I got some super confused looks…

When Mr. Herrman asked me to start a blog, I was excited for the opportunity to be held accountable for doing research related to the martial arts and sharing it.  When I sat down and actually tried to start writing, it took me three hours to come up with the first word.  I knew what I wanted to write, what I wanted to achieve and on what I wanted to do a series.  What I didn’t know was how to step out on that road.  I looked up other martial artists who have blogs, how they separated out their life story into an “About Me” section and in their first blog just dove right in to whatever they felt like writing.  So I looked for a blog telling me why I should blog and before I finished reading it, it hit me. Why I wanted to write.

The other day I was teaching and despite having trouble keeping my group focused, I was having an absolute blast!  I got my students back on track and they knocked out some self-defense techniques enthusiastically.  So I immediately sat them down (using the high point to drive home a positive idea), I told them why it was important to be serious, but also that you can still have fun without being silly.  In the middle of the chat, I told them I absolutely love teaching.  Even on days when stances aren’t sharp, nobody is paying attention, and the little dragons are crawling the walls, I still love what I do.  I got some super confused looks from a few of my more serious, focused students.  The look on one face was pretty priceless. I continued before any questions could be asked and said, “Because that moment when it clicks with any one of you, and your stance snaps into place, your form comes together beautifully, or you hit me with strength and intensity so that I know you could defend yourself – that is why I love teaching.  When I see you doing your best, staying focused, and achieving your goals, that is when I know that you got it.  That is why I love teaching.”  The light bulbs lit up over their heads and several of them grinned.  I want to write because watching it all come together is like when I used to watch my mom needlepoint.  I loved going with her to pick out her pattern and the colors and the needles.  Weeks would go by before I could tell that what she was doing was actually working, but by the end, it was always a beautiful image that was simply a bunch of seemingly useless knots.  That’s teaching. Seemingly useless moves when handed to a student slowly become beautiful and strong techniques.

The first series I want to write about is in regards to women and the martial arts.  I have a lot of different threads I want to work with and too many patterns to chase, so the design of this first series is to dive in and cover a little of everything.  I’ve been training for 14 years, and over time my perception and dedication as a female martial artist has continually changed.  I owe much of that to the men and women in the martial arts who have promoted a positive viewpoint of women training.  For my first post, I’m going to explore female martial art role models.  Some who are mine personally, as well as those who are known on a national level.  One thing that hit me recently is how vitally important it is to one’s own training to have a role model of the same gender.  Almost everywhere that I have trained, there has always been a woman I could look up to.  However, the times I was most discouraged in my training, correspond directly to the lack of a leader I could relate to on a personal level.  And despite what 8 year old me thought, having a role model that is your gender does have an enormous impact.