Push UpDate: 27/4/2012
She squeezed her big brown eyes shut, and her beautiful almond skin wrinkled at her forehead while she clenched her perfect teeth. Even though her slender arms quavered, she kept trying to push, right up to the point of collapse. She is the absolute picture of determination. I step in, grab her around the torso, and gently pull to assist her in completing her push up. I often get the feeling during my classes of these moments when a girl I am teaching gets a sense of something deep within herself, a sense of how powerful and alive she is, of how there is something within her that defies the discouraging words anyone has ever told her. And in the male-dominated society here, discouraging words are the norm. I have talked with so many women who tell stories of how they themselves were not only not encouraged, but were verbally beaten down and told how stupid they are and how they will never amount to anything. Now imagine having a background like that, and then coming into a class and being told how good you are, how smart you are. It can be very transformative for a girl here. So it is no surprise that these â€˜aha' moments in the girls correspond to when I've asked them to do something they have never tried before, like a push up or high knee running or hitting a focus mitt. As my Sensei has said time and again, â€œIf you want something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done.â€ I am so honored to be here and be able to, in some small way, help these girls do something they've never done which might lead to them doing something they never thought possible.