Friday thoughts: #24 - Courage
Good morning my superhero colleagues!
‘Emily’ was a student of mine. She was in her late teens when she was referred to me for help after a sexual assault.
The experience she endured left her with scars and a default for safety being to completely avoid every man. Her intention was now to learn some combative skills and rebuild her confidence.
She didn’t feel safe in a class with men or be alone with any man other than her father. Giving her effective self defence training was going to be a challenge.
It was 2013 and I wanted to help this woman.
I used Skype to talk to her and train her, soon having the idea to create a small women’s only self defence class called ‘Freedom from Fear’ and build a safer and more controlled environment for training those with more challenging needs.
My students learn fast: Taking on the attitude that violence doesn’t have to be a virtue just for the wicked and evil. Good people can be skilled in violence too.
After a few months ‘Emily’ asked me for 1-to-1 classes. I knew her aim was not for detailed skills, but for mental resilience and to overcome her fears.
But we still couldn’t yet have physical contact between us… Especially with no one else in the gym. For the first weeks she would stand in the open doorway of my gym. I would be 3-5 meters away and we would do what is called holographic training… where she watches and mimics my movements. We placed 2 pieces of black tape on the floor, these were our boundaries. Every lesson we moved them closer and closer, reducing the space between us. It was up and down, we had progress and setbacks. But eventually, we had touch contact training.
Sparring came after, and it was very emotional for us both when we completed successful groundwork training and broke through her freeze response to build triggers for reaction.
‘Emily’ showed immense courage in those months. And when I talk of her now I still get a little gazed in the eye.
I am proud to tell you she is now a black belt in Krav Maga and became an instructor, teaching her own classes back in her home country.
Courage is different for everyone
It directly relates to your comfort and fears, which are subjective, personal and they do change. They can change gradually over time, or in an instant.
Keep in mind that courage is not necessarily assertive behavior, but it is always acting out of the comfort zone and exposing vulnerability.
Acts of courage don’t have to win us the Medal of Honor. But they can challenge you to grow and achieve your goals and desires.
If you really want something, then you must have the courage to eliminate everything that does not directly feed or support it.
This is not a small change for most. But it is the mindset of those who achieve their ambitions.
What do you want? What is stopping you? Do you have the courage to make the change?
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Small, smart changes aligned with vision and direction.