Beauty and the Beast was and is my favourite movie. I still get chills from the opening scene.
A tale as old as time, it tells the story of an unlikely romance between an intelligent, yet odd beauty and a rash, aggressive beast, that a little town, a quiet village, tries to squash with fire and pitch forks.
As a female martial artist, internally I feel this same tension between beauty and beast, the conflict between outward societal expectations of femininity and the inextinguishable aggression within.
I channel the forces of both beauty and beast, femininity and prowess, always simultaneously.
These forces are always in flux, and for each of us these ratios bend and play out in different ways.
I love physicality. I grew up watching pro wrestling. My brothers and I would act out the flying feats of Ray Mysterio and the dropping elbows of The Rock off our couch in the living room.
Often when family friends would drop by, they were surprised that I, a girl, would engage in such antics usually reserved for boys, “Wow! She jumps in there, too.”
At the same time, I loved barbies, dress up, and the colour pink.
I still love those things.
But I also loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, and Hot Wheels.
Now, as an adult, I love martial arts and the prowess it expresses.
Now, as an adult, I love make-up and the femininity it expresses.
I love the feel of executing a good heel hook.
I love the feel of wearing a good pair of heels.
Females are often pressured to think that we need to choose between the two. To choose would be to deny an element that makes us whole, an element that makes us human. And, I think when we express femininity and prowess in a way that is true and complete to our nature that that’s where true beauty lies.