Self-defense for women is something that Ripple Effect Martial Arts takes very seriously. Instructors and students train daily to be prepared and able to defend themselves. But in addition to self-defense seminars, strength building exercises, sparring and partner exercises aimed at disarming, repelling or escaping an attacker, there is a key element of martial arts that helps women feel safe.
It’s a community. When you are surrounded by friendly, polite, helpful, smart and powerful people, you feel safe. Doing what makes you happy and expressing yourself in a way that is true – that is the goal of becoming a black belt; not only to be able to protect oneself in a dangerous encounter, but to stand up for others and make the world a better place.
This is a mission shared with Boulder, Colorado-based Newton Running: “Our mission is to be a world leader in the technology and shape of natural running shoes, and use our platform to promote social responsibility initiatives that help make the world a better place. ” [Italics ours]
We appreciate this mission and we should. Running pits people against the elements, the terrain, the strain on the heart, legs and lungs. It’s a big part of martial arts training. It is also a persecution that women should carry out without fear of being harassed or, at worst, attacked. As a black belt community, we cannot allow intimidation of women on the trail (or at home, in the neighborhood or in the workplace). We must not allow intimidation anywhere.
Predators search for and wait for the easiest prey. This is one (extremely sad, but real) reason why women are statistically more vulnerable to attack than men; not because women are weaker or less able to defend themselves, but because this is a premise that predators make. This is the perception of a woman in the eye of a predator.
We want to change that. Men can help by being aware of their own presence. Look women in the eye. Nod. Wave. Acknowledge that you are ready to help if needed. If you overtake, give some space and move on. If she is ahead of you, give her space and let her go ahead.
Be aware. Be an ally. Being a black belt.