When I talk about Taiji, it’s really difficult to convey the feeling of flow that I get in when a weapon form is going well. I have said that holding a sword was like having an extension of my hand, but that’s a very clumsy way of phrasing it. And trite. I can talk about how it feels like dancing, but that’s incomplete, too.
Bottom line. You really do have to experience it to know what it’s like. As with anything, really. It’s a fact of life that we can’t know what anyone else feels. That doesn’t stop me from trying, though. Taiji and now Bagua are so important in my life, I want to share that with other people.
It’s interesting, though, how when I was on Twitter (yes, TWITTER), I used to tweet about my love for Taiji weapons. Inevitably, I got very different responses from people based on their gender. This was back when people identified mostly in the binary. Men would respond by saying how hot it was, either implicitly or explicitly. Some were very explicit.
Women, on the other hand, were appalled and horrified by what they saw as me being violent. Because of course that’s the only reason someone could be interested in weapons would be because they had a violent nature. One woman even said that she didn’t think I was like that. Like what, I didn’t know, but I could guess.
Both of these responses irritated me and reeked of sexism. With the former, they just wanted to get with me and it was titillating to think of me as being good with weapons. It’s much like female cops often have a hard time dating because men were either intimidated by them or arroused by the fact that they wielded a gun.
In both cases, they weren’t seeing the policewoman as a person but as a woman with a gun. It’s the same with guys who want to fuck me because I do martial art weapons. Although, I guess, to some extent it’s similar to dudes who just looooooove Asian women. It’s not seeing a person as an individual.
I’m not necessarily saying it’s bad to think someone’s hot because of any one thing. Everyone does to a certain extent. I mean, we all objectify others (well, those of us who want to have sex with others), and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. It only becomes a problem when it’s all a person can see in the other person. Or in this specific case, when a dude thinks that me doing martial arts weapons is for him somehow.
It’s the flip side to a guy telling me that he would never date a woman with tattoos. I retorted that it was ok because we would not want to date him, either. He was shocked that I had a tattoo (only one at the time. I now have four).
It’s weird to me because unless something is objectively objectionable like being a racist, I don’t get how something like having a tattoo is a dealbreaker. But that’s fine. It tells me I don’t want to date that person, either.
Back to weapons. The two extreme reactions are the opposite sides of the same coin. What do I mean? Sexism. That’s the coin. For the men, something about me doing weapons is a ‘step on my neck’ kind of thing to them. Like they expect me to be a dominatrix or something. Which, I mean, I can be, but it’s not my preferred style. I’m good at it, though.
On the woman side, it’s the horror of anything violent and the belief that women aren’t like that. It’s something my teacher has mentioned before. When teaching Pushing Hands, men have to be taught to CTFO whereas women had to be taught to be more assertive/firm. My teacher had told me more than once that she has had to prod women to do Pushing Hands. I was not like that. I didn’t ilke Pushing Hands, but not because of the pushing part.
It’s fascinating to me because I love the weapons for reasons that have nothing to do with dominance or violence. All the bullshit other people put on it is there shit, not mine. I love my weapons for the beauty of the forms. Are they deadly weapons forms? Yes. could I theoretically kill someone with them? Also yes. Would I defend myself with it? Again, yes.
None of this means I’m dominant or savage. It just means that I love my life and do not want to be deprived of it. But, also, weapons forms are just…the air that I breathe. I can’t imagine my life without them. I was incomplete before I did them, and now, I am complete.
I once mused about whether I would give up writing or weapons if push came to shove. I think it would be writing that I gave up, but fortunately, I don’t have to give up either. I can do both every day, happily.
And I do.
It’s still amazing to me that I went from being begrudging about practicing Taiji to now putting in an hour-and-a-half every day into my morning routine. And I keep adding things to it as I learn more Bagua.
Back to Bagua. It’s very aggressive. It’s about attacking in any way possible, and there are no rules about it. I mean, really, there are no rules ever if you’re fighing for your life, but especially in Bagua, it’s about being quick and deadly.
And I love it. So much. I’m not an aggressive person, nor am I violent. But, god, it feels so good to imaigne the applications when I’m doing the Swimming Dragon Form. My teacher and I have giggled over the deadlier applications in Taiji, and we’re doing the same in Bagua. I love that I don’tn have to censor myself with her or to downplay how gleeful I am about the nastiness of the applications. There is one about decapitating someone with the name of taking off the helmet of the soldier. Which is hilarious to me.
I’m done for today. Will write more tomorrow.