“I have just started taking kickboxing and boxing and it came from the realization that i don’t know how to defend myself physically. There’s this kind of myth that if you’re small and you’re a woman and if you’re not physically strong you will be overpowered every time. But it’s not true — if you’re fast and you use your mind you can actually take down a person that’s way bigger than you. I’ve been walking down the street since I was a teenager being harassed by inappropriate men and always just kind of dealing with that and not knowing that I can actually feel empowered and not afraid and know that I could actually kick someone’s ass if I absolutely had to. And so I’m learning that now and it’s come very recently. I’m a yogi and I run and do a lot of meditation, but I’ve also realized that you need to bring in life some fire and energy and that sometimes means being aggressive for the right reasons.”

Master Po: He who knows how to live need not fear death. He can walk without fear of rhino or tiger. He will not be wounded in battle.
Kwai Chang Caine: How can this be?
Master Po: In him the rhino can find no place to thrust his horn. The tiger, no place to use his claws. And weapons, no place to pierce.
Kwai Chang Caine: Why is this so?
Master Po: Because a man who knows how to live has no place for death to enter!

I was thinking of this scene walking down the empty street at three A.M. last week. In the Shaolin philosophy, all life is sacred. So, it will be important to protect life — whether your own or another’s. To not know how to protect oneself would be neglecting and disrespecting the value of the gift of life. As a man I have less to worry about because I am less at risk of harassment. However vital to learn to protect myself as a man — I believe it is more vital for a woman if only simply to walk without fear.

A companion essay to the Beautiful Army story: http://beautiful.army/post/143500371256/i-have-just-started-taking-kickboxing-and-boxing