Clear Water

A place to share ideas, concerns, questions, and thoughts about women and the martial arts.

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Clear Water

Postby Lori » Sat Oct 17, 1998 6:15 am

I like to think that women in the martial arts can be so much more than "just another karateka." "Gender has no place in the martial arts!" I hear your battle cries of equality from the ramparts! I'm sorry, but as some previous threads have shown in this forum - we can no more leave parts of our gender outside with our shoes as we can deny our womanhood - much as we may try to "keep up" with the men!

NO! It is NOT a gender competition - and those of you misunderstanding me already are trying to put this post in some type of feminist or equal opportunity type of slot in your political machine...try to resist that left-brained impulse - instead - try to look at the feminine aspects of our art - they are there for both genders - just as we have soft blocks and hard strikes - we have a yin and yang to the pangainoon of our style...and rather than turn us into genderless karateka - we can reach for the feminine creative side of our art and develop it's many facets...

Part of the yin, receptive side of our art is our innate creativity - an aspect shared again by both genders - yet perhaps lending itself easier to feminine dominions. All of us, male and female alike, go through periods of stopped up creative flow - much like a polluted river - remember the Cuyahoga River in Ohio? In the 1970s it became so toxic that it caught on fire! If our creative flow becomes too contaminated it too can burn from the garbage we allow to collect in there - incinerating life forms in and around it...

What does this have to do with martial arts - I hear you saying it now - Plenty! is my reply! Face it - the martial arts is a creative outlet for you whether you started studying for fitness, self-defense, fighting, tournaments, self-confidence, curiosity or whatever reason you choose! The creative aspect drew you in and what you do with it will determine the paths you choose throughout your study. I submit to you that it is our "pollution" of this river that causes students to fall away, to keep from committing to a lengthy course of study, to take long absences. How many excuses have you heard from those drifting away: "life is just busy" "I have so many committments" "After I finish these classes" "The kids have a lot of things going on" "My husband's job is very demanding right now" "Money is tight" "I need to get some things organized in my life first" ______________________________

Fill in the blank! You have heard them too! You have made them yourself at one time or another - we all have.

My challenge to you...if your river is getting full of that interfering toxic waste - SET IT ON FIRE! Burn it off and return to the source of the river...get back to class - work out again - so what if you feel like you've fallen behind! Each and every class is yet a new beginning! If you are working out regularly - reach out to someone who may be falling away and extend a hand in friendship - make your dojo a lighthouse to crafts that are having trouble navigating through the garbage in their river of life...Continue in the creative process - and if I may borrow a sign off from Van Canna Sensei...

Live Life!
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Postby moulton » Sat Oct 17, 1998 9:54 pm

Hello Lori.

Your opening statement is sooo inspirational, esp. the part about

"if your river is getting full of that interfering toxic waste- SET IT ON FIRE! "

Yes...Yes! oh, yes,yes,yes,yes! I am going to do it! I will SET MY PCs ON FIRE this weekend and free myself from this time consuming hell-hole in which I have been trapped since 1995. I just got my pc back from the shop this morning after six weeks of down time. At first there was several weeks of consistant and severe withdrawal attacks in which I felt I would do almost anything to get my hands on a pc just to type (how stupid), followed by another week or so of absolute boredom as new seeds began to germinate and thrive while enjoying the sunshine. Hey! There really is a world out there as I began to discover.

Yes! Your words brings out the true arson to light some fires of life. Burn, baby, burn...

To cap it off, I read several weeks ago that people in rapidly growing numbers are becoming addicted to these things, the new bulging subculture of internet surfers. gotta break -- correction -- am breaking the pc habit and all without those unsightly patches.

Thanks for the inspirational cap, Lori, it came at the right time. Yahoo! I'm free again...


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Postby mavourneen » Sun Oct 18, 1998 2:01 am

YOU GO BABY!!!!!!Beautifuly put Lori!I have lots of good excuses but I have made martial arts a PRIORITY in my life.I was just talking to a person who was saying I dont have enough money for the class and I said quit smoking and you will have money and live longer.As a mother and a wife I some times get lost so I give my self some thing special and I choose martial arts,it keeps me in touch with the person I am not only "Mom or Honey".Mavourneen
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Postby Jackie Olsen » Sun Oct 18, 1998 5:42 am

Well said, Lori-san,

And, I feel that karate mirrors life too. Each day is also a new beginning and if life is boring ... we each need to find a way to set it on fire.

Life has no meaning unless we choose to give it meaning. The form is our dispostion to do .. the attraction is what we draw to ourselves ... and then there's impact ... do you make it happen or not?

I enjoy your forum and writings very much. Keep on sharing!


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Postby Van Canna » Sun Oct 18, 1998 10:30 pm

Again , the message that shoots forward from a woman's perspective is one deeply rooted in emotion , something which can be very controlling in establishing the chain of mental impulses to be triggered for defensive action out of 'basic instinct' which the north American society has shoved into a corner ! Whereas the European / Latin male/female is encouraged to show emotion , it's north American counterpart is stifled from birth in emotive development .

As to the male , the Anglo -saxon view is that in order to be a real man, for example, he has to get drunk and puke all over someone ! Then , in the grip of a hangover , he cries ! Man ! That is real emotion !!

How many of you have seen ,' real men ' try to intimidate you by sucking on a bottle of beer in smirking grandeur ! That is the biggest cop out in the world i.e., they can blame the good beating which may befall them , on the drinking !

On a lighter tone , Once I knew a lady who told me she was going out with this guy ,and enjoying it , even though he was a lush ! Then one day came the revelation …he told her he was quitting drinking and leaving her at the same time because the only time he could really stand her , was when he got drunk !

Do I have your attention yet??

Studies on emotional intelligence confirm that all of what we do in life , including how we respond under attack , if we respond at all , is emotionally driven first …any technique , is second in importance !

We all possess an "Emotional Sentinel " , which if given room to roam our inner self , it always protects you with loving care ! If you shove it into a closet in chains it falls prey to the fervent imbeciles of life ! The emotional mind is light speed ahead of the rational mind …which is responsible for the survival of mankind , in that , it relies on the most basic decisions to insure the passing on of progeny !

So any action triggered by the emotional mind , is very direct and powerful , determined and instantaneous and all sweeping in resolute response ! The most important benefit to us as martial artists from working the emotional side of us along with the physical , is the fact that intuition sharpens up to the point where we can read deadly developing emotions in people at the formative stages before it displays by facial expressions ! It is interesting to discover that studies have tracked microemotions that "flit across the face for less than one half a second " !

When you set the stage for your emotions to surface in full functional mode ,as lori and Jackie set forth , They trigger a takeover of situations with the urgency of primal survival !

And so to create an effective emotional sentinel as a back up to your physical dan ranks achievements , you must allow a free flowing of powerful emotions such as , love, anger and fear ,among the most important ! For example , "love" wrote Ste -ndhal , is like a fever that comes independent of the will ..anger and fears , as well, sweep over us , seeming to happen to us rather than being our choice , and that provides us , usually , with the best coping mechanism out of ancestral times !

The most successful men and women in any endeavor , including the martial arts , are the ones who embrace these concepts naturally ! Unfortunately , I must add , not everyone is capable to walk this arduous road ! That is why I am fond of saying that karate is not really for everyone ! Development transcends mere physical prowess which becomes nothing but an ineffective shell !

Peace ,

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Postby Lori » Mon Oct 26, 1998 6:27 am

Van Sensei,

Most eloquently stated! You throw out a few igniting matches for us all! I agree that many do not easily or naturally understand or relate to these concepts - but I do believe that everyone can find that part of them down deep enough - if they are willing to look and face what they find! Too many get caught in the rut of daily life - full of excuses and ill-meant self-imposed responsiblities - and in order to see any type of horizon, it is necessary to hoist yourself up by the fingernails if necessary! Painful, yes! But worth it? Absolutely. Just as every being on this earth has a right to their own self-preservation - each has a primitive, emotional side, (much as they may choose to squelch it!) and the journey back to that encounter with Self may not be "natural" or even easy - but it is possible! The vehicle for some may not me anywhere near the martial arts - but the creative journey is the same!

Thank you Jackie, Allen and Mavourneen for your kind words - keep the water clear!

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