Learn to fight

Written By: Makesi Boodram

In the year 2018, with remarkable women like Paula Mae Weekes becoming the first female, head of state for the Democratic Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the first female Commander in Chief for their defence force. Lets not forget the numerous wigs that were snatched at Beychella, when Beyonce became the nineteen year old festival’s first female headliner. Cardi B crushing two Guinness World records fresh on the heels of her debut album. One of the most influential films of the era showing the epitome of female strength in the Dora Milaje or their undeniable genius in a sixteen year old inventor. Females of the world are shown that they can be genuine, quirky, intelligent, anything - and be an influential force in the world today.

Sadly, we also live in a world where women walk our streets in fear regardless of the time of the day, it is a sad thing but till our respective governments do something about it, we must first do for ourselves. Along with ballet and swimming, our girls should be in some form of self defence, biologically women are not superior to males. That does not mean we should not give them a fighting chance.

I hate to fight, however I was born into a fighting family. I may not be able to remember it, but there is picture evidence of me in my playpen whilst my family, sister and mother included, were on the dojo floor. So naturally as I went through life I use to tell everyone they should come to karate, till somewhere in my teen years I realised it was not cool and specifically something most girls are not into, so I stopped.

I began teaching adults at the age of twenty one, and in my years as a teacher, most of the females that have come to a self defence class have done so retroactively. Either they were mugged, closed to being a mugged, in an abusive relationship or in some instances, sadly raped. By no means am I attacking these women, in fact, going through what they have gone through and determined to not ever be placed in that situation, to me is to be applauded. The one thing most of these females do have in common is they all say they should have never put this off or wishing they came sooner.

I have also seen when anger and anxiety are given direction how every woman, became ferocious. Even the ones who doubted if they were strong enough or said that they had no violent bone in their body. At classes, various scenarios are practiced, the women are approached and prodded at varying intensities. Their response while screaming no and reclaiming that power and confidence that was seemingly stripped, is something to behold. To see women leave these classes more confident and sure in their self, is beautiful. To see their face when they tell stories of how alert and aware they have become due to the classes. How prepared they feel and how they work a million scenarios in their head in the event something happens. Things they never considered before, but from their entire demeanour when re-telling, they have discovered a new source of untapped power. That look on their face though- priceless.

In no way does a self defence class teach anyone, to become a bully or hit first. It teaches respect for everyone, as everyone, even kids can be threats. It teaches avoidance, preventative skills, de-escalation using words, running away if possible and finally if necessary fighting. This is fighting to have a chance to escape and not fighting to win, it's about doing just enough to incapacitate your attacker so you have time to get away.

Self love isn’t just about pampering yourself it's also about self improvement, self defence takes practice and is going to be challenging at times. The pain and exertion you feel in training is the strength and confidence you’ll feel tomorrow, stop limiting your ability to truly be a phenom in this world ladies. You can be both a lover and a fighter, now is a wonderful time to be a woman, so why would you dare be just a fraction of that.