A Year of Kung Fu

To understand how much I love Kung Fu, you need to understand how much I hate running. Seriously. I hate it.

My father loves running. He’s a retired Marine. He ran pretty much every day for twenty-five years. I’m uncertain if my mother likes it but she’s run two half marathons [1]. I hated running in high school. So I swam for two years.

I hated running in college. So I did Jiu-Jitsu off and on for two years [2]. In 2010 my sister (also a marine who does all this running crap) convinced me to run a marathon with her. I’d forgotten how much I hated running. Training reminded me that the Runner’s High Was Not Worth It.

In 2011 I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I’d spent seven months training for a freaking marathon and now my body insisted on being permanently sick, every day, for the rest of my life [3]. Running was supposed to become a fixture in my life.

I hate running so I didn’t do it. I’d rather be cranky, achy, and sick, then spend 30 minutes, three days a week, running to control my blood sugar. After all, I wasn’t overweight, so medication should be enough [4].

Then I discovered Kung Fu.

It was during the beginning of 2012. I started out in a partnership. A friend said she wanted to start kickboxing and she wanted a partner. She looked into several places, mostly gyms, and finally a school prevalent here in SoCal that taught Choi-Li-Fut Kung Fu and Tai Chi. They advertised kickboxing so we looked into it.

I enjoyed it. It had an element that I felt was missing during my time doing Jiu-Jitsu. I felt powerful.

After some discussion we decided to do Kung Fu. After eight months we decided to split the partnership.

She had other priorities. Kung Fu was not the most important thing in her life and that was not only understandable but completely okay. She had other dreams and other goals that took priority. [5]

I fell in love with Kung Fu. In October had the opportunity to attend a seminar taught by Grand Master Doc-Fai Wong to learn the Small Leopard Fist Form. It was simultaneously the coolest and hardest thing I’d ever done with my body.

In November I had my first sash test and went from a white sash newbie (Level 1) to a yellow sash (Level 2). It’s much like that transition between middle school and high school–awkward and flaily but full of awesome highs and frustrating lows. I’ve loved every moment of it.

I threw myself into Kung Fu. I doubled my training schedule and participated in all the classes I could [6]. I earned all three of my stripes over the course of seven weeks. I’ve been formatting for my green sash (Level 3) for the last month. I should be ready to test in the next few weeks and I’m totally psyched to learn the green sash form I’ll be performing at tournament in May.

Because I upped my membership, one of the big highlights is learning the Butterfly Knives weapons form. It’s a brown sash (Level 6) form required for the black sash test and I’ve been told it is one of the most difficult forms to make look good. I just want to be able to flower my short swords knives at some point.

I wish I could say I never have to run again. After all, Kung Fu is the best thing [7] ever. But for some crazy reason I’ve agreed to run a half marathon with my father later this year. My only excuse for this insanity is a belief it will make my Kung Fu better.

I need to build up my stamina. The Black Sash Test is over two hours long. I want to be there in three years [8].



[1] She might’ve also run a marathon. My memory is fuzzy.
[2] Must be a theme. Two years and then quit. That’s not going to happen with Kung Fu.
[3] I had none of the common symptoms. It’s entirely genetics. I blame my parents and dead ancestors.
[4] It’s not.
[5] This story has three sides: My side. Her side. What really happened. I only know my side. I’ve tried to guess her side. I get sadder every time I learn something new about the situation. I’ve also learned that silence is the quickest way to destroy a weak relationship.
[6] Except for sparring. I avoided it as long as I could. We have a complicated relationship where I show up and sparring unmakes me. There have been a lot of tears. Despite that, I’m winning.
[7] It’s really the best martial art but some people, non Kung Fu people, get touchy about it >.>
[8] Four or five years is also acceptable, as mastering Kung Fu is not a race. But I like goals and deadlines. They make dreams real.

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