Monday, October 19, 2015

Thanks to the Martial Arts Widow(er)

Like many women in the martial arts, my husband and I do the martial arts together.

It was YOUR TURN to do the laundry!

However, I train with lots of people who do martial arts as much as we do (I am usually doing something related to the martial arts on a daily basis) but their spouses or significant others just aren’t into acquiring bruises for entertainment.

I can’t imagine why, personally, but hey, it takes all kinds to make a world, right?

I gotta say, I don’t know how you “Dojo Widows” (or “Widowers”) do it.

My lightest training week is about 13 hours of total training time.  It’s not unusual for me to spend 18-20 hours of training time.  Let’s call it at 20 hours a week for martial arts time, including commute time (I drive about 45 min-1 hour one way for Kobudo, for example).

So, there are 168 hours in a week.

I get about 56 hours/week to sleep, 50 hours working (including commute time), 12 hours a week doing chores (including grocery shopping and meal prep time), 10 hours “child time” (including homework, fencing class, etc.).  Add that up with the martial arts time, and that leaves 20 hours “free time” in a week, to do other hobbies, watch TV, speak to children, call grandma, write a pretty awesome blog... oh, and hang out with my spouse.

20 hours.

Football widows have got nothing on the martial arts widow, my friend.

Heck, football has seasons.  Martial arts is a 52 week endeavor, every year.


Your mileage may vary - you might have more or less kid time, you might train more or less than I do, you might have family to help out with shuttling kids... but that’s my week, and I can’t imagine that serious martial artists have a week so totally different than mine (maybe worse).  Also, that does not take into account hobbies and interests the non-martial artist in the relationship might have, and those 20 hours “free time” might not always line up.

We do the martial arts together, but we also have martial arts activities not in common.  I do kobudo and he does not, and he studies Goju-Shorei weapons and with Hock Hochheim and I don’t do either of those on a regular basis.  So, we actually spend about 2/3 of our martial arts training time together

So I get lots couples time in my martial arts time, even if it’s just standing in the same room while we each work with different partners or teach different groups of students.

I’m lucky that way, and I know the vast majority of my peers don’t have it so good.

If you love a martial artist, but just don’t think that putting on a weird outfit and hitting people and things is fun... well, it’s a hard life.

You end up doing chores that your partner doesn’t cover because he or she is off training.

You spend a lot of time alone when your partner is at that seminar on the other side of town (and oh, we’re going out after for dinner, honey, so you won’t see me until late...)

You don’t get to watch the same entertainment together, so your interests might always coincide... and you might not want to watch “Enter the Dragon” yet another time (but you do).

You’re getting tired of all the gis in the closet (why did they need another one, again? How many gis do they really need?) much less having to wash those suckers!

 You’re sick of the certificates decorating all your walls, you’re really tired of the investment in yet another martial arts weapon or book or video or training equipment, and you’re worried every time they come home with a bruise or a cut or a small injury (much less a really big one).

I don't think they'll have one of these in a Better Homes & Gardens spread, do you?

But you support that martial artist and his or her weird hobby, and you cover all the things that he or she can’t do at home or with family or friends, and you make it possible for us to pursue our passionate hobby.

You are as important to the continuation and the community of the martial arts as the people who step on a mat.

I don’t live with a martial arts widow, but I thank you, because you give me the training partners and teachers and mentors I need to pursue my hobby.  If nobody else has done it, I want you to know there is at least one person who appreciates it.

PS: Martial artists, please, take sure you make time to appreciate what they do for us.  For Pete’s sake, show some interest in their hobbies, too, and take your turn to cover things so they pursue their passions!