You Know You're a Martial Artist When. . .

It's been one of those months -- those busy ones where nothing seems to want to slow down so you can do your own thing at your own pace. My college classes started back just a little over a week ago, and while I don't have much homework that's bogging me down right now, there's a ton of other things going on that are keeping me busy. Within the next week, I hope to be able to sit down and write a good, long post, but for the present, I leave you with a "You Know You're a Martial Artist When:" list!

This list has been a work-in-progress for a while. I add to it as the inspiration strikes. Most of these things are things that I've done or at the very least thought about. Some are exaggerations. . . but it's a just for fun thing. How many will you own up to? I'd love to hear them! Ie: I want to know that I'm the only one who has geeky inclinations here. Feel free to add to the list too!

  1. You judge how good a particular workout was by how soaked with sweat your gi is afterward.
  2. You are proud of all your bruises and you think of them as badges of honor.
  3. You almost bow before entering a room, remembering at the last second that you are not in class.
  4. You start packing your water and Gatorade in a cooler because 1) everything tastes better cold and 2) you are going to need the ice for your shins after sparring.
  5. When outside of class, you turn around to face the back of a room to adjust your jacket/shirt/coat out of habit.
  6. There is at least one room in your house dedicated to everything martial arts.
  7. Your sparring gear bag now weighs over 20 pounds, because not only are you carrying around sparring gear, but a martial arts book, a list of verses to memorize, two escrima sticks, a notebook, pens, Tiger Balm, a first aid kit, electrical tape, medical tape, two belts (one current and one future), a folder with student information in it, a rubber knife, a wooden gun, a half drunk bottle of Gatorade, and various other items that can be added at a moment’s notice.
  8. You watch movies such as “The Karate Kid” for educational purposes.
  9. You point out the unrealistic aspects of some of the "moves" in certain martial arts movie.
  10. Past injuries and the stories behind them are popular topics that can be talked about for quite a long time.
  11. You refer to new students as “Fresh Meat.”
  12. You have a CD or ipod playlist specific for at home training.
  13. You have considered building or have built your own at home training gear.
  14. Your friends know that if they even mention certain words such as “martial arts,” “Tae Kwon Do,”  “injuries,” “bruises,” “Japan,”or “Korea,”  then they better be prepared for a long, mostly one-sided conversation of you talking about martial arts.
  15. You catch yourself in various stances while doing everyday things. Back stance when pulling someone to their feet, etc.
  16. When shaking someone’s hand, you have to consciously remember not to bow.
  17. You’ve used your knowledge of breakfalls to prevent a serious injury.
  18. The instructor side of you comes out when you see kids doing martial arts type moves that they’ve seen in movies.
  19. Normal belts with buckles just don’t look right any more.
  20. When you walk, your steps are light and you glide more than walk.
  21. You use your lightness of foot to sneak up on people just because you can.
  22. You are more comfortable barefoot than with shoes on.
  23. When shopping, you only buy pants that you can kick in.
  24. If you're a woman and wear dresses, skirts, or high heels, all you can think about is how they hinder movement and put you at a disadvantage if you end up in a confrontation. OR You consider the advantages and disadvantages and spend time considering how you would adapt.
  25. Your friends (from experience) back away and scream “No!” when you ask if you can try some joint locks or self defense on them.
  26. Your requirements for the house you want to buy/build are that it must have a large, flat yard and driveway so you can practice outside and there has to be a basement or large room so that you can set up an in-home dojang for yourself.
  27. You have personalized your instructors’ ringtone so that it plays “Kung Fu Fighting” or something similar when they call.
  28. You have considered (or have done so) altering your uniform so that it fits better, regardless of your actual sewing ability.
  29. You come home from a particularly intense class drenched with sweat, bruised, and about to pass out from exhaustion, but with a huge smile on your face because “that was an incredible class!”


Felicia said...

Umm...YES to all of them, LOL...

My training partners refer to my gear bag as "The McGyver Bag" because, even though they laugh at how heavy it is, they know who to come to when they need a nail clipper, piece of tape, Tiger Balm or Dit da Jow, pen or paper, ace bandage, band-aid, safety pin or anything else.

My "MA room" is in the corner of the garage, hee-hee. Even the spiders know it's MY corner and they stay away from my heavy bag and makawara board. As well they should...

What can I say? My name is Felicia and I'm a martial artist/addict...

SueC said...

My name is Sue and I'm a martial arts freak.....

I can identify with most of your list (there is clearly a world wide epidemic of martial arts fever). I don't carry as much kit around as you though, infact, I travel very light compared to you! I just carry gi, belt (ocassionally several belts if I'm going to use them in teaching), sparring gloves, gum shield, flip flops and water bottle. For kobudo I obviously take my weapons as well. We don't wear any other protective gear for sparring and I rely on my instructor to have the first aid kit!(not that I've ever needed it). Oh, I also carry a note book and pen.

Just to make you jealous we had our garage converted into a mini dojo. It has my study and martial arts library at one end, a cross-trainer, punch bag and weights at the other and a matted area in the middle (with mirrors!)- a great space for personal training and blogging!

Frank said...

Sweat and bruises!! YES!!! I love them! Between my Combatives class and karate, I am an interesting road map of bruises. Hahahaha... If I don't sweat like a horse, I just don't feel gratified. Tiger Balm, Arnica Gel, and Advil are nothing less than gifts showered from Heaven! LOL!

Ikigai said...

3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 25, 26, 29

Ariel said...

Felicia, I love the name "McGyver Bag!" That sounds just like me. My MA room is also in the corner of the garage.

Oh, Sue! Now I am jealous! That sounds amazing. When I get my own place, I'm going to have a 'real' MA room like you have.

Frank, I know exactly what you mean about those bruises! If I don't have at least one bruise every week...I'm almost disappointed. Tiger balm is THE stuff to have.

Matt, that's quite a few! Thanks for commenting!

blackbeltsuze said...


Slayr said...

When your first two knuckles are a different size and color from the other two.

When people walk up to you at the gym and say "how the heck did you do that?" while you are playing around with a little workout.

When people ask you, so do you do martial arts or something? You respond "well, how much time do you have"

Your belt smells like charbroiled toe jam, and you like maneuver so that it is right under the nose of your partner during grappling.

Ariel said...

The problem I've seen with talking to non-martial artists is that when the subject of martial arts comes up, I could talk about it nonstop for as long as they chose to listen to me, but actually having a discussion about it is a rare occasion because usually they cannot relate to training or they just have a base knowledge of MA's that stems from movies and the media. It makes me sad that this is the case, as I would love to have regular martial arts discussions outside of class and the internet.

I have to know. Just how does one's belt acquire the smell of charbroiled toe jam? I tried to imagine it and I have to say that I'm thoroughly disgusted.

Charlie said...

this is completely true, although I have one thing that I do so regularly now. I carry just a much kit as you do, possibly the most at my dojo at the moment.
I am officially obsessed with watching katas on YouTube then learning them until I know them off by heart regardless of how close I am to a grading where I don't need that kata

Norman Smith said...

One of the toughest sport is Martial Arts but it is exciting.