Another first I had today was my first Kung Fu class. The first two classes are free. It's in the Family Dollar parking lot on Haywood Road. The owner/instructor is named Bob. I might have had to shift these two facts to the side of my brain before I took the first step inside.
There were probably about 20 or so participants and we did some kicking and punching together as well as some basic strength building type things. After I learned more about punching and kicking with some advanced students and Bob himself. Kung Fu requires a lot of squatting, kicking from a ridiculously low stance, and it additionally seems to have a lot of subtleties in the techniques. All of that appeals to me, and was humbling. I kind of expected muscularly to be more than equipped, but I bet my legs are going to feel it tomorrow.
Does martial arts have a stereotype student? I seemed to have collectively found an expectation of a few in my mind. They were all there. I don't know if I'll indulge them today; I'll let them turn into people, then I'll tell you about them.
Bob did reference a "bad-guy-crack-head-crazy" a few times before demonstrating why he was standing/punching/blacking this way. I'm not in the market for any of those, and I do believe if you think about them attacking you all the time (or him and his wife and kids in his so-stated case) then that's what you'll find one day, dark alley or no. But maybe that would be Bob's paramount moment, he wants to manifest himself as a protector. We all do that a little, imagine kicking ass in the name of protection of ourselves, and more commonly the ones we love. But it didn't resonate with me and what I want in a physical practice, to be prepared to hurt someone if I need to or be focused on hurting others at all.
One advanced student with a Brown sash did say he had been practicing for two years, and that when he came to the studio his life was a wreck. He was so genuine and easy in telling me this I felt what he meant; that he had found discipline and respite in this practice. That's not unlike my journey with yoga, which has been the most fulfilling experience I've had in life. I've applied its inner peace and awareness to so many things, including mowing the lawn and my irrational fear of that rooster.