Wednesday, March 9, 2016

We are the Nerds of Violence

As I've said before, I believe that the martial arts world is just another nerd culture.

Tell me something I don't know, right?

Wait, what's that you say?  You don't think you're a nerd?

You are under some impression that we are cool in some way?  Or that because you do physical fitness stuff you can't be a nerd?

You are as nerdy as that guy who obsesses over computers, or collects action figures, or dresses up as a sci-fi character at a convention.  Most people don't think we are as cool as we think we are, folks.  Standing around in costumes (isn't that what a martial arts uniform is?), learning esoteric weapons, and acquiring bruises for funsies is an inexplicable thing to do for most folks.  Why we spend the hundreds and thousands of dollars on it is a complete mystery to most people.

What you're nerding ON is the only difference between you and Poindexter playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Or Vin Diesel playing Dungeons & Dragons.
Click here if you can't see the video.

One of the biggest bloggers in the martial arts blogosphere, +Jesse Enkamp, calls himself the Karate Nerd, for a very good reason.  Think about what we talk about when we get together and how quickly we start talking about our hobby in every day conversation.

Oh, we're nerds, all right.

What we nerd on is violence, and things surrounding the subject of violence.

We think about the "rules" of violence - what is acceptable, and what is not.  When does violence happen, how can it be avoided, when is it acceptable to use violence?  What is the best way to apply violence in various situations?  How can we be violent and repel violence with tools?  How do we use violence to our advantage in a conflict?  How does the study of violence improve us in other ways (discipline is a big one, but there are others)?

All of these things are stuff we think about all the time, in our free time and without financial compensation (or very little).  Very few of us do martial arts or have jobs that require this kind of understanding of violence full-time, so it's a hobby.

The neat thing about our hobby is that it does have real-world impact and implications - it's used to help people cope with dangerous situations.  Our training helps many of us improve in other ways, such as gaining self-confidence.  And our training helps us find a tribe of like-minded people to belong to, a benefit that is sometime over looked but I think is really important, given how many of us come from difficult backgrounds or had trouble "fitting in" elsewhere.

Our nerdiness has a higher purpose in the real world.

Celebrate your nerdiness.  Be proud of being a nerd of violence, and keep doing what you do.

The world is better off for it.