At one point last week my wife Leticia came around to meet me at the gym after my workout there. One of the guys there saw her and he commented on that yesterday, when I met him again at the gym. He said Leticia is very beautiful and that I am a lucky guy to have her. I thanked him for the compliment and we talked a bit more, while working out, about our respective professions and relationships and so on. When he asked what Leticia does I of course truthfully answered that she is a self defence instructor with a 4th dan black belt in hapkido.
“Wow, you’re a very brave man” he then said.
“How so?”, I asked, a bit surprised.
“Well, she could kill you with her bare hands, you know!” he said and looked at me as if he was revealing some new sensational information to me.
I didn’t expect that comment at all, so I didn’t know what to say at first. I guess he interpreted that as a confirmation that he really was revealing some shocking new info to me, and said something like “She could! Hapkido is a really mean martial art! If she is that highly ranked, she is a real badass. She could kill a guy! No problem!”.
Before he could continue further, I said that I knew about that and that Leticia had explained a lot to me about how hapkido works and that I had “practiced” a couple of times with her, so I was very much aware of how effective and powerful those techniques can be. But I also told him I wasn’t at all worried that she would use her skills to “kill” me or beat me up. Among other things, I pointed out that Leticia is a very nice, calm and peaceful person, which are some of the reasons I married her in the first place.
Later yesterday evening, I thought about this conversation again and the more I think about it the less it makes any sense. I mean theoretically, any woman might use a gun, knife or some other improvised weapon to injure or kill a man. Although it is true that Leticia, as a martial arts expert, could also use hapkido to do it, that doesn’t mean that she is anymore likely (or rather less unlikely) to commit such an act of extreme violence than any other woman. Practicing a martial arts doesn’t turn a woman into a murderous psycho – that should be pretty much obvious to everyone. Quite the contrary in fact, as hapkido helps teaches you how to control your emotions, to keep calm and to not use violence except as a last resort in self defence.
Yet, the guy in the gym apparently thinks that I am being brave and facing up to some serious danger, just for being married to a woman who happens to be a martial arts expert. I have noticed this reaction among some other men too, though mostly they are not as blunt when expressing what they think. But I have been asked if I am afraid of Leticia.
So do people think that practicing martial arts and learning self defence turns you (or at least women) into out of control violent persons? Or are there some other psychological mechanisms at work here?