• Jackie Bradbury

Thanks to the Martial Arts Widow(er)

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


No, it's YOUR turn to load the dishwasher!

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.


At some points in my life, my lightest training week was about 13 hours of total training time.  It’s wasn't unusual for me to spend 18-20 hours of training time or more.  Let’s call it at 20 hours a week for martial arts time, including commute time (I drove about 45 min-1 hour one way for Kobudo, for example).


So, there are 168 hours in a week.


I spent 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, extra-curricular activities, 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 a season with a beginning and an end.  Martial arts is a 52 week endeavor, every year.


Your mileage may vary - there might have more or less kid time, there might be more training time that is more or less, there might have family to help out with shuttling kids.


I can’t imagine that serious martial artists have a week so totally different than I've had (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.


Mr. Chick and I typically do the martial arts together, but we also have martial arts activities not in common.  So at those times where I'm pursuing one of my individual interests, or he's going to a Hock Hochheim seminar weekend, or whatever, both of us get a small taste of what you Martial Arts Widows/Widowers have to live with all the time.


YOU GUYS ARE HEROES.


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).

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. THANK YOU.


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