Originally posted by Johnny Kickass:
"The worst part was how well they were doing. They had roughly 20 or so black belts, and their school took up four slots in the strip mall. The parking lot was filled..."
Being from a school that is having serious financial trouble, this is extremely painful.
(We're non-profit, anyone interested in making a tax detuctible donation?)
Originally Posted by Kid Miracleman
You are quite welcome, citizen. It is my
sworn duty to point out all that is obvious to the fair users of bullshido. Did you know that you can see how many posts you have underneath your username?
Well, I'm off to somewhere else which is a place somewhere other than here. Farewell!
Haha, love the latest installment. Great, as always. Looking forward to the next installment.
SELF-PLUG--Also throwing out editing skills to be used, if you so wish, finishing writing/editing major at University, looking for experience :p. (And I'd like nothing more than working with material as enjoyable as this!)
Everything in Australia is written upside down. Since 2/3 of the worlds population lives in the northern hemisphere, I think he can find someone better suited
Before I get to the story, I would like to thank the very kind individual who paid for my supporting membership. I don't know who you are, but I appreciate it very much. Thank you.
(Hand jobs half price)
Forever Fat II Part One, Act Three: Cry, Cry, Cry
My quest continued. Crossing the bushiban off of the "possible places to train" list, I was left with very, very few options. As I saw it, there were three ways to go:
1) Bite the bullet, and make a super long drive
2) Bite the bullet, and cut expenditures down to the bare minimum to be able to afford more ritzy schools
3) Lower my standards, and find any place that has sparring
Number two was straight out, as I was living like a recently mugged homeless man during the great depression. And, as I saw it, Number one would only exacerbate my monetary woes with the god awful gas prices. So, I looked around again with a little less keen eye for "BJJ" and thought about the sparring arts that I handn't been to yet.
Sanda was a good idea. Those guys were tough as any other kickboxer, with all those crazy throws and sidekicks. I think I saw positive points about Chinese Wrestling; exotic grappling would be pretty cool. Oh man...I even remembered hearing about a drunken boxing pl-
No. I had to be very, very careful. This train of thought could very easily lead me back into the larping territory. I could feel the ghost of my former days creeping up on me, waiting for the right moment to repossess me and start self teaching Xing Yi. I couldn't allow that to happen again. It was something about the Asian martial arts that made me lose my sensibilities. It had the power to turn me into your generic dorky Martial Art practicing white guy, where functionality takes a back seat to fantasy, and dead forms are your primary training vehicle. Once you're one of those people, it takes nothing short of electrodes attached to your neck to bring you back into the sane world.
The key to all this was sparring. It doesn't matter what it is, so long as it spars in a realistic setting, rather frequently. And in a way, this was a much more healthy way to search for schools; instead of searching for a style that contained this quality, I was looking for a quality that a number of styles could contain. I had purified my search, and in doing so, my possibilities had increased ten fold.
On the other hand, this meant making phone calls. I hate phone calls. It's always an awkward affair when I start asking about their credentials. There's always this tone of "Who the hell are YOU asking me this anyway?" in their responses. I couldn't blame them, but it got tiring after a while.
The first seven phone calls were exactly the same. Generic martial art outfits; no websites, no information other than a phone number. Each call roughly followed this formula:
Ring ring, ring ring
"Oh, um, Hi, is this [Martial art school name here]?"
"Alright, cool. Hows it goin, I had a q-"
"It's goin alright."
It's a 50/50 whether they answer that and interrupt me or not. Just a weird quirk I noticed about myself; I say that line without thinking. Working at a doctor's office, you just develop your own script for talking to people you have never met before. You just say your lines, wait for their prompts, respond with more lines, and that's it. Very little thought involved. "How's it goin'?" is my favorite opener, because in my experience "Hi" or "Hello" lead to a lot of awkward silences. Hows it goin can be interpreted as a synonymous statement for hello, OR literally taken as an inquiry into their current well being. Either way they choose to interpret it, the ball is now in their court.
"Oh, thats good. Anyway, I had a few questions about your school."
"Oh. Ok. Let me first being by saying"
and this is where their speech begins. They tell you all about their training philosophy, their curriculum, their schedule, and themselves. Very rarely do they answer any question I plan to ask in this often 10 minute long ramble.
I endure their monologue and segue into their qualifications, pricing, and sparring schedule.
The first 8 places were total busts. None of these places sparred outside of point sparring. The next 10 were less so promising, giving me ambiguous answers to my major questions. However, lucky number 19 caught my eye.
Baji quan was a love from the olden days, when I would learn forms from youtube while trying to unravel the feasible techniques, and then sparring my dad. I had first learned about it from Baguazhang; you see, baguazhang and bajiquan are supposedly interconnected. There is a saying that:
"When pigua is added to baji, gods and demons will all be terrified. When baji is added to pigua, heroes will sigh knowing they are no match against it."
How bad ass is that? Show me a 12 year old that could read that without getting pumped up and I'll show you the next Ryan Seacrest.
Another contributing factor to my Bajiquan lust was that bullshido's very own Asia (currently known as Gezere) had used Baji, with success, in the following sparring video. He shoulders his opponent off his feet. God damn.
YouTube - Fear the Baji
The baji class was the one I was MOST excited for, and most fearful for. The teacher also taught tai chi, and according to his website, "could be found giving FREE massages downtown inside the Mall!" Now, free massages don't instantly discredit an instructor. But I was weary.
I called, but no answer. I decided to show up and try out a class; I had heard of fighting Tai Chi as well. This "real" tai chi would be very intriguing also, provided it was what he was selling.
That was the problem; this was an all or nothing attempt. Either the guy would be extremely bad ass, or be yet another "doing tai chi in the middle of the park while my grey haired pony tail valiantly flaps in the wind" stinky hippy.
I hoped and prayed that he was the bad ass kind. I really did. This was the only guy who taught Baji in all of Houston. My last chance to make heroes sigh in defeat.
I showed up and saw a class full of old people. I didn't even get out of my car.
I called him the next day, and asked him if he did sparring. "No, but...." I tuned the rest out. No was all I needed to hear.
But there was a part of me that wasn't done. The ghost asked him, "When do you teach Baji?"
He then revealed he only does Baji PRIVATES, and only the "essence" form at that. I balked at this ridiculous notion.
But the ghost asked "If I finished the essence form, who would I then go to, after you?"
"Oh, that would be my master. Here's his number; he should be able to help you out. I'm not really that comfortable with baji anyway."
I wrote the number down and stared at it.
I didn't know what to do. On the one hand, this was getting messy. I could throw the number away, and wash my hands of this whole ordeal.
On the other hand, the ghost was intrigued. My search had found no instructor. Perhaps I was missing all sorts of schools, underground schools that you only find out about through people on the "inside". This secret subculture of bad ass, sparring CMA styles could be at the other end of this number. Terrified gods and demons, one phone call away.
It wouldn't hurt to just call, would it?
I anxiously dial the number. What am I doing. This is most likely going to be some other white guy who teaches a class full of Matlocks. I should hang up and start my search over again.
"Hi, is this the Master?"
"Oh, yes it is."
His accent is very thick. I can barely understand him. He may or may not be the real deal.
"Do you teach Baji?"
"Oh, (unintelligible words), it's not that I don't like you, (unintelligible words)"
"I gotcha." (I didn't)
"So yea, [Other master's name] near the other shaolin temple." Click.
What the hell just happened?
While I replayed the conversation trying to make sense of his engrish, The Ghost was calling people near the Shaolin temple. The only name that matched the name the master had given me was at an acupuncture clinic.
The ghost called.
"Hi, is this the Baji school?"
"Oh, yes. (unintelligible words) my daughter teaches. Private only. 70 dollars."
"Is that 17 or 70?"
The ghost had been exorcised. 70 dollars a class? Jesus christ, not even sighing heroes and terrified gods are worth that much.
I felt better that the ghost was finally put to rest. But I was a little saddened that all my efforts had gone to waste. No Bajiquan. It was more of a downer than one would expect. I would remain a puny human forever.
But I'd still have money.
Next time, Forever Fat II Part One, Act Four: The Nearest Thing to Heaven
I wish my town's martial arts scene was as....interesting as yours. Sadly, I'll we've got here is TKD mcdojangs.
Originally Posted by MrBadGuy
You're welcome. Is this Friday 5:30ish a good time to stop by?
[Just kidding -- I'm not the Samaritan. Not kidding about the other part. I think...]
I live in the same town, and have no fucking idea how MBG finds these places. The place he trains now is the first gym/school/dojo/whatever I ever stepped foot in, and I've been there since.
this entry wasn't as funny as your others. it was actually kind of depressing.
can't wait for the next entry though!