Maybe I should let Tita Doris know that I’ve finally found an outlet better than breaking plastic spoons.
It is ridiculously good and helpful and comforting and all things wonderful to constantly be in the company of martial artists again. There’s something about having an outlet that’s so constructive, you simply can’t feel guilty about the time you’re taking out of other aspects of life – like homework… – to put into it. I observe now that there’s a madness in the very dedicated ones that’s incredibly similar to the madness of the kitchen people I respect most and love best, which makes my current temporary respite from the kitchen exponentially more bearable, and also kind of explains that side of my attraction to the kitchen that I couldn’t verbalize or justify before. For lack of vocabulary to express the depth of my appreciation of current circumstances, let’s say it’s invigorating.
The madness is different now, though, than it was nine years ago. While camaraderie comes into play, it’s no longer the motive that had that potential to dominate among the younger crowd. It helps, of course – but these are men. These are not the children we used to be, choosing a sport that our friends are in, or working on self-esteem issues in the face of bullying, or needing the competitiveness of belt systems to push us to accomplish something, or just trying to be cool. These are men training and passing on their training with attitudes and expressions that make it clear that they expect to be put into dangerous situations where they’ll need these skills. They’re very blunt – some more than others – about their own strengths and weaknesses, about their own advantages and disadvantages that they have to identify on the fly in a fight. This is not point sparring. These are death blows.
It’s a different kind of respect now. Maybe then it was because Andy could kick my butt in a sparring match. Now it’s because facing any of these guys on the street would surely be fatal.
Training’s going to be one of the hardest things to not have this summer. It’s a good kind of danger. An Aslan-like danger. A Blessed Mother-like danger.