“Are You Still Practicing That Whatdoyacallit?”

You’ve been practicing Chinese martial arts for years but your wife still calls it Karate. Fellow workers at your office sometimes make slashing actions at you as though they were dyspeptic break dancers. You’ve seen better moves in the worst late night chopsocky film, just before the screen blew digital snow everywhere. Kung Fu Animals plumpub.comPeople who try to be understanding sometimes ask you what you study and for how long, but their seemingly friendly curiosity also always ends in why would anyone study that stuff? Like reading science fiction, everyone assumes it is only done in youth and then outgrown.

This is just the first level of frustration. The same people who say, “My Kung Fu’s better than your Kung Fu” when they are talking about video games can’t remember that¬† you actually¬† study. It goes on. People who normally diss your activities now sycophantically enquire if your art could maybe help their recently acquired bad backs. On the other hand athle-geeks are always claiming that martial arts will be easy for them because they jog or do Yoga.

I’m sure many of us are just as remedial and misinformed about stock brokerage and car mechanics and other activities we know little about but there must be an end some place to people wondering if you are a Buddhist or what the name of those white uniforms with the shorts pants are.

After a while even you “get it.” First, this is an Asian art and that makes it exotic to about three billion people, and it ever will be. Second, it was sexy with power in the 80’s and now it’s been commoditized to a level just beneath soccer practice. White-washed schools just seem so much more mall-friendly so there’s no need to think of martial arts outside a very small box. Meanwhile you are practicing what is the equivalent of rocket science in the martial world. Go ahead, explain.

It’s all okay because you know what you are doing and ten million or so other people do, too. There’s a friendly community all over the world as our emails attest. Don’t even concern yourself, you are in great company.

2 Responses to ““Are You Still Practicing That Whatdoyacallit?””

  1. John says:

    Have you heard “How come you have a cold? I thought all that Tai Chi was supposed to prevent that” It’s the same all over isn’t it.

    John in Vancouver

  2. patrick hodges says:

    This is why some practitioners and masters in the past and present prefer to keep it “secret” to avoid all the silliness and put downs as I’ve come to learn the hard way in my maturity. Sad.

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