My black-belted karate instructor waxed eloquent about how aware of his surroundings he was. He attributed his way of seeing everything to his martial arts training. I was impressed—I loved karate (and he was kinda cute).
Years later, I walk alone to a deserted beach in a foreign country. 90% of the people I pass on the way are men. I want to sit and enjoy looking at the water, listening to the waves, soaking up the sun. But complete enjoyment meant turning my back on all the people I had passed. I couldn’t. Someone could easily sneak up on me and. . .
At this point, I’m reminded that my karate instructor was proud that he never turned his back on the door to the room. This he attributed to his martial arts training. I couldn’t turn my back so that I could gaze at the sea. I attribute it to being a woman.What he attributes to martial arts training, I attribute to being a woman. Click To Tweet
Here are three ways having a black belt is the same as being a woman:
- Be Ready In Your Defensive Stance
If I ever feel threatened, my body remembers how to stand karate solid, ready to take a hit and then give one.
The first time I went out alone, mom told me how to hold my keys between my fingers so that if attacked, I could gouge his eyes out. Every time I’m alone walking to my car in the dark, I still do it. It’s my defensive stance.
- Always be aware of your surroundings
My karate instructor noticed all the people around him and formed tentative conclusions about them.
When I’m alone, I’m always aware of the people around me. I need to be able to identify him in a lineup or describe him to authorities. Rather than keeping my eyes down, I seek to appear confident and am always watching.
- Never turn your back
My black-belted friend never turned his back on any door. He wanted to be ready for anyone or anything that entered.
I can’t turn my back, either. It’s too vulnerable. I can’t be caught. I need to get ahead of any threat.
After I returned from the beach, I told someone (a man) about how I didn’t want to turn my back and gaze at the sea. He looked at me like I was a little “off” and told me how I had nothing to worry about.
Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I think too much.
Or maybe I’m simply a woman. As a woman, perhaps I realize, like most men never will, that I’m always vulnerable. If I let my guard down, I may have something happen to me that I can never take back.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being a woman. I simply realize there are certain realities faced primarily by my sex. These realities affect my daily life.Don’t get me wrong. I love being a woman. I simply realize there are certain realities faced primarily by my sex. These realities affect my daily life. Click To Tweet
(Interested in hearing more from me? Check out my book, The Book of Womanhood)