New with some questions

Discussion in 'Women of the Martial Arts (Women Martial Artists)' started by shellie, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. shellie

    shellie White Belt

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    I hope it's ok that i post here even though I don't have any formal training YET, but wanted to ask the pros which type of SD classes are best. I keep hearing the best classes are male led, but having been attacked recently I don't know how I will react or respond. I also heard they can be very rough. I was wondering what to expect, and if so if there are some lady led classes that are just as good? thanks for your time.
     
  2. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    Shellie -

    First, welcome, and happy posting! :wavey: The level of experience - of lack of it - has absolutely nothing to do with your welcome here.

    Second, to answer your question, you have a very valid concern. As a female martial artist, and having been instructed by both genders, I can say that there are quality instructors available in either gender. There are more male instructors largely because there are more male martial artists - not because one gender is a more effective instructor than the other.

    Choosing a style and a school is as much about finding an instructor with whom you are comfortable as it is about choosing a particular style - in many ways, it is more about the instructor than anything else, because if you are not comfortable with the instructor, you won't be comfortable in the class, and thus you won't be likely to stay there - at which point it doesn't matter what the style is, because if you're not there, you aren't learning.

    To quote myself in a previous discussion (just because I knew where to find the thread):

    You can find the rest of the discussion here

    You can find other, similar discussions (just to show you that you are not alone in your concerns) here, here, here, and here.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes - come back and ask more questions, too!
     
  3. Ping898

    Ping898 Senior Master

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    What Kacey said :)

    Most important is your comfort level. One of my best instructors was a woman, but I have also had some good male instructors as well. So the best thing you can do is to look around, find someone you are comfortable with at least on a superficial level, watch a few classes, ask lots of questions and if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable, tell them. Anyy good MA instructor should respect you enough to respect your boundaries and be able to help you with them if you want.

    and Welcome to MT :wavey:
     
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  4. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    Well I'm just saying welcome and happy posting
     
  5. Jade Tigress

    Jade Tigress RAWR

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    Welcome to Martial Talk! I wish I had something valid to add, but Kacey and Ping already put it so well. :) So..what they said! Good luck in your search. Please keep us posted and feel free to ask as many questions as you have.
     
  6. KenpoGunz

    KenpoGunz Yellow Belt

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    I wish you luck in your search. I guess the advice I can give is that as long as the training is mostly safe, maybe rough isnt such a bad thing considering many assaults are rough. I would not let that dissuade you.

    Also, awarness is a big deal when it comes to self-defense. Avoiding likely dangerous activities and environments helps. It sounds like self-defense is your priority. With that in mind it is my opinion that you could consider looking into a program that will discuss and train you in more than just physical options. But like I said above, some roughness in your training may not be a bad thing, just remember to keep your perspective on self-defense.

    Maybe in time, when and if you're ready perhaps your experiences could be shared for the education of others on here. If not thats ok too. I'm just happy you are safe now. Good Luck [​IMG]
     
  7. curious

    curious Yellow Belt

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    Welcome to MT!!! What Kacey and Ping have stated is very useful information and will help a lot. There is another aspect to your situation that I feel needs to be brought up. I have a couple of questions to ask you if you feel uncomfortable answering I understand. This isn't for me or other inquiring minds, it's for you. From experience I know attacks can be emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically overbearing. Have you given yourself time to "heal"? Have you had any counseling? Are you mentally "there", prepared? Do you have anyone to support you emotionally?

    The reason I bringing this up is because I was a victim of physical abuse for years. I decided to take classes to help me get over the fear of being abused again. When I first started I was still in very bad shape despite having not been abused for a very long time. Before I started my classes I had a very long conversation with my instructor (6 months) letting him know where I was coming from so that he could be prepared for any mishaps on my part, honestly? It was more for me than him, a way of "brainwashing " myself into going.

    When I first started I tried but couldn't train with men, so my instructor put me to work with only women. As time went by I would do drills on men but they wouldn't return the hits. After two years I am finally starting to spar with teenage boys, mostly going through the motion not actual. I'll get there, step-by-step, it's not going to happen overnight. My instructor had a lot to do with it also if it hadn't been for him..... He's been very good to me, very understanding. It turned out that he had also been abused as a child so he knew exactly where I was coming from.

    Shellie, it will be a roller coaster ride, you will have your ups and your downs. At first, it will be more downs that ups, fortunately it does get better with time. Have patience, don't berate yourself when something doesn't go as expected. Don't lose sight of your goal. With time you will realize that it's the best thing you could have ever done for yourself.
     
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  8. shellie

    shellie White Belt

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    Thanks for the warm welcome everyone. Curious, wow,I'm encouraged by your post and hope to get to that place you speak of soon. It happened less than a yr ago so it's still pretty fresh. I just don't know if I'd wig out. I am very anal about anyone touching my face,or coming near to my face, and don't know what to expect. Dumb question but do they actually hit you in the face? Had a coworker try to get something off my eyelash (long piece of hair or something) and I went off on him, which is something I never do. I felt so stupid and embarrased after that. I was hit in the face multiple times, and was in excruciating pain for two days after. I have been in a few 'girly' fights in HS and getting hit in the face from a girl pales in comparison to getting hit my a male!
     
  9. bluemtn

    bluemtn Senior Master

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    Shellie, unless you are in a women's only class, chances are very good that you'll be paired with males in practice. Since the incident has occured recently, I would suggest bringing up the situation to the instructor(s). That way they are aware of any "problems" that may arise- i.e. emotions. I've heard of women that have gone through what you have, and they got scared and hurt fellow practitioners inadvertently.

    I've seen some female instructors be just as rough as male. 99.9% of the time, though, your instructor won't put more "hurt" on than what is necessary- man or woman. For example, certain self- defense moves require discomfort (not painful, though) in order for you to understand how to effectively execute a move. In those instances, you'll tap out just as you start to feel the discomfort. The instructor of your school of choice will go into more detail, though. Again, bring up what has happened to you.

    Best wishes in your healing and your search.
     
  10. curious

    curious Yellow Belt

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    There is nothing to be embarrassed about, it's understandable that you feel that way. The way you reacted to your co-worker sounds like you experienced an anxiety attack. It may have been your first but it might not be your last. It's a "side-effect" from your attack last year. My therapist tried to sugarcoat my situation so I went looking for information. Look up what you can on Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome there is a lot of information out there. There is a book called Living With Anxiety by Dr. Bob Montgomery and Dr. Laurel Morris. This book explained so much stuff, pointed out things that I didn't even realize I was doing, it was an eye opener.
    There is a huge difference between being abused by your mother and getting beaten by your man. HUGE. My ex-husband used to beat me quite often, in fact, most of my "issues" involve him more than my mother. You might get mad at me for saying this but if you where only punched in the face then you got it easy. If it were a one time deal you got it easy. It will be easier for you to break past the mental and emotional barriers. My situation involved years of punches, kicks, hair pulling, getting thrown around and choking. I had a class a couple of years ago were we worked on choking techniques. At first, I was fine but when my instructor put his hands on my shoulders next to my neck for me to practice the technique we were working on I had an anxiety attack. Later that night I had what I thought was a nightmare which turned out to be a repressed memory. That one moment triggered memories so bad that the only way my mind could deal with it was to "forget".

    When you finally decide which form of martial arts you want to do, talk to your instructor. Don't just talk about classes and your situation, get to know her/him as a person. Find out the whole nine yards about him/her so you can get comfortable being around that person. Another thing you can do is start with private sessions, just you alone or with one other person preferrably female. Always let your instructor know the second you start to feel uncomfortable, don't wait, you don't want to trigger an anxiety attack, do you? Take a friend/relative with you for emotional support, make sure it's someone that will reinforce you in a positive way. [​IMG]
     
  11. g-bells

    g-bells Green Belt

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    welcome to MT shellie.
    search around, go to some classes and find which style and/or instructors works best for you.
    good luck in your journey and sorry for what has happen to you

    gary
     
  12. stickarts

    stickarts Senior Master

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    Welcome to MT!
     
  13. Ceicei

    Ceicei Grandmaster

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    Shellie,

    It's going to be rough making the decision, but it will be worth it. Only you can determine if you are ready for this.

    You might want to go through some of this thread, http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10651&highlight=Stalking , as there are some things (experiences by some of us here on MT) you might be able to relate to and how we handled them.

    I want to share an excerpt from a letter I wrote in 2005 to a friend who was struggling through a similar situation. She knew I was taking martial arts and wondered how I could possibly do martial arts so soon after my experience. I wrote:

    Whatever decision you choose, we're here for you.

    - Ceicei
     
  14. Ping898

    Ping898 Senior Master

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    The reality of it is there will always be someone out there with a "worse" story than you or someone who had a "harder" time, but that doesn't make what you are dealing with any easier or diminish your expereinces for better or for worse in any way.
    I've never been beaten, I've never been raped, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with the demons in my life just cause I know someone else has.
    Most of the advice here is right on and there are many people with similar expiernces who might have ideas you can pull on. I would recommend reading the other threads, you will find some good info in them and from the collective knowledge of the people here...talk to someone if you can to help you on your path and good luck on your journey...
     
  15. shellie

    shellie White Belt

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    Thank you!
     
  16. shellie

    shellie White Belt

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    I know, that's why I responded that way b/c I felt that is a common response (I had it worse than you). I realize that some have not only been raped but killed. None of us have the market on anything I realize that.
     
  17. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm with Ceicei on this. No one is trying to belittle your experience; however, neither are we pushing you to share more than you wish to, while acknowledging that you will always know things about what happened to you than we do, so we're going to stumble on occasion.

    As has been said - you need to find an instructor you feel comfortable with, one with whom you can discuss your concerns, because if you don't feel comfortable talking to him/her about these issues, s/he won't know about them, and won't be able to modify the instruction to meet your needs, and without that modification you are much less likely to be successful.

    I do think that that gender of the instructor is less important than other factors - is the person approachable? Are the students approachable before/after class? Are there other women (I do think you'll be more comfortable if there are at least other women present)? What is the atmosphere of the class, and are you comfortable with it? Without these factors, you won't be comfortable, and you'll be much less likely to stay - and if you're not there, you can't learn.

    Go out, look around, see what you find - and please keep asking questions - for every question you ask, there are a bunch of people out there thanking you for asking the questions they had, but didn't want to ask.
     
  18. shellie

    shellie White Belt

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    Yea, but it's kinda hard going up to a male instructor I barely know and telling him what happened, and why I might freak out. I'm not giving up,just weighing my options.
     
  19. Ceicei

    Ceicei Grandmaster

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    No, don't tell him immediately the whole story, you might not be emotionally ready. Just a very, very superficial version. If you feel after time that he is someone you could truly trust and the environment is relatively welcoming, then you might want to tell him more.

    It took me six months before I told my instructor (at my fifth school) most of what happened to me. Finding a very good instructor was difficult. I had been through four different schools before I came to his school. The instructor at my first, second, and fourth schools never knew the whole thing; they only know enough to be there to prevent problems from cropping up. The one at my third did know (only because he was an MA student at the time with my first school and was among those who helped me directly through it and then became an instructor of the third school). I have been with my fifth school the longest, nearly five years.

    The changes with the schools were not directly related to my experience. Some of the school changes were because of going to two different Universities, and moving to different locations, getting married, having children, etc. Basically life dictated where I went.

    Unfortunately, my fifth school closed down last year, so now I am at a sixth school. I feel comfortable enough with my training now that I have never told the instructor at the sixth school. Not sure if I will need to. I still keep in close contact with my fifth school instructor. He is also a friend and a confidante.

    I started out with a striking art (Kenpo). It was not until fairly recently I decided to try cross training with a grappling art (Judo at first, then now Jujitsu). Cross training scared me and presented more challenges to me mentally and emotionally because of the nature of the art (up close and personal). Now I am doing much better with Jujitsu and enjoy it. Kenpo still is my primary art.

    I don't know if things would have been different had there been a woman instructor when I started out years ago. There just weren't any schools available that had female instructors in my area during that time. However, my Judo instructor was a female. I left that school due to scheduling problems. If it wasn't for Judo training with her, I probably wouldn't be where I am--taking Jujitsu with a male instructor.

    My journey with healing was hard... I have no regrets though. I learned a lot.

    - Ceicei
     
  20. curious

    curious Yellow Belt

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    There is nothing easy about being raped if I had known I would have chosen a different way of saying what I was saying, I am sorry for upsetting you. When I said this it was not to be negative in any way, and it was not to dimish your experience as nothing compared to mine. I knew there was a possibilty that you would lash out and it's understandable. You lashed out because you have all this **** inside of you but it's INSIDE. You need to let all that out because if you don't it will eat you inside out. The more you let out all those emotions and talk about it with time the better it will get. Don't keep your emotions bottled up, martial arts will help you in many, many ways but it won't solve all you problems, that is entirely up to you. You have already taken the first step towards getting over your barriers by reaching out. As for the "easy" remark-I read somewhere (don't remember where) that for every one incident it takes ~5-10 years to "get over it" emotionally it depends on the situation. When you do the math based on that, you have 1 year down 9 more to go, you will be able to get on with your life soon enough. Me, on the other hand, I have 10 years down 1755 more to go. :shrug: As I said you have it easier. [​IMG]
     

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