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#41. I'm a green belt (retired) in Tae Kwon Do.

Okay, when I say 'retired', I suppose I really mean 'disinterested'. I'm not sure you can ever really retire from martial arts, or renounce it, somehow. How do you give back the ability to roundhouse kick? (Well, yeah, eighteen years or so of beer-drinking and bad beer haven't exactly helped. But I could still do one. You know, if I wanted to. I just choose not to kick, that's all.)

Anyway, I got into Tae Kwon Do in high school. I stuck with it for about eight or nine months, I think, which would probably make it a record at the time. I tended to go through interests pretty quickly, and get distracted at the drop of a hat. Lucky thing I got through that phase, eh? Oh, shut up.

So, in this particular sport, the belts go from white to yellow to green to... let's see, green with a brown tip, and then to brown, and then red, and blue -- or blue, and then red, I forget -- and finally black. I was just a couple of weeks away from testing for the brown-tipped green belt when I got into something else and stopped going. (Of course, the joke's on them -- the way I dragged the belt around and played with it at home, it was already brown-tipped. Hah!)

But it was fun while it lasted, I suppose. Certainly, I was in the best shape of my life back then, thanks to the added flexibility, regular exercise and metabolism of a hyperactive field mouse. And I got to break boards every now and then, which was pretty cool. I even remember a little bit of the technique and moves, though I don't think I'll be trying out my now-tender feet on any two-by-fours anytime soon. Plus, there's a fair chance I'd pull a groin or something trying to kick anything above chest level. It's been a long time, I'm afraid.

These days, I just have to content myself with being able to close the silverware drawer from across the room, or shutting the dishwasher without bending over. Before I was married, I could also push in the salad crisper in the fridge with a slo-mo front kick. But my wife saw me once, and threatened to unleash a big 'Hiiiiy-yah!' on me if I put my filthy feet in the refrigerateor again. So clearly, that move is out of my repertiore. She doesn't know any martial arts herself, you see, but she'd still probably kick my ass. This self-defense shit isn't worth a damn against an angry wife. You'd think they'd have invented a martial art for that by now.

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