Monday, August 15, 2011

When I Am Me.

Inspired by Be Enough Me, I started thinking about when I am most me.  That's a hard thing to define, given that there are so many different definitions of me.  What side of me shows depends on the specific situation in which I find myself at any given moment. There is a lot of me in my job, working with young children as a speech therapist, and of course I pour almost all of my me-ness into parenting Lilah. 

But one thing that is just for me is my martial arts practice. I am so very me when I am riding a wave of endorphins and sweating it out alongside my classmates.  Perhaps it is because, through martial arts, I get in touch with my more macho side; the side that doesn't feel the need to deflect a compliment and walks with a bit of a strut; the side that is less inhibited and more self-assured.

It is incredibly liberating to set aside many of the expectations of my gender for a short time.  As I change out of my own clothes and into my gi (uniform), I also shrug off much of my femininity and the social "obligations" that accompany it.

While the number of women joining various martial arts seems to me to be increasing, the ratio of men to women  is still far from equal.  Now that I have moved up to an intermediate level Jiu Jitsu class, there are fewer women to partner with, but I really don't mind being a female in a mostly male class in a decidedly male-dominated sport.  There is a certain code that is followed by martial artists, male and female alike.  Humility is valued, everyone starts from the bottom and works their way up, and it's best if you check your ego at the door, but that doesn't mean you need to indulge in self-deprecation so as not to appear too cocky (as women so often do).  Because self-confidence is just as valued as humility is. 

In my Jiu Jitsu class, I take great pride in holding my own against 200 lbs (give or take) of sweaty man.  If I can just last a full round without being submitted, I feel I have accomplished something. As I gain skill and confidence, there are more of those moments when I am able to leave behind the self-doubt and just be. 

In my Muay Thai class, I am often the only female out on the sparring floor.  And again, I kind of like it that way; being able to hang with the boys.  They usually take it easy on me for the first minute or so.  But once I have landed a searing leg kick or slapped them lightly across the face with my foot, they start to view me more as an opponent and less as a girl.  And that is my moment of truth. 

That is where I find a whole lotta me.


  1. What a wonderful way to take care of you--and to feel so strong and confident!! Thanks so much for linking up!!!

  2. Hells yes!
    From Stacey :)

  3. Nice! Enjoying what our bodies are capable of doing? That is a perfect example of "be" and "just be enough".

    Keep on kicking some male tail :)

  4. LOVE! Self-confidence, fitness, stress release and using the "grown up" brain for strategy all in one class. That's awesome!

  5. Awesome! What a great thing to do for yourself. I can totally imagine how that would make you feel the ME.

  6. Wow!! Didn't know that about you! That's pretty awesome!!

  7. I love it!!! I know exactly what you mean. Even to this day when I get a chance to play basketball I love playing against the boys. You hit it exactly when you siad you get to lose your femininity. That is exactly it! I too get maybe 2-5 minutes of throwing elbows and giving shoves before I start to get them back... but it is so much fun when they start forgetting we are girls and play the game! Great post! So happy you have something just for you! -Laverne visiting from Just.Be.Enough

  8. I think it's so empowering to have something that's yours, at which you excel, especially if it's a physical activity like Martial Arts. There's nothing like kicking a guy's butt at a sport is there?

  9. I am so very me when I am riding a wave of endorphins and sweating it out alongside my classmates.

    This is exactly what I've been missing by skipping running the last many months! I've missed the time out where the only thing that exists is me, the sidewalk in front of me, and my will to persevere. I ran for the first time in months this morning and those 20 minutes were a gift. I need that reminder!

    I took karate and judo when I was in college. I miss it sometimes, but I'm always grateful for the lessons and experiences I took from it.

  10. Very cool and sounds SO empowering. Go you!

  11. "they start to view me more as an opponent and less as a girl. And that is my moment of truth."

    I like that statement and love that feeling too!! I makes you feel strong and human. Forget the gender difference...and the being tagged as the weaker sex :)

  12. That is awesome! My brother in law practices mixed martial arts and it looks tough, so I'm sorta in awe of you :)

  13. ---I love that you are enough just. as. you. are. I wish we could all feel like that. What Empowerment! What Freedom!


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