Unless You Enjoy Pain
By Sienna Day
For the longest time, martial arts and fighting were meant for men. Men were supposed to be the protectors and in many places were even forced to learn how to fight. Women had their own tasks, but fighting was certainly not one of them. It wasn’t until recently that this has started to change.
There are few who realize this, but fighting is fun. No, I don’t mean beating up little kids to steal their lunch money. And no, I’m not talking about getting into a fight with someone to prove you have the hardest punches and biggest muscles. I am talking about the type of fighting that happens in a martial arts class.
People who have never had the privilege of fighting, grappling, or sparring won’t understand this. They don’t understand that getting punched, kicked, and choked out is fun (and why wouldn’t it be?).
But for those of us who have, it is one of the most exciting things out there. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, the ones who had this privilege were mostly guys and only now are more female fighters beginning to pop up.
I have been doing martial arts for many years now. As a kid, I did Taekwondo but ended up quitting (“But Mom, I don’t wanna go to karate class!”). It wasn’t until years later that I found my calling for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and later, Krav Maga. And let me tell you: being able to legally beat someone up/be beaten up is awesome!
Learning martial arts for the purpose of self-defense is one of the main reasons people (specifically women) do it. In fact, that is how it started for me. But being able to take a person to the ground and make them tap out is only half the fun.
You don’t even have to try it for the sole purpose of self-defense. This is one of the coolest hobbies in the world (if you disagree then fight me) and everyone should know what it feels like to get slammed into the ground over, and over, and over, and… well, you get the point. It’s really, really enjoyable.
It is also extremely relaxing. After a long day of school and work, nothing takes your mind off of those things like trying to stay alive. If you get hit enough times it can even be like a massage, though you might be sore in places you didn’t know existed. So, you know, maybe ignore this point.
There have been times in Jiu Jitsu class where people have underestimated me. I’m not saying my skills are ninja level (I’m a white belt), but people new to the gym almost always seem to underestimate me because I’m a girl.
There have been way too many first-time matches with people where they started the match going easy on me, I politely told them not to, and then in under 10 seconds they were on the ground, in my signature chokehold, tapping out, and in shock. Needless to say, the second match is always a lot more interesting since they realize that breathing is nice and chokeholds are not.
It’s funny to me, but upon looking up something unrelated on Quora, I couldn’t help but notice the large amount of questions about if a black belt woman could beat an untrained man in a street fight. I am a white belt who can beat trained people in a fight (not a street fight, but still). Stop asking questions like this based on gender or I will come and fight you (okay, I won’t, but I want to). I don’t see people asking if a skilled female basketball player can beat a male untrained in the sport.
Obviously every martial arts style is different, and men in general are physically stronger than women, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight. If people continuously underestimate people by gender alone, it will result in pain and suffering. So I recommend enjoying the rest of your day while thinking about this article.
My name is Sienna Day and I’m a Freshman/Sophomore at WWU. My major is English (I know, big surprise) with an emphasis in creative writing. When I’m not writing for the humor column, I like to spend my time research random things, binge-watching Netflix, and partaking in martial arts. I also spend many hours a week working on a six-book series I hope to publish in the next few years!