It didn’t seem like any time was passing at all, but it was suddenly the end of the month. That was how long the three had decided that the trial for the new method should take. If after 30 days Amy and Jennie didn’t feel that this new thing was going to work out for them, then it was agreed that they would go back to a tried and true discipline and just hang up the experiment. No matter how it turned out, none of them felt like it was a waste of time. All three of them had learned many things in that month. How to work together, how to work through plans and no matter the difficulty, how to voice their opinion to the other two without it sounding like an argument.
Jennie had learned that she was a natural. That she could pick up any move that Brad wanted her to learn in only a few tries. She completely enjoyed sparring and practicing the moves. They made her feel alive and were really working at keeping her in shape. She had learned that she could do pretty much anything that the guys could do, maybe not with the same amount of power, but she could do it. And she was fast! She was smaller than most of the guys in the dojo and so she moved faster. There were a few of them that liked sparring with the girls, they enjoyed it and also felt as if they were helping out with their training, and they all said pretty much the same thing after every match. How fast she was. This made her feel pretty good about herself and her abilities.
Brad had learned that not just guys could become great fighters. Jennie and Amy had shown him without a doubt that a motivated woman was awesome. And he had learned that he wasn’t just a teacher, he was also a student. No matter that a month ago he had thought that he knew everything he needed to know about teaching, now he knew that this wasn’t true. Amy and Jennie had proven to him that a teacher had to continue to learn or his teaching became stale and his ability to make a difference dwindled down to just about nothing. He was profoundly grateful to them for that lesson. He had needed it.
Amy was learning how to fight, but she was also learning how to trust again. She wasn’t aware of this at the time, but slowly she was starting to feel comfortable around Brad and the other guys in the dojo. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen. Little by little, night by night, punch by punch Amy was also learning to trust herself. She was not aware of the loss of that trust in herself until it was back. Then she realized that when she had been attacked she wasn’t just physically harmed, but those men had taken something precious from her, her trust in her own ability to protect herself. Most people are not even aware that they have that trust, until it is needed. In Amy’s case, she didn’t stand a chance against two grown men in a blitz attack, but at the time she didn’t know that. All she knew was that she was lost something. She had lost all of her confidence in herself and pretty much everyone else. And so she was afraid.
She tried to hide that fear because it made her feel vulnerable and because it made everyone around her uncomfortable. It worried her mom and dad. It was tearing her apart, that fear. But it had also come pretty close to immobilizing her, when you are afraid of everything and everyone how do you ever do anything at all?
Jennie, in her wonderful wisdom, had found a way to help Amy make it past this fear, and had chosen the perfect guy to help her. Brad was patient, calm, reassuring and surprisingly non-threatening for a karate expert. You would think that someone who taught people to fight for a living would be kinda scary to a victim, but for some reason Brad had just the opposite effect on Amy. She quickly became quite comfortable working with him and learning from him. She liked him as a sensei and as a budding friend. Sometimes after the end of the lessons, in the late evenings, the three would sit in Brads office sipping herbal tea and talk. They would talk about anything that came to mind, how they felt at that moment or what they wanted to do that weekend. They had decided early on that these times were for being together, not for brainstorming or working, but just a time to relax and get to know each other.
As Amy began feeling a little easier around her new friend, she started talking a bit, just a little, about what had happened to her. Something she had not done with anyone yet. Nothing too detailed or gruesome, but just little things, like how she was feeling as she floated in the ocean after she had escaped. Or how scared she was the entire time she was a captive. She told them the part about Rover and Bobby and made them both laugh with her rendition of the “person holding her down and breathing in her face.” They all knew how terrifying that had been, and the fact that she could relate it to them in a humorous manner showed just how far she had come. She was laughing again. Something that many thought was lost to her forever. She did not feel safe all the time, this was not a miracle cure, but she was starting to feel as if she could be whole again someday. Someday.
The work was very hard, they pretty much ended up at the dojo most nights now, trying to work out the moves that would be most efficient. Brad had never dreamed that he might be able to create a new fighting technique and to do so with these two wonderful women was a real bonus.
Now it was time to evaluate. Time to sit down and seriously look at the things they had worked out in the past 30 days. To be honest with themselves about the techniques and methods, if they would make a difference or not. This was their baby and they were so excited, but also had a bit of fear in there. The fear of failure. But they all knew by now that to not try would be the only failure. This was a success no matter what the outcome of the new method. It was a success because two women, one a victim and the other her best friend, were now better able to face life and to take care of themselves if something were to ever happen. It was a success because Amy was learning to live again. And because the three of them had found a friendship that was built to last, no matter what happened in the future, they had created something together and that would always be there.
The three of them sat at the desk in Brad’s office, each with a sheet of paper and a pencil in front of them. “Ok ladies, now it is crunch time.” Brad said “We need to draw a line down the center of this piece of paper and write at the top ‘pro’ and ‘con’.” The girls nodded. “In the ‘pro’ column please write down the individual things that you feel are good about this new program. And in the ‘con’ column write down the individual things that you feel are not good.” “I know that this will not be easy to do, since we have been the ones working on it from the beginning” he added “but we need to try. There is no one else we can turn to since we are the only ones who even know about it” he chuckled at that statement but soon sobered. After a moment there was silence in the room as they each thought about the moves and the techniques of this new fighting method. It was really not a true fighting discipline, but a method of self defense designed specifically with a woman in mind. The first of it’s kind and a total revolution, if it turned out to right. They needed a name for this new method. It couldn’t be called something that was already out there, it needed a new name, an original, something invented for this, just as it had been invented for women. “W.H.A.P. there ya go, very descriptive don’t you think?” asked Jennie “what the heck does THAT stand for?” laughed Amy. With a sly little smile Jennie said “Women Have All the Power” then she laughed. “No really” Brad said “We need a name that will make people notice it.” “Oh, they will notice that one Brad” Jennie retorted “but they may not notice it for the reason we want them to.” “Ok, maybe we can just call it WHAP until we come up with something better.” Amy said. But she couldn’t seem to stop smiling. That name really called to her, but the words that Jennie had chosen for the initials were just not going to cut it.
When they were done writing, the three of them laid the papers side by side on the desk to compare their lists. It was funny how alike they were. It made sense since the three of them had worked on it all along, but the same thoughts were on all three lists. Mostly the comments were positive. How it made the girls feel. How the moves were more natural to them and how they seemed to be easier than a traditional move might be. They decided that the pro’s greatly outweighed the con’s and so they had done it! They had created a radically different self defense discipline for women! They were so excited; they jumped up from the desk and started doing an impromptu dance around the office. High fives were exchanged and then Amy threw her arms around Brad’s neck and gave him a huge hug!
All movement stopped as soon as she realized what she had done. She froze. She didn’t know what to do. How had she dropped her guard so far? When did she begin to trust him enough to allow this to happen? He was a man after all, even if he Was a friend. And Amy didn’t trust men. She just knew she would never trust another man again in her life. But here she was, standing with her arms around the neck of a man. Slowly she disengaged from him, stepped back and looked at him. Really looked at him for the first time as an individual, not just her teacher or her co-creator. As a man, as a person, as a threat.