When I hear women say that they train martial arts strictly as a sport and they aren’t concerned with the self-defense aspect, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sport training, but if you’re doing it anyway, why not also occasionally think about using it to defend yourself ? If it’s because you don’t believe you’ll ever need to, I hope you’re right.
Lincoln, Ne. is a medium-sized city with a small town feel, we do not have a high rate of violence. Yet, while living here, my aunt was the victim of a home invasion rape and robbery. She did not know her attacker, he kicked in her front door while she was asleep. My aunt was 4’11”, 100 pounds, and he was over 6′, 250 pounds. He brutally and repeatedly raped and beat her within inches of her life, and she was never the same again. There is a chance that if she had tried to defend herself, he could have killed her, but I believe it was a risk she would have been willing to take if she knew how. She always slept with a knife under her pillow after that.
My aunt never thought anything like that would ever happen to her either, but it did. She stayed with my grandma for awhile after it happened, and when my family was there visiting, I slept in my aunt’s bed with her because she didn’t like sleeping alone. I’m still haunted by hearing her cry about the abuse in her sleep. I think that incident forever changed me, too.
As someone who has also been a victim in my past, I know what it feels like to have no control and to be helpless, and I never want to feel that way again. That is why it’s so important to me that the martial arts I’m training are valid and useful in real life. There’s a 99% chance I will never have to find out, but that 1% chance is more than I’m willing to risk.
So, when I say things like “I will gouge out your eyes”, in my mind I am talking to the kind of monster who brutalized my aunt and destroyed a part of her. I can guarantee that anyone like him does not want to mess with me. I really do not want to ever be forced to have to hurt someone, but I want to be prepared for it if I ever do. I want to at least have the option of fighting back against this kind of violence. I wish more women felt the same way.