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The Martial Arts Guy

Besides the students, instructors, and owners, the thing that irritates me the most about co-owning a martial arts and fitness academy is being forced to deal with The Martial Arts Guy. This asshole will stop by your academy and tell you about every single discipline he has studied, what degree belt he has achieved, how many years he has been practicing, and famous martial artists he knows or met once or trained with on a remote island in Asia.

Today after class, I was cleaning and preparing the academy to host a two-day Tai Chi seminar when a Martial Arts Guy walked inside. Of all the BJJ joints in all the towns in Southern California, he walked into mine.

I listened to him for ten or fifteen minutes before I resumed cleaning. He apologized for interrupting me:

“No need to apologize,” I said. “I just have to finish cleaning before the seminar begins.”

“Seminar? What type of seminar?”

My mind went blank - “It's one of those martial arts that's more of self defense/meditation thing...What is it called?...Oh yeah, Tai Chi.”

“Tai Chi most definitely is a martial art,” he said condescendingly, “just not how it's taught here. I have a friend who learned Tai Chi in China. He fought a Brazlian Jiu Jitsu guy after returning to the US. My friend touched him in the chest and he flew across the room. Then, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu guy insisted they start on the ground and my friend kneed him in the head and knocked him out.”

I was rendered speechless. He verbally submitted me, or rather, he rhetorically shot a ball of chi right into my vocal chords.

I used to be really dogmatic about martial arts, and thought, basically, if it wasn't Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Thai Kickboxing, it was worthless. I don't feel this way anymore, and don't think it's productive to denigrate other people's arts. For example, I have nothing against Tai Chi. I don't know enough about Tai Chi to have an opinion. I do think that anyone who believes that a super advanced martial artist could manipulate something called “Chi” to defeat an opponent in hand to hand combat is delusional, but it's not like I'm going to start an argument about it with Martial Arts Guy, either. So I gave him a schedule and told him he should stop in after Labour Day for his free trial week.