People ask me why I practice Kung Fu San Soo. “I just can’t picture you training in fighting!” they say. “You’re so quiet and peaceful, sort of a hippie girl,” another friend said to me, grinning. Perhaps my friends,Victor and Paul, (a Master and 5th degree black belt, respectively) termed it in a fashion that feels most fitting for me... “A Peaceful Warrioress” Victor captured and expressed it first with images and then Paul with words. I was honored by both.
Belt Advancement to Green, Demonstration of use of Staff—Photo by Victor Sigismondi
It’s true, I am quiet, peaceful, observant most of the time. I listen, think, feel, then express myself through paint or poetry. I am not afraid of being alone.
And yet, you endanger or hurt one of my daughters, family or friends, or threaten the safety of my students, and a fierce strength reveals. I become a warrioress. In the wake of the horrific Connecticut shooting of children and teachers in a grammar school, I’d half-expected to hear comments around the teacher’s lounge along the lines of “I don’t get paid enough to do this job anymore.” Well, actually, while that might be true, no one was saying it out of fear of such terrorism. Every teacher I know would protect their students at all costs, not because they were paid to do so, but because they’re little children, and we love each and every one of them. We would stand in front of them to protect them without hesitation. In a non-lifethreatening daily scenario, in my own semi-quiet way, I’ve always been an advocate for those who are voiceless or feel voiceless. I make sure they are heard by me, and protected. It’s often what pushes me forward in my writing.
But why Kung Fu San Soo, you ask? At first I thought perhaps learning self-defense would be a good thing for a single woman to learn. It is. I’m much more confident now that I can protect myself should anything arise, but what I love is the foundation of character, integrity, peace, strength, discipline and grace it involves. The people I train with exemplify that in so many ways, and the practice itself allows me to feel physically grounded and self-assured. I don’t train in a competitive setting as in many studios. Most of us are older, 45-65, although there are a few younger people off and on. In terms of exercise, I love it that I can bring in my years of gymnastics training, in terms of balance, graceful, controlled, circular movements. It makes me feel strong and graceful, even at 52.
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