Growing up as a girl in the 1970’s, the martial arts was reserved for Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, overactive boys and not at all considered a viable hobby for a shy, mild mannered, ten year old girl from South Bellmore, NY. Well, thank goodness times have changed and today, while many girls inhabit ballet and dance schools, there are many who now occupy karate schools around the world and even compete, with role models such as Ronda Rousey, Laila Ali, and Serena Williams.
Let’s face it, crimes against women and men are at an all time high. It is now not only a choice, but a necessity to learn self defense. It needs to be a part of our human development and culture if we are expected to grow into confident, secure and productive women and men.
In fact, several studies have shown the martial arts improves self esteem (Fuller, 1988), leads to a reduction of anxiety and depression (Cai, 2000) and greater emotional stability and assertiveness (Konzak & Boudreau, 1984). The mental health benefits of the martial arts breeds is clearly invaluable. Learning just a few basic self defense skills is so empowering and can lead to making healthy lifestyle choices and keep you grounded!
-Marsha Marino, LCSW, Shodan