I began my martial arts training ten years ago under the instruction of Sensei Marc Hanson of Kusa Dojo. My goal was to take a few classes, learn a few techniques, and then move on with my life. After all, I’m kind of prissy, and I couldn’t see myself hanging out in a Dojo with a bunch of sweaty men for very long. Besides, I’m a dancer, and I certainly didn’t want anything to interfere with my ballet classes. And, I was terrified of getting hurt.
I met my Sensei three years before I started my journey into the world of martial arts. He was my acupuncturist, and for three years he tried to get me into his classes and onto the mat. For three years I refused. I finally capitulated, thinking I would take a few classes, and he would see how much I hated it. Then I could say, “I told you so,” I could quit, and he would stop nagging me.
But, something funny happened. I fell in love with training, and I fell in love with the art. However, I understand how hard it is for a woman to walk into a testosterone infested Dojo. Even though I already knew my teacher and some of his students, it was terrifying. I don’t know why I kept going to class. It may have been my love of the art, my incomparable stubbornness, or the fact that I didn’t know any better. Obviously, I was getting something out of it.
It was early in my training that I had the inspiration for The Delicate Dojo. In my imagination, this would be a place where women could learn basic self defense skills, instructed by a woman, in a fun, safe and comfortable environment. Of course, in my fantasy world, these classes would be taught by someone who had a lot of spirit, who loved teaching, and who absolutely loved helping women tap into their Warrior spirit. I had no idea that woman would be me.
The time has come. Who knew that my fantasy would become a reality, and I would be the teacher. It’s funny how things work out, once you stop resisting the inevitable and let nature take it’s course. Welcome to The Delicate Dojo, and discover that it is possible to look like a woman, act like a lady, move like a Ninja, and think like a Warrior. See you on the mat!
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP