Slow News Day

Posted: April 26, 2010 in Braak

Super-slow, today, while I wait around the house for the termite guy to take care of all the fucking termites.  I guess I’ll just ask you all for some advice:  let’s say I want to learn something awesome, like Wing Chun.  But when I look around for places to learn it, all their classes are in the 6-9 PM range — the prime range for, say, every other possible hobby I might be interested in (guitar lessons, clown school).  Also, if you want to work in the theater, unless you’re with a really successful company — 6-9 is when you do all your work.

Not only that, but it’s expensive.  Always, everything I want to do represents the entirety of my disposable income for the month.

Is this the way life is, basically?  If you have a regular job, you can have one (1) other thing that you do?  Like your life gets a single course elective?  Of course, I don’t have a regular job, but Wing Chun schools (and guitar schools, and clown schools) don’t have classes that cater to the fifteen people like me.

What am I supposed to do here?

UPDATE:  I want to start a gym that’s like a superhero gym.  It would have crazy obstacles courses in it instead of squash courts, and the personal trainers would be able to teach you kung fu or boxing, and instead of ESPN2 on every god-damn fucking television, we would just show Batman and Bruce Lee movies.  It will be called Badass Academy.

  1. Jeff Holland says:

    Usually the alternative is ‘Get a DVD.’ This worked out pretty great for me in learning basic yoga, especially when I realized I didn’t want to do yoga surrounded by 70-year-old women, which had previously diminished my enthusiasm for the community class I’d signed up for.

    Course, that might not work for, like, kung fu. But in general, for something that requires visual demonstration (so a book isn’t that helpful), DVD is the most sensible low-cost option.

  2. braak says:

    Yoga I can see it working for; I have a yoga DVD that I use, and it’s great. But there’s something that seems to me to be pretty lame about learning kung fu from a DVD.

  3. Lord Wackadoo says:

    My advice is to save money by canceling the termite treatment. Take care of it yourself. Learn the termite language and infiltrate their hive. Once inside give them a small taste of American cheese burgers and wait for their socialist utopia to collapse into anarchy. Once the queen is eaten ll you’ll have left to do is convince them to eat your next door neighbor’s house instead.

  4. braak says:

    I’ve already given the termite guys a deposit, though.

  5. Jeff Holland says:

    You need to learn Wing Chan to fight off the termite guys so you don’t have to pay them – but you need the money you’re going to pay the termite guys to learn Wing Chan!


  6. dagocutey says:

    @Braak: You’re absolutely correct in thinking that learning from a DVD is lame (the whole “only as good as your teacher” thing). But there IS a way Grasshopper, if you REALLY want to learn a martial art. If the Grand Master of the school is open to it, you could barter for classes. Where I went, there were a couple of students who did things like cleaning inside the school, landscaping, creating and maintaining a website for the school, and/or updating the student database — things like this, in exchange for instruction. Frequently, thier training was private (awesome) and during non-conventional hours (mornings and afternoons). So if you’re really serious about wanting to learn Wing Chun, go for it. And I LOVE your idea for a superhero gym — it would totally work! So go now, get thee to a dojo!! And take Carl, I think you’ve got a sleeping tiger there.

    @Lord W.: I admire your rugged individualism, but the horrible truth is that we even if we (as non-pro’s) “learn the termite language”, they’re going to devour our freaking houses. If you live in a wooden structure, they were literally born to devour it. The lethal chemical concentration — to which only the pro’s have access — is the only thing preventing us from waking up in a pile of sawdust. If I had termites, I’d pay the exterminator instead of buying groceries. Not even the coolest martial art can defend us against tiny bastards who are turning our siding and support beams into swiss cheese.

  7. braak says:

    @dagocutey: Yeah, that’s a good idea. I was thinking about bringing it up as I visit the Wing Chun schools in the area. I should probably get Carl in on it, he seems like a guy that could use some Wing Chun.

  8. V.I.P. Referee says:

    There are instructors that also teach online–like lessons you can find on “YouTube”; except, they actually interact with you through a cam. It’s not sustainable for the long term, if you really want to get deeply involved with training, but it’s a good start. You might get free trial lessons out of it, too. Or learn where you’re going to need most of your strength, to perform well in Wing Chun and focus on training that area of your body in prep. Save your pennies while you do it.

    In all seriousness, “Superhero Gym” would be amazing. There must be an audience for this. You really should design a business plan.

  9. braak says:

    Well, the problem with any Wing Chun thing that isn’t with an actual instructor is that it’s so, so heavily dependent on kinesthetic and proprioreception from your partner. I can’t imagine how much you could really learn without having an actual person there with you, you know? It’s not like practicing a spinning wheel-kick on a heavy bag, or whatever.

    I should design a business plan! I should…I should probably learn how to design a business plan. What do those even look like? How would I know if I had succeeded? Who can say?

  10. dagocutey says:

    @V.I.P. Referee: Yeah, no, you can’t learn martial arts on line. Most martial arts instructors are persons of few words (not all, I’m sure), and they want to be able to correct your form on the spot by manually repositioning you. Have you ever heard the maxim, “Practice does not make perfect, only PERFECT practice makes perfect,”? I really can’t imagine an instructor even wanting to teach on line — seems like it would be way too frustrating.

    @Braak: “Business Plans for Dummies” holds your hand through the entire process, and you know you’ve succeeded when the bank loans you the $$$. I’m pretty sure that I can speak for everyone (in the world) when I say that we’re not just kissing your ass, you have a bonafide GOOD idea! And it would be a moderate tragedy if someone else thinks of it, implements it, and gets filthy rich on it before you do.

  11. V.I.P. Referee says:

    @ dagocutey: I could see how there would be big problems with learning a martial art online. I know nothing about Wing Chun, but I’ve taken Taekwondo, Karate, Tai Chi and Martial Arts Mix kickboxing in person with instructors and played around with some others by way of viewing online demonstrations. I wouldn’t rely on video instruction totally, but it can be both a good a good opportunity for newbies to watch a martial art in action and a supplement to those who are more advanced. I’d guess someone would just have to feel it out and see if it has a place in learning.

    And dago’s right, support for “Superhero Gym” isn’t just a lot of sycophant hot air; it is a good idea. I would include options to learn “Buildering”, flippy “Cirque de Soleil” kind of stuff and learning how to manipulate common items as weapons to be used in fencing-type situations. Really.

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