If you had told me 5 years ago that I’d start martial arts, I’d have laughed in your face. If you had told me that 5 years later I’d be a black belt in Jujitsu, a Sensei and undergone a teaching qualification, I’d have looked at you as though you were crazy. Yet, here I am, writing a post on what it is like to be a female in martial arts.
I was always under the assumption that children do martial arts because of their parents. But looking around the dojo last night, it appears that the majority of our parents started training because of their children.
Why did I start training?
I started training because of my eldest daughter. She was getting bullied at school at the age of 9. So, I took her to the local dojo.
I went on the mat with her at her first lesson to give her support and the rest is history.
Within 3 lessons she sorted the bully out at school. She is now a black belt herself and helps teach children at the club once a week. She wants to give back to the club. My youngest daughter started training at the age of 7 and is now mid way through.
Martial Art Family Dynamics
The dynamics in our family can be quite interesting. How many families do you know, if one sibling complains the other hit them to be told, “well, why didn’t you block?”. Conversely, when they are fighting to tell them, “that is not how you punch, if you are going to punch do it like this”.
Not too long ago I had to take one of my children to A&E (ER) because she had an injury (not related to JJ). On arrival the nurse in triage noted quite a few bruises on her forearms and quite a few on mine. We were later questioned whether or not we were in danger at home from domestic abuse. It was assumed my husband was beating us, to which my daughter replied, “I think Dad is more frightened of me and mum than the other way around!”.
I have since started carrying my martial arts licence with me in the car. This is just so I can prove the bruises are training related!!
My husband has no interest in martial arts or training. So, he is quite used to his two daughters and his wife disappearing for a few hours every week. He is also used to opening the boot of the car and finding weapons, gi and various Jujitsu artefacts.
Mom vs Jujitsu Instructor
During working hours I am a normal, working mother, doing the school run , running the household, cooking, washing and cleaning. On an evening twice a week I don a blue gi top and become Sensei. I come alive, having fun with the kids and training hard with the other senior jujitsukas (ju jitsu students).
Some people think that this could become confusing to my children, am I their mother or am I a Sensei? They know the difference. Monday and Wednesday evening from 6pm to 10pm they refer to me as Sensei. They have sometimes slipped up and called me Sensei mum. But other peoples’ children also call me Miss, thinking they are still at school!
What I love about Jujitsu
I love my club. We are a family run club with dedicated instructors and 174 students on our books, through word of mouth. Also, I love that I have a Jujitsu family who are there for training and more importantly social events.
I love the fact that it’s the colour of my obi (belt) that is important, not the fact I am a female in a male dominated environment. I love the fact I’m a sensei.
Not only that. I love the fact that both myself and my children can defend ourselves if necessary. But still have a laugh and learn whilst in the dojo.
I can’t imagine my life without Jujitsu, it doesn’t define me, but it is a very important part of who I am. People don’t know I do Jujitsu, even family members. For me, my inner samurai is something I like to keep close and personal. It is something to be used only if necessary but the confidence it has given me and the chance to meet new people is amazing.
I would like to dedicate this post to my amazing Sensei Mike Widdall and the other instructors who have been there to inspire me, shout at me, guide me and above all welcome me to the club.
My Senseis are and always will be Sensei Widd, Sensei Ryan, Sensei Gaz, Sensei Ste, Sensei Andy, Sensei George, Sensei Mark and of course Sensei Evil Ninja Bitch Jess, Sensei Helen, Sensei Jen (without whom the club would not function) and the late Soke Clarke for setting up WJJF.
Thank you Karma Jujitsu for everything!
If you have been thinking about trying martial arts I highly recommend it. The hardest thing is the first step through the doors.
You will know if it is a good club by the attitude of the instructors and more importantly whether or not the kids are enjoying their training.
I stepped through the doors 5 years ago and have never looked back.