by Jeffe Kennedy
I put up a convention recap on my own blog, with lots of photos. We're all very sorry for vanishing. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but the RT convention was such a jam-packed whirlwind that it all got away from us.
So, back to our regularly scheduled programming...
For many years, my weapon of choice was words. Arguably, it still is. But when I was a young, uncoordinated and scrawny girl, I dealt with the meanies and the bullies by dressing them down. I loved how I could throw them into complete confusion with a few well-chosen words. One of the other kids told me I shouldn't do that, because it just made them dislike me more, when I used words they didn't know. Still, I kind of thought the die was cast and I refused to give up my one weapon in hopes that they'd like me better.
As for all of us, over time things got better. I left the cruel Lord of the Flies community of young savages in school for places like college, where power over words gained more friends than enemies. Eventually, to my great astonishment, I ended up studying martial arts. I wended my way to that path, partly due to a boy (still with him, 20 years later), and as an outgrowth of a long interest in religious practices. Finally I discovered how physical strength could be fun, too.
It's one of those "little known facts about me," but I studied Kung Fu for over 15 years. My school was traditional Chinese style, so I have no belts to boast of. But my studies included Tai Chi Ch'uan, Pakua Chang, Hsing-I, Shaolin Temple Boxing, plus a smattering of others.
The one that really sang for me is the Shaolin Whirling Wind stick form. That uses a three-foot stick - which creates a nice distance for a smallish person like me. Over time (and this is an appropriate phrase for me to repeat because "Kung Fu" translates as "work done over time"), I became proficient enough at Whirling Wind to take on an edged weapon.
I chose one with many edges. Believe me, they take a lot of work to learn to wield.
I've heard these called Sun/Moon Wheels or Fire/Wind Wheels. Other names, too, and people will argue passionately for a particular choice. It comes down to translation and martial tradition.
I hung these on the wall over my desk to remind me of many things. That I'm not a child armed only with words. That some things have many edges and can cut the wielder just as easily. That power comes in many forms, from many places.
They look right, hanging on my wall, just within reach.