I Am A Martial Artist

I am a martial artist.

Yes, it’s true. Don’t roll your eyes at me.

Yes, I train daily. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Being a martial artist is different than doing martial arts.

Yes, I am a black belt. No, not “just anyone” can get one. It’s not something you wear, it’s something you become.


Yes, I can hurt you. No, I don’t want to. Don’t make me.

Yes, I teach self defense. No, I can’t give you a “hour-long crash course”. Self defense requires multiple sessions.

Yes, you think I’m a dork. No, I don’t care.

Yes, I have a black belt. No, don’t show me your leather one and say “Ya? Me too!” It makes you sound ignorant.

Yes, I am a female martial artist. Yes, you’re a male. Yes, you are bigger, stronger, faster, and more aggressive than I am. No, you may not grab my wrist. Don’t make me break your arm in four different places.

Yes, I am a male martial artist. No, don’t pretend to punch me. I will break your nose before you can draw breath.

“Oh, I used to do martial arts.” Key words – used to.

Yes, I can fight. No, I don’t want to.

Yes, it’s spiritual. No, we do not meditate under waterfalls.

Yes, I am a black belt. No, you may not see it. Or try it on. Or touch it.

Yes, I’m flexible. No, I’m not Chloe Bruce. Or Chuck Norris. They are the exceptions, not the rule.

Yes, martial arts is not a ‘traditional sport’. But it’s still a sport. Try to keep up.

Yes, some schools are more like McDojo than a traditional school. No, I did not receive a McDojo black belt. 

Yes, I yell. No, it’s not “hi-YA!”

Yes, we have Asian traditions. No, I don’t think I’m Asian. Clearly, I’m not.

Yes, I have a master. He is my instructor, my teacher. No, he’s not an old Asian guy with a beard.

Yes, we are fast. No, we can’t catch flies with chopsticks.

Yes, I’ve seen the Karate Kid. No, it’s not “wax on, wax off”.

Yes, I’ve seen other martial arts movies. No, it’s still not like that.

Yes, some schools use weapons. No, it’s not like Bruce Lee in a yellow jumpsuit with nunchaku.

Yes, my hands and feet are strong. No, they aren’t “registered deadly weapons” and yes, I can put them in my pockets.

Yes, I’m smiling. No, that does not mean I find your cliches ‘funny’. Most animal species bare their teeth when they feel threatened. Keep that in mind as I keep smiling.


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