Monday’s Martial Madness: How to Make Friends with a Martial Artist

According to the Internet, there are 3.42 million martial artists in the United States, and 327.16 million people living here in the US. With some rather dubious math I’ve concluded there is 1 martial artist per 95 people. With those numbers, it’s likely you know a martial artist or two. Martial artists are “special” and it takes a certain kind of perspicacity to make friends with them. They are not into normal things like bacon memes and “hold my beer” moments, rather they’re into somewhat obscure Eastern philosophies and how to maim people for jocularity’s sake. They can be kind of weird and hard to get to know if you lack the knowledge and skills on how to befriend your friendly neighborhood karate expert. Well, once again, The Modern Kunoichi has come to your rescue. This how-to list I’ve compiled will help you, John, or Jane, Q. Public both understand what interests these types, and how to befriend them.

Or Big Girls

Ichi (1): Ask them how they got that bruise. Yup, martial artists collect bruises and injuries for fun. Some of us call them training trophies, and we collect them like grandma collected those quirky ashtrays. We relish the color, location, and intensity of the bruise. Ask about that bruise on their face they will regale you for untold amounts of time on how they got that one and others in their collection. Like that time Bobby Sue was supposed to use a knife hand strike on their temple, but missed and karate chopped them in the eye instead.

Part of my collection of small, concealable weapons. There’s more. There’s always more.

Ni (2): Ask them about their weapons collections. Weapons are a martial arts staple. Almost every style has some kind of weapons kata, even if it’s limited to the staff. Wanna see your martial arts friend’s face be overcome by rapturous glee? Ask them about their weapons. Just like the Duke boys showed off the General Lee, the martial artist will pull out every conceivable weapon they have from unknown corners of their home, or pockets, and give you all the details you could ever want about their use, whether or not it’s “real,” and the time they accidentally bonked Jim in the head during a staff routine.

Yeah, I’ve used this meme before. Shut up, I love it.

San (3): Ask them about ways to “take someone down.” We’re not in the dojo collecting bruises by fan dancing. Nope, we are literally learning how to maim and stop people from hurting us by practicing hitting, kicking, blocking, locking joints, grappling and other fun stuff that is quite painful. Us dojo players are delighted to show you what we know. Wanna know how to joint lock a pinkie in the most painful way possible? Just ask your new friend. You might just find yourself tapping out as you bond.

Yup, that’s how do it in the dojo. NOT.

Shi (4): Ask if the fight scene in that movie you saw is “realistic.” This is the quickest way to the martial artist’s heart. Perhaps you’re into action movies and enjoy a good fight scene. I mean, how cool is it in the final showdown when the hero takes a beating but keeps on ticking, then walks away without a limp, or any need for medical care. If you ask, your martial arts friend will immediately give you an hour long hands-on tutorial of why this or that move wouldn’t actually “work” in real life. Martial artists literally spend HOURS debating amongst themselves over just that thing and have developed deep, intricate theories on movie fight realism.

I’m not bitter. Really, I’m not.

Go (5) Ask them how there “karate” is going. I’m sorry America, not every martial artist is taking karate. There’s literally, like, almost 200 different styles out there. But we forgive you America for calling our obscure, little known art “karate.” Asking your martial arts friend how their karate is going may invoke some heaving sighs and eye rolling, but you will get a in-depth thesis statement on why their style is not karate and how it’s different from karate. Abstruse details about foot placement, hand position, blocking techniques, and other stuff and sundries that make their style DIFFERENT from karate will flow out the martial artist’s mouth non-stop for at least 30 minutes. If you want to maintain your friendship, be sure to never ask them that question again.

Well folks, I hope you found this guide useful. Go forth and engage that martial artist with confidence.

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