I am a martial artist.
I’ve been hesitant using those words, afraid of incurring the wrath of MMA dudebros because I’m far from the picture of idealized female martial artists. I got my black belt in Taekwondo when I was 18, after practicing on & off for 6 years or so. I was at the dojang every day, and left it behind when I went off to college.
Over the next 20-odd years I tried to go back, and finally did in November of 2017. I was at my highest weight ever, had gotten some scary news from the doctor, and I needed to start moving again. I am not a runner, a walker, a yogi, or a gym person in any way. But martial arts, I can do. Fast forward, I’ve released nearly 50 lbs since I started and I’m feeling better in every way.
The physical benefits are only a small part of why I love martial arts. All my life, I’ve felt powerless, and unable to take control . As a woman, and one that takes up “too much room” according to society, I feel powerful when I practice. I am not too much, too loud, nor do I “think too much” in class. I am a student and an assistant instructor. I am confident, strong, and capable. In a world where things rarely make sense, TKD makes sense.
And I can kick some serious ass.
I highly recommend martial arts – any of them – to everyone, especially those who identify as female, non-binary or otherwise not-male. Fitness is a secondary benefit. Confidence, taking up space, grounding, being able to protect yourself, and the feeling of power far outweigh any physical benefits.