Wednesday, December 31, 2003

A month ago, I would have been pretty damn proud of the exercise habits I'm keeping now. I mean, after all, I went to the gym almost every single day during finals week. As I said earlier, my physical therapy graduated to weight training and some light aerobic exercise and stuff, and when I have a good reason like that to get to the gym in the first place, it's easy to work out. I haven't been as good as that over vacation, but it's vacation - and besides, it's harder to get to the smaller and worse-equipped gym in this town than it is at college. And even so, I have gone a few times. A few days ago my sister mentioned a leg press weight that's about THREE FUCKING TIMES what I usually do and she said it like it was casual and easy, but when I thought about it I realized that's nothing to be ashamed of - that's exactly the muscle group I'm doing physical therapy for in the first place.

See me again in two months and I'll be as buff as the professional kickboxer who made me look bad over the summer.

Tae Kwon Do Monday night was fun, by the way. Master Randy Rotta's casual brutality and slight sadism is more rough than many Tae Kwon Do schools (but still quite a bit less rough than many schools of other martial arts) and a watcher might be intimidated or something, but it just made me nostalgic. I mean, Wow - I haven't had the wind knocked out of me like that in months! :)

But I can't help wondering, just a little bit - why am I doing this again? I mean, sure, Tae Kwon Do is fun, it's good exercise, it's just the kind of sport for me, the art of Tae Kwon Do and Mr. Rotta's class itself have taught me a lot of valuable life lessons, and in theory it's a useful skill... but there's that "in theory". I haven't been in a fight since ninth grade. There have been one or two times I've talked my way out of one, and a couple times I was wrestling around with friends and neither of us wanted to hurt the other, but really, my black belt has got far more use as a conversation piece than as a defensive weapon (well, not the belt itself - oh, you know what I mean.)

I don't know. I'm glad I do it, of course. If things were any different at all - no other responsibilities OR other clubs OR a better TKD club - I would go to TKD at college twice a week without fail. It's a great skill, a great sport, and a great art. But what it's been for me just seemed funny for a minute. I spent last night practicing various ways to take a knife away from someone, and I have a collection of weapons that range from "keep away from small children" to "illegal in most states", and I have a five medals or more from statewide tournaments, and I've spent almost half my life studying a martial art from some of the best teachers in the world. (That's literally true - Mr. Rotta may seem humble but some of my classmates used to win trophies in national tournaments regularly, and in France I took classes from Lee Moon Ho, 8th degree black belt and former French Olympic trainer.) And despite all that, the only thing I've ever used it for without warning was to criticize bad fight scenes in movies and a short story one time.

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