frightened exhilaration: regaining the night

She noticed the bright poster at the café. A self-defense course for women based on martial arts principles. She wanted to take her night back. Several experiences and her current job made the night a dark and scary place, not the wonderous starscape world with hushed sounds and smells. She signed up.

Wen-Do, she learned first class, is about empowerment; you never have to be a victim. Using martial arts techniques developed especially for scenarios such as domestic attacks or rape, the students would gain confidence and learn how to defend themselves.

She walked home both thrilled at the possibility of regaining the night and extremely worried about graduation. She would be expected to break a board in half with her hand! She felt awkward and uncoordinated with skinny arms and not much upper body strength. “Having the plague or some other ugly disease that night should get me out of it”, she thought.

She surprised herself; somehow her body and mind connected. She kept up with the other 25 women in the class in terms of the learning curve. She practiced at home; she hoped “the shout” that grounded you, showed strength, and startled your attacker didn’t upset her neighbours too much.

Her usual caution was now backed up by knowing how to protect and defend herself. But every time she thought about the board, her stomach turned over. As much as she had grasped the principles and the moves, she had no confidence she could actually perform the final act.

Last class. Everyone was buzzing. Twenty-five boards stacked next beside two pillars of bricks to support the wood. Nervous. Frightened. Afraid of embarrassment. She clapped and cheered as her classmates approached the center of the room, and broke their board.

Then it was her turn; she nervously walked to “center stage” with her classmates encouraging her as she went. Kneeling in front of the board, she closed her eyes and imagined her hand slicing through the board as if it was just a hologram. She stopped short her first “chop,” feeling her mind wasn’t focused. Then, she took a gulp of air, shouted, and brought her hand down . . . .

{I had thought of ending it here, with the results of her efforts unknown.}

On the wall above her desk, she hammered in several brackets, and carefully placed the two pieces of her board. She smiled, grabbed her jacket, and purposefully pulled her door shut. It was a nice night for a walk.

frightened exhilaration: regaining the night for Mindlovemisery prompt 49

 

 

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