Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Importance of Intention

Hey now, so I'm thinking about my most recent interaction (see previous post) and the limited violence involved. I imagine some folks would like to read about how I handled this cat, let him know who was the boss, etc. However that's really not what I'm about. I love peace, AND I am prepared to do what I must to maintain safety.

"I don't believe in violence, that's why I want to stop it!" -Malcolm X

I am grateful that I did not have to hurt this young brother, clearly he was already in a significant amount of pain. The thing that is resonating with me at this moment is that my many years of hard style training that showed up first, yet my Tai Chi training was what prevailed. Do not be confused, "Martial" arts are "Combative" arts designed for war time interaction, as  is "Martial Law". While Tai Chi can be, and has been used for this purpose, that is not it's primary function. The beauty of Tai Chi continues to amaze and inspire me, as the teachings unfold. My intention, throughout all my self defense studies, has been to learn practices that will keep me safe from harm. Tai Chi has given me the opportunity to experience being safe from harming.

I encourage anyone interested in being 'safe' to look at self-defense through a different lens. One that magnifies wellness and protection for the whole; the individual, the family, the community and the environment world wide. Take good care, good people. Until next time...

Peace and Love,
Sis. Nau~T

Next post - "What Has Changed Since the Intrusion"
Feel free to share questions regarding this or any previous post. I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Home Invasion Update

Yeeaaah, so really, some guy kicked in my front door and came in my space to rip off my stuff while I was, uuhh -indisposed. Literally I got caught with my pants down :-p 
Before I go any further I'd just like to send out much love and thanks to my amazing community for all the support I've received, your concern, offers of company at my place, space in your homes to regroup,  "backup", jokes and affirmations of my ability to handle such a situation were heart felt and greatly appreciated. Y'all really are funny and fabulous for that, I love & cherish you all soooo much. And a big, Sumo sized, shout out to my brotha Ricardo for holding space and looking out for a sister during this incident AND since I found out my uncle passed last week. Ricardo, you ROCK!!!!

It's been a little over 24 hrs. and I've had lots of time to reflect on this incident *smh* the situation is really bizarre... Lots of things that were usually in place were off on this particular day. The dead bolt on the door was off, the bathroom door was closed, & I didn't respond when I heard the door buzzer -these are the major things. There were other little things as well. When I first encountered the brother (bless him) he was taking the lap top off my desk. My response? A relatively calm "Oh hell no." followed by a B.K.F. fighting stance. His response? Something verbal that I've yet to recall and a fighting stance that did not appear martial at all, in fact it was almost comical, like a little kid on the playground with one fist waaay high in the air. For the record and true to the practice of ending violence vs. meeting violence with violence neither one of us ever threw a blow. I didn't because he didn't and I deal with self DEFENSE. I can't say for sure why he didn't swing, even though he raised his fist. As I mentioned I was calm, yet guarded when addressing him. We tussled for about 3-5 mins. as he tried to get out of the apartment and I did sweep him as he attempted to run. My objective was to detain this cat and let him know that his behavior would not be tolerated. To some degree this objective was met. 

I am still examining the unfolding of it all -my response, his response, my intention in confronting him, the invasion, the interplay of reaction and response (B.K.F / Tai Chi training), Socio-Economic factors and the reality that safety does not equal immunity. I'll be sharing more on this over the next few days & weeks. 

Ultimately though, what I want to leave you with is this; I am safe and sound, in mind, body and spirit -in part due to my training and in a large part due to my community. I have had my home and vehicle broken into in the past and come home to find my belongings in shambles. In those situations I felt extremely helpless and violated. Not this time. I do not wish this on anyone nor do I ever wish to engage in any types of violence. Unfortunately we live in a very violent society and practicing self defense is wise.  I am glad that I was prepared -mind, body and spirit and remain committed to creating safe spaces and promoting peace. I encourage you to join me, in the way that you will. Until next time... Peace, Love, Guidance, Protection and Prosperity in Abundance.

Sis. Nau~T 
Founder & Program Director

Friday, April 29, 2011

Warrior Woman pt. 2 "You Told Harpo to Beat Me."

   I was learning to fight, I was not learning how to end violence. This is the rub, this is the chink in the armor, this is the match to the fuse, at Doshe we offer education on disarming the bomb. Isn't it interesting that the women's self defense movement has found more women on the gun range, however hasn't decreased the number in the emergency room or the cemetery? Violence has never been a solution to end violence. This scene from The Color Purple illustrates the dis-ease that is created when violence is seen as a resolution to conflict.

Confusion, self loathing, desperation, deception, and the destruction of relationships, and all this just in the onset. The introduction of violence escalates and turns into a downward spiral for the couple and a perpetuation of the cycle for a next generation.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction ... The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. (1963) 
-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Throughout The Color Purple we see this theme of violence as a means of control -for men and women alike. It is good to note here there are many forms of violence that are present; Physical, Sexual,  Psychological, Verbal, Emotional, and the ever present Race and Gender based socially sanctioned, Institutional violence. In this example the main character reaches a boiling point and succumbs to the violent nature of her environment, it's difficult not to without options. However in the end, it is the ability to find/create safe spaces, develop a deep sense of self worth, knowledge and self love that builds the courage speak truth to power, and to break down the cycle of violence. At Doshe Healing Arts our philosophy is that by the time individuals are engaged in physical altercations to much violence has already taken place. One of the ways we do this is though the practice of Tai Chi. 

Tai Chi is an ancient art that allows the practitioner to restore balance to the mind, body and spirit by cultivating Chi and promoting inner peace. Unlike hard forms I have studied, Tai Chi heals the body over time versus increasing wear and tear. The slow, graceful movements offer a full body, low impact work out that effects the body completely, even at the cellular level. Beyond that the self defense applications are much less combative and offer more choices when dealing with and adversary. You can judge for yourself -check out a Tai Chi approach to dealing with a hair grab. 

In my experience as a martial artist, I find that Tai Chi is more inline with stopping violence than meeting it with more violence. At the core Tai Chi is about over all wellness and not just winning physical battles. I would dare to wager that the majority of 'battles' that you have been engaged in over your life time were not of a physical nature. How do we deal with the myriad of attacks, struggles and battles we face in a society saturated in non-physical violence? We'll unpack that a little more in the next segment of Self Defense in 2011 -The Woman Warrior. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Self Defense in 2011 -Pt. 1 The Warrior Woman

Greetings and thanks for stopping by. Trusting this latest blog finds you in good health and spirits. If not hopefully something you read here will move you in that direction. At Doshe we spend a great deal of time supporting safety, and creating safe spaces. For this reason, I often share that the primary role of a Warrior in a civil community is to maintain peace, and to defend the members of the community against internal and external forces seeking to cause harm. Hmmm... yep, that sounds like creating safe spaces to me. Over time Warriors were replaced by armies of Soldiers trained to attack and kill for the purpose of establishing control. What's my point? It's time for the Warriors to return.

It saddens me to see self defense being 'packaged' in the Soldier model, particularly for women of the world today. It saddens me to see so many gearing up for battle when clearly, we already have more violence and weapons than we can deal with, and it's not making us any safer. The current trend in self defense is, learn to fight so you can be safe from the "dangers of the world".  Now for the sake of clarity I AM NOT bashing hard styles. I have trained in hard styles and simply offer some insight to anyone interested in looking at self defense through a different lens. In fact I chose this particular clip because it contains some relevant and helpful information.

This is a real life situation for far to many women in the world today. The missing piece in this is that often the danger is in our homes, our thoughts and our actions or inactions. I have trained in martial arts for over 30 years and have only had three physical altercations in that time. All three where with people I knew and trusted, two occurred in my home and one at my work place. In hind sight there were signs that I ignored, signs that could have prevented all three. So what happened? Where was the chink in my armor? I was learning to go to battle, I was training to fight off attackers...
"Looking at Safety in 2011 -Pt. 2 The Woman Warrior" coming soon.

Friday, January 28, 2011


How does a young sistah from So. Central L.A. come to fall in love with martial arts? Just like everybody else, watching karate movies! Saturday mornings with Black Belt and Kung Fu Theater on channel 11 and 13 followed by re-enactments with my neighborhood buddies on the front lawn, or trips Downtown to see the latest Bruce Lee joints were the early signs of a desire that would not soon fade. Remember Enter the Dragon?

After a significant amount of begging (and fundraising) my mom agreed to let me take my first class at the Baldwin Hills YMCA, I still smile every time I pass by there -and heaven help you if you're in the car with me 'cause you're gonna hear the stories. That was in the late '70's and the times they were a'changing. Fertile soil for the seeds of Liberation, Knowledge, Wisdom and Power that filled the garden of my youth and became the roots of my Culture orchard. The love of my people and martial arts led me to the place where these two things joined together in ways I could never imagine. In my mind I was invincible and growing to learn the way of the warrior, the BKF Warrior to be exact. I trained with my BKF family until I graduated High School and left for the Air Force, gifted with my senior brother's copy of Championship Kenpo and a stern reminder to study and keep training because he'd be there when I returned and he'd 'check' to see if I had. So I did, and I have. That was over 35 years ago and I have studied various forms and styles since then, however I still stand on Black Karate Federation foundations and will always be a BKF Warrior at heart.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

To Whom It May Concern...

Greetings Fam and thanx for stopping by :)
Sooooo, what's really going on here? Welllll, some folks know that Doshe Healing Arts offers Tai Chi, Qigong and Basic Self Defense instruction. That these offerings are just the tip of the iceberg (so to speak) is not so well known. 

Doshe has a much larger vision and is my contribution to the legacy of my ancestors and my commitment to the future of our children. This blog is an opportunity to share things that wouldn't generally be a part the current classes and workshops Doshe offers; things that inform my world view, inspire my walk, feed my soul, uplift my community and positively reflect the African presence in the Americas and the world at large. Things that keep me moving toward fulfillment of the mission of Doshe Healing Arts.

What Doshe's Doing, is creating safe space for authentic expression and providing sound practices for self defense and wellness. Engaging in small daily activities that have profound life long impacts, we promote personal development and healthy relationships one choice at a time...

What you find/experience here are practical examples of what that looks like in real time. Thanx again for stopping by and if you dig what's going on be sure to subscribe and tell a friend ;) Until next time...
Peace, Love, Guidance, Protection and Prosperity in Abundance