BJJ Grrl

"Be gentle, kind and beautiful, yet firm and strong, both mentally and physically." ~Sensei Keiko Fukuda

Poetry, Kung Fu, and Qi-Gong

on April 20, 2011

A friend of mine has been accepted to graduate school for poetry. Last night was her poetry writing group’s annual reading and also a going-away dinner for her.

After dinner, while we were standing in the restaurant and waiting to head over to the reading, her father started talking to me about striking. He’s a kung fu master, so ever since I started martial arts, he’s always talked to me about different things and sometimes shown me a few things. Last night, he taught me to punch. (Never mind that he knows BJJ is joint locks and chokes; he wanted to teach me to punch, we’ll learn to punch.)

He held out his hand as a target and said, “Hit me.” I did. “No, too slow… No, more relaxed… No, too slow still…” I put down my purse and keys. This is serious business. “More relaxed… Hit through… No, you’re stopping, see?.. Don’t pull back… Faster… More faster… Don’t pull back; it slows you down.” This went on for 5 minutes or so, with my thoughts bouncing between giggling that this is what we’re doing right now and thinking, So, wait, I’ve been punching wrong all this time?! Pffft… And while I understood what he was saying, my brain and body are so conditioned in the way I’ve done it for 10 years that they couldn’t easily do what he wanted. Part of the instruction involved him punching my hand, which resulted in my elbow bouncing off the wall a foot behind me. And he didn’t hit hard so much as fast (and through, of course). I finally got better enough that he seemed satisfied that I had comprehended what he’d meant.

He left then to round up his wife, and the Qi-Gong master — a good friend of his who I’d sat next to during dinner and had listened to as he talked with a few members of the writing group (and had giggled when one asked, “What do I do when such-and-such happens?” and he answered, “No, no, you don’t let it happen at all.”) — took up with my instruction. Striking was all well and good, he said, but it was worthless if you didn’t have a good defense. He had talked during dinner about how people like the kung fu master liked to break thing down, to hit things, to fight, whereas he more enjoyed building things up and helping people; it was easy, he had said, to destroy something but much harder to create it in the first place. In tai chi, he said now, defense is not comprised of keeping your hands up, not getting hit, and backing up until you’re against a wall (and so then you pretty much must strike back to get out of that place). He showed me instead how defense stands its ground until there is the moment when the opponent overreaches and there!, you deflect and suddenly are past the attack. This part of the instruction, while done slowly, nearly resulted in my being thrown through the front door of the restaurant.

I let what they had taught me simmer in my brain (so that it could interact with the BJJ in there, of course 😉 ) while I went to the poetry reading. Afterwards, my brain told me what it had learned. First, the points about defense that the Qi-Gong master made could be taken exactly as said and applied: defense doesn’t mean retreat, but rather waiting for the opportunity. Second, the kung fu master pointed out a mental path that I’m sure I use in BJJ, too — not fully committing to what I’m doing and also planning ahead to defend myself for when it doesn’t work. (I was reminded of the way we were instructed in TKD: you snapped that punch back because you needed to block your chin when they countered. But the unspoken assumption last night, I think, is that if I hit them right, they won’t be countering 😛 ). That is, instead of preparing for what happens after I succeed with a technique, most of my “game plan” consists of what to do after I fail. Huh. … Interesting.

And then this morning, I got an email from my real estate agent. The sellers’ agent called her this morning (after I walked away from it yesterday) and asked if there was any way we could work out a deal. Apparently they really do need to sell the house as soon as possible, and I’m the only bite they’ve had. So there’s some number-crunching going on over here, and we’ll let them know shortly…


4 responses to “Poetry, Kung Fu, and Qi-Gong

  1. Alex says:

    Did you tell him that Kung-Fu has been proven ineffective in the UFC and that you could have chocked him out in about 4 seconds?

  2. Kintanon says:

    Make an offer that is AT LEAST 5% lower than your previous lowest offer. They are the desperate party, you can take it or leave it. Push your advantage at the negotiating table.

  3. BJJJudo says:

    Offer – Slap on a choke and dont let go until they sign! If they pass out just grab the keys and run…

  4. Allie says:

    Good luck on the house! 🙂

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