Divorce yourself from this idea right now, author. While I’m sure it is the narrative you’ve been presented with your entire life, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t true. Women do find building up muscles in the upper body more difficult than men, but since power does not come from the arms, it’s actually a superfluous distinction. Women build up muscles in the lower body and in the core muscles (abdominal) very rapidly.
Skill in combat is not a matter of biology, but in training and dedication. Remember, if your female character fights, she’s neither unique nor special. In my experience as a martial artist and a martial arts instructor, there are on average per class 2 girls to every 10 boys, with the female number either remaining constant or doubling as the class goes up in age. While there are fewer female combatants around than male, it’s not hard to find 20 women to every 100 men. Extrapolate that out and think about it, women who fight are not as rare as you might have previously imagined.
Here are a few things to consider:
1) Power comes from the hips.
I will harp on this until the end of time until everyone shakes the myth of punch strength being decided by arm muscle strength out of their heads. The strength of the strike comes from the pivot of the hips and guess what? Women have wider hips than men, thus a greater opportunity to generate more power and hit their opponents harder. Combine this advantage with a low-center of gravity and the ability to push that center even lower and you have a fighter capable, not just in power, but able to topple much larger opponents.
2) Women have a lower center of gravity.
This is the advantage of the short fighter, it’s the same for short men and short women, a tall woman fighting a shorter woman will encounter the same resistance as a tall man fighting a short one. I list this as a female advantage because most women will always find themselves facing larger opponents. So, it’s important for an author to keep in mind.
So, how does this work? A center of gravity is the height difference from the ground to your core, around the belly button. The shorter the fighter, the lower their center of gravity, the lower the center of gravity the closer they are to the earth, the closer they are to the earth the better their ability to generate a stable base and the harder they are to knock over. A fighter who knows where to put their feet and weight to make use of their center is a hard one to take to the ground. This is one way for women to overcome the height and weight disadvantage.
3) Women are naturally more resistant to pain and fatigue than men, have a greater potential for stamina, and can fight harder for longer.
It’s important to note: it’s not just that men cannot biologically carry a child to term and survive the birth, but if they did with their current make-up, they would die. So, you may call it the miracle of childbirth, but a woman’s body is gifted with a much greater level of resilience than their male counterparts. While these abilities must be honed and improved through training, the natural talent is already present in every woman’s body.
4) The only combatants who ever actively terrified me were women.
I’ve met a great many master martial artists from a great many different styles, all of whom I deeply respect, and can trust in their ability to utterly annihilate me. But the female black belt sparring division, my first thought on encountering those women as a teenager was: “I want to spar with the boys.”
Women live in a very different world than men do, they live in a world that is comprised of dangers even in places that are supposed to be safe. A woman cannot walk down a street alone, never mind if it’s at night, without wondering if an attack will happen. Rape and other acts of violence are very real, every day threats, and women live with the knowledge that the places they have been told to go to for protection will disregard them, laugh at them, and judge them on their worth for “allowing” these acts to happen to them. Every woman, even the ones like me who began at a young age, will eventually be faced with the realization that they may have to use what they know against another person one day. This is not fantasy assessment full of wishful thinking, but a cold reality. What if one day I have to hurt someone else? What if one day I have to kill them? The women who practice and prepare through forms of combat do so with that in mind, with the knowledge that they are the underdogs and that one day, they may have to use that training to fight for their lives.
The ferocity with which they beat on each other in sparring matches is a reflection of that. Remember, these are women who have shaken off the socially ingrained idea of ‘I can’t hurt anyone’ and moved on to ‘I will break you if you hurt me’. They follow that up with: you will never walk right again.
Unless your character comes from a very different society, this attitude will be part of who they are. Women who are trained and dedicated have the capacity to be terrifying, especially in a patriarchal society. Why? It’s not the behavior that most men expect.
At the moment, my parents pay for the food in return for me doing all the cooking. This is a good arrangement. HOWEVER, I have lived on very, very, very broke, and I’ll give you my ten best tips:
1. Racism and classism cost money. Basmati rice is $3.99 for a 1-lb bag…
5 Ways to be a Happier Creative
We all know the tortured artist schtick. To be honest, I can be a downer sometimes myself, but I think it would be terrible for us to all perpetuate the idea that being creative and miserable are mutually exclusive.
So here’s to being creative and actually enjoying it:
1. Refuse to See Your Entire Life Either as a Success or a Failure
The idea here is to never buy into the lie that your life is either successful or failing in terms of your creative output. Think of the most successful creative person you can, if you look closely you can see a series of successes and failures.
The best way for me to look at the creative life is as a series of projects which can be successful in some ways and fail in other ways. For instance, some projects are really successful in the development of your skill but not financially advantageous.
Also, don’t believe that there is some level of success where you have now “arrived” or attained a level of success which can never been denied to you, like being hailed a “creative genius” with endless financial gain, forever. I could tell you many examples of artists and musicians who seem like they have “arrived” with one project and then completely fail the next.
2. Make Something Everyday
Will Bryant says something like, “I make stuff because if I don’t I get sad”. A silly and profound statement. Last year I did a daily drawing project where I created a new character every weekday. I found this statement to ring very true.
This practice gave me a sense of creative productivity every single day, which is a serious morale booster. Even if you don’t show anyone, it can help you feel prolific and unlimited in your creative abilities, which in turn increases your confidence.
3. Be Authentic
This is huge. Many people have done amazing things in creativity and have received many rewards, successes and prizes for them. So there is a lot of incentive for YOU to be THEM. But the trick is knowing the truth: you CAN’T be them. Trying to be something you are not will make you feel like an old sock. You already know this, but I thought I’d remind you.
4. Know Your Purpose
Shooting aimlessly into the dark can feel like…shooting aimlessly into the dark. Your purpose doesn’t have to be mind meltingly important. I like the humble yet ambitious purpose the great Debbie Millman has taken upon herself to “try to make the supermarket more beautiful”.
Try to clarify what you want to achieve overall so that everything you do has a sense of purpose. Purpose equals meaning, and to most creatives I know, a sense of meaning is why they want to make art and why they DO NOT want to work in a factory.
5. Address and Defeat Your Fears
That dreadful fear is a bully that is killing your soul and it should be stood up to. Listen to it, don’t ignore it. Hear what it’s actually saying and then dismantle it. Talk to someone about it openly, if the fear is tied to reality, then face it and take it down with integrity. If it’s all lies, all smoke and mirrors then let it disappear in the cloud of smoke that it is. If you are doing super boring unadventurous work, you won’t have any fears at all…but who wants to do that?
Hope this makes you a bit happier today.
- Andy J. Miller
P.S. To tackle the piling up questions here on this tumblr I have started taking on 1 hour video creative coaching, for more info click here.
Thank you Andy ! I needed these reminders today.
sometimes I forget that rulers work with tablets and I get really frustrated with my inability to freehand straight lines
YOU COULD DO THIS
BUT IT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE
omfg for real I thought this was just me?
er, dear artists of Tumblr:
WHY DID THIS NEVER OCCUR TO ME?
IVE BEEN SO BLIND
OH MY FUCKING GOD.
some nice programs to draw
- mtPaint: free source tool designed to make pixel art. for Linux or Windows.
- character maker: it’s to make charsets for rpgmaker but you can use it for whatever you want. it’s in both english and spanish.
- scribblertoo: really nice website to draw with.
- sekka: free source tool to draw things like these:
wistfulghost asked: I loved your Tips for Healthy Relationship/Unhealthy Relationship posts, they were very informative :) I was wondering if you could write one for an abusive parent/child relationship as well? :)
First of all, I think that many books…
Creating unique voices for each viewpoint character is essential in creating fiction readers want to read over and over. Unique voices stick with you and generate the best reviews.
Here are 9 exercises to help you discover your viewpoint character(s) voice. Select…
The thing with a “main character”, is that the reader see the story/world from that characters point of view - we can often read the characters thoughts and feelings more than other characters in the story. You can also use the perspective to increase this “effect”.
You can use the eye-level to display the world seen from the main character. Look at the two pictures above, the characters have the same size on both pictures - the only difference I’ve made is to switch eye-level. And by just doing this, we switch between the adult and the kids point of view - even though they both look at the same thing.
So, when you are doing a perspective, FIRST decide the eye-level and after that start placing out all those annoying guidelines.