As women, we are fierce creatures by nature. While women tend to be more stereotypically associated with being nurturers, we are all born with the ability to flip a switch and transform from caring, gentle and benevolent beings into terrifying forces to be reckoned with in order to protect ourselves and our family.
In the wild, the most dangerous thing you can stumble upon is a mother protecting her young. The lioness can be more terrifying even than the larger male lion. This is because her ferocity is driven by her protective instincts and love for her cubs, whereas male lions usually fight for dominance or territory (in human terms, they're fighting for ego). The force driving the "why" behind the fighting spirit is more powerful than the physical attributes.
We all have that same power inside of us: that innate ability to access our animalistic disposition that, in the face of danger, could mean the difference between life and death. For some, it's just buried deeper than for others and therefore takes more effort to bring out.
For myself, it was buried so deep that the first time I hit someone, I cried. Not because I was hurt but because the action was so unnatural for me. Growing up, I was conditioned to believe that I shouldn't be violent or too aggressive. My inner lioness was caged, muzzled and bound because I felt it was more important to be a people pleaser and a good girl.
Today, I am the only female instructor and representative of the Jeet Kune Do Athletic Association, founder of Lady Cobra Women's Martial Arts Organization and the co-owner of Texas JKD, a successful martial arts school where I have instructed countless women and girls of all ages. I have competed in MMA bouts, muay thai smokers, jiu-jitsu matches, and won three World Championship titles. This transformation has allowed me to attack every circumstance, fighting or otherwise, with an unyielding ferocity. It's not that I'm walking around angry all the time, just as the lioness is not angry as she stalks her prey. But now my lioness is unleashed and has been trained to attack when necessary.
For women who do not train in martial arts, being able to access this side of yourself could save your life in an altercation. However, without proper knowledge of what to do, it's kind of like putting an awesome new engine in your car but not knowing which direction to drive. Therefore, my biggest piece of advice for you would be to take the time to visit the nearest martial arts school so you can educate yourself. For female martial artists and fighters, unlocking your true potential and unleashing your lioness could be the difference between winning and losing a match or becoming the captivating instructor that you wish to be.
No matter what your situation may be, here are some drills that can help you to access and unleash your inner lioness.
1. Killer Instinct Visualization.
The most important aspect of unleashing your lioness is your mental state. After you build the framework for this state of mind, you will be able to access it more easily and quickly each time you do it.
Start by closing your eyes and imagining yourself sitting at home with a loved one (children, parents, spouse). Suddenly someone breaks in and attacks. They begin to drag your loved one, who is unable to defend him or herself, away. In that moment, allow your mind to transform you into the lioness. Imagine in detail what you would do to that person. Visualize every bite, scratch, claw and tear as you defend what you hold most dear. It is important to remember that in this drill you will need to open up a somewhat dark part of your mind. In doing so, things may become intense so allow yourself breaks if necessary. During these breaks take deep calming breaths, bringing your arms up over your head and slowly bringing them down as you exhale and clear any negativity from your body.
2. Finish Them!
For this one, you will need a heavy bag or dummy and some boxing gloves. Stand in front of the bag and close your eyes. Put yourself back into the lioness state of mind. This time you are stalking your prey. As you prepare to pounce, feel your muscles activate as you imagine barring your teeth and let out a low growl. Completely immerse yourself into becoming this creature of destruction. Then open your eyes and unleash your wrath upon the bag for about 20 seconds. Then, relax and repeat. For this drill, don't worry about form or perfection, just unleash the beast.
3. Weapons Drill
For this final practice, you will need a training weapon (any kind) and a tree. Feel yourself again embodying the lioness. Practice the same method you used with hitting the heavy bag but with the weapon. If you have a training blade, imagine it like your claws slicing and ripping through your prey. If you have a stick or blunt weapon, use it to smash.
Again, it's important that you bring yourself back down after doing any of these drills. This is not a state that you want to walk around in all the time. But the lioness should be ready and waiting to be called upon at a moment's notice. If combat is not a regular hobby of yours or part of your profession, it may be a little overwhelming and scary to take yourself to such a violent place, but just remember that it is coming from a place of love and not anger: Love not only for yourself and your family but, at the highest level of consciousness, even love for your enemy. If developed correctly, having the ability unleash your lioness upon someone if necessary, should also come with the ability to know when to stop. Sometimes the self-assurance that comes from knowing you can unleash the lioness is enough to stop a fight from happening at all, thus saving your enemy from harm.
In the end, I think that the best way to truly embody the lioness is to find balance between benevolence and ferocity: The ability to be something as altruistic and loving as a mother, and at the same time be a ferocious and unyielding warrior.
One of my favorite ways to watch this fierceness unleashed is to see female MMA fighters in action, particularly ones that are also mothers, such as Michelle Waterson. She is a loving mother to her amazing daughter and a devoted wife to her husband. But when she steps into the octagon she completely transforms from her smiling, bubbly personality into a master of sheer destruction, ready to rip apart her opponent as soon as the ref says "Fight."
Photo by Val Mijailovic
One day after training, I asked her what her method was for unleashing the amount of aggression necessary for such a high level of competition. She described her mentality and visualization before the fight as purely animalistic: "I see myself lock onto my target. When I grab hold of them, I feel their bones crushing beneath me and the breath being squeezed from their body."
Then as soon as the fight is over, she is back to smiling, hugging her daughter and husband and shaking the hand of the woman she just fought. I fully believe that balance to the true secret to life. And only with balance can you unleash the lioness inside yourself and unlock your true potential.
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