest book “Dojo Wisdom” explores using martial arts as a practical guide to improve daily life.

Kicks' guest instructor, Dr. Lawler demonstrates
a self defense technique with Michelle
at a special seminar last year.

Click here for more information about Jennifer Lawler.

Upcoming Events

  • Kicks' 2004 class schedule is now in effect. Click here for details.
  • The next rank test will be held on February 7th at 2:00 PM. Good luck to all of those who are testing!



*  Excerpt printed with permission from the author. Dojo Wisdom, Peguin Publishing 2003. All rights reserved.
round Each NewYear's Eve millions of women vow that this year will be the year they start a fitness program and stick to it. According to a USA Today study, only about 22% of people who establish New Year's resolutions
actually follow through with them. There are many reasons why so many people fail to keep their personal promises. One of those reasons is lack of planning, another is often a lack of commitment. Each winter the fitness industry bombards the media with advertisements around the holidays. Miracle diets and magic machines are described as the new and easy way to get fit and stay fit. Consumers often end up bored and discouraged after spending
hundreds of dollars. The problem rests in setting a goal of weight loss instead of a goal of fitness as a lifestyle. In order to succeed with a fitness program, the goal itself must be to implement a plan and follow through with it. In other words the key to any weight loss program is consistency. There simply are no miracles or magic involved in getting fit and losing weight.
        Martial arts is fitness with a purpose! So, practicing a martial art is a great choice to help you achieve your fitness goal. Those who practice martial arts learn to understand goals, make plans (resolutions) and develop the skills to achieve those plans. In addition, martial arts are a lot of fun. No one will stick with a fitness program that isn't enjoyable. It is much easier to commit to a fitness goal and achieve lasting results if you're having fun doing it. Because it's so much fun, martial arts is a great way to get in shape and stay in shape while learning self defense and valuable life skills in the process. Make fitness with a purpose your 2004 goal!

Kicks Rank Promotions

Welcome new White Belts: Gwen and Jillian...
You're on your way!

  • Gold Belt: Jackie, Molly and Rachel
  • Junior Orange Belt: Joanna
  • Orange Belt: Katie, Kristen and Meghan
  • Green Belt: Alyssa
  • Purple Belt: Gaby and Julie
joanna     joanna belt
Joanna in action!            Joanna checks out her new junior orange belt.

December 13 rank promotions
Newly promoted senior students.
Left to right: Molly, Meghan, Alyssa, Julie, Gaby and Katie

katie and sabum nim
A special congratulations to Katie who earned a medal for her outstanding performance in Pre-arranged Sparring.

Happy purple belt
A happy new purple belt, Julie hugs Sabum Nim

You can check out test photos by clicking here.

Cool Link
of the Month


Feminista! is an online journal known internationally for its content and capacity for networking. Feminista! is a journal of art, literature, social commentary, philosophy, with, humor, and respect, and is currently published on a semi-regular basis.


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