by Marilyn Hall
When I was a little girl, I was told that ?little girls are to be seen, and not heard?. I think that this is why my ?kia? is so weak. The good news is that my ?kia? is getting stronger, and so am I. In the year and a half I have been with the Georgia Karate Academy, my fitness level, coordination, and mental focus have increased dramatically. But, most of all, and perhaps most importantly, I am more confident in my daily life. This is partly because I feel more safe than I did two years ago.
Violence against women is an everyday reality. It can cast a shadow over our behavior in public and our safety in private. The possibility of assault terrorizes many of us, to the point where we may feel unable to walk alone at night, ride a bus alone, or even walk alone through a park. Women can either acquiesce to the continuous threat of violence or fight back. A physical threat demands a physical response.
A woman who exudes confidence and makes eye contact is less likely to become a victim of assault than a woman who doesn?t. Additionally, research has shown that women can resist assault effectively by using physical, verbal, and psychological techniques, and by running away. Those who fight back using a combination of methods have a greater chance of avoiding rape and injury than women who do not. We practice these techniques in every class. By practicing regularly, reducing our fear, and becoming more aggressive, we are learning how to avoid harm in a real assault.
When I was a little girl, ?strong? was not sexy, and ?aggressive? was not feminine. It is a difficult thing to change our attitudes about ourselves, and how we would like to be perceived by others. Our karate dojo is more than just a place to practice kicks and punches. It is a safe place to practice being bold, strong, and aggressive. Practicing provides us with the opportunity to develop a new self-confidence, a knowledge that being physical is okay, and being physical is effective. I hope that none of the women or girls in our club ever need to physically defend themselves. But, I take comfort in the knowledge that if it were to happen, she would fight back with strength, belt out an Earth-shattering ?KIA!?, and avoid harm. You go girl!