Interview with Linda Awana on Women’s Inner Strength

Watch short video with Linda here.

Q: Tell us about yourself…

 

A: I am a Kajukenbo (Kempo) practitioner and a self-defense specialist trained in archery. I enjoy working with women who want to know more about listening to their intuition or simply want to feel more confident when out in their everyday world.

Q: What’s empowering about Zen Archery?

A: It gets us to a primal essence – as women in a natural state of being, when we are in our full creativity. When I am in the zone, I can feel it. I can harness, set my intention and direct the energy; these are insights to hit my target, and it is the most zen. It allows people to achieve their goals. I ask my students, ‘What is the thing you want to reach?’ as a metaphor for their lives. This practice teaches focus: Why are your eyes anywhere else other than your goal? Set your goals in life and keep your eyes on it, making sure you follow through.

 

Zen Archery brings into our bodies that ability to direct our energy. The rest translates into our lives as we show up each week and choose to play, focus and embody the practice.  

Q: What’s empowering about Self Defense for women? How do you think this impacts women’s lives?

 

A: As a culture, I believe we lose ourselves in our everyday busy lives. We lose ourselves to what everyone expects from us, we put ourselves last. This class Is a place for students to take back those pieces they’ve lost, to take care of the self… we need to learn to say NO! This “NO” is a crucial part of self-defense.

 

Not all women – yet a majority of us – are trained and conditioned to be quiet, to be peacemakers and mediators, to say ‘I’m sorry’ no matter what caused the disturbance. This practice is about how not to be quiet, in those moments when we need our voices to be heard, when we need our voices to stop the silence, the violence.

 

We all have an inner roar – an inner tiger. A tigress is not angry – she is a tiger standing in the center of her individuality – her center of power. That power is you: your unique inner voice and gifts that you bring to the world. We’ve build walls around our centers – our primal intuitive nature that knows how to create and knows when not to be silent! We need to get back there. This center is your space, your tiger.   

 

We all have the right to have a space to be safe in our body-mind. Your space is in relation to your comfort zone. Listen to yourself, your body, and whatever is is right for you, honor it. Don’t give it away – don’t let anyone tell you that it is wrong…. We keep attempting to fit into a cookie cutter – no justification is needed, if you are uncomfortable or afraid…that is the Inner roar – your inner voice. It’s time to listen to it.

 

That is what this Women/Girls’ Self-Defense offers: a space to know and to develop the skills and capacity to use them in a safe space.

 

Q: How has Women/Girls’ Self-Defense impacted your life?

 

A: This is what I notice in sharing my passion: With young girls in grade 2 they have a voice on the playground, but by 4th grade they can’t squeak it out. As grown-ups, many end up in abusive relationships…as result of ignoring their inner voice, justifying behaviors and not being able to say no. Once you’re in the cycle of abuse it is hard to get out.

When I ask the kids, ‘What’s your biggest tool?’ I will often hear, ‘Your fists!’ My approach is different – it’s non-confrontational. Your biggest tool is your brain. You brain reads your body signals, and it offers you sensory cues that feed back to the physical body. I teach children and women to run fast and scream… it is critical to know what you can do. It’s equally critical to know what you can’t do. Now you know you have the choice…a choice to grow.

Q: What is the overall message behind Zen Archery and Women’s Self-Defense?

A: As generalization, we’ve been taught not to defend ourselves and if we muster the courage, we then apologize for defending ourselves as result of the disturbance we may cause. This does not move us forward. It keeps us stuck in our cultural conditioning and fails to empower our children.

Teach your brain and your body that this power is here, in your center, in case you need to bring it up….

My self-defense and Zen Archery Classes will push your edges; they are designed and delivered so that you can discover you can move beyond your limits in great company and in an environment of safety that you can push through allow the release of the primal energy and become very different through the experience.

 

Q:  Why do you choose to teach at Still & Moving Center?

 

A: Because of Renée Tillotson’s vision:

  • The  atmosphere, environment – the inclusion and willingness to empower people.
  • The space has been created with intention – the atmosphere is soothing, and the energy from the Center is different than a gym.

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