It was great. I got a free t-shirt. When I walked in, five men were practicing intimidating kung-fu stuff and the dogs howled in greeting. But the clever teacher had us immediately do stretching, which made me feel good because I’m really flexible and men, generally, aren’t. So right away I thought, I can do this. I can keep up with these guys. Then we went through several tai chi routines in front of the mirror. It’s all very slow and calm. Finally we did a chi gong healing routine where you pretend to be a gargantuan bird and really stretch your neck muscles.
I’m in. I can remember long afternoons in the outfield during little league one year, but although I loved my uniform I never got hooked, never participated in any high school teams. I was too self- conscious. And my family didn’t have much time to pick me up from games or money for that kind of thing.
Just because I was never athletic before doesn’t mean I can’t be now.
It is good to see men in their twenties and thirties involved in something other than gaming. The martial arts are like a living videogame, where you repeat each subtle move until you get it right and can move on to the next level. But instead of escape, it can build a mastery of the physical world and engagement with reality.