“I’ve been thinking about instincts this week. And how mine are fundamentally altered by my twenty-one year practice of self defense.
It wasn’t long ago that I congratulated a sister martial artist on practicing “kick-ass self defense” when she stood up for herself in a professional situation. I don’t know her well enough to interpret her surprise at that nomenclature, but she did sound surprised. I fear she shares the misapprehension that it doesn’t count as self defense unless there’s some kind of physical beat-down, or at least a physical threat. I hear that a lot.
Self defense is what we do to take care of ourselves and the people we love. In the very best cases it’s what we do before or instead of getting hurt. Lots of times it’s what we do in the midst of being attacked—emotionally, spiritually, sexually or physically. And too often it’s what we have to do after we’ve been hurt: the long road of healing and taking action so that the same hurt doesn’t happen again to ourselves or others.
Twenty-one years studying martial arts and self defense in a feminist, social-justice, anti-racist and anti-violence context has changed me. I don’t think like normal people any more. That’s a good thing.”
A good thing, indeed. If you want to read Lynne Marie’s full post, visit her blog, Mind Body Mama. I’ll be writing more about The Maternal is Political and Mama, PhD in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, I’m going to get my self-defense on. How about you?