When I first saw the quote "Women hold up half the sky" being used as a social media Instagram handle, I thought how strange! This is a quote from 1949 proclaimed by Chairman Mao Zedong, who helped to rally women to join the labor force, saying, “Whatever men comrades can accomplish, women comrades can too.” It’s a good start, but this article is about celebrating women warriors all over the world where I believe we can say, at least for March, that women hold up all of the Sky.
I will start with my mom, Sandra Kahn, who left her small world in Rhode Island and became one of the first female electricians’ in the Bethlehem Steel Shipyards in San Francisco. Then, keeping it personal still, I can celebrate Jill Rooks, owner of, The Energy Lab in Redlands, California-a true modern-day warrior; Colleen Lemay, owner of New Generation Martial Arts for 30 years and a skilful and badass martial artist; Tonika Taylor, Dance instructor, and Jungshin Fitness master trainer. The list goes on. And on. And ….on.
We know and honor the legends: Rosa Parks, Rosey The Riveter, Harriet Tubman, Wonder Woman, Michelle Yeoh, Serena and Venus Williams, The Iron Butterfly, The Amazonian Women, etc., etc. but what do all these women have in common and why are these women warriors? According to the Oxford Dictionary, “a warrior is a brave or experienced fighter or soldier.” These women, amongst many other women, shine brightly because they pioneered paths and soldiered the way for millions of others.
These women made our lives easier, for men and women alike! They passed the baton to the next generation, and now we have it: we must continue to pave the way for equality in the workplace, safe homes, and fair opportunities. As men, we get to provide good role models and templates for our daughters and celebrate our wives, moms, and grandmas, even if they are NOT perfect! As women, we raise kind and compassionate young men and strong women, honor the masculine and work alongside them. We get to use our feminine strength to guide those in our lives. We are the ones who get to stop all trials of injustice and do what is right. Why us? Because we are martial artists and we know how to.
In Martial Arts, it has been more established than in other sports for a more extended period that women are strong and practice the arts like their brothers. This is one of the welcoming aspects of martial arts I love so much. When we put on our belts, we are martial artists. We are not men vs. women. In addition, Martial Arts is a legendary and ancient discipline with a deep purpose in mindfulness, tribal warfare and protection, and the art of self-defense. Within this field it is equally safe to be male or female, they or them.
Who are the women in your closest circles and are you celebrating them? Please tag @jungshinfitness on Instagram and let us know!
Happy International Women’s Month!