Podcast #11- Martial Arts, Spirituality, and the Growing Influence of Women (part 1)
March 17, 2021
Henry Cretella, M.D. talks with Sensei Margot VanEtten about women in martial arts and spirituality.
Martial arts is a spiritual discipline. Its focus on awareness, being in the moment, and mastery of the body and mind lead to a greater freedom, especially from fear. When practiced appropriately, this naturally encourages non-violence. What is less recognized is how it opens one to a power greater than oneself. Women and feminine energy play a pivotal role in making all of this immanent, real in the present moment in one’s body, mind and heart. As the martial arts have played a role in increasing women’s physical and mental confidence, they also have allowed a greater freedom for women to choose their social roles rather than accepting only what is expected. In turn, their involvement has increasingly allowed for what mystics call “the divine presence” to become felt and realized in our very being, right now. As we learn to reconnect to our natural world and our natural selves – including our bodies – the energy of the feminine plays a pivotal and increasingly important role.
Margot VanEtten has a wide and varied background in spirituality and meditation, interfaith study and dialogue, martial arts, and ministerial practice. She holds several black belts in related forms of Karate-do and Japanese sword arts. Margot has studied and taught martial arts for more than 37 years at Harp Karate/the Martial Arts Center of Rochester, as well as developing and teaching women’s self-defense classes. Her integrative interests lead her to teach an Inner Development class at Harp Karate for many years, further developing her expertise in the mind-body-spirit connection within the martial arts and in the rest of life.