How to Fight Write

171 notes &

Anonymous asked: Regarding an old post about female combatants: I have noticed that in the "Combat Sports" culture (just to give it a name), like MMA, people get outraged at the thought of women fighting men because of the men's obvious advantages like size. How much of this is actually true? I mean, I know men have more upper body strength, but could a women actually win against a men in such combat sport?

People get outraged over the idea of women participating in high school wrestling too. But, they do okay, it’s not like it’s growing in popularity, or that girls don’t compete against boys in the same weight class, or that girls never grapple with boys when they’re in the same weight class.

The most thing you really need to understand about professional sports like boxing and MMA is this: it’s a form of entertainment and it exists to make money. It’s not altruistic and sports in the USA in general have a long history of sexism.

The same complaints you’re hearing about why women shouldn’t fight men in the UFC are just a different shade for why girls shouldn’t go out for their high school football team. Exactly like why women’s basketball is less serious than men’s basketball, why female wrestlers are often treated as sideshow acts even though they can accomplish great things if they keep working hard. Why some boys choose to forfeit their matches against girls based on personal beliefs that fighting a woman “just isn’t right”.

Professional combat sports are about entertaining their audience, the money they make off that audience is what keeps them in business. The fights they set up aren’t about creating “the fairest match possible”, it’s about match ups that will be entertaining to watch.

Though women’s divisions existed in other combat sports, the UFC only started signing female fighters in 2012. That’s two years ago. Though women’s boxing has a long history it was banned for most of the twentieth century. But, we still have examples of female boxers like Elizabeth Stokes who fought both men and women.

People use their own prejudices to determine what is and isn’t possible. While most of the MMA fighters I’ve met (limited pool) have been very nice guys, it’s a very masculine sport and most of the fans don’t like the idea of that masculinity being challenged. (More so than the fighters themselves.)

Right now, you can’t have a man fight a women without a whole bunch of people reading gender wars into it, and without potentially sacrificing both the professional male and the professional female fighter’s careers.

Man fights a woman and loses, he will end up regarded as incapable by the very people who are outraged at the very idea of men fighting women. It’s not that she’s a great fighter, it’s that he’s weak. And if he’s weak enough to lose to a girl then he obviously can’t go back into rotation and fight the other members of his division. He’s too weak, why would anyone want to watch that? (This is obviously not true, but we’re talking about stereotypes and perception. Not reality.)

Woman fights man and wins, she either got lucky or she’s a freak. Other women couldn’t do what she did and if she can beat this guy (because all men are obviously naturally superior to all women) then what’s the point of sending her back to the women’s division when it will be an obviously unfair match up? (Again, it’s not true. Perception, what people say, spin, not reality.)

Gender stereotypes like these hurt both men and women. Unfortunately, it’s not considered culturally appropriate for men to fight women. When your career relies on people showing up to see you fight, it’s not exactly rocket science to figure out why they don’t. Look at the controversy surrounding Fallon Fox, the first openly transgender athlete in MMA over whether or not she should be allowed to compete as a woman because of her bone structure. We’ve got a long way to go yet in a sport that is, overall, very conservative.

The problem here is that you’re so focused on what’s fair and unfair is that you’re forgetting that if a woman signs up to face a guy then she knows what she’s getting into. If a guy signs up to fight a woman, he probably knows what he’s getting into. They’re making a choice.

Can they win? Probably, we have enough historical examples. It’s not like women have never fought men before both in the ring and in real life. The question you’re not asking is: does it matter if they lose? The answer is no. No, it doesn’t matter if they lose. No single woman and no single man are the representatives of their entire gender. Some female fighters are exceptional, some are mediocre. Some male fighters are exceptional, some are mediocre. If a mediocre female fighter takes on an exceptional male fighter and loses, then she’s not letting her gender down. Anyone who fist pumps over a girl’s loss (and there are plenty of people out there who do) crying “I knew she couldn’t do it!” should probably re-evaluate their priorities and ask themselves why a girl losing matters so much to them.

I hope that answers your question.

-Michi

Filed under fightwrite answers michi answers sexism

53 notes &

scifijon asked: What is "womanly fat"? Is there "manly fat"? How about "transgender fat"? It seems like a good scene but I got lost at "womanly fat".

Women have a thin layer of subcutaneous fat. It’s part of why they don’t develop muscle tone as easily. The muscles are there, but the layer of fat camouflages it.

Male-to-female transsexuals develop it during hormone therapy. I think female-to-males lose it at roughly the same point, but I’m not 100% sure on that count. And of course, the obligatory, “gender has nothing to do with biology” disclaimer, because gender dysphoria doesn’t (directly) affect physiology.

So far as I know, it doesn’t really do anything other than affect appearance. It’s another random secondary sexual characteristic that, outside of some very specific circumstances, you don’t really need to know about for your writing.

-Starke

Filed under secondary sexual characteristics gender dysphoria transsexual scifijon fightwrite answers Starke answers Starke is still not a doctor

5,769 notes &

art-of-swords:

Anatomy of the Rapier
There are a lot of things that could be said and mentioned here, the rapier being quite a complex weapon, but this short and quick presentation should do. 
A rapier is a long, straight-bladed cut-and-thrust single-handed sword optimized for the thrust and featuring a guard that affords good protection to the hand; the rapier sees its apogee between the last third of the Sixteenth Century and the end of the Seventeenth.
The rapier anatomy of the rapier is broken into two distinct parts: The blade, and the guard.
Anatomy of the Blade
The blade of the rapier describes the long sharpened piece of metal which all the other parts surround or attach.
Tang
At the base of the rapier blade is the tang, which is a long tongue of metal that descends into the guard and ends at the pommel which is screwed onto threading or attached more permanently through [peening] or welding.
Ricasso
The unsharpened section of the blade beginning immediately after the tang. When placing a guard onto the blade, the crossbar block slides over the tang and then rests against the ricasso, preventing it from sliding further down the blade. The ricasso can extend from the crossbar block to the outer sweepings or guard shell (meaning the sharpened or more tapered edge of the blade begins immediately after the guard) or further down the length of the blade. The edges of the blade at the ricasso are square/flat.
Blade
The sharpened part of the blade is generally what is referred to when speaking of the ‘blade’. This part begins after the ricasso and is the part of the sword used for striking and defending.
Edge
The edge of the blade is oriented with the crossbar of the guard and aligns with the knuckle of the hand when holding the sword so that the knuckles lead the edge. On a rapier there are two edges that you can identify when it is held: the true edge (on the same side as your knuckles) and the false edge (on the same side as the base of your thumb).
Point
The part of the blade opposite the tang and pommel that is used for penetrating the opponent.
Strong
The lower half of the exposed rapier blade, generally used for defense. In Italian the Forte.
Weak
The upper half of the exposed rapier blade, generally used for offense (cutting and thrusting). In Italian the Debole.
Anatomy of the Guard
The guard of the rapier is the part that protects the sword hand of the wielder.
Pommel
A counter weight at the base of the blade, just behind the guard.
Turk’s Head
A spacer between the counter weight and handle.
Handle
The part of the rapier that you hold. Handles can be made of wood, wood wrapped in wire, wood wrapped in leather, and some other materials. Some handles are shaped to provide comfortable grooves for your fingers or provide other handling or comfort characteristics.
Crossbar Block
The crossbar block or alternatively the quillion block is a piece of metal that mounts to the blade just above.
Crossbar
The crossbar or quillions are a rod that extend perpendicular to the blade, on either side, and are used for protecting the hand, binding blades, and deflecting the sword of the opponent.
Sweepings
The rings and other rods that make up the guard and protect the hand.
Knuckle Guard
Sometimes referred to as the knuckle bow, the knuckle guard is a bar or bars of metal that extend down in front of the sword hand, protecting the knuckles. The knuckle guard can be used to identify the true edge of the sword.
Cup
The cup or shell is a solid plate of dished metal that surrounds the hand, typically in place of the sweepings, but sometimes in combination on some guards.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Western Martial Arts Wikia

art-of-swords:

Anatomy of the Rapier

There are a lot of things that could be said and mentioned here, the rapier being quite a complex weapon, but this short and quick presentation should do. 

A rapier is a long, straight-bladed cut-and-thrust single-handed sword optimized for the thrust and featuring a guard that affords good protection to the hand; the rapier sees its apogee between the last third of the Sixteenth Century and the end of the Seventeenth.

The rapier anatomy of the rapier is broken into two distinct parts: The blade, and the guard.

  • Anatomy of the Blade

The blade of the rapier describes the long sharpened piece of metal which all the other parts surround or attach.

  • Tang

At the base of the rapier blade is the tang, which is a long tongue of metal that descends into the guard and ends at the pommel which is screwed onto threading or attached more permanently through [peening] or welding.

  • Ricasso

The unsharpened section of the blade beginning immediately after the tang. When placing a guard onto the blade, the crossbar block slides over the tang and then rests against the ricasso, preventing it from sliding further down the blade. The ricasso can extend from the crossbar block to the outer sweepings or guard shell (meaning the sharpened or more tapered edge of the blade begins immediately after the guard) or further down the length of the blade. The edges of the blade at the ricasso are square/flat.

  • Blade

The sharpened part of the blade is generally what is referred to when speaking of the ‘blade’. This part begins after the ricasso and is the part of the sword used for striking and defending.

  • Edge

The edge of the blade is oriented with the crossbar of the guard and aligns with the knuckle of the hand when holding the sword so that the knuckles lead the edge. On a rapier there are two edges that you can identify when it is held: the true edge (on the same side as your knuckles) and the false edge (on the same side as the base of your thumb).

  • Point

The part of the blade opposite the tang and pommel that is used for penetrating the opponent.

  • Strong

The lower half of the exposed rapier blade, generally used for defense. In Italian the Forte.

  • Weak

The upper half of the exposed rapier blade, generally used for offense (cutting and thrusting). In Italian the Debole.

  • Anatomy of the Guard

The guard of the rapier is the part that protects the sword hand of the wielder.

  • Pommel

A counter weight at the base of the blade, just behind the guard.

  • Turk’s Head

A spacer between the counter weight and handle.

  • Handle

The part of the rapier that you hold. Handles can be made of wood, wood wrapped in wire, wood wrapped in leather, and some other materials. Some handles are shaped to provide comfortable grooves for your fingers or provide other handling or comfort characteristics.

  • Crossbar Block

The crossbar block or alternatively the quillion block is a piece of metal that mounts to the blade just above.

  • Crossbar

The crossbar or quillions are a rod that extend perpendicular to the blade, on either side, and are used for protecting the hand, binding blades, and deflecting the sword of the opponent.

  • Sweepings

The rings and other rods that make up the guard and protect the hand.

  • Knuckle Guard

Sometimes referred to as the knuckle bow, the knuckle guard is a bar or bars of metal that extend down in front of the sword hand, protecting the knuckles. The knuckle guard can be used to identify the true edge of the sword.

  • Cup

The cup or shell is a solid plate of dished metal that surrounds the hand, typically in place of the sweepings, but sometimes in combination on some guards.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Western Martial Arts Wikia

(via characterandwritinghelp)

Filed under the rapier western martial arts swords

8,718 notes &

halftheskymovement:

Meet twelve women who have transformed the phrase “you play like a girl” into a huge compliment! Among them are Mo’ne Davis, a 13-year-old baseball pitcher who made history when she threw a complete-game shut out that led her team to the Little League World Series; Erin Dimeglio, the first varsity high school football quarterback in the state of Florida; and Billie Jean King, who won 39 Grand Slam titles in tennis.

Read more about these phenomenal women and others via Sports.Mic 

(via yahighway)

Filed under women in sports inspiration

228 notes &

Anonymous asked: Hello! I have a bit of an... odd question. But ths something that has been bothering me greatly. Most of the time I have seen people tell someone that (both in media and real life) "they weren't born for combat". Do you think anyone can become a fighter? Or do you need some "talent"?

tarelgeth:

howtofightwrite:

No, there’s no such thing. Whether they want to admit it or not, every single person has the capacity for violence.

There are some people are so phenomenally talented like Ernie Reyes Jr., Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, to name a few, that their skill leaves you breathless with envy. However, the same can be said for any person who is extraordinarily talented like Gabbie Douglass, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, or any Olympic level athlete. You hear phrases like “they were born for it” tossed around for them, because predestination is an easy way to explain why some people are just more talented than others.

However, by linking their success only to fate does them a disservice. It cuts out the second and perhaps most important aspect of what lead to their success. Hard work.

Being the best is a combination of multiple factors: skill, luck, love, determination, and perseverance.

You can get skill without talent, because what you need to become skilled is a willingness to apply yourself and work hard. You could be the most talented person ever to throw a punch or land a kick in Taekwondo, but if you don’t love it or want to do it then you won’t succeed. You’ll quit.

Martial arts schools have an incredibly high turnover rate because a lot of people do give up. From adults to children (especially children), the vast majority of those who sign up will be gone within the first three months. When I tested for my first black belt, though it was in a group of six or seven candidates, none of them were from the original group I’d started out with. Second and third, however, was with most of the same people at my school from my second test.

Why? Because by that point we’d built a camaraderie, and though we ran the age gamut from fourteen to fifty, we were a team. The ones who stick with it are the ones who stay. It’s not talent, it’s perseverance, and the willingness to put in the extra time.

"Born for it" is just an excuse. It’s easy to comprehend, it’s bite size, easy to swallow, and you don’t have to think about it much beyond that. The failure is outside,  whatever happened this person was always going to fail. It’s not a black mark against them, it’s just fate. Risk free and guilt free. "It’s okay, you weren’t meant for it".

For me, it’s right up there with “women can’t fight”. You’ve heard it, “nature didn’t build them that way”. “It’s not your place”. People repeat it, even when we have a slews and slews of evidence in any martial arts school around the country that it isn’t true.

"You’ll never be good enough, so why even try?"

Because trying is the only way you will ever be any good. This is true of anything, you have to be willing to stick with it and keep going even when it’s not easy. Keep pushing when it’s hard, volunteer to put in the extra time, do what you don’t have to do.

In my martial arts school (and most schools do this), we had early practice on Saturday mornings at 7am-8:30am at one of the local high schools. We’d work out, run the mile, focus entirely on our conditioning. It was hard. Hard to wake up that early on a weekend, hard to sacrifice the first few hours of the Saturday Morning Cartoon Block, hard to show up rain or shine. It became mandatory at red belt, but the instructors suggested starting as early as blue belt, or even earlier.

The ones who put in the extra time earlier than it was required were the ones most likely to make it to the test. One of the reasons is that training for black belt not only has a conditioning/endurance test, but also a commitment test. Training for black belt takes time, the serious training starts six months in advance (though it really starts earlier than that), and training upgrades from three times a week to five with special and extra practices tacked on to what you’re already doing. Our Saturday Morning practices were taken over by the main organizations and required going down to Willow Glen to train with Master Ernie every Saturday. That required getting up at five in the morning for the hour long commute and getting home at ten. We picked up extra optional Sunday Beach Training for black belt candidates.

That’s just one example.

The most difficult part of training to fight (or any sport) is the time commitment. Training for first degree black belt was 10-15 hours a week (including travel time) on top of the 45 already covered by school. It was often late in the evenings, which meant I had to go to bed early. It left time for little else.

What do I think? I think talent is nice, but not relevant. Determination is, the will to show up even when you don’t want to (and there will be days when you don’t) is, putting in extra time and extra classes when you don’t have to be there is, volunteering around the school and helping your fellow classmates is.

You have to want to be good. You have to be willing to work to get better. Many more talented people will quit. If you work hard, you can go from being worst in the class to best in the class in a year.

You don’t need talent, you need will and to believe that you will improve. Both are much harder to come by.

Still, skills for surviving life.

-Michi

There is a difference to be noted here, though - psychological comfort.  Not too many people are ethically or deeply uncomfortable with the idea of being athletic - but there’s good reason to be deeply uncomfortable with the concept of violence against another person.

Some people can’t work around that, nor, really, should they try.  Some people instinctively go straight for the throat without a second thought.  You can train your way into an effective reaction and response time with practice and muscle memory, but you can’t really train yourself into not being horrified by the feeling of someone’s nose breaking under your hand.

Actually, you really can. Conditioning someone into being comfortable with inflicting violence on another human being is horrifyingly easy.

That said, you’re also confusing a sadist for an effective combatant. Being able to put aside your discomfort and do something you find distasteful from time to time because it’s necessary is just a fact of being an adult.

With combat, your choice is to do something distasteful, or have horrible things inflicted upon you. This has nothing to do with if you’re “comfortable” with violence. Ironically, most martial artists are less comfortable with inflicting violence on other people than the theoretical “normal person.”

They have a better grasp of what it entails, and as a result, a greater aversion to it out of school. Put another way: the more you understand about violence, the more unpalatable it becomes.

The techniques, the training, the physical action? Those are all a sideshow for many martial artists. It’s something you do, but not to other people. For a lot of martial artists who come out of a sport or recreational background, the transition to practical combat is something they have real trouble reconciling. “This was all fun and games, but now you expect me to push a little further and kill someone?”

Also, you don’t ever want to train with a sadist. Full stop.

Someone who is genuinely comfortable with hurting their training partner is a serious liability when you’re trying to learn how to perform a technique. I know, I’ve been on the receiving end of a couple of those and I, quite literally, have the scars to prove it.

In my experience, people who are comfortable with hurting other people are far more prone to “training accidents,” and as a result, people you want out of the school as fast as possible, before they seriously injure another student.

In combat, even with training, they’re less capable of moderating their behavior, and more prone to leaving themselves exposed, or being effectively baited.

So, no, being a sadist doesn’t help you fight, and it is certainly not a prerequisite.

-Starke

228 notes &

Anonymous asked: Hello! I have a bit of an... odd question. But ths something that has been bothering me greatly. Most of the time I have seen people tell someone that (both in media and real life) "they weren't born for combat". Do you think anyone can become a fighter? Or do you need some "talent"?

obsidianmichi:

tarelgeth:

howtofightwrite:

No, there’s no such thing. Whether they want to admit it or not, every single person has the capacity for violence.

There are some people are so phenomenally talented like Ernie Reyes Jr., Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, to name a few, that their skill leaves you breathless with envy. However, the same can be said for any person who is extraordinarily talented like Gabbie Douglass, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, or any Olympic level athlete. You hear phrases like “they were born for it” tossed around for them, because predestination is an easy way to explain why some people are just more talented than others.

However, by linking their success only to fate does them a disservice. It cuts out the second and perhaps most important aspect of what lead to their success. Hard work.

Being the best is a combination of multiple factors: skill, luck, love, determination, and perseverance.

You can get skill without talent, because what you need to become skilled is a willingness to apply yourself and work hard. You could be the most talented person ever to throw a punch or land a kick in Taekwondo, but if you don’t love it or want to do it then you won’t succeed. You’ll quit.

Martial arts schools have an incredibly high turnover rate because a lot of people do give up. From adults to children (especially children), the vast majority of those who sign up will be gone within the first three months. When I tested for my first black belt, though it was in a group of six or seven candidates, none of them were from the original group I’d started out with. Second and third, however, was with most of the same people at my school from my second test.

Why? Because by that point we’d built a camaraderie, and though we ran the age gamut from fourteen to fifty, we were a team. The ones who stick with it are the ones who stay. It’s not talent, it’s perseverance, and the willingness to put in the extra time.

"Born for it" is just an excuse. It’s easy to comprehend, it’s bite size, easy to swallow, and you don’t have to think about it much beyond that. The failure is outside,  whatever happened this person was always going to fail. It’s not a black mark against them, it’s just fate. Risk free and guilt free. "It’s okay, you weren’t meant for it".

For me, it’s right up there with “women can’t fight”. You’ve heard it, “nature didn’t build them that way”. “It’s not your place”. People repeat it, even when we have a slews and slews of evidence in any martial arts school around the country that it isn’t true.

"You’ll never be good enough, so why even try?"

Because trying is the only way you will ever be any good. This is true of anything, you have to be willing to stick with it and keep going even when it’s not easy. Keep pushing when it’s hard, volunteer to put in the extra time, do what you don’t have to do.

In my martial arts school (and most schools do this), we had early practice on Saturday mornings at 7am-8:30am at one of the local high schools. We’d work out, run the mile, focus entirely on our conditioning. It was hard. Hard to wake up that early on a weekend, hard to sacrifice the first few hours of the Saturday Morning Cartoon Block, hard to show up rain or shine. It became mandatory at red belt, but the instructors suggested starting as early as blue belt, or even earlier.

The ones who put in the extra time earlier than it was required were the ones most likely to make it to the test. One of the reasons is that training for black belt not only has a conditioning/endurance test, but also a commitment test. Training for black belt takes time, the serious training starts six months in advance (though it really starts earlier than that), and training upgrades from three times a week to five with special and extra practices tacked on to what you’re already doing. Our Saturday Morning practices were taken over by the main organizations and required going down to Willow Glen to train with Master Ernie every Saturday. That required getting up at five in the morning for the hour long commute and getting home at ten. We picked up extra optional Sunday Beach Training for black belt candidates.

That’s just one example.

The most difficult part of training to fight (or any sport) is the time commitment. Training for first degree black belt was 10-15 hours a week (including travel time) on top of the 45 already covered by school. It was often late in the evenings, which meant I had to go to bed early. It left time for little else.

What do I think? I think talent is nice, but not relevant. Determination is, the will to show up even when you don’t want to (and there will be days when you don’t) is, putting in extra time and extra classes when you don’t have to be there is, volunteering around the school and helping your fellow classmates is.

You have to want to be good. You have to be willing to work to get better. Many more talented people will quit. If you work hard, you can go from being worst in the class to best in the class in a year.

You don’t need talent, you need will and to believe that you will improve. Both are much harder to come by.

Still, skills for surviving life.

-Michi

There is a difference to be noted here, though - psychological comfort.  Not too many people are ethically or deeply uncomfortable with the idea of being athletic - but there’s good reason to be deeply uncomfortable with the concept of violence against another person.

Some people can’t work around that, nor, really, should they try.  Some people instinctively go straight for the throat without a second thought.  You can train your way into an effective reaction and response time with practice and muscle memory, but you can’t really train yourself into not being horrified by the feeling of someone’s nose breaking under your hand.

This is true. I had a version of this in my original post, but Tumblr ate that one. Thanks tarelgeth for adding it back in.

-Michi

Then I derped, and Tumblr derped, and I derped again.

Filed under fight write fightwrite answers

36 notes &

Anonymous asked: Hi! In movies people getting shot often are sent "flying" from the impact. I assume it is greatly exaggerated, but was wondering if there's some truth to it.

At an extremely abstract level? Kind of, but not really.

The short answer would just be, “no.”

At a more complicated level, a bullet will bleed off some kinetic force, transferring that into the victim as it passes through them. Which will shove them lightly.

Basic Newtonian physics tells us that for each action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. What this means, in this context, is the bullet will strike with the same amount of raw kinetic energy as the shooter experiences in recoil. Which is to say, not much.

Certainly not enough to create the effect you see in film. Bullets are dangerous because of how they deliver their force, not because of how much force they have.

-Starke

Filed under firearms physics fightwrite answers Starke answers

228 notes &

Anonymous asked: Hello! I have a bit of an... odd question. But ths something that has been bothering me greatly. Most of the time I have seen people tell someone that (both in media and real life) "they weren't born for combat". Do you think anyone can become a fighter? Or do you need some "talent"?

No, there’s no such thing. Whether they want to admit it or not, every single person has the capacity for violence.

There are some people are so phenomenally talented like Ernie Reyes Jr., Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, to name a few, that their skill leaves you breathless with envy. However, the same can be said for any person who is extraordinarily talented like Gabbie Douglass, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, or any Olympic level athlete. You hear phrases like “they were born for it” tossed around for them, because predestination is an easy way to explain why some people are just more talented than others.

However, by linking their success only to fate does them a disservice. It cuts out the second and perhaps most important aspect of what lead to their success. Hard work.

Being the best is a combination of multiple factors: skill, luck, love, determination, and perseverance.

You can get skill without talent, because what you need to become skilled is a willingness to apply yourself and work hard. You could be the most talented person ever to throw a punch or land a kick in Taekwondo, but if you don’t love it or want to do it then you won’t succeed. You’ll quit.

Martial arts schools have an incredibly high turnover rate because a lot of people do give up. From adults to children (especially children), the vast majority of those who sign up will be gone within the first three months. When I tested for my first black belt, though it was in a group of six or seven candidates, none of them were from the original group I’d started out with. Second and third, however, was with most of the same people at my school from my second test.

Why? Because by that point we’d built a camaraderie, and though we ran the age gamut from fourteen to fifty, we were a team. The ones who stick with it are the ones who stay. It’s not talent, it’s perseverance, and the willingness to put in the extra time.

"Born for it" is just an excuse. It’s easy to comprehend, it’s bite size, easy to swallow, and you don’t have to think about it much beyond that. The failure is outside,  whatever happened this person was always going to fail. It’s not a black mark against them, it’s just fate. Risk free and guilt free. "It’s okay, you weren’t meant for it".

For me, it’s right up there with “women can’t fight”. You’ve heard it, “nature didn’t build them that way”. “It’s not your place”. People repeat it, even when we have a slews and slews of evidence in any martial arts school around the country that it isn’t true.

"You’ll never be good enough, so why even try?"

Because trying is the only way you will ever be any good. This is true of anything, you have to be willing to stick with it and keep going even when it’s not easy. Keep pushing when it’s hard, volunteer to put in the extra time, do what you don’t have to do.

In my martial arts school (and most schools do this), we had early practice on Saturday mornings at 7am-8:30am at one of the local high schools. We’d work out, run the mile, focus entirely on our conditioning. It was hard. Hard to wake up that early on a weekend, hard to sacrifice the first few hours of the Saturday Morning Cartoon Block, hard to show up rain or shine. It became mandatory at red belt, but the instructors suggested starting as early as blue belt, or even earlier.

The ones who put in the extra time earlier than it was required were the ones most likely to make it to the test. One of the reasons is that training for black belt not only has a conditioning/endurance test, but also a commitment test. Training for black belt takes time, the serious training starts six months in advance (though it really starts earlier than that), and training upgrades from three times a week to five with special and extra practices tacked on to what you’re already doing. Our Saturday Morning practices were taken over by the main organizations and required going down to Willow Glen to train with Master Ernie every Saturday. That required getting up at five in the morning for the hour long commute and getting home at ten. We picked up extra optional Sunday Beach Training for black belt candidates.

That’s just one example.

The most difficult part of training to fight (or any sport) is the time commitment. Training for first degree black belt was 10-15 hours a week (including travel time) on top of the 45 already covered by school. It was often late in the evenings, which meant I had to go to bed early. It left time for little else.

What do I think? I think talent is nice, but not relevant. Determination is, the will to show up even when you don’t want to (and there will be days when you don’t) is, putting in extra time and extra classes when you don’t have to be there is, volunteering around the school and helping your fellow classmates is.

You have to want to be good. You have to be willing to work to get better. Many more talented people will quit. If you work hard, you can go from being worst in the class to best in the class in a year.

You don’t need talent, you need will and to believe that you will improve. Both are much harder to come by.

Still, skills for surviving life.

-Michi

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Those writers you think are masters of the craft aren’t created that way. They aren’t supernaturally capable ninja writer-bots. When you read the work of a writer operating at the top of her game, you’re not seeing all the years of failed efforts, of work that wasn’t quite right, of work that was well-intentioned or built off of strong ideas but had slick and wobbly legs like a newborn fawn.

You see the author operating at a high level and you wonder: why am I not doing that?

The reality is:

You’re only seeing the island, not the heap of volcanic material that pushed it out of the sea.

Chuck Wendig - "Polling Your Intestinal Flora: How A Writer Cultivates Instinct" (via likeatumbleweed)

(via thatawkwardwritingmoment)

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