Rude Awakenings: When a Martial Artist Has Nightmares

I remember one time, back when I was married, when I had a terrible nightmare. I was being attacked by a man on whom none of my strikes were affecting. In my dream he took me to the ground while laughing at my fruitless attempts to defend myself. As I fell to the ground I thought, “I have to do something!” I then grabbed him by the hips and gave a full power knee strike to his groin. At that moment I awoke to the sound of my rudely awakened husband yelling at me, “Lori! You just kneed my in the balls!” As I was dreaming, in reality, I performed the technique with great accuracy on my sleeping husband.

Since I took up martial arts, there were a number of times that I had dreams in which I used techniques in an attempt to defend myself. At first, in most of these dreams, I would strike with all my power and nothing seemed to work. My attackers would just laugh at me as I hit them and it would continue on until I woke up in a cold sweat.

Later on, the dreams shifted and I was able to use my martial arts training to defend myself effectively, but the dreams never seemed very real. It was more like watching an action movie in which I was the star.

Not too long ago, I told some of my students about the nightmare I had with my husband. A couple of them, ones who had trained for martial arts for awhile, admitted their own stories. One fellow woke from a nightmare having elbowed his wife in the head. Another had kicked their partner in the calf. Out of curiosity, are their many of you out there that have had experiences like this?

Comments (8)

8 thoughts on “Rude Awakenings: When a Martial Artist Has Nightmares

  1. I’ve found that this sort of thing happens far less regularly since my wife and I graduated from a Double to a King sized bed. 🙂

    I’ve elbowed my wife a couple of times. I’ve found that I’m far more likely to do these sorts of things when I’m in that in-between stage, where I’m not quite asleep.

  2. Yes. I distinctly remember one dream from a few months ago where I was fighting someone while we were both jumping on these really tall columns (sort of like Plum Flowers, but big enough to stand on with both feet, 40-50 feet hight and with 10 ft differences in height).

    At one point, my attacker jumped from a lower column to the one I was on and I kicked at him. In real life, I kicked the window frame next to the bed and scared the hell out of my girlfriend was sleeping next to me.

    I also routinely practice kata while falling asleep and once in a while when I hit that point where I’m 80% asleep and 20% awake, my hand or foot will carry out the motion I’m visualizing.

  3. Due to the nature of my practice, I rarely have any dreams.

    Ironically, the most painful martial arts technique I have ever experienced was in a “dream”. Not only did it wake me immediately, it jolted me right out of bed, and my arm hurt too much to fall asleep again. This is no exaggeration.

  4. About a week ago, I dreamed that I was being attacked and performed a great elbow strike in my sleep and woke up sprawled across my bedside table with the alarm clock on the floor.

    I’ve kicked out in my sleep a few times too.

  5. I too have hit my wife a few times while sleeping only to have her hit me back while awake. its strange why it happens?

  6. For sure. Many times. Scared my partner and myself a few times. Once in a while I had these dreams where my talent was a surprise. I am 5th dan tkd.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Jiu-jitsu Sensei
Martial Arts Blog