Got my Fourth stripe in Brazilian jiujitsu!
Passed my purple belt test in Kung Fu!
I've been wanting to take my purple best test in kung fu forever, but a series of unfortunate events (death in family, medical error that resulted in hospitalization, and knee injury from running) conspired me to be out of town or out of commission whenever there was a belt test. Now all I need to do is get a single stripe on my belt in Brazilian jiujitsu and I'll be happy!
Why I love Martial arts
I am a martial artist. I almost feel as phony saying that as I did for years when I told people I was a writer. My love for martial arts would surprise anyone I went to high school with. PE was the only reason I graduated with a GPA less than 4.0. I have always been a klutz. I was scared of the uneven parallel bar and the balance beam and pretty much any ball ever thrown my way. I am not physically brave and I hate conflict. I made my high school boyfriend leave a WWF fight he took me to.
But it turns out that martial arts have helped me be a better writer (after all, mysteries and thrillers often contain an element of violence), as well as a stronger and more prepared person.
For me, a kickboxing class was the gateway drug to martial arts. As part of the class, we wore boxing gloves and hit bags. I had never hit anything, not even a bag, as hard as I could. It made me feel fierce and it was a great workout. I ended up training in kajukenbo, a little bit of Muay Thai and a teeny-tiny bit of Systema. And now I have a purple belt in kung fu and am a four-stripe white belt in Brazilian jiujitsu.
Will I ever make it to black belt in either? Probably not. I’m not a natural, I’m not particularly coordinated and I’m older—but I still love it.
I particularly love sparring, which can mean standing up and punching and kicking (kung fu) or rolling around on the ground trying to choke your opponent or lock his joints.
As for BJJ, for a long time I thought: No way am I going to roll around on the floor with some guy on top of me and you can't tell me that wrapping my legs around his waist is a good thing. It seemed like it would feel way too rape-y. What I've found is that it is the most physical thing I've ever done—but it's not personal at all.
Knowing a little something about surprise, pain and fighting back helps me write about them. I can write authoritatively about fear, about how things blur, about the way people move and hold their bodies and eyes and mouths. I can tell when someone is about to hit me and where. The eyes focus, the breath catches and the shoulder drops or the hand goes back.
I also know how to hurt people – and that means my characters might be able to do it too. And I know how to get free if someone grabs your wrist, tries to strangle you or wraps you in a bear hug. I’ve told my doctor not to worry about the bruises on my arms from getting out of wrist grabs.
I used my martial arts training in The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die and Count All Her Bones.
10 reasons I love Martial arts
When I'm not on the road, I take kung fu and Brazilian jiujitsu classes eight or nine times a week. (And when I'm traveling, I try to go to BJJ classes if I can find them.) Why do I like martial arts so much?
This isn't me, but a woman named Jaydra (the inspiration for Jaydra in Count All Her Bones.) She's doing a drill called a monkey line, which teaches you to fight one attacker at a time. I have even done monkey lines with all the attackers carrying knives (training knives) which is amazingly fun.