Underneath my yellow skin

Call me a barbarian and slap me on the ass

I have been trying to cut back on my meat intake for ethical reasons. But, and this has happneed in the past, when I up my exercise, I want to eat more meat. My Taiji teacher explained that it was a protein builds muscle thing (and, on a similar note, she recommended I eat an orange a after exercising because it helps reduce lactic acid). Now that I’m doing Bagua and a weight-bearing set, I want meat. Lots and lots of meat.

It’s interesting how the body is connected like that. Yes, I know that’s an obvious thing to say, but it’s good to be reminded when we think we’re above it all. We really are just animals underneath it all.

I am reinvigorated.  will admit that I was flagging a bit with my Taiji routine. It’s not that I don’t love it–I do. But I felt a bit rote in what I was doing. I did the same things in the same order al lthe time. I mean, I rotated what forms I practiced each day (and which parts of what forms), but it was all the same stuff overall.

I asked my teacher to beef up (heh) my Bagua routine because I always liked the deerhorn knives. They are perhaps my favorite weapon. They are vicious, and no one can mistake them for anything but weapons used for attacking. I really want a good pair of them in addition to the practice ones I have.

Here’s the thing. Taiji is not an aggressive martial art. It’s meant to be reactive. Meaning, you aren’t attacking. Running away is a great option, and you want to do as little as possible to put an end to the situation. I really appreciated my teacher saying in one of the first classes that it was the lazy person’s martial art.

In America, there is a heavy emphasis on personal effort. (In a way to displace societal responsibility. Power to the people!) You’re supposed to give it your all. This is pushed so hard, there’s even a saying for it. “Give 110%!) That drives me crazy, by the way. Not only is it impossible to do that, it’s a toxic notion that you can’t evevr just chill the fuck out. We have a work culture that pushes more and more work. And has ‘at will’ laws–which means an employer can fire anyone at any time for any reason as long as it’s not discriminatory.

I read Ask A Manager, and there is so much focus on work-life balance. How to achieve it. How to push back on the company wanting you to work way more hours than you’re paid to work. The scam that in non-exempt (no set hours). People from other countries are always so flabbergasted by how awful work conditions are in America, and it can get tiring.

It’s the same with exercise. There’s yet another statement: No pain, no gain. Meaning, it doesn’t count if it doesn’t hurt. People like to brag about how much they hurt on a day at the gym. In the RKG Discord, there’s a gym channel–which I stay out of. But the gym/weightloss talk has leaked over into the general channels, and it really bothers me.

Even with the thin veneer of ‘but my health, tho’, it’s clear it’s not about. It’s about looks, which, fine. But keep it too the gym channel, please. It’s weird because this is mostly coming from guys–and I’m more use to it coming from women. I’m not saying it’s better or worse this way, but it’s just as dispriting, to be honest.

I find myself scrolling past and rolling my eyes. I try to be sympathetic, but it’s hard. I spent fifty nearly fifty years of my life being berated for my weight–both externally and internally. Now that I’m past it–I have a hard time not snapping, ‘Open your eyes, sheeple!” like an ex-smoker sneering at people who still smoke.

Ain’t no zealot like the newly-turned zealot!

Back to Bagua. My teacher showed me how to walk the circle about a decade ago when I couldn’t do the Taiji meditation. The goal is to focus on the enemy in the middle of the circle. At this time, I thought of mesylf as a pacifist. I said virtously that if someone wanted to kill me, I would let them. This was my fucked up version of  a common belief drummed into the minds of women–your purpose is to serve others around you, especially men.

As I was walking the circle once, a thought flashed into my brain. “If it’s him or me, then it’s me.” Meaning that I would be the one to survive. That was the first time that I had consciously thought that my life was worth more than a hypothetical opponent.

That was also when I realized I was not a pacifist. I was not going to go quietly into that good night–not even against death itself.

I liked Bagua from the first moment I tried it. But I did not pursue it at that time because I had a lot of Taiji to learn. I still do. I will always have more Taiji to learn. But I love the DeerHorn Knives with an unhealthy passion. They are the coolest weapon, and I love how they feel in my hands. they are the lover who–no wait. I’m not going to do that for this post.

Recently, I asked my Taiji teacher to teach me more Bagua. I had been doing walking the circle forward and back, but I wanted more. She taught me the eight-palm change before (with the DeerHorn Knives), so I started doing that again. I asked if it could be done while walking backwards. It can, indeed. So now I have included that into my rotation.

I asked my teacher to show me more DeerHorn Knives. At my last lesson, she said that she wanted to show me the Swimming Dragon Form, which was a solo form, but that could later be adapted to the DeerHorn Knives. And I immediately loved it. I am so into it, and it makes me so happy. I hope that continues and that my fondness will grow even more.

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