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#347453 - 06/19/07 03:53 AM I'm taking Karate, but I am having trouble.
KarateGirl07 Offline

Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 14
I don't know if this is the right place to post but I thought I would post in this forum because it is karate related.

On New Years Eve I was raped, I then started taking Karate the 18th of January (never new I would need it so much).

Thing is is that ever since the rape,I have a very hard time focusing on things, and I get very overwhelmed easily. My Karate instructor even said something to me about it because she said I looked like I was going to cry everytime I was messing up on something (which I wanted to).

I really think that class has helped since the rape, I just started a new semester of karate 3 weeks ago, but it seems now that I have moved on to the male instructor(s), I am having a horrible time focusing and trusting.

I know I can trust people in the class but for some reason my brain keeps telling me I am not safe. This is making me upset because I love this class and do not want to give it up.

My female instructor is the only one who knows about the rape, and I don't want the 4 male instructors to know about it, but how do I tell them how I am feeling without telling them I was raped and a lot of the moves (the holds and such) scare me.

Karate has given me confidence since January, but now it seems like I am going back down hill... maybe it is because I haven't dealt with the rape fully and it is just taking over my mind set.

I am now on of the "slow" learners in the class and I feel like everyone is frusterated with me and wants me to quit, I don't want to but if people are just going to not want me there maybe I should.

I don't know if I make sense, and I apologize if I don't.

I feel pathetic.I need help with this

#347454 - 06/19/07 08:30 AM Re: I'm taking Karate, but I am having trouble. [Re: KarateGirl07]
Ironfoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
KarateGirl, are you receiving counselling? Perhaps a professional can help you through this tough period. I think martial arts will help you with your self-esteem over the long haul, but please seek help from a therapist if you haven't already. We're all pulling for you. And remember: your rapist is the pathetic one - you were just his victim.

#347455 - 06/19/07 11:24 AM Re: I'm taking Karate, but I am having trouble. [Re: KarateGirl07]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
I agree with Ironfoot. I think you should seek counseling if you aren't already.
Good luck and God bless.
The2nd ammendment, it makes all the others possible. <///<

#347456 - 06/19/07 12:17 PM Re: I'm taking Karate, but I am having trouble. [Re: KarateGirl07]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
My friend,

You need to get involved with a group or counselor that can give you support for the very deep emotions you are having to deal with. Any traumatic event, such as you have experienced, is something that is not put aside in a few days or weeks.

Your reponse is not a weakness on your part and you need continuing support to help you come to deal with it.

I think you will find that karate training will help you understand your own worth and ability as you progress, but it is not an instant answer.

You need someone that you can level with and can work with you through each crisis until you find your own stability.

The advice you have been given seeking counseling, or a rape crisis center, or a women's crisis center would be a good thing for you to follow up with.

As you are a complex person, there is not one simple answer that will make things better in your life. Use your complexity to find a number of different answers and pursue them.
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#347457 - 06/19/07 01:27 PM Re: I'm taking Karate, but I am having trouble. [Re: KarateGirl07]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
I agree with the others you should seek counseling. But I believe that you should tell the Cheif instructor male or female that you were assaulted and thats your main purpose in taking the class along with that you enjoy the training.

Prepare your mind you have to get use to male contact, its call facing your fears we all have them. You have to learn to put the past behind you and work toward the future. You can do it many ways, Karate or Martial art class is one. It lets you face it mono mono physically and mentally, in a controlled enviroment. This is something you will need in your daily life in business, personal life and relationships, men are everywhere. You don't have to trust them, but learn to trust your inner-self then learn to live around them. You fear failure and relive that incident in your subconcisous, learn to face it use it to prepare yourself. We all have our fears what this can lead to is learning not to fail don't start quitting.
Don't worry about being one of the slowest learners in class, just try to learn what you know well. U know the reason why, once they no the reason they can support you. By giving you the time and confidence to get past this.

One of my fears years ago (and still is) was being surrounded by a group of attackers I got beat pretty bad as a 10 year old once. I used this fear even today in training I pity the 1st guy I contact with coming out of the pack. Use your fear, channel it so it is a positive, though like me you may never totally get rid of it, make some else pay for it.

By the way I'm a old guy in my mid 40s now a BB Instructor I still have that fear, but I've learned to live with and control it. You can too.

I'm not comparing incidents just saying that you can get past this, but you got to keep trying. Don't be ashame, you don't have to let people know your business but tell the people that have a need to know you so they can help you.
Knowing what to expect is being prepared. Face it and defeat it, but never forget.

#347458 - 06/19/07 02:27 PM Re: I'm taking Karate, but I am having trouble. [Re: KarateGirl07]
Xibalba Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 499
Loc: Lansing, MI, USA
Welcome to the forums, karategirl07.

First off, let me say that I am truly sorry that you experienced an assault as violent and disturbing as rape.

I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) and have some years of experience doing crisis counseling and other crisis-related work. My wife also has an MSW and was for years a Sexual Assault Counselor. Your reactions to your experience - as frustrating and at times debilitating as they are - are completely normal and to be expected. It sounds to me as if you are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD manifests after a traumatic event in the form of heightened anxiety, inability to focus and concentrate, increased "startle response", feelings of impending danger for no logical reason, and sometimes even vivid flashbacks of the event itself. PTSD is common in survivors of war, violent crime, sexual assault, and other traumatic events. I have not only worked with people who suffered from PTSD, but fought a bout with it myself after witnessing a shooting at an agency where I once was employed.

The keys to effectively dealing with this have already been mentioned: get professional help, and give yourself time to heal. Hopefully your body is already physically healed, but it often takes much work to heal your spirit after such an experience. Martial arts can be a great way to gain a sense of confidence after such an event and to help yourself get back in touch with your body, but it is possible that the "martial" aspect of the training may be distasteful at first after experiencing real violence firsthand. Keep up with your training if you wish, but give yourself plenty of slack if you feel like you are backsliding.

If you live in the States, most counties have a Community Mental Health Board whom you can contact to get you started in your search for some helpful services. Counseling is often helpful (I found it to be so after my experience), but psychiatrists can also prescribe medications if your anxiety becomes so great that it impacts your daily functioning. The key is to check out what help is available and see what is right for you.

Good luck, karategirl07. Feel free to let me know if you need anything else. And here is hoping you stick around on the forum - there are some cool folks here, and we have some great martial arts related discussions.


#347459 - 06/19/07 03:28 PM Re: I'm taking Karate, but I am having trouble. [Re: KarateGirl07]
Saisho Offline
more than just a pretty face

Registered: 06/26/06
Posts: 620
Loc: Dayton, Ohio

I am now on of the "slow" learners in the class and I feel like everyone is frusterated with me and wants me to quit, I don't want to but if people are just going to not want me there maybe I should.

Karate is not something that requires you to learn at any given pace. If you learn more slowly, that is your parogative. If others get upset, that is their problem.
Tony Partlow Shogen-Ryu Karate-Do Minamoto Shibu Dojo

#347460 - 06/19/07 06:24 PM Re: I'm taking Karate, but I am having trouble. [Re: KarateGirl07]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5844
Loc: USA

Your makieng perfect sense.

Your "brain keeps telling your not safe" because you have had a very traumatic experience, and you absolutly need to get professional counsuling for the trauma.

Couple of buddies of mine just back from Iraq needed some help to get thu some trauma they suffered--there is NOTHING wrong with getting the help you need.

I would not let your perceptions of "everyone wants me to quit" get to you either.

Pretty much everyone has felt that way at one time or another and its almost NEVER the actual feelings of the teachers/students.

Personally I would rather teach people that take some time to work things out than "naturals" that generally peak to soon and almost never last--they also seldom really listen to what your trying to tell them.
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#347461 - 06/20/07 08:01 AM Re: I'm taking Karate, but I am having trouble. [Re: cxt]
underdog Offline

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
Many women in martial arts were once victims. That is often the reason they want to study. You should be in some kind of victim assistance. Don't use the MA school that way because they aren't trained for that and they are not staffed for it and it puts them in an awkward position. You can tell them so that they can be sensative to the issue and avoid causing more harm by saying the wrong thing, or expecting you to do self defense maneuvers that too closely resemble your assault, but don't use them for crisis intervention.

You may have a hard time now, you may take time off, you may quit, you may dig in and stick with this through the crisis. Only you know what is right for you. Do whatever makes you most comfortable. Karate just isn't as important as having your head together, particularly if it is becoming a source of additional stress. Conserve your resources for the things you really NEED to do like take care of yourself.
The older I get, the better I was!

#347462 - 06/20/07 12:53 PM Re: I'm taking Karate, but I am having trouble. [Re: KarateGirl07]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
I agree with most of what is posted. You do need to seek professional counseling and get as much a support group help as you can, If you haven't already.

But I want to add, you obviously are stronger then you think, a lot of victims don't come out swing like you have.
In 18 days you already making progess using your will to drive you forward, facing your fears.

We don't know if you have already talked with a professional on this matter are not. Either way you are stronger then MOST, a lot victims go into reclusion and avoid contact with the outside world. They make limited contact they work, hurry home and hide.

You on the other hand are out doing something with your time and preparing yourself for contact with the world and Men. Some people that have gone through this it takes many months if not years to be able to socailize in a group or get close to another man thats not family. So though you feel strange that you are reacting the way you are toward male contact its normal and you way ahead on the road to recovering.

Though I'm not a specialist or professional on matters like your assault. I have known and seen women and men suffer tremendously from it and as I mention it takes many months if not years of counseling to start wanting to socailized and make progress, to get to the point you are at.

You are tougher then you give yourself credit for you come out swing. You only question what you should. Can I trust this guy and you should having gone thru what you have. Now you need to flip the script mentally have him wonder can he trust YOU, before you kick him in the balls. Now we don't want you turning pit bull, but do learn to ride out your fears and make it a positive like you have instead of being a reclusive person.

Personally I think you are years ahead on the road to recovering. Your fears and apperhensions are normal even for a strong person. I consider myself a positive strong person but the world gets pretty small when I'm surrounded by a group of antagonist. As I mentioned I feel sorry for the guy standing in my way of out.

I see you on the road of recovery because its your WILL, you proved that because you are out and about. Stay positive, don't hide. Get support in every way or form. Practice socailizing as U are doing. Its not what makes us feel safe, its what makes us feel normal and free.

None of us are safe, in that anything can happen at anytime.
So its normal not to feel safe as a survivor, most Combat vets never feel safe they question the abnormal. Feeling safe is dropping your guards.

Edited by Neko456 (06/20/07 01:10 PM)

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