Cross Training

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.

Supposedly this is a painting of the monk Fri To Le, but I dunno – he looks more Indian than Chinese. And I found a very similar picture when I did a Google Image search.

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.

Me on the first day of Chi-do training

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

A Confession

durian-mdSome of you are wondering why I’m burning through the kyu ranks so quickly.  I’ve only been training for one year and nearly ten months and already I’m 5th kyu as of last night (3/31/16).  In the last few hours since announcing my promotion I’ve received emails ranging from merely curious to actual challenges by 5th kyus from other styles.  I’m going too fast to be believed, and people are resenting it.  The challenges have rattled me to the core.  It’d be all to easy to track me down and find me.  I’d rather not see a video of me being knocked senseless go viral, so it’s time I ‘fessed up.  I’m a hell of a writer – I can write fiction so realistic that it’s fooled a lot of you into thinking I’m the real deal.  But I’m not really all that skilled at karate.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m dyslexic.  So that’s part of it.  But really, I don’t practice, I don’t exercise, I sort of learn the katas – enough to where someone can tell which one I’m doing, anyway.  But my belt rank is real enough, as are my tournament medals.  Here’s a picture of me with my new belt and certificate:


So what do I do?  No, I don’t sleep with any of the black belts.  The fact is nobody wants to get that close to me.  Most people don’t want to get within five feet of me.  So get your mind out of the gutter.  The truth of the matter is black belts throw medals and belts at me because they just want me to be happy and go away as quickly as possible.  Believe me – I don’t merit those belts and medals.  I stink at Karate.  Literally.  It’s because I eat durian before every class, tournament and belt test.

If you don’t know about durian, let me tell you about it.  It’s one of the most delicious fruits on the face of the Earth but it smells horrible.  As in the stench will clear out a building.  And yes, anyone who eats it will stink for awhile.  Yes, there are nutritional benefits that are giving me a boost, but the stink is definitely what gives me the winning edge.  In fact, I go a bit further for tournaments and belt tests.

I stash two durians in my jock bra for tournaments and belt tests.  The fruit is a bit prickly, and it kinda hurts if someone punches me in the “girls,” but think about how much my opponent’s hand hurts after punching one of these spiky fruits.  Yeah.  See, I don’t fight with my “girls,” right?  So it doesn’t matter much if I’m hurt “there” from the impact of my opponent’s punch.  But my opponent will be down one hand!  I have also practiced a move that will launch the fruit out from my gi jacket and onto the mats for my opponent to step on.  I call that move “The Bazonga Bazooka.”

So take away my durian and I am nothing.  I won’t even stink at Karate anymore…

P. S.  Don’t bother asking where I get fresh durian in the United States.  I want to keep that my little secret, otherwise every karateka will start eating it and stuffing ’em in sports bras.  Besides, if you really are a true durian lover, you already know that all you have to do to find some for yourself is follow your nose.