Home > motherhood > Why I’m not a pacifist

Why I’m not a pacifist

So my last post inspired this comment by Wendy. It’s an interesting comment and worthy of click — go ahead, I’ll wait. For those of you who don’t want to click, I’ll pick out the relevant line that’s struck a chord with me:

“I was told to ignore the bullies and tell an adult. Needless to say I was in for an asskicking and running home from school on a daily basis.”

This closely matches my childhood. I was a loudmouth brat who was just different enough that I became the target of a lot of abuse. Not the funny after-school-special, drop earthworms down your blouse stuff, either. I had rocks thrown at my head and was pushed off fairly high jungle gyms. Once three boys held me down while another pummeled me — hard enough to break my hymen.

The Husband has similar experiences which I won’t relate because they belong to him.

We both have really talked about what we’re going to do if/when The Child hits this stage. And, after much debate, we’ve decided that, as ever, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So as soon as she’s about four or five, we’re going hunting for an all-female Krav Maga class.

It took us a long time to come to that conclusion. Most martial arts in America (IMHO) are populated by thugs, bullies, and mullet-wearing dicks who think they are much cooler than they really are. Now, I may have a slightly slanted view. Each and every one of those boys who held me down was taking some class or another at a local dojo. Most of the senseis I have met are … jerks, frankly. (there’s probably a class thing going on here. I’m upper middle and all the martial artists I know are blue collar. I’m a snob. I know that.)

For instance, my nephews are taking martial arts, “to help teach them discipline,” and the eldest has gone from a good-if-spazzy kid with impulse control issues to a good-if-spazzy kid with impulse control issues and the ability to do real damage with his side kicks and throws. Since I have a toddler, this is very concerning.

But we really don’t want The Child to be defenseless. And so often — as Wendy illustrates in her story — teachers aren’t there. Or don’t care. Or can’t do anything.

(Suddenly I’m remembering a day in study hall in the 7th grade when the teacher told us that we were old enough to be left along and took off for the lounge. Some of the popular boys convinced the dork of the class to grab my crotch. I had to fight not to get groped all because the teacher wanted to have a cup of coffee instead of supervising the study hall.)

So we did some research and decided on Krav Maga. It’s a down-and-dirty fighting style that doesn’t hold exhibitions or competitions because, well, it’s a practical style and exhibitions aren’t practical. We’ve decided on an all-female class because The Husband says that he thinks that the male aspect is why a lot of the culture of the martial arts goes awry. I’m not sure that we’ll be able to find a class that meets our exacting demands, but I’m willing to try.

Because I think if a girl is taught that it’s okay to fight back (something I wasn’t told) and has the skills to defend herself (something that translates into bearing and attitude), then she’s less likely to be attacked. Less likely to be bullied. And if the bullies do come after her, she will never be without defense. And we think that’s important.

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Categories: motherhood
  1. May 17, 2007 at 1:31 am

    Now, you have given me more food for thought. I know that since the hurricane the karate schools have been over run, because some have closed and not reopen and students have been shuffled around. I think I will look into it more and decide what class would be best for our daughter.

  2. Barb
    May 19, 2007 at 5:21 am

    I have been thinking about some form of karate for my girls once they get old enough…I will have to look into Krav Maga – or at least an all girl class.

  3. Raise Hell
    May 20, 2007 at 5:17 am

    Self defence is a great idea!!! My boyfriend is a bouncer and teaches our daughter defensive moves. “Reverse Palm” is one of her favorites. She has never hurt me or anyone else with her moves. I say go for it!

  4. momomax
    May 22, 2007 at 1:04 am

    I do too. If nothing else, knowing how to defend yourself can give you enough peace of mind so that you’re whole vibe shifts and people can sense that. I took an “executive” defense course for adults, mostly women and really effeminate men. They taught us how to fight dirty and effectively. That’s all you need to know to get away from a situation. Even the people you think are your friends or boyfriends can get you to do things by force that you don’t want to do. Learning early is a great idea.

  5. May 22, 2007 at 1:11 am

    That is something that I agree with, I’ve never heard of that myself. My husband is planning on teaching my girls to fight dirty when they are old enough. He’s military and has been trained to do all sorts of stuff that he can’t talk about or he’d have to kill me. :p

    I just wrote a post about this, but from a different perspective. A mother in Australia sued the school board because her son became a recluse after he was bullied.

  6. Flo
    May 24, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    That’s an interesting perspective-but it definitely makes sense. As a middle school teacher, I saw enough bullying-most of it subtly condoned by the school in the vein of “kids are just mean, what can you do about it?”. It’s one of the big reasons we’re homeschooling. But self-defense classes sound like a good idea too.

  7. June 20, 2009 at 4:34 am

    Great post I learned alot! Thanks =)

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