Strong, Not Cute: Learning Self-Defense

Tonight I’m strong, not cute.

I’ve been “cute” all my life. It’s a product of being petite and enjoying fashion.

Now I’m in a self-defense class, and it’s changing the way I feel. About using my voice, and my body– to protect myself. To assert myself.

I’ve been intellectual and creative for so long, I’ve nearly forgotten that I’m also naturally athletic. I’ve ignored this about myself since high school, when I decided the fall play was more exciting than cross-country.

I’m the smallest woman in my class– and I now see that as an asset. Until now, I’ve learned to diffuse situations and avoid physical altercations at all costs– which is a skill itself. I’ve mastered not reacting.

Now I’m learning that I’m more than just someone small and cute.

I may have delicate wrists, but I can still pull away quickly. I’m learning basics– punches, take-downs, blocks.

My partner tonight was taller than me by several inches– she kept apologizing for hitting me. But I told her to go for it. My wrists were turning red, but I wasn’t bothered. I used to play volleyball. I can deal.

It feels weird and also exciting to be hitting someone else– to be taking offense, not just defense. To learn how to move into someone, how to use their motion against them.

It’s wonderful to be taking agency with my body in a pro-active way that’s helping me be healthier, as well.

To shout, “NO!” This is my third class. Just shouting it at first, my voice was horse. I can match someone if they’re yelling at me when necessary to get them to back away. But I’m not used to speaking loudly these days.

I’m used to being the quiet, unassuming, humble one. My dominant strategy was to blend in.

Now I’m becoming aware. I feel my abs work when I turn, I feel my hips flex. I feel my breath.

I can see why so many people are obsessed with fitness. It feels good.

I’m learning what it feels like to hit things– even if it’s just a bag. I’m embracing the adrenaline.

I’m USING the fear, not letting it arrest me.

It’s gratifying to know that I’m intimidating to a woman bigger than I am– because I was more confident in my motions. She held back– I used all the power I had.

The world may be a Goliath, but I’m David with the sling-shot.

I feel like a natural.

I feel like I’m taking control of not just my behavior, but my bodily safety. I’m not a sitting target.

I’m moving. I’m quick. I’m stronger than I realized.

Best of all, I’m stronger than anyone else looking at me would realize.

I have quiet power.


2 comments on “Strong, Not Cute: Learning Self-Defense

  1. Ahhhhhhh, there’s not a “like” button big enough for this post!!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!! Can’t wait to hear more about it!! You ARE strong!!

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