"Strength is sexy in a woman," he to me the day after I had completed my first self-defense training course. "I mean, there's nothing more attractive than a woman who is powerful."

I wasn't too sure what to think of this. On one hand, he was complimenting my strength, my power, and he was admiring my ability to kick the shit out of him. That was, on one hand, very enlightened.

On the other hand, something about the assumption that my power was sexual also bothered me. I am a person who abhors violence, but I am also a woman in a world where women get attacked and raped ... I needed to know these skills because of danger, not because I wanted to attract new suitors.

Wondering if I was overreacting, I carefully said: "I appreciate your support. It is awesome that you are not intimidated by fierce women ... but I'm not doing this for you. I do all of this for myself."

He snickered and joked: "Sure, whatever. You're just trying to pick up men."

"No," I assured him. "Although there's nothing sexier than a powerful woman for you, it's infinately better for me to be a fierce woman. For myself."