Women’s Self Defense

Ka'imi Kuoha is a 6th degree black belt in Chinese Kara-Ho Kempo

I’m a cautious person by nature and my first instinct is always to avoid trouble.   When I’m out at night, I’m usually with a friend or two.  I take my dog, Lola, with me when I walk or run.  You don’t have to look far to find stories about people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time, though.  All the caution in the world can’t make up for bad luck.

Ka'imi was recently featured on the cover of Inside Kung-Fu and was listed as one of the "top ten female martial artists in the world"

I take a Pilates class Kwai Sun Studio, a martial arts studio that offers a variety of fitness classes.  When I found out that the studio owner, Ka’imi Kuoha, was offering classes in Women’s Self Defense, I signed up.  I expected to feel silly and inept.  I’m relatively coordinated, but my background is in dance, not athletics.  I’m strong enough when it comes to digging and hauling bags of dirt in the garden, but I found it hard to imagine myself landing an effective blow against an attacker.  Still, I knew I should try to learn a few techniques that might buy me an escape route if I were ever in a dicey situation.

We were given the opportunity to practice on several other teachers at the studio and I was amazed when I succeeded in escaping from an “attacker.”  I’m taking refresher classes to increase my speed and make the self-defense moves an automatic reaction, but I’ve already learned a lot. At the end of each lesson, I leave the studio feeling in control of my body, deliberate in my movements and aware of my surroundings.

When I put into practice the lessons I learned, I feel stronger and more focused. In dance class, I think about my energy extending beyond my body and every movement is easier. Working in the garden, I find that I have more strength if I don’t muscle through each task, so I’m less likely to strain myself. When I write, I’m reminded that repetition and practice are key.  The more you do something, the better you get.

I went outside of my usual physical routine to learn something new and it gave me a fresh perspective on everything I do.  Maybe I need to break outside of my comfort zone in my writing, too.  Maybe it’s time to sign up for a poetry class.  Who knows what that might do for my novel.


Filed under Poetry, self-defense, Writing

20 responses to “Women’s Self Defense

  1. Shary, You strike me as someone who’d be good at anything you try, so I’m not surprised. And good for you for taking a self-defense class. But don’t undersell your dancing abilities. I think with a dancer’s discipline, flexibility and strength, it can lend itself to so many other things. Dancing is the best and I’m so happy for you that you are able to do them all. 🙂

    • Thanks, Monica. Dance training is a good foundation. But I can’t say enough about Ka’imi Kuoha and what a great teacher she is. She’s also the sweetest person you’re ever likely to meet.

  2. Sandra Hike

    I took a self defence class in college. It is amazing what you can do when you know the sensitive areas of the body Side, Instep. Nose, Groin = SING


  3. I leaned some self-defense tactics here and there but I’m sure the classes you’re taking does make one more keen to what to do in a more proactive way. And you know, to take a class makes all the sense in the world when you consider everything that’s going on.

  4. Shary, I love this post! There’s something about a woman who can kick ass that is exhilarating! 🙂 For years I’ve wanted to take a self defense class.Like you mention, a woman should be aware of how to make self defense an automatic reaction and in the world we live in, you should always be prepared. I’m with Monica, dancing is powerful. My daughter took ballet for nine years and it provided her with self confidence, grace, flexibility and self discipline. I lived vicariously through her and now I live vicariously through you. Make the sisterhood proud and show the world what a woman is capable of! 🙂

    • I was nervous about taking a self defense class, but found it to be fun and empowering. If you ever decide to take one, I bet you’ll love it.

  5. You describe so well your thoughtful awareness of your body and yourself. I love you taking self defense classes from one of the top ten female martial artists in the world! Wow! So cool!

    • Ka’imi is really great. When I met her, I had no idea who she was in the martial arts world. Watching her demonstrate a move is awe inspiring.

  6. That’s so great that you tried that and now see it in every aspect of your life. I love it when that happens! I did tap dance with Monica many years ago and I was so impressed with how it really strengthens you. It’s exercise and makes you concentrate as well. So don’t give up on dancing! Good for you!

  7. Sandra

    Some of my favorite books include a fair measure of poetry. There is Tolkien of course and Anne McCaffrey (her songs are even available as an album) but also Charles DeLint and Mercedes Lackey. The poems or songs help focus the chapter and highlight important people and events. Charles DeLint has even written afterwards about the music that he used for inspiration while writing. You don’t have to start with sonnets–give the villanelle or Haiku a try.

    Competent woman
    tends all her gardens with
    focus on growing.

  8. Anitra

    I like your comment, Shary, about stepping out of our comfort zone and trying something new. The experience I’ve had in the past two weeks has brought me some amazing clarity and insights – something I didn’t expect.

    • I’m always amazed at how something that seems like an isolated event can have so much impact. Looking forward to hearing more about your experience next time we write together.

  9. Great post Shary. I agree with Bella that there is something about a woman who can kick ass! Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something that makes you stronger physically and psychologically. And good for you for recognizing what you learned and using it to improve your writing!

  10. Good for you, for doing something that stretches your boundaries. I hate change, so I’m not especially good at that. Social media is forcing me, though. Some of it is fun, other parts still intimidate me. You set a good example, and I like the parallel to your writing life and the creative process.