Recently I decided to do a little cross-training in another martial art. I Googled martial arts schools in my local area and, well, I’m sure they’re good schools and all that, but I wanted something really different. So I decided to research all the types of martial arts there are and I found an online school with really good ratings and thousands of successful students worldwide. I have a very strong preference for learning from a real-life instructor and having classmates to work with but I decided this art was worth my time and effort. I figured online learning itself would take me out of my comfort zone. Turns out I was wrong about that. The art I chose to cross-train in can be practiced in any number of comfortable situations. While watching TV? Check. Lounging in a recliner? You bet. Yes, you can practice this art even when you’re in bed, although I think I’m going to draw the line there.
What is this art that captivated me? It’s called Chi-do (pronounce Chee-doe). Supposedly it was founded by a monk named Fri To Lei in the 1920’s but there’s no documentation to prove this. The first historically documented practitioner of Chi-do was an American. Charles Elmer Dooley opened the first Chi-do school in 1948 in Dallas, Texas. Because this is a relatively “young” martial art, all Chi-do students easily trace their lineage to Dooley.
The price for Chi-do instruction is much cheaper than most martial arts lessons. You buy the uniform for ten dollars, pay five dollars a month to view the online videos, and buy a bag or two of cheap snacks every day. Another requirement is that you have 24-hour access to your choice of a bed, a recliner, a couch, futon, or bean bag chair. That’s it.
The rank system is a little different. There are no belts – just a uniform. You’re not supposed to change your uniform or even wash it. Like I said, Chi-do never takes you out of your comfort zone. You won’t get sweat, blood, or scungy dust bunnies from someone else’s foot on your uniform. What will happen is your uniform will get progressively more orange. The current Big Cheese (Grand Master) even has orange all over the back of his uniform. I don’t know how he did it.
There are a few practical things that are new to me. I can’t help but think the uniform is a little bit skimpy but according to the online videos, even Intermediate level Chi-do-ka are able to keep themselves warm even in winter. In Karate we tie back long hair so that it doesn’t get in our eyes. That’s not a problem in Chi-do, and actually Chi-do-ka must wear their hair down for maximum comfort while practicing the art. I’m also not used to being stationary while practicing a martial art.
So how is this art practiced? There’s a good bit of relaxation and visualization. Hours of it. I kinda like that part.
Chi-do-ka must keep one’s snacks close by at all times. The first step to fending off an attacker is de-escalation. You offer your enemy a snack. Most of the time you end up with a new friend. But if that doesn’t work there are any number of cool Chi-do moves I’ve added to my repertoire.
Most basic strikes involve sticking snacks in between your fingers and striking or raking just like Wolverine in the X-men movies.
One thing you can do is crush your snack into a powder and blow it into your opponent’s eyes. This technique is said to be an adaptation of a Ninja trick, but I haven’t verified that.
My dog likes it when I practice the following technique because he gets to clean up the living room. Put a snack in your mouth, puff out your cheeks, and blow the snack into your opponent. If done right the snack can go right through a person like a bullet. The Big Cheese himself is like a machine gun with this. He’s currently in a court battle to determine whether his mouth falls under the ban on automatic weapons in the private sector.
The only trouble with Chi-do is I’ve gained twenty pounds in the last two months. I guess I’d better work harder at my Karate.
Photo credit – Joley White