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June 16, 2006

Why I Don't Argue With My College Girlfriend

szbreak1.jpg

Because she could totally kick my ass, that's why. She's a second-degree black belt. This is her laying down the smack on some errant boards what got uppity and out of line. Because, you know, those boards would kill you and everyone you know, if they had but a chance. Fortunately between them and world domination is Shara.

In case folks think I'm having a dig at Shara's expense, her being my ex and all, you should know that we actually continue to be very good friends (look to see who The Ghost Brigades is dedicated to), and I think it's super-cool that she kicks ass. Also, those boards were asking for it. You can tell just by looking at them.

Posted by john at June 16, 2006 12:02 PM

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Comments

Brian Greenberg | June 16, 2006 12:49 PM

So when she became your ex-girlfriend, how long did you spend in the hospital?

;-)

Jim Winter | June 16, 2006 12:50 PM

You've been with some really cool chicks, you know that, Scalzi?

KafkaesquĆ­ | June 16, 2006 01:00 PM

Holy crap! I've notice you mention Shara before, but I only just realized she and I both worked for Delphi Internet around the same time. Not in the same department, or even city. I don't recall meeting her, but a little light just clicked on about seeing emails from her. Weird.

Oh, and let me note it's cool to have an ex who can kick your butt. Not really sure why, but I don't make up the rules.

Dave | June 16, 2006 01:28 PM

It's good to know that this Thin Pajama-ed Line stands ever vigilant, protecting us from devastation and domination by half-inch pine. We sleep soundly in our beds because rough ex-girlfriends stand ready to do arboreal violence on our behalf.

Bearpaw | June 16, 2006 01:46 PM

Er, John? You do know that breaking pine boards is a gimmick rather than a real demonstration of martial-arts skill, right? I mean, I don't want to shed any doubt on whether your ex could totally kick your ass -- it could well be that she also learned some real skills. But board-breaking was a joke at the dojos I belonged to.

Kero aka Kevin | June 16, 2006 02:08 PM

The grapes were probably sour anyway...

John Scalzi | June 16, 2006 02:08 PM

Bearpaw:

"Er, John? You do know that breaking pine boards is a gimmick rather than a real demonstration of martial-arts skill, right?"

Did you miss the "boards would kill you and everyone you know" thing?

Shara's not a second level black belt simply because she can smash boards with her hands. But it does make for a cool picture.

Bearpaw | June 16, 2006 02:48 PM

Shara's not a second level black belt simply because she can smash boards with her hands.

Unless she's at a very lame dojo, I doubt very much that being a second-level black belt has anything to do with being able to smash boards with her hands. That's my point.

I ain't trying to minimize Shara's accomplishments. Making black belt usually takes a hell of a lot of hard work. I just wanted to offer a bit of perspective on the board-breaking thing. It is indeed cool-looking, and I suppose used correctly it can be a good confidence builder and/or a useful lesson in proper focussing.

But because of how cool it looks to people who don't understand it, it feeds into a martial-arts mystique that I -- as a once and probably future martial-artist -- find a little tiresome. No slight meant at Shara.

More than 'nuff said. Just don't ask me about martial arts flicks.

John Scalzi | June 16, 2006 03:23 PM

Here's an article about the exhibition Shara was at this weekend, incidentally, in the New York Times. It was part of a 30-year celebration for the dojo.

Chang | June 16, 2006 03:38 PM

Who would win in a fight?

Mrs. Scalzi or Shara?

John Scalzi | June 16, 2006 03:44 PM

You know, even if I had an answer for that, I would be a fool to write it down.

Bobarino | June 16, 2006 03:44 PM

So did those three boards on the bottom get broken, too, or are they still at large?

CoolBlue | June 16, 2006 04:03 PM

They say that breaking up is hard to do.

I guess not.

Annalee Flower Horne | June 16, 2006 05:31 PM

Well, we all know the three most important facts about blackbelts:

1. Blackbelts are Mammals.
2. Blackbelts fight all the time.
3. The purpose of blackbelts is to totally flip out and kick people's heads off.

The picture looks pretty awesome. I like how we can see the spacer-blocks (my terminology is so not l33t) flying off on one side and starting to on the other.

Dan | June 16, 2006 06:33 PM

Pffft... My college girlfriend broke a lot of things (most were usually aimed at my head).

Shara | June 17, 2006 12:40 PM

For them what think breaking is a gimmick - I invite you to try it. ;>



Seriously, the reason for the breaking exercise in traditional martial arts training is to practice channeling one's focus, strenth and technique all into one simple pinpoint action. The fact that it's showy is just a fun side effect. It's true that there's a couple things you need to know about the best way to set up the boards but if you don't concentrate on the other stuff they don't break, it hurts a lot, and you usually injure yourself.



Successful breaking is a rarified experience which brings together an amazingly pure mental state and a supersaturated feeling of accomplishment. I am more than willing to admit that other styles of karate may not be practicing breaking in a traditional way but in mine, called Seido (the Sincere Way), only students of at least one year are allowed to attend seminars about it and only Black Belts are allowed to compete at it.



And yeah, those boards were ASKIN' for it.

Steven Scougall | June 18, 2006 07:10 PM

It's been a while since I did martial arts (Taekwondo), and an even longer while since I did any form of breaking, but there are some fun facts about breaking and this picture that bear pointing out.

First, I see that the boards have been set up so that they have spaces between them. This makes the breaking that much harder, and more finesse, technique, and speed are required to break all of them.

Second, the most number of boards I've ever heard of a woman breaking was six, maybe seven. Mind you, I know nothing of the records of Seido Karate, but still, Shara's six is very impressive. To me, anyway, and I'm the one writing this post, so there you are.

Finally, the boards do indeed hit back if you don't break them. It's a kill or be killed world in the world of breaking. So those boards? *So* totally asking for it.

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