|Inside this issue:
Kickin' at the Center
Tell us what you think
at the Heiter Community Center • 100 North Fifth Street • Lewisburg,
Self-Defense and Martial Arts Classes?
Fitness Tip of the Month
Good Habits - Healthy Patterns
by Laura Kamienski
There seem to be several common assumptions when discussing women’s self-defense classes. The first is that training with men is somehow more ‘intense’ than training without them. I have learned that not only is this assumption sexist but is simply false. In all of my experience training in women’s only classes the overall intensity level is not only equal to but in some instances, is greater than in mixed sex settings. Fighting a female attacker/training partner proved no less intense or inferior to fighting a male attacker/training partner in any way.
No doubt this assumption is based on the common alarmist misinformation that most assailants of women are far larger and stronger than their victims. Research shows that there is at least an eighty-percent overlap in size and strength between men and women. That overlap continues to increase as more and more women begin to train in physical sports and activities. Further statistics show that the average rapist is only about ten to fifteen pounds heavier and about one to three inches taller than his victim. This is hardly a significant difference warranting the necessity of male training partners or mock attackers.
Another common assumption is that training with men is universally more empowering for women. For some women it is empowering to fight against a male opponent. But, whatever the psychological benefit of this aspect of training the fact remains that it is a benefit based on perceptions which are both accurate and inaccurate. The reality is that violence against women is overwhelmingly committed by men. But the desire to train against a male opponent is also based on misinformation about male-female size disparity and on the sexist notion that women are incapable of fighting as proficiently and effectively as men. This assumption also neglects to account for the many women who find training with men to be disempowering. Their experience is often one riddled with diminutive remarks, demeaning behavior and attempts to undermine and control autonomy and self-determination.
A third assumption is that women’s spaces are fine for “introductory classes” only. This implies that advanced training without men is inferior in some way.This is the same kind of sexist thinking that has relegated women to secondary roles and status in many arenas. Those who assert this line allege that the only benefit for training without men is that it affords women an initial period of “comfort in a foreign environment.” This is one important aspect of women’s training. However this logic fails to recognize other, more significant benefits that women’s spaces provide such as the opportunity for women to make all of their own decisions free from male dominance, to model women in leadership positions free from a male vantage point, and the chance to explore self-defense outside of the traditional M.A.L.E (martial arts, law enforcement) models. Not to mention the fact that some of the finest advanced training I've had the opportunity to participate in was in women only classes.
Finally some assume that since we were legally granted access to male training halls that women have been treated equally there since 1971. Volumes of personal experiences from women martial artists who had to (and continue to) fight their way into the dojang, to stay there, and to be treated with any kind of respect at all, refute this claim. What almost all men fail to recognize is that sexism is so ubiquitous that even with the best of intentions men often unconsciously act in ways that undermine women’s autonomy and self-reliance. Because we live in a society in which women are considered second-class citizens, both overt and subtle sexism is pervasive and inescapable in any mixed-sex framework. The necessity for women’s only self-defense stems from this reality.
I find it disconcerting that no one ever questions whether men were (or are) missing something in training without women. One thing that perhaps they were (and are) missing is a kind of leadership that is not only foreign to them but to which they remain resistant. The irony is that female leadership will never exist until we are afforded autonomous opportunities to develop it.
Discover your power.
Twelve hour course: September 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th
Call 523-7777 for more information or to register.
While all three responses may make us feel better in the short run, reaching for food for comfort reinforces unhealthy behavior patterns that may be what helped us to become overweight in the first place. Next time you find yourself reaching for that bag of cookies or chips, ask yourself, "How am I feeling? What do I really need?" If your craving is a response to emotional turmoil, take a step back, and think of a healthier response rather than swallowing down your emotions with food. It's difficult, and many times you'll go ahead and eat the food -- but if even one out of 10 times you experience the ability to turn to something other than food, it will be the start of reversing this pattern.
Consider practicing a martial art. Martial arts have helped many develop healthy patterns that have turned into a life time of healthy habits.
Kicks Rank Promotions
Welcome new White Belts Deena and Kristen.
Congratulations...you're on your way!
Julie - "put 'em up!" Gaby performs Choong Gun
Lorraine, Tish, Esther, Sabum Nim, Cor, Julie, Beth
Micah, Joanna, Lindsey, Sarah
Sabum Nim, Martina