I think my family doctor must have a note in my file about the violent, contact sports in my life. I often arrive there with bruises and I’m nervous about reassuring her that I’m not a victim of domestic violence. It’s the Aikido bruises that are the worst in this respect because they look like signs of resisting struggle, thumb and finger grip marks on my hands, wrists, and forearms. But she’s good at remembering how active I am and we often chat a bit about martial arts.
Indeed, I can identify which pin or which control caused with bruise.
In Aikido there’s no kicking and even the striking is primarily a distraction. It goes like this: I strike. You put up your arms to block my strike and I say thank you for the gift of your wrist and elbow. I now have an elbow to lock and a wrist to which I can do very mean things.
Aikido strikes aren’t actually meant to hurt. They are really all shock and awe designed to take your attention away from your joints. There are lots of locks and pins, and often they leave marks.
Lately there are new sporty bruises from riding my cyclocross bike. I’ve come off on the grass a few times but it’s the running mounts and dismounts that are the worst for bruises.
When I was playing soccer it was my shins that were pretty much permanently bruised, despite shin pads.
I think about bruises as part of my identity as an active person, involved in contact sports. See my post on aikido and non sexual physical intimacy. But certainly the contrast between bruises and the norms of ladylike behavior are part of what put some women off sports, especially those that involve contact. Clearly not me, since I list rugby and roller derby as the two sports I would have played if I’d discovered them earlier.
How about you? Do play a sport that involves lots of bruises? Love it, hate it, or just live with it?