Mothers, should you let your children grow up to be Martial Artists?

I get questions about this all the time.  “Joe, should I try martial arts?” “Joe, what is the best martial arts style?”  And then there are the mutterers, mumbling to themselves in any given situation “What would my mate Joe Chip do?”.  What do people seek to get out of the martial arts?  I hear different voices in each ear.  (That is actually quite an achievement.  Most people only hear The Voices in one ear.)

Self confidence!

(Perhaps you taste a little bit like chicken)

Self discipline!

(Self harm – why do all of the instructors have a support wrapped around at least one joint?)

Physical fitness!

(For now.  Okinawan fishermen did not expect to live much past 40)

Bash people up!

(Be bashed up!)

It is a struggle to recommend a form of physical fitness that won’t have long term negative health effects upon you, gentle readers.  This troubles me.  I struggle to find a way to help you, that will not also harm you.  Perhaps this is the nature of being human.  As I remarked to Edgar Edgarberger, on a rare break from the cubicles to which we are enshackled, as we puffed up a hill, “It would be better if we smoked.  Then we could give up, save money and be a lot fitter.  Without smoking, I do not see too many options open to us.”  “When the revolution comes” he replied, “we will all be much fitter.  We shall all be art deco Soviet Stakhanovites”.  But I digress.

Sniff the gym.  (No, after you.  I insist.)  You may smell sweat, linament, despair, fear of mortality, clothing in need of a wash.  I smell retrocalcineal spurs, tricky knees, clicky hips, desperate elbows, displaced eyeballs, and a hint of uncooked chicken.

I see there are two choices:  kung-fu fighting, or kung-fu lovingThe martial arts, or the marital arts?  As a guide to which type of exercise you should follow, consider the following lists, and whether you match any of the artists there.  Are you a kung-fu fighter, or a kung-fu lover?  Your mate, my mate Joe Chip, would be very interested in your thoughts and comments.

Martial Artists                                                                                   Marital Artists

Van Gogh                                                                                           Salvador Dali (this art has many styles!)

Caravaggio                                                                                         Picasso

Marlowe                                                                                              Shakespeare

Norman Mailer                                                                                Gauguin

???                                                                                                         ???


The lists are incomplete; they may be completely wrong; there are no women; there may be an alternative (Marlait Artists anyone?)

My brain hurts too much today.  Duty now for the future, spuds, help me out with this!

  1. […] there was a typo in my application.  I meant ‘martial arts’, not ‘marital arts’.  Does this change […]

  2. alno9253 says:

    Love it. The pain, the torture, the constant injuries, these are all true of martial arts. It always hurts, and if it doesn’t hurt you are probably doing it wrong. This post in gloriously honest, but it is missing one thing. The fulfillment that comes with practicing a martial art. Not only do you get to learn how to bash up on people, but there is also a sense of community within the school. You make friends, you share stories, and you train together. When you train with someone you find out pretty quickly what lies in their heart and you can see who they truly are. Winston Churchill said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” I love this, but not all people do. Kung Fu training tends to be hell and you find out pretty quickly who keeps going, and who gives up. Give a try man!

  3. oh how you tempt me to…words. Some of your marital artists display a marked inability to excel in the actually high art specific to the pursuit of marital bliss. Love or marriage: pray tell, which art dost thou meanest? The deficit of the former yields the ground to more martial merits.

    • If I have tempted someone to … words, my work here is done. Any meaning is limited by the typographical errors available when attempting to type “martial artist” at speed! I suspect any “artist” who achieved anything approaching marital bliss had a very special partner who was willing to accommodate their selfishness. “There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall” etc, which is their immense loss. Please feel free to correct the list.

      • an impossible task. who knows the heart of martial bliss from the outside? Maybe I have looked at it from the wrong direction, not marital bliss, but, as your accidental insightfulness phrased – marital art…
        I think a minimum of 4 marriages should be required for inclusion.

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