Well, it’s been an interesting week.
As I returned home, sweaty and exhausted and heavily bruised from another Tuesday sparring session, my wife anxiously met me at the door.
“I think there’s something wrong with the blog,” she said nervously.
“Okay,” I replied, “what is it?”
“Well, Becky called and said that something had gone wrong on it. I think you’d better take a look.”
Oh yeah, Becky wasn’t kidding.
The video I had posted of my black belt test from last March had been hacked. Instead of a lovely montage of board breaking and me getting hit in the face (filmed by my uber-talented wife), users were instead directed to a very graphic advertisement for “Felicia Freelove’s House of Nookie.” (Okay, that isn’t what it was called, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to advertise for her anymore.)
Thankfully it was an easy fix. The really good part of the story is that my mother commented on the link before it was… corrupted. “Great filming, Erin! The camera didn’t shake a bit.” My wife, the pornography videographer.
YouTube must have it out for me somehow. Later that night I received a strange message from someone we’ll call “Slowdan.” It had a link to another YouTube video, supposedly of a martial arts master that had transcended all silliness of belts, dans, rankings, and everything else one usually associates with traditional martial arts. He has developed the “5 Ways of Power,” and the “3 Dynamic Disciplines,” and the “21 Truths of Excellence in the Practice of Greatness.”
Now let me be clear. I train mixed martial arts at an ITF Taekwon Do school. I have a ton of respect for just about every serious martial art out there, even if I think that some of them are more flash than substance. I’ve sparred with people that have come from half a dozen different practices. I think that there is value in most of them (even if a few don’t produce especially competent fighters) because they are good exercise, help promote living a balanced, active life, and are socially enriching.
But when someone tells me that my martial arts training – and that of all everyone’s in the history of time – is nothing compared to what this Slowdan guy can do, well I’m going to have to see it to believe it.
I go to the YouTube video expecting to be wowed out of my socks. (Okay, that isn’t true. I expect to be grossly disappointed, but that’s my usual approach to everything.) And what do I get?
A skinny old white guy with a ridiculous beard talking disjointedly about Eastern philosophies that came off the back of a cereal box. It was like he took all of the Grand Masters from the Kung Fu films of the 60’s and 70’s, mashed them together into one parody, wrapped it in a bathrobe, and thought that no one would question his validity.
Oh yeah, he also breaks boards.
Lots of boards.
He breaks boards like he hates them personally. I think boards viciously murdered his entire family right before his eyes, and he swore that he would break every single one of them until he could find the really big, grizzled board that led the board attacks against his small village in Pennsylvania.
Apparently, this board breaking demonstrates his mastery of martial arts technique. But each break is the same: Stand very still. Make sure the boards are also very still. Squint through thick glasses. Hit boards with dramatic yell. Stand in place with your hand extending through the broken boards. Look satisfied with self. Vogue.
I thought it was in dramatic slow-motion footage, but it was actually full-speed.
But I have to admit that it would be a devastating system against stationary mimes with boards for heads.
And that was it. He broke millions of boards and disarmed three guys that were better at being stationary than the boards were. I was waiting for the punchline at the end of the video, and there was none. Apparently this was a serious attempt to get me to join up at Slowdan’s dojo.
I’d like to say I was insulted, but I was also amused. I was “amulted,” Slowdan, very amulted.