"Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”
Mahler's quote reflects my own urging for the preservation of fire, it's utility as a self-defense weapon, and WHY we need to turn this flame up a notch.
Here's the deal: If confronted or frightened you want to keep a cool head, yes. (De-escalate. Lower an aggressor's arousal. Extricate yourself.) But if a female has to go physical to escape a larger, stronger, pumped up creature intent on harm ...she best be packing a charge of primal power and heat, armed with the know-how to explode into a target, with the ability to source this power from her loin and her limbs, from her sex and her soul-- and to bring it in a heartbeat. It's a power that must be kindled from the inside out. A knowing to be kept aglow in the heart, ON at all times.
Here's the other reason to turn this flame up a notch:
When any discipline, practice or "movement" (for example Yoga) crosses over from grassroots to mainstream and becomes commercialized, something inevitably gets lost or diminished in that process. So too, as women’s self-defense has become mainstreamed, has become Big Business -- with franchises and licenses, daylong, weekend and online instructor certifications-- and as it's been exposed to the dampening winds of political correctness, some of its ORIGINAL fire has dimmed, fallen by the wayside in favor of “ten easy steps" or reduced to mere exercise (don't even get me started) or subsumed by the ubiquitous language of personal safety — a term I fiercely resist. Not because it isn't an accurate umbrella (who among us doesn’t want to be safer?), but because it distances from the primal heart and martial bloodline of self-defense, dispatching what belongs in the realm of the senses to a higher headier mount; to a more sanitized mindset of cautionary tips, do’s and don’ts, whereby female FEROCITY-- the very spear of its ire and might - is easily deemed irrelevant, a mere PS in the equation of "what works."
Put another way, self defense "lite" subjugates the need to cultivate FORCE, to nurture our will and authority for applied violence, and to redeem women's own dangerous capacities and animal instincts.
And honestly now, what a lustless term. ("personal safety" that is.)
Bottom line as I've written before:
"As long as men are the principle agents of aggression and women are the casualties of their actions, the victims on the pointy end of male aggression, there will NEVER be a balance of power between the sexes. Women will remain relegated to a subordinate status, too powerless or simply too fearful to resist the dominance and brutalities of others, limited by social contract and constraint in the ways in which we can express our own ferocities, yearnings, and fighting spirit.
The gig is up. Its time: Women can no longer outsource their protection to men-- to fathers, husbands, brothers, boyfriends or saviors in khaki or uniform blue. It's time to bring this power home. To refasten it to our womanly roots, to reap its fruits, harvest its furies and acquire the essential skill and will to SELF-DEFEND. It's time to turn up the flame, burn down apocryphal myths and to lionize ourselves. It's time to make the tipping point happen.
Each and together we must become outposts of courage."
COPYRIGHT - MELISSA SOALT, 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO REPRODUCTION OR COPYING WITH EXPLICIT WRITTEN CONSENT. Melissa gave IMPACT Chicago permission to reprint.