Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Miss Kung Fu.

***We take a break in our regularly scheduled mommy blogging for a post I've been promising for at least two years.

Bri, are you out there???

Because this post is just for you.***

I miss kung fu. I miss it a lot. I miss the hard exercise. I miss the stress relief and mood elevation. I miss the people (well, some of them).

It frustrates me that I can't get past a certain point in Kempo 2 anymore. That I've forgotten some (if not most) of my forms. I'm sure if I got back into working out and training that they would come back to me. Still. They used to be ingrained in my mind and muscle memory. I could do them in my sleep. I did.

There was a time that I thought someday we would go back to training. Now I am sure that is not going to happen. Not unless we train together by ourselves. Not that that would be a bad thing. Glenn is an amazing martial artist. Watching him do his forms is breathtaking. I've always thought so. He's powerful in his movements, but has a fluidity and grace that I envy.

In the spring of 2002, I started training with Glenn at kung fu. He had started training in 1997 or 1998, before I knew him. He had wanted me to start training with him for quite a while, but I wasn't really sure I wanted to until then. It wasn't the best timing; I was in my last quarter of college, we were planning a wedding, etc etc. I started out slowly, but really enjoyed it from the start.

I was asked to join more advanced classes and began to enjoy it even more. Kung fu, especially the style we trained, is beautiful. Beautiful in a kind of I could break your arm kind of way. I remember the first time I saw the dragon form; it took my breath away. I have to say, far and above, learning and executing forms was my favorite part of kung fu. Sparring? Didn't really care for it; definitely didn't give myself credit for any skill I had at it. I could practice forms for hours on end. I wasn't the most confident martial artist. Training with someone who seemingly mastered their forms beautifully (although I'm sure Glenn might disagree) always gave me something more to strive for. I always felt (probably incorrectly) that I was sort of grandfathered in because my husband was an awesome martial artist. I didn't give myself enough credit even though Glenn (and my instructors) gave me positive feedback.

In 2006, we started working with the owner/master. We put out lead boxes and were planning on partnering with him to open our own studio. We lived and breathed kung fu. We trained for at least three hours a day, five times a week.We looked for places to rent. Glenn started teaching. We were both preparing for our black belt tests (Again, I felt grandfathered in. The reality was that many things in our studio were changing, including the way the black belt tests were conducted. Still, I never felt quite good enough).

As Glenn worked more with the owner and learned more about the business, he learned some things that didn't bode well for us partnering and starting our own studio. (I should add that during this same time there were a lot of issues going on between the grand master and the local studios; things were, in essence, falling apart. The local owner/master was "kicked out" of the franchise. Another master split from our studio, etc etc.)

In August 2006, Glenn quit kung fu.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. He told me (over and over again) that I didn't have to quit just because he did. I contemplated continuing to train, but it just didn't seem right. Kung fu was something we did together. And, knowing what I then knew, did I really want to train anyway?

Glenn flew to Georgia for two weeks. Our entire life & plan for the future had been thrown into upheaval. We didn't have a business to start. Glenn didn't even have a job. My heart ached for him because I knew what a disappointment this was. I don't think I really let myself process what a change it was for myself.

Glenn came home from Georgia and said he wanted to start our family. Shortly thereafter we were pregnant with Beanie and, even though I missed kung fu, the fact was there wasn't really time to train. At least not the way we were accustomed to.

Over the years we've thought about training again. About training with the other master. About trying to go back to our old studio. The timing, or financial situation, or whatever was never right.

When Bubby was just a few days old we decided to go in and see if we'd be welcome to train there again. We wanted to sign Beanie up. We wanted just to be able to go and train and stay out of the politics (if that was even possible).

We soon found out that our "past" was in question, that it was assumed we had left to train with the other master (I guess guilty until proven innocent?) and that we wouldn't even be offered the common courtesy of being spoken to about rejoining until some calls were made. I was really disappointed. So was Glenn. I'm not entirely surprised at how it played out. We did try to "explain ourselves" through an email, but we didn't want to play the games. Glenn told them that and we never heard back.

Their loss. Although, really, it's ours too.

I know I've left some details out & left some things intentionally vague. I guess to protect the "innocent."


  1. many questions but not sure where to start or if you could even answer them. I guess I have never had something that I am that passionate about and throughout the years we have been reconnected, I have heard something in your "voice" that led me to believe that this was a part of you...of glenn. I am surprised you let them push you away. But I guess sometimes people-humans can tarnish something truly beautiful. I see it all the time.
    I think that A should get a chance to know kung fu for what it was to you and glenn. It seems like such and important part of who you are and why you were together. What a beautiful gift to piss along to your children. I hope that someday you will feel welcome there....or perhaps some other studio.
    Thanks for sharing kristen. I really have been curious. I have actually envied you connection/passion for kung fu.

  2. not sure why my phone autocorrected "pass" to"piss"...and they call them smart phones...hmm.

  3. I understand missing it. I took Kickboxing for 3 years and I loved it. At the time, money and time became my big obstacles, and ones I still have troubles overcoming. I always want to go back and would if we could afford it, in a heartbeat!

    Would you consider trying a different kind of martial arts? I'm sorry you've lost something that you both enjoy so much. I hope there is something you can do!


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