As I originally started the Colorado Taekwondo Institute as a girl at the age of 8, I can proudly say that, for the most part, I feel assured that I possess an instinctual level of defensive strategy. As I have grown up, I have become more accustomed to situations where I am put in a dangerous position, especially as a young woman. What is a startling, and terribly frightening truth about our society, and our international society in general, is that women are considered feeble, incapable of their own defense, and physically are inferior to that of men. Our physical stature is something that can be taken advantage of. One out of every 6 women in America have been victims of rape or attempted sexual assault. That is 17.7 million women. Especially from my 5’3” perspective, danger hangs especially high above my head. I am small in stature, and without training, would be easily overcome by a large opponent. What is so incredibly important about CTI, especially for women, is that it gives them a sense of their own body, how it moves, what its strengths are, and how to defend it. CTI students are given the opportunity to learn customizable sparring styles, and can support those with strong basic techniques. We can tailor a fight to our advantage considering over size compared to that of our opponent. This is crucial, because it drastically decreases the chances of being overpowered when we can anticipate the movements made by a much larger opponent.
The other key focal point of CTI which allows women to feel more comfortable is the heavy focus on respect. All instructors are given the same attention, and students are encouraged to assist each other and help each other grow. The cruel slurs and physical domination a woman may feel in dangerous situation is absent in the CTI schools. The images women are expected to portray in every day society are non-existent within the classroom, where the only judgment of character is a student’s drive to grow. A student’s background and social and familial situation is not a basis for judgement. This provides that respect is given to all persons that strive to improve, and is not based off of social normalities which confine women to a box.
I am greatly appreciative of this experience, because I know that I am at a disadvantage when it comes to safety. However, living in fear of a situation, and not approaching it at all only leaves things to stray in the same. CTI has given me an opportunity to feel a little more comfortable as I hand off into the world. When I head off to college in a year, I don’t want my experiences to be inhibited by fear. CTI has brought a security that I would not have felt before. Yes, I still have to hold my keys in my hand while walking at night, lock my car doors, and travel with large groups in cities, but I have assurance that if a situation does arise, I will be well-prepared. Women should feel this comfort with themselves, and CTI is a great way to discover that. Society’s vision of women will not change on its own, we have to change it ourselves for our own safety, and that of the generations to come.