Why Writers Should Train in Martial Arts

Sparring with Keigo Kunihara, fighter in UFC55
  1. You should balance mental exhaustion with physical exhaustion. Does your head ever just hurt from jumbling ideas, characters and motivations? Or is it just me? Maybe I have a brain fever. You will persevere. Many people write because English composition was easy for them. In martial arts there is always someone better than you. You must slog and train to improve. Same with writing. The only thing that makes you better at it is more writing.
  2. Daily beatings prepare you for criticism. Let’s face it, your friends and writer pals aren’t going to be completely honest with you. They want to encourage you, so you keep writing and improve. Then the big nasty critics from the big leagues savage you like that bear in the joke who sodomizes the hunter. And you write another book, and they do it again. Then you write a third book, and the bear-critic says, “You don’t write for the advances, do you?” and you have a laugh before he sodomizes you again. Bears are assholes.
  3. Most writers suck at writing fights. If you don’t think this yet, get in a few fights, and you will. I’ve only been in one fight and I got my ass kicked. But the adrenaline, the fear, the speed of it has stuck with me. I mix those emotions with the physics and footwork of fighting that I learned from years of sparring. I don’t know if people think my fight scenes are realistic. But I try.
  4. People won’t think you’re so damn lazy. Or if they do, you can break some boards, preferably load bearing beams in their house.
  5. Fat writers die sooner. It’s a sedentary profession. We need all the help we can get. Do you really want to have a coronary embolism when you find out your manuscript was accepted? Or Michael Bay wants to make a trilogy out of it, except your carefully crafted tragic heroine will be played by Shia LaBeouf?
  6. It builds confidence. And writing requires it. A lot of it. Otherwise, why bother writing for hours every night, revising line by line, persevering rejection after rejection? Because like hitting your face with a mallet, it feels so good when you stop? No, because you believe in this story. Your voice is worth being heard. God dammit, your life has value. You’re mad as hell and you’re not gonna take it anymore. Remember, the guy who said that got shot at the end. So maybe it’s more like Cool Hand Luke. Never mind.
  7. Because I will wrestle you on the convention floor. You’re lucky I’m not able to make BoucherCon this year. Because I’d totally take you down and get some knee on belly action until you signed my copy of your book to “Uncle.”

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

2 thoughts on “Why Writers Should Train in Martial Arts

  1. I agree completely. 100 %.And if you've ever been a a real scuffle, you can always tell when reading someone's fight scene if they ever have.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly (I mean, I'm in the same boat) About #2 though, I'd say daily beatings make you very well aware of what you can and can't do and stresses what you need to work on. That can easily be translated to writing. By the way, what's up with Keigo? I mean, he got a shitty draw against Pe de Pano and then he kind of fell off the map.

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