I wrote this bit of brave self-assertion for something else entirely, but it's appropriate post-length, I wrote it, and why not, after all.
My husband and I met in a university karate class, dated through the karate club social, and have proceeded to clear the air through various dojos and styles, including Gracie BJJ, for the twelve years since.
For the last 18 months, we’ve been lucky enough to find a style and sensei that suit us perfectly. We study Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu (try shouting that to stop a bar fight) through the Heisei Budo Dojo in New Westminster. Bujinkan is a classical Japanese art with origins in the ancient samurai and ninja training schools, and our current Grandmaster, Hatsumi Sensei, is thought to be the 34th grandmaster.
The training is partner-based, and focuses on throws, locks and holds, strikes and kicks, ground-fighting and pressure point controls, as well as edged and blunt weapons techniques. Due to this, Bujinkan is not considered suitable for competition situations.
Our sensei is a yondan, a 4th level black belt, and also teaches modern combatives classes covering unarmed, knife, and baton combat, defence against firearms, pressure-testing drills, legality of self-defence, confrontation avoidance and psychological effects of violence. This training stream is less formal, and deals with an immediate, effective response to violence, based on techniques originally designed for military application but suitable for law enforcement or civilian self-defence.
As one of the minority of women in a male-dominated sport, I often get asked questions like “Why?” and “How can a woman fight on an equal basis with men?” and “Aren’t you afraid of getting hurt?”
My answer is always pretty much the same. Martial arts are designed to level the field; unarmed against armour and weapons, one person against multiple opponents. I’ve been in martial arts since I was 18, and I’ve stayed there because I enjoy the one-on-one aspect, and being able, by mastering the techniques correctly, to hold my own and win rounds against much larger men. It’s taught me a lot about respect, self-confidence, and independence, and every class is a new challenge.