Thursday, June 28, 2012
Girl Power: An E Squad Adventure
Please don't start the chest-thumping arguments about how realism in self-defense is best attained when the person you are working wrist grabs, locks, strikes, blocks and take-downs against is bigger/stronger than you. I get that - but my desire to experience an all-female training environment has little to do with the physical and technical aspects of the art (heck, it isn't that difficult to learn to hit something/someone HARD using your hips) - it has more to do with the vibe/energy in the training hall. Not that it is any better or worse, but I'm sure it is different, for lack of a better term.
In other words, taking a step off the the strength-based "Do it hard or die!" path that modern - OK, I'll say it: Western - Martial Arts seems to sometimes overly emphasize intrigues me. But don't get it twisted: feminine does not equal weak in my opinion, nor do I think female instructors are automatically nurturing, soft and sweet. The training may not automatically be better, either - just...different. Or so I imagine it might be, as, again, I've never experienced it before.
Last weekend, I came close. Two women from a sister dojo came to our side of the river to train with us. Our little space is usually filled with a bevy of 6 to 18-year-olds on Saturday mornings and it is a good thing, I think, for them to see the folks their instructors train with and under on a regular basis. It is also good for them all - both the young ladies and the young men - to see as many powerful, dynamic and graceful women on the mat as possible giving instruction, doing drills and getting sweaty like the rest of us.
After a little bo, our students bowed out as did training partner Ed, who had to run to a family function. The three of us women had lunch planned for after class, but we decided to work a little kata before we changed out of our gis. So we did - and I even learned from my training partners - a fourth-dan, international bo and empty-hand kata competitor and her shodan student - the bunkai of a kata I've been dying to learn more about. Suffice to say a good - and interesting! - time was had by all. It was a very good thing.
I love all my training partners - the males and the females - because they help make me a better martial artist by challenging, encouraging and prodding me to ask "Why?" and "Why not?" always. But there's something about being surrounded by nothing but women that is hard to put into words. The energy isn't better, it's not worse. It's just...different.
Looking forward to training with them both again :-)
Posted by Felicia