In between all the craziness, I'm working on the martial arts book that wanted to be written more than anything else on my project list. It's been fun to browse through other MA books--the memoirs, the how-to manuals, the histories. Sometimes an individual's bias is right out in front. Sometimes it's found between the lines or in the omissions. Sometimes the bias says a great deal about the depth of the person's training, the philosophy of the dojo in which she/he trained, and the knowledge shared by the instructors. And sometimes the bias is one I once held myself, or one I find I still hold tightly.
Bias is to be expected. Beginners are passionate about their chosen style because it's all they know. Experienced practitioners are biased because they've sunk a great deal of time and energy (and, most likely, money) into thier pursuit. The difference is that the experienced ones understand they have a bias because the art they practice is the best one for them--not the best for everyone.
My biggest, baddest, loudest bias isn't focused on particular styles, exactly. It's against certain marketing methods, the piss-poor instructors those methods support, and the abject mess of "training" that gets foisted upon unsuspecting students who think their belt promotions are based on attained skills rather than payments received. (If you ever want a peek at the differences between dojo standards, check out YouTube's collection of belt promotion videos.)
Six thousand words in, and I'm having a blast with the writing. It's giving me the opportunity to think about my art from a different perspective, and consider not only why I do what I do, but why I believe what I believe. I'm currently writing a section on martial arts "myths" that I find particularly annoying. The first is "Martial Arts training will give you/your child self-discipline."
And now, off to bed with my Kindle. (I'm thinking I should name my Kindle, considering how much time we spend together in my bedroom.)
P.S. I just received Wild Food Plants of Indiana today, and quite nearly stopped to harvest cattails on the way home. I was thrilled to find a recipe in the book for the fiddleheads of Matteuccia pennsylvanica, the giant fern thanate mentioned the other day. The week I return, I must find these ferns and plant them!!