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Friday, August 19, 2011

My husband thinks I’m a Ninja…

You know how some people play softball, basketball, or some other sport on a league?  Well my sport of choice was Karate.  I started taking lessons in my mid-twenties and off and on I practiced the sport for about 13 years.  It was the best thing I've ever done for myself.  It kept me active, I learned self-defense and met amazing people with strong character, drive and perseverance.

My husband met me a short time before the Dojo where I was a student closed.  He never saw me work out, he never saw me spar, he never saw how talented or not I was.  He thinks because I practiced Martial Arts I am some type of Ninja.  I am not, never was.  I am only part of a group who dared to try something out of their comfort zone, something scary, totally out of character and found more than could have ever dreamed.  A way of life!

I was lucky to have been instructed by a talented, energetic, and respected Martial Artist, who with experience, passion for the sport and a big heart brought out the best in the students.  This instructor also happened to be female, and a wonderful role model!  I am proud to call my instructor (Master Palmer) a close friend.

I have missed being active in the sport.  Some have asked why I haven’t joined another school/Dojo.  Well, it is very difficult to find a place to call home when the style of Martial Arts you practiced is “non-traditional”, not to mention a back injury that has limited me a bit. Besides, what made Karate for me so enjoyable were the friends I made thru the years. 

Having a female head instructor was pretty amazing.  It attracted strong women to the Dojo who ended up shaping my character and helped me shed some “traditional” cultural ways.  I was raised by a mother who was submissive in her marriages but who stood strong on her own.  I truly believe that I would have married sooner had the lessons I learned thru Martial Arts not made me feel more independent and secure.  Hey, when you can stand to come home black and blue on a regular basis and not care what people think you tend to care little about others opinions of your life in general and not rush to settle. 

Why didn’t you marry such and so? Because my life mate should make me feel safe, not threatened!  Why did you break up with (choose a name)?  Because I have discovered my own strength and won’t settle for a man who will drown in a glass of water! What happened to (choose a name again)? He lacked focus and discipline in his life and thought things would come to him by simply wishing!

I think my husband is more impressed by the things I tell him I used to do.  I used to spar every chance I had to improve speed and technique (got spanked half of the time but showed off a few tricks of my own) as well as to hang out with friends/peers at the Dojo.  I participated in tournaments either by competing or judging supporting other schools as well as my own.  I was once an extra in a B movie when my instructor was invited to bring females to play members of a girl gang.  Also, the quirky things of my every day life: I used to lay on the floor reading, butt against the wall with legs apart letting gravity help me stretch to improve flexibility.  (People do the strangest things when no one is watching!)  I used to snap a side kick as a way of "play fighting" when most people pretend to smack someone on the head, or close doors and drawers with a kick. Now that my back is feeling better I have found old habits coming back.

He's also heard "war stories" from my Karate friends he's met.  All or the majority have tested (for their next belt rank) or kept working out with a number of injuries ranging from pulled muscles to broken bones. I think what impresses him the most is my tolerance for pain and a lack of neediness for attention when injured.  This has taught him to know that when I say I am aching I am not complaining about just a hang nail.  I guess the women in his past were more fragile or liked to call attention to them with mere discomfort. 

I am equally impressed with my husband.  The qualities I needed to practice such a physically demanding sport were the same that he used in his life.  He dared to switch careers, went back to school and got another degree all while he was dealing with the end of a marriage.  The emotional roller coaster of going back to school in his late 30's while having additional drama did not make him loose his focus. That is what I learned thru Martial Arts.  I learned to focus and keep going no matter what comes my way.

I think my husband also gets a kick (no punt intended) at how excited I get watching a movie with a good fight scene.  I've broken down the steps for him to show what it is I like or what impresses me about a scene!  (I am a geek that way!) Not much different than any other amateur being impressed watching a professional on the screen.

We are truly made for each other.  Just because I can be tough he has never once forgotten to treat me like a woman and not like one of the guys.  I think he found out he likes strong women.  He jokes and says he knew when he was in love with me. We were in an antique shop. I picked up an owl figurine and almost fainted at the cost but bounced back with interest by commenting on the weight of it.  I said "Cool; you can kill someone with it".  I lean more towards both sharing a dark sense humor.

I won't underplay the goals I achieved in Martial Arts.  I am so very proud of them, and if my husband is impressed by them then it's good to have married someone who admires you.  After all, I did as well!  I am impressed every day of the man I married for a long list of reasons and I often tell him he was definitely worth the wait!

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit, it was kind of scary dating a black belt at first, till I realized I could just outrun you ;)

    Then, of course, you reminded me that I had to sleep eventually :P