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Last night I was bemused to see some referrals to my cranky blog from a post on John C. Wright’s that I hadn’t linked to. Curious, I took a looksee, and lo and behold, I got name checked in the comments. Which is fair enough. (Gentlemen, I’m terribly sorry your delicate constitutions can’t handle some salty language, by the way. Kindly get the fuck over it.) And then there was this comment:

I found myself briefly regretting that duels of honour are illegal and, if to the death, immoral; but that is the level of anger I’d feel at being called a liar, multiple times.

Of course, the difficulty is when it’s a woman impugning your honour; it is dishonourable to strike a woman, but equally dishonourable to allow slights to your good name to stand. Never did figure a way out of that paradox.

Which honestly made me laugh, a lot. Seriously, how can you react to that other than by telling all your friends would you get a load of this fucking guy? Curse my ovaries for making it dishonorable to challenge me! Friends across various social media sites had a lot of fun laughing about it and there was a lot of “oh you’d totally kick that guy’s ass” chatter and that’s always pretty fun too in a sort of drinking beers and slapping each other on the back kind of way.

But now I want to get real about it.

This is not actually the first time I’ve had a random stranger on the internet publicly fantasize or imply how awesome it would be if he or someone else perpetrated an act of violence on my person. (About a year and a half ago it was someone making noise about taking a baseball bat to me because I had the [lady]stones to say I thought the president of the NRA is a terrible person.) Frankly, answering words with fantasies of violence is already a sign, at best, that someone needs to take a deep breath, count to ten, and remind themselves firmly that they are supposed to be an adult. That these notions–duels! baseball bats!–are immediately excused, often in the same metaphorical breath, with assurances of how that would totally never happen because it’s illegal, or they’re really a nice guy, or haha you’re a woman, is actually even more pathetic. It sure looks a lot like trying to have your cake and eat it, by being vaguely threatening at someone so you get to feel all big and tough, but then having the plausible deniability of no, seriously, I was only joking.

I do not care if you are my friend or my enemy. You are not tough or impressive when you do that. You are pitiable.

Because this is the thing. You may believe that violence or the “joking” threat of it will somehow end the argument, and in your favor because you’ve “won.” That is the magical thinking of a child. If the only way you can manage to respond to an argument is by puffing out your chest and waving your fists, you have lost, and profoundly. I don’t particularly want to have a baseball bat taken to me, or get cornered by someone wielding a pistol who desperately wishes it was the eighteenth century. But the fact of the matter is, no matter what could be physically done to my body, that does not actually prove me wrong.

I set down facts. I had an opinion. Even if someone found me in the parking lot tomorrow and beat me to death with a pipe wrench, that would not change any truth I’ve written. Climate change will still be real. Wayne LaPierre will still be a terrible person. Abiotic oil will still be horse shit. Powerforce bands would still be magical money wasters. John C. Wright will still be a disingenuous liar.

The truth doesn’t give a shit who hits harder or shoots faster. At best, maybe you get to be the last man standing who dictates his delusional vision of the world into a history book. But it’s just that: a delusion. Even if you could take every scientist who has ever researched sea level rise and threw us off a cliff, the sea level would still be going up. Even if you could duel everyone in the world who called someone you like a liar, that does not change the fact that he’s a fucking liar when he makes statements that are provably false.

You want to win? Then use your words. You don’t like statements I’ve made? Marshal your facts. Write a cogent argument. Prove your point in a substantive way. I’m a scientist. I might not like admitting when I’m wrong–seriously, who the fuck does?–but if I was incapable of doing so I never would have made it through graduate school.

But this “joking” about duels and baseball bats and the infinite number of nastier and more substantial threats that have been made against people far unluckier than me speaks not of the capacity for violence, but rather an ultimate lack of intellectual courage and a profound smallness of spirit. This is the ugliest possible version of a child sticking her fingers in her ears and shouting “Lalala I can’t hear you!”

And for that, anyone who practices this feeble tactic has my pity, whether they like it or not.

While I’m on a roll and talking about violence, and fights…

To my friends and loved ones: It is incredibly sweet that you have that kind of confidence in me, even if in a joking way. Yeah, it does feel good to be patted on the back and told I could totally kick someone’s ass, like I’m some kind of chubby, red-headed action star. That kind of thing can make a gal feel nine feet tall and fearless.

But let’s be real again.

I’ve practiced kung fu for twelve years now, and I’m still going strong. I’ve also been in precisely two fights in my entire life, both of which happened more than twelve years ago. What I learned about fights is that they’re terrifying, and chaotic, and painful, and then later sickening. They are not glorious, or cool, and anyone who claims they are probably hasn’t been in one, is dealing with it in the only way they can, or has bought into a mode of thought I’ve come to despise.

Practicing in the controlled environment of a school is not anything like being out in the real world; the closest you can ever get is sparring, and I’ve always avoided that because I don’t like it. I don’t like fighting. So I have no idea how I’d actually fare in a fight these days. And you know what? I’ll be overjoyed if I die at a ripe old age without ever finding out.

But let me tell you what I have learned, after twelve years of kung fu:

  • It’s okay for girls to hit.
  • Pain isn’t as painful as you think.
  • Practice is fun. Fighting is not.
  • It’s easier to train your fists than it is to train your will, or your temper, or your spirit.
  • Violence is the first resort of a bully and the last resort of a true disciple.
  • It takes the most strength to walk away.
  • You don’t ever, ever start fights, but you damn well finish them.

And yes, maybe there are situations where your back is to the wall and you or someone you love is in physical danger and then maybe, just maybe, you have no choice but to fight. But people seem to forget that often the quickest, most decisive way to end a fight is by choosing the most difficult path of all and walking away.

I won’t walk away from an argument, but I will walk away from a fight and consider myself the better person for it, always.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

katsu: (Default)

A little late, and I’m sorry about that (though Chinese New Year is still going… it’s not a one day thing). This week has been crazy with thesis stuff and getting moved stuff. And then actual Chinese New Year weekend (2/2-3), I was busy. Doing what you ask?

(Photo by Amy Kho)

(Photo by Amy Kho)

Let me show you.

Read the rest of this entry »

Originally published at katsudon.net. You can comment here or there.

katsu: (Thumbs up)
It's late, I'm exhausted, and it's been a crazy long day, but I survived! And I did get promoted - from red with a yellow stripe to pure yellow. So I'm happy.

This was actually the shortest promotion I've participated in. Shifu was serious about getting it done in less than four hours, I guess. We were even done eating dinner afterward by nine! The whole process was pretty streamlined, I think. I (and the students more senior than me) didn't end up having to do hardly any basic skills. I guess Shifu figured since we already have done them in at least two promotions, no need to do them in a third and waste a lot of time? I don't know. But it felt like I did surprisingly little... just Fu Fu Quan, Sze Sze Quan suang ta, some Wu Hang, and Tai Su Dan Dao. There were two other forms that I know that I didn't end up doing, and several more Wu Hang. I'm guessing those just got left off because it wouldn't have bumped me up to another level.

Dan Dao was kind of challenging. I did it with five other people. And all of them but me were used to doing the form in performance, so they were OH MY GOD SUPER FAST. But I'd already resolved that I was going to do forms as fast as I was going to do them so that I knew I was executing all of my techniques properly, and I wasn't going to let the little speed monsters psych me out and make me rush. But it was a little rough in the middle - the row in front of me was so far ahead that I kind of ran out of floor space, but I think I dealt with it gracefully.

So yay, shiny new sash! And I'm also super excited because Michelle got promoted up to blue, which means we finally have a Big Sister again! WOOO!

And scary thing... if I'm remembering correctly, the only person more senior than me at yellow sash is moving to Virginia tomorrow with her husband due to work stuff. Which is very, very sad and I hope that they manage to transfer back to Colorado soon. (I think they'll be trying, since their families all live in Colorado.) But this also means that I'll be constantly calling the bow to the Big Brothers and Big Sister. So I'd better get good at it, I guess.

Super tired, but I'm still definitely going to class tomorrow. This last week was all messed up because of Rendezvous, and I want to get back into my routine. I feel like my fitness level took a hit in just a week (though the awful stomach problems I've been having probably didn't help) so I want to get back on top of my game.
katsu: (:3)
Got my critiques back from the contest I entered Throne of Nightmares in. I didn't make it to finals (my score qualified me, actually, but the competition in YA was apparently so brutal this year that I still missed being in the top 5 by 4 points) but I'm okay with that. I got some really valuable feedback, with a few things that I needed to fix. But the comments of my judges were overall super positive, so I cam out feeling pumped and ready to go get a whole new round of rejections on it. Because at least now I have a couple of complete strangers saying that they like my novel, that it's the sort of thing they want to see in YA, and that they look forward to seeing it in print.

Made me feel like a million bucks, really. So I sent out some more queries yesterday, and I'll just keep trying and trying. Never give up! Never surrender!

I also got my payment for The Day Dietrich Himmel Killed an Angel from Darwin yesterday. So that made me happy. Yay for an official sale! Not sure when the story will be published yet, but I'll hopefully find out soon. And Digital Science Fiction contacted me to say they wanted Entangled, so I'm waiting to get a contract from them. I'm super excited.

Kung fu has been going great. I was in the performance at the Boulder Asian Festival, which I'm really proud about. I did two things - sze sze chuen, and then the paired exercise for it with my friend Emily. Apparently people really liked it, I guess because we were just screaming our heads off at each other and looked like we were really going for combat. That seems to impress crowds. So that was fun.

I've also started running again, two miles at a time. I'm trying to go easy on myself, because if my knees start hurting I'll need to immediately stop. But it's been fun so far, and I've enjoyed pushing myself. I've really missed running.

The only turd in my punchbowl was that my phone got stolen last week. And not just my phone, but all the cash out of my wallet. I also had to cancel my credit cards, because while they didn't get taken, it was plain that the thief had gone through them. So that's been infuriating. Not going to say too much more about it, though, since we're still trying to find the culprit. Here's hoping. Buying a new Android was not cheap.
katsu: (Southern Lion)

The Amazing Kung Fu Adventure in Moab - the Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu School went to Moab this Memorial Day weekend to perform at the Moab Arts Festival. While we were there, we spent a few hours at Arches, and I got some beautiful pictures. I love Moab so much.

I also got sunburned just enough that I went straight to the itching stage. Argh, it's making me crazy.

The trip was mostly fun, though of course there's a certain amount of stress you get from suddenly spending an entire weekend with a group of people you normally only see at most less than six hours a week. So I'm glad to be home, and the cats are glad I'm home. And I'm back to reading journal articles.

I really need to find time to go out to Moab and just be touristy on my own timetable.
katsu: (Southern Lion)
Well, I survived the long, long day of performances for kung fu. We hit the road around 0830 and finished up a little less than twelve hours later. The most brutal part was actually going to Colorado Springs and back. The drive was awful because it was snowing, and being stuck in a car for basically 3.5 hours straight with only a short kung fu break in the middle left everyone extremely stiff and sore. We did kung fu numbers three times, which meant I had to do basic skills with hitting the concrete-filled cylinder three times, and make it look good and energetic all three times. My arms are really banged up now, and toward the end I was actually getting burst veins on the surface of my skin, which is kind of unusual and very unpleasant. My hands and arms are really tired too, from just playing cymbals all day. But yay, we survived! And I got to have a ridiculous amount of amazing food at the end of it, which is always great.

At least I did all my driving around with four extremely awesome people. We had the party car, no mistake. The saga of Porknbuns will forever remain in my memory... it's been a long time since I've laughed that hard about anything.

In bad news, we just found out that Mike's mum is in the hospital with severe vertigo, and the cause could range anywhere from an ear infection to a stroke. Please think some good thoughts her way if you're so inclined. I'm really, really, really hoping it's just an ear infection. We're both incredibly worried.

Bed. Very, very soon.
katsu: (Southern Lion)
Overheard at kung fu.

Shifu: "You're assisting a face plant here. Some people plant roses. We plant faces."

Started learning Ching Men Chuen today. I'm super excited. :D
katsu: (Southern Lion)
So I did it. Last week, actually. I went back to kung fu, since it's now been two years and I can do absolutely fantastic things like walk up the stairs without whimpering from the pain in my knees.

In fact, my left knee is hunky dory these days, thanks to physical therapy. The right knee is still... well, let's just say that at this point, I think my right knee is never actually going to be good. Not when you consider it's the one I messed up in high school, and it's still giving me fits. But it doesn't have to be good. It just has to be not destroying me with pain on a daily basis.

Today was my second day back. I'm feeling pretty good, actually. My right knee's thrown in a twinge here and there, but I'm taking it easy, I'm stretching a lot, and I'm keeping up with my physical therapy. So here's hoping. I almost didn't go this morning just because I've had a cold all week, but it turned out to be the right thing to do. I'm feeling great now, like I sweated out the last of my cold this morning.

And I got to review the first three suong ta with Terry, who still remembered me from two years ago. I'm feeling even more awesome after that - my muscle memory kicked right back in, and it turns out I still have my absolutely evil habit of not letting my partner move forward unless they put some serious stank on their kicks.

Hopefully this will keep working out! I've got some sort muscles, and some bruises, but otherwise I'm feeling great!


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Tetsugawa Katsuhiro

September 2017

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