Teaching martial arts, self-defense & fitness go beyond "passion"... There is purpose behind what I do
I often get asked what I do (by people whom I'm meeting for the first time). In March, I was at an event and had the opportunity to speak to 85 women. What a treat! A captive audience….a speaker’s dream.
The first words out of my mouth were: “I teach women how to fight.” It is the first time I had ever told anyone what I do, in those specific words. For some reason, it held a lot of power. My audience was immediately captivated by what was to follow. I had all of 3 minutes! lol…
But in those 3 minutes I explained in a nutshell exactly what I do.
“I teach people how to fight, and specifically women. I help women who have a hard time standing up for themselves and don’t feel very good about their bodies, to feel great in their bodies and live their lives in fearlessness, by cultivating their #badasscourage [thru physical movement].”
(And I did not even mention martial arts or fitness.)
I like it a lot
I like these words. They do hold a lot of power. And it is what I do (among so much more). Teaching women (and men) this particular skill goes so far beyond the actual skill, as it becomes a part of our nervous system with new muscle memory, replacing old patterns of movement and old ways of thinking. Even more important, it replaces a new way of feeling. You get emotional transformation through your own physical transformation. It is indeed powerful.
Yes, I teach men and always have. However, lately a lot of women have been drawn to my studio to learn how to fight. Maybe that is why I chose those words at that moment. Maybe it is just time for more women to learn to fight. It has been a ‘given’ for men to have the ‘permission’ to learn to fight. Women…not so much. The time is ripe. The time is now.
And if every woman and girl in the world knew how to fight, wouldn’t the world look different? Food for thought…
Our bodies are brilliant
They hold so much within. Trusting that has often been so hard for so many of us. Our bodies speak to us all the time. Often we ignore our bodies. We let our minds take over. That’s when we run into our own trouble. I keep learning from my body every day. I seem to be on a path to bigger and deeper healing…every day. Listening to my body has become top priority. (And I am still learning from the incident with my broken arm.)
Going thru my own process of ‘getting there,’ I have learned that we hold energy, thoughts, and feelings in every fiber of our bodies. Sometimes it is best to release it (for our better health and happiness). The release of energy happens in lots of different ways. Some are subtle and some are quite a bit more ‘intense.’ From experience, I know that heat can create a release of energy that we didn’t even know we were holding. This can be intense.
I have had these releases thru my martial arts training, sweat lodges, and sitz baths. The common denominator was heat. In the martial arts training, my core was continually contracting as I rolled on the mat. My body was sweating. Tears started rolling. My teacher, Mr. Tino Tuiolosega, was surprised, as I was, for nothing had happened to me, except I was practicing rolls…and sweating a lot. I’ve seen martial arts students break down in tears from something that was seemingly ‘nothing.’ This doesn’t happen to everyone. However, when it does, it is very powerful.
Heat is expansive. Cold is contractive. Most of us know this. When we are cold we hold ourselves tighter. Our muscles contract in an effort to retain heat. In this effort, the cells are tight. Not much can pass through. With heat in the cells, they expand. Expansion allows more room for energy to travel through each cell. In that opening of the cells, therein lies the release. Release of old energy, old memories, old stuff. (Sweat lodges and sitz baths work in a similar way. Maybe more about those later.)
So, back to what I do
Learning how to fight goes so far beyond knowing how to fight. It can truly be a method of healing. In my world, there is no other more powerful confidence builder than being able to control another person who might be attempting to hurt or harm you, especially if that person is bigger than you. There is such a huge myth surrounding people who are ‘bigger than you.’
As I continued to train (with everyone who was bigger than me), I began to demystify this myth for myself. I was getting a new truth…about myself, about other people (and their ‘size’), and how feeling my own power to knock someone out made a true and lasting change in my life. Having trained in 6 other martial arts disciplines, I still did not have that for which I was looking. It wasn’t until Mr. Tino Tuiolosega walked into my life did I learn about this energy within and the power to cultivate courage.
And then there is #badasscourage
"Cultivate Your #badasscourage" was developed out of a need to find, in a nutshell, what I do. Courage is what got me through the doubts and fears. Doubts and fears don’t disappear. They become smaller and less significant, but only after you’ve gone through them. At least that was true for me. That is cultivation. The more I cultivated, the more courage I built. Having to confront my own teacher was the hardest part of any training I ever did with him. I almost lost him as my teacher (twice) because I had the courage to speak up (to the one who was teaching me to cultivate my power…lol). Nobody confronts ‘Mr. Tino.’ I had to. And it was worth the risk. He (unknowingly) taught me to deal with other people's anger. Huge big lesson. And it was great! It took courage to stand in close proximity to Mr. Tino Tuiolosega when the release of this energy happened. Whoa! And every time I got stronger.
Cultivating ‘knockout power’ provided my body, mind and spirit with an energy that I had never, ever felt, ever in my life. And it sure did feel good. Yes, I was learning to put someone’s lights out. Never in my life growing up did I ever think I would one day have the ability to knock someone out. I never thought about it because, like most people, who wants to think about this kind of stuff?
We often ignore the 'what if's.' As I began to learn this power, I was creating confidence that I had never had before in my life. Knowing that I can knock someone out makes all the difference in my world. It doesn’t make me invincible. Yes, someone else can knock my lights out too. I am as vulnerable as the next person when a situation is totally out of my control. However, when I have control to make choices, I won’t feel so frozen. I will choose to fight for what I believe or take flight for when it makes more sense to get the x@#^ out.
And I use it every day
What’s even bigger than this is that I use my training every single day. Self-defense is about making your own choices on your own watch every day. It’s about standing up for what you believe. It’s about speaking your mind, and not having to justify anything to anyone.
I still make mistakes. If I didn’t make mistakes, I wouldn’t be learning much. The difference is that now when I make choices, I know they are my own, I am operating under my own power in all aspects of my life, and I have the confidence to stand behind my choices. I stand up for what I believe to be truth. I ask for help when I need it. I release people who feel toxic to my life. I stand strong in who I am and don’t make excuses or justifications.
I can take the time I need to assess a situation and not make a move out of fear (of rejection, embarrassment, being made wrong, etc—which is entirely different from making a move in a dangerous situation). The energy that runs through my body when I feel #badasscourage cannot ever be explained. Each person has to feel it. (Like how you explain the taste of an orange to someone who has never tasted citrus.)
And besides, feeling that #badasscourage is a great way to live. And this is why I do what I do...why I teach what I teach. Whether in my martial arts classes, self-defense classes, or fitness classes, I bring it all to the table. Talk to me if you are curious how this might work for you too, beyond what you are already doing.
Clara E Minor
MINORSAN Self-Defense & Fitness
Santa Cruz, CA
Yes, I will teach you to kick-butt in a most appropriate way.