I’m addicted to a new (old) song: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots part 1, by The Flaming Lips. It’s a hilarious, adorable, excellent song, and it’s about me! Get it? I’m a black belt, I defend my man with my awesome karate skills, and I might as well be Asian (what with all the food, anime, manga, martial arts stuff I do). Bam. I’m thinking the pink robots are a metaphor for something. Ex-girlfriends maybe?
Being a martial artist is great for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it makes me feel like a total badass. Being athletic for so long means I’m pretty coordinated, I move gracefully, I don’t trip and fall and injure myself… ever. Plus, being a female martial artist automatically puts me in a special category, and everyone loves being special.
And all that sounds great, but if I’d be lying if I said that any of those topped my list of why being a true martial artist is worth all the training, sweating and pain. Having been punched and kicked until I bled may sound brutal; having sharp eyes and fast feet that can flash above my own head may sound pretty sweet; but it’s the sum of these skills and experiences that produces the best part of being a good fighter: the quiet. I’m confident that my training has prepared me to survive (and win) most fights, and I find that to be incredibly soothing.
I rediscovered this sensation while interviewing someone at Office Job. I’ve only been there less than a year, so I still feel like the new kid. However, during the interview, I realized that I would be looked to for counsel on how to handle this situation or deal with that person, and that I could give sound advice. I’m getting good at my job, and that’s really quite… relaxing. It’s the same feeling I had when I got my black belts: a sense of pride and confidence. Of course, when I got my black belts, my body felt like it was pulsating with potential, that the ability to fight (and fight well) practically coursed through me. It was all I could do to contain it. It was exhilarating. My whole body was buzzing with power and fluid motion, and amidst all that there was a still, quiet core to keep me from flying in all directions.
That buzzing feeling has faded to a hum, but its silent anchor remains. The best part of being a true martial artist is the silence.
Yesterday was an exciting day for three reasons: Poker, Car, Kung Fu.
Diminutive Roommate and I went to college together. I get the feeling we’re going to be friends our whole lives. I sure hope we are, because we have so much fun together. We used to play poker at least once a week in college, and decided recently that we should start doing that again. Sister bought me a poker table years ago, and I just got it back last week from Chinese ExBoyfriend’s household (we broke up… wow, over five years ago).
Hooray! I got it back! But we’ve been borrowing poker chips from them too, so I thought fuck it, I’m getting my own chips. Imagine my delight when I discovered that you can order any number of any color chip you want. So instead of the traditional set of 500 white, red, blue, black, green poker chip set, I got 650 yellow, orange, gray, purple and pink. CANNOT WAIT TO PLAY WITH THEM SUPER EXCITED THEY’RE GETTING HERE MONDAAAAAAYYYY!!
Apparently entry-level automatic cars are not sold without all kinds of bells and whistles, so yesterday I custom-ordered my car. It’s going to be a white Fiat 500 with brown and white interior and no extras (who the fuck needs a engine block heater in LA?). It should be ready in 45 days (Is that business days I asked? No one knows. Apparently this is top-secret info the Chrysler factories churning these things out in Mexico aren’t telling anyone). I’m not as excited as I should be, because I’ve been attempting to buy this damn car for weeks now. No one at the dealerships or credit union are doing their job despite the fact that I’m attempting to buy a car at full price, and in the meantime I’m stuck in that damn deathtrap 98 Exploder that inhales gas at an alarming rate (I’m getting maybe 11mpg. Maybe). When the Fiat arrives I’ll lose my mind. Meanwhile, I spent $372 on gas last month. But fuck it! I’m getting a new car! It’s gonna be so fucking cute, hahaha!
I was invited to train at a kung fu studio by a friend of mine (let’s call her Little Iron Friend- she has completed her Iron Palm training; high-fiving her is painful). I’ve only been taking classes sporadically for six months. I’ve chatted with the instructors, who have made it clear that they’re willing to put me on the fast track to obtaining a black sash. I told them I’d like to earn a brown sash first, then work for black. The head instructor seemed very pleased with that decision. He said, “You move like a black belt. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t earn your black sash within a year.”
I figured that meant that I would attend class without rank until I tested for brown. Imagine my surprise when I arrived early yesterday to watch Little Iron Friend teach class, and one of the instructors approached me with a brand new, folded, shining brown sash. He held it out to me with two hands, in the traditional style, and said, “This is for you.” I didn’t reach out to take it; I just stared at it, and said, “What’s that?” He grinned, and informed me that I will effectively hold the rank of brown sash while I learn all the material leading up to that rank. This means I’ll be the highest rank in the intermediate class, which will likely cause some tension. I’m not too worried about it; I have no ego associated with my rank, and I think most people know that. I have one more black belt than the only black belt student in the school (that I’ve seen), and he’s uber serious for some reason. No sense of humor to speak of. It’s really a shame.
The point is, I have a kung fu brown sash. And that’s amazing. Little Iron Friend and I had dinner last night and chatted about it. She’s a green sash, so I out-rank her now which could be awkward. I told her if she feels weird or if this starts to put a strain on our friendship, I’ll give it back and walk away. She said it’s not a problem, and we’re good. She has a lot of respect for me as a martial artist, and vice versa, so I think we’re going to be fine. I told her I was nervous about how the other students would react now that I technically outrank them. She said, “I’ll stand by you. Don’t worry about it.” I was touched. I’m so glad we found each other and became friends.