September 25, 2002

Involuntary Volunteering The martial arts

Involuntary Volunteering

The martial arts facility where I train is holding a martial arts and Asian culture retreat this weekend. I honestly don't understand why they call these things "retreats," as the word always conjured images of frightened soldiers turning tail and running home. Really, why would you want to retreat from Asian culture?

"Ahhhhhhh! Kimonos and chopsticks and temples and really cheap mass produced plastic goods! Retreat! Retreat!"

Anyway, the retreat will be held this Saturday afternoon and will include martial arts classes and demonstrations, Asian culture classes, a potluck dinner, and a whole lot of meeting and greeting. I thought it sounded like a good time, so I decided I was going to go.

Then came the sign-up sheet.

After my hapkido class one evening, the instructor announced that he needed people to demonstrate hapkido techniques during the retreat and that a sign-up sheet was on the table for anyone interested. For some reason, I figured a whole slew of students would clambor to include themselves, so I plopped my name on the sheet, imagining that I'd be one of many students demonstrating. As of yesterday, six people had signed up.

The instructor pulled me to the side during class and informed me that, since I was the highest ranking belt on the sign-up sheet, I would be leading the demonstration. But, that's not what I signed up for. I wanted to be just another face in a sea of hapkido demonstrators. I didn't want to actually lead anything. Putting me in a position of leadership is foolhardy at best, and disastrous at worst. Granted, I'm a high ranking belt, but I find more ways to fuck things up than anyone else I know.

Then, the instructor pulls me to the side again and asks me if I'd also be willing to teach a hapkido class during the day. Me? Teach? Was he insane? I couldn't teach someone how to change batteries in a flashlight. So, of course I said I'd be happy to. I'M SUCH A MORON!

So, if you hear news reports coming out of Minnesota about a martial arts retreat that went horribly awry, with several broken bones, countless internal injuries, and possibly a couple of deaths, you'll know why.

Ryan Rhodes was put in charge.

Posted by Ryan at September 25, 2002 11:33 AM
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