"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kung Fu Fighting

Yep, you guessed it. I tested for my brown belt today in Kung Fu. It's a good thing brown is such a cool color; I'll have this belt for probably a year and a half.

So two questions: (1) Why Kung Fu (people ask this all the time); and (2) How are Kung Fu and writing alike?

We'll start with (1) Why Kung Fu?
  • Kung Fu is good exercise.
  • Kung Fu stretches my mind. It's all based around learning and practicing katas which are series of moves. Honestly, it had been ages since I stretched my mind in this way. Growing up I was all about the dance and cheerleading, but let's face it, since then times have changed; there isn't much memory required on the elliptical machine.
  • Kung Fu teaches confidence.
  • Kung Fu teaches self defense. There are 40 attacks and defenses taught as part of the curriculum.
  • Kung Fu allows me to get up in front of everyone and test - a good opportunity to challenge myself.
  • Kung Fu teaches discipline (really good for kids)
  • Kung Fu is downright fun. Sparring is fun. Kicking. Punching. Need I say more?

So now Question (2) How are Kung Fu and Writing alike?

I started Kung Fu a year ago. The first day I learned 2 sparring techniques. Not so much. The second day I learned a couple more. At the end of the year, I know 20 sparring techniques, 30 short katas, 5 long forms, and 40 self defense moves.
Great. But why is this important you ask.
Well, here's the thing. I go to Kung Fu 3 times a week. 2 of the classes are material classes - where I learn new stuff from the curriculum. The other class is solely a conditioning class - no new material. I never go more; my schedule and goals doesn't allow for it. So basically, in two hours a week, one year later, and I'm already a brown belt.
With writing, let's look at the first draft stage. I write 4 pages a night. On a really motivated night, it may be 6. On a less motivated night, it may be 2. So average 4, in about 2 months, I've written a novel. Sure, revisions are needed, but I've got my draft down.

The moral of all this rambling - Be consistent. Set a schedule. Stick to it. Don't skip out on it. And pretty soon you'll have a novel (and a black belt).


Barrie said...

Can I ask why you chose kung fu over one of the other martial arts?

And, yay for you and your amazing goal setting!

keri mikulski :) said...

Congrats! I've always wanted to learn Kung Fu. :)

PJ Hoover said...

Hey Barrie! Did you ever see the Matrix? When Keanu Reeves says "I know Kung Fu"???
Just kidding - though this is cool.
Two main reasons - Great kid's program, and the man who runs the place is an excellent role model.

Hey Keri! You should!!!!! It's really a lot of fun. I've loved martial arts for like forever!

carla said...

huh. I have been consistent and have no novel and a belt from Tar-jaaaay.

(looking forward to nailing this deadline and hanging out. this is the article which will never end.)

beth said...

*bangs head on desk*


...I'm the world's worst at that...

HipWriterMama said...

Congrats on the brown belt! Thanks for the inspiration.

PJ Hoover said...

Carla, you do have a novel. And you have awesome shorts with mizfit.com written across the behind. I got none of those.

Beth, for me schedules make everything easier! I am so much happier when I am on one!

Thanks, HWM! And you're welcome! Are you going to start some Kung Fu fighting? Your girls may like it!

Amy said...

I'm in awe. Kung Fu is amazing, and I can't belive it's only been a year and you're a brown belt!

The moral of all this rambling - Be consistent. Set a schedule. Stick to it. Don't skip out on it. And pretty soon you'll have a novel (and a black belt).

Yep. Absolutely.

PJ Hoover said...

Hey Amy! And the funniest part is I feel like such a novice. There are people there who've been doing Kung Fu for years!