Her gloves were held strong to her face. Eyes were intent as she maneuvered her feet in front of her sparring partner. My heart was beating a little louder in my own ears. The coach’s instructions could be heard as she tried to figure out her next move.
It was clear she was scared & nervous. She was outside of her comfort zone; in a position she’d never been in before. And for a few glorious minutes, my girl held her own before she got overwhelmed by it all. A glancing blow to the side of her head tipped the scales & I saw a new fear in her eyes & the sparkle of tears. It ended at that point. Both students upset by the fear that was heavy in the air. (***It’s important to note that this was a very controlled situation, with safety utmost in our minds.)
There were tears as she climbed into my lap to release her emotions. It was one of the harder days since she started martial arts. After she cried and recomposed herself, we sat down to talk about what happened & I gently reminded her of a few things.
I try my best not shelter my kids unnecessarily. I surround them with love & safety as much as I possibly can. They know where their safe place is but I’m mindful that the world in general is not a safe place. I took this opportunity to talk about this to her so she understood the importance of self-defense & standing your ground. It’s not easy to see raw fear in your kids eyes but it was a good time to remind her that:
- Those classes are a safe place for her to learn from people we trust, and who care about her welfare. They won’t let anyone hurt her, but they will teach her how to handle a situation that may.
- There is nothing wrong with being scared. Fear is just another opportunity to learn and grow. Courage & fear are amazing teachers & the next time she’ll have a little more experience to handle it differently.
- You have the right to defend & protect yourself. These lessons will teach you how to handle it if you need to.
Surprisingly, the conversation gave her an opportunity to ask questions about situations that she encountered at school & provided me with another opportunity to talk about bullying, how to handle those situations & who she could turn to if things were upsetting her.
She felt better after having the conversation. I was relieved that her experience didn’t affect her when she arrived for her next class a couple of days later.