A Message from Myrna Boyer
Indeed the study and practice of the martial arts is replete with confusion and erroneous misconceptions, especially for you – the woman. Precisely because there is a wealth of benefit to be had in training in the Arts, I would like to clear the air, so-to-speak, and perhaps in so doing, I will also clear the road for you to pursue an education in what could easily become one of the most effective and rewarding life-studies you could ever pursue.
It is true that, here in the West, the exercise of the Arts has principally been limited to men and boys, and one never thinks of mastery in the Arts as being a feminine endeavor. But conceivably more damaging upon the feminine psyche than this one observation is the fact that, because our western minds are substantially conditioned with the win-or-lose proposition, martial arts as a whole are thought of more as a sport, and not the legitimate study of movement, energy, and awareness that they truly are. This false impression is enough to dissuade many women who would otherwise be strongly compelled to take up an Art that taught well will undoubtedly:
- Heighten awareness
- Improve mental and physical conditioning
- Enhance self esteem
- Create an attitude of empowerment
- Increase speed and reaction time
- Develop grace and agility of movement and a strong physical and emotional presence
- Bring a tranquil mind and a safe heart
- Cultivate health and longevity
- Widen a knowledge of the physical body, and
- Build unquestionable self defense skills
If you just give the above list a quick look, your first impulse will be to tie these in a neat “karate knot.” But take another look. You will find that there is no area of your life that the martial arts does not impact, and the reason for this is simple: a study of the martial arts is an investment in the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of you as an individual.
True, they are often taught as a sport, but equally as true is the fact that there are still a few academies such as ours that teach the Arts from the standpoint of the traditional values and principles they evolved within hundreds of years ago.
If self defense is all you were looking for, you could easily go out and buy a gun. In fact, you could arm yourself with all manner of weapons and defense methods and not a one of them would be of any use if you do not have the mindset to use them. A firearm is only as good as you can fire it.
Make no mistake about it, effective self defense is 90% attitude. The remaining 10% is technique. (Read The Mind as a Weapon.) A four or five hour self defense workshop will teach you invaluable techniques. This is a given. You may also find that, because the setting is normally abundant in women whose aim and excitement to learn self defense parallels your own, you will come away with a healthy dose of the I-can-do-it certainty. If this is so, I applaud you and the class you have taken. But always remember that, no matter how good the class, ultimately the front line of your personal safety – be this on the streets or the emotional “safety” you desire in your personal or professional life – is you. What you think and how you feel about yourself and others does count and always will.
I recommend you:
- Find a martial arts academy that teaches the traditional martial arts in an environment you find suitable to your needs and your personality. Most academies will allow you to try a class or two for free.
- Avoid schools that focus principally on sports karate, unless that is what you are looking for. Their chief training regimen will be geared toward tournament competition. Hostile encounters never resemble controlled tournament fights. Click here to read our article on Sport, Art or Science.
- Enroll in a program that suits you and make a commitment to stick with it. The benefits of the Arts are cumulative and expansive. The more you train, the greater the gain.
- Practice diligently. The remuneration makes an impact on the whole of your life because the abilities you acquire are all encompassing and are not limited to defense.
I wish you the best, and invite you to call, email or visit me at any time.