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.
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.