I have a piece over at Mercatornet.com about the dignity of the body and the necessity to exercise regularly.
If you were trying to get me huffing and puffing, you might want to try quoting Saudi clerics. It usually works; especially when they claim that a woman who likes to exercise is shameless.
At our dojo we are preparing for a harsh weekend; Saturday and Sunday is our annual black belt test, where brown belts will test for their first-degree black belts and some first-degree black belts will test for their second-degree black belts. It’s a pretty tough test (I went through it twice), about 6-7 hours of gruelling exercise and self-defence drills, spread over the two days. The group testing this weekend has been training extremely hard since November to prepare for this coming weekend. I’ve helped train them, and it’s just so cool to see their determination to succeed (although these days they also look anxious and somewhat scared – that test is a challenge and a half, I tell you).
There are some people in that group I’m especially proud of – we have a few middle-aged women, nice moms (one grandma), who have slowly become fierce martial artists through constant discipline and exercise. Women who never thought of themselves as fighters who now cheerfully fling each other onto the floor, kick and elbow-strike their opponents with nary a second thought, and can do 50 push-ups at the drop of a hat. I’m not sure they believe they are fierce martial artists – yet. But I know. And when they put on their shiny new black belts at the end of the weekend, it will look good on them.
There’s a saying we have – something that’s written on the wall of our dojo – about becoming the best person we can be by disciplining both body and mind. Exercise is a great way to discipline both. We can’t all do karate, but we can all do something. And we should. If only to show those clerics how wrong they are.by