Movement is a Habit!

We begin every Speak Up and Move Women’s Self Defense workshop with time for participants to share what drew them to this class.  Last week in our sharing circle, I heard what I hear every time without fail – women want to know how to overcome the reaction to freeze when they really want to move.  Has this ever happened to you?  Whether physically or verbally, sometimes the stress of a situation can take us over and instead of asserting ourselves, we clam up.

I assured the women that working on the ability to move when we feel like freezing is a main component of the workshop, because it is such a huge piece of self defense and also of empowerment in our lives.  And it’s something we all deal with.

One of the main things I teach in all the Speak Up and Move courses – kids, teens, self defense and fitness alike – is the power of habit. That’s why I love that our acronym for Speak Up and Move is SUM, because really your response to stress in each moment is the sum of the responses you’ve trained yourself to have throughout your life.

So, I ask participants to consider, “What is your habitual response to conflict?  Do you tend to shut down, give in, or change the subject when a colleague at work strongly disagrees with you?  Do you set your boundaries early on in a relationship, trusting that if the other person is truly a match for you, they will be happy to respect them?  The way we handle these types of situations becomes the way we handle self defense situations as well.

But how do we train ourselves to move, to take action, to stand up for ourselves, as an everyday habit?  Interestingly, we can do it by reversing the order and beginning with the challenges, in a supportive environment.  Martial arts training puts us in challenging settings on a regular basis and gives us the time to teach ourselves to move through the stress and respond to the challenge with the appropriate movement.  Working scenarios over and over has taught me that I always have permission to take action for my health and well being.

So, not only are my relationships stronger and healthier, I also feel like a better mom because I’m not totally overworked and overrun as I have been in the past.  Not only have I used my words and body language to back off strange men who’ve approached me on the street and in parking lots at night, but I’ve also solidified wellness habits into my daily routine that could be saving my life in the long run as well.  And I know my kids are watching, I know other women are watching, and I know my actions have an impact beyond their benefit to me.  It’s a huge reason why I teach, why I blog, and why we have a YouTube channel.

Dr. Marie Curie is one of my daughter’s favorite female role models.  Her words on self improvement are an inspiration to me:  “You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his or her own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.”  

And this self improvement can be done in the smallest of moments, in a word, a gesture, or even the choice to make a strong statement through disengaging with a negative situation.  And, most importantly, it can be attempted ad infinitum.  It’s never too late to improve.

We’ll be delving into all of this on the mat through the following techniques:

Martial Arts
Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
Ukemi Backwards Break Falls Back Rolls
Technique 1 Finding Correct Distance

for Punch, Kick, Chi no Kata and with Hanbo

Matching Your Partner’s Timing in Chi no Kata
Technique 2 Bear Hug Escape 3Muso Dori (advanced kids and adults only)
Technique 3 Hanbo KamaeMoving through basic hanbo and empty handed lamae with hanbo

(along the room)

Hanbo Blocks and Strikes(with partner along room)
  • Wall Sits 
  • Handstands from Hoko Posture
  • Break Falls in each direction
  • Obstacle Course:
    • Kong
    • Rolls
    • Leaps
    • Long Jump

If you want to see what those Speak Up and Move women’s courses are all about, we have a fun one coming up in March – it’s for those looking to raise to their next level in fitness, well being and personal power this Spring.  Every Monday night in March from 6:15 – 7:30. It’s by donation, and we offer childcare!

Check Out the Women’s Speak Up and Move Fitness Self Defense Bootcamp Here

Thanks for reading everyone!  I wanted to do an experiment to see who reads this far, so if you’re down here at the bottom of the page, leave a comment and let us know: What is one wellness habit that you either want to start, or that you do and are so glad you do??  Scroll down and leave it in the comments below.

See you in the dojo!

~Sensei Nesta

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