Why Begin With Breaking Boards?
Why I break boards (1-inch pine) with women who have absolutely no training:
Well, I do it because a dear friend who is no longer with us, Sensei Susan Williams a"h, taught me years ago that this is what she did. On some level, I thought she was crazy. Nah, I knew she was crazy. (Most of my favorite people are some level of super crazy! - I mean, do you know me???)
Anyway, she shared that the thinking behind it was that as long as they believed that they were not strong she was going to be fighting resistance all through the 10 hours or so of whatever course she was teaching. But if she got them to practice the palm-heel strike just enough times, and got the first person to succeed, then the rest would follow and the next long hours of the course would sail by as everyone just sucked up this new-found knowledge because they had already proven that they were strong.
There is a deeper piece for me, that I have discovered over the years of doing this work. Women are sold the lie that they are not strong. My job as a teacher is unteaching that lie. My job is to look women in the eyes and show them how much I believe that they are powerful.
How much I believe that they can break this board. How deeply I know that they have already done things much harder in their lives and that there is absolutely no reason to believe the lie.
Today, I teach breaking within the count of 5 because I know that is all that a woman needs to break. 4 big NOs! to violence against women and 1 big YES! to break the lie.
This picture is from today. Less than an hour of time at El HaLev. Less than 5 minutes of training for the strike. We counted to five and look at all of the things we broke through.