Saturday, November 29, 2008

Martial arts marshmellow

Martial arts can be a lot of fun.
They can also be a source of pain.
I spent several years training in the Korean art of tae kwon do, and a little while doing jiu jitsu.
Someone asked me once if I could kick butt if I had to.
I said sure, as long as I was fighting a one-armed, blind dwarf who was at least 60 years old.
Other than that I don’t know how well I would do.
I did martial arts for the exercise and it was an excuse to get out of the house a couple nights a week.
I was hardly a hard-core scrapper and there were a few guys in my club who could smack the ugly off my face without breaking a sweat.
The problem is I am allergic to getting hit. I break out in pain and I don’t like that.
With that in mind, I made sure everyone knew the single most important rule of martial arts: Don’t hurt the old guy.
If they remember just one thing, I hoped that was it.
I was the oldest guy in the club. The rest were young bucks eager to prove themselves. I was neither young nor a buck and was happy just to walk away from a sparring session under my own power.
I became good at blocking kicks and punches because after a couple minutes of sparring I was out of gas, and the only offence I could mount was threatening to tell their moms that they were not playing nice.
But I can say I have a background in martial arts. I like to say that because it sounds cool, but realistically it’s like saying Elvis had a background in marathon running.
It is more accurate to say I have an interest in martial arts, particularly mixed martial arts.
Mixed martial arts are a hybrid of the genre. It is a combination of striking and grappling skills. Professional fighters bring the sport to a whole new level.
The pros have some of the coolest names like Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell, or Tim ‘The Maniac’ Silvia.
My name would be Darren ‘Can’t We Just Talk This Over’ Handschuh.
Not too intimidating I must admit.
Watching these guys is living vicariously, because if I were in the ring, it would be the shortest fight in history.
The referee would look at me and my opponent and ask if we were ready.
He would then step back and yell, “Fight.”
We would walk toward each other and as we reach out to touch gloves in a show of respect, I would hit the ground and start tapping.
In martial arts, tapping your hand on the ground or your opponent is a way of acknowledging there is no way you can win the fight.
So, I would be tapping my opponent, myself, the floor, the referee, the fat guy in front row with all the tattoos – it would be a regular tapping extravaganza.
I would be tapping so hard I would have to wrap my arm for a week because of the exertion.
If I used both hands to tap, I could fly around the room like a middle-aged, out-of-shape bird.
I prefer to watch the sport rather than become an active participant.
I sit in the audience and think, “Man I could beat the guy. Well, maybe if he wasn’t looking and I was in my car, I could run over him from behind.”
Other than that, the chances of a victorious outcome are pretty slim.

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