I’ve been working on this essay mentally for a while but never found the right time to flesh it out and post it. But I suppose yesterday’s news of the US Olympic Committee vs Ravelry makes it quite pertinent. (Also, pertinent is one of my favorite words.)
I started practicing kung-fu when I was in the first grade. My mom had enrolled me in dance class which I did not like. I was quite the tomboy and loved the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles. In kindergarten, I dressed up as a ninja (with pig tails, natch!) and in the second grade I was Donatello. There was no way that wearing tights and a tutu was going to appeal to me. Thankfully, my brother had met Sifu Vizzio years before and started taking lessons with him. So I was signed up and fell in love. Circumstances prevented me from continuing but I looked him up a few years ago and took classes again until cancer and my subsequent move made me stop.
However, I’ve always been and always will be a Fu Jow tiger girl. Both kung-fu and knitting have helped me through the various struggles I’ve had in life. If anything, knitting has improved my kung-fu and vice versa. Kung-fu has taught me perseverance, humility, and patience. Knitting has taught me the importance of practice, patience and the value of pride in my work.
Going over the Hung Gar forms over and over until they’re second nature has helped me improve my patience with knitting. I’ve realized that it’s OK to rip out a mistake and try again. And again. And again. Until it’s right. I don’t consider myself to be a perfectionist but if it doesn’t look right, it should be fixed.
A sense of self pride and humility sounds like a contradiction but I don’t think it is. I do take pride in who I am and what I have accomplished (and what I will accomplish!) but I know that it will take hard work to get there. Not just that, it’s made me more aware of my place in other people’s lives and how I can effect them. Kung fu (and all fighting systems) isn’t about beating everyone up who looks at you funny. It’s about harnessing your inner potential and turning it into something both useful and beautiful. My knitting helps to add beauty in my life and the lives of others. My forms do the same.
So Olympic committee, even if the Ravelympics are canceled this year or the powers that be have to change its name I’m going to keep knitting, keep practicing my forms (and finding a new studio in Nashville. Recommendations anyone?) and keep making my life beautiful.