Wasting Time Researching Exotic Martial Arts


Procrastination is a writer’s tool to avoid writing. It’s so common, that we make jokes about it. Remember the one about sharpening pencils before committing words to paper? I heard of one writer that would clean her entire house to avoid writing. However, with the web and the computer there are so many other ways to avoid writing.

First I must check my email. Who knows? There could be a short story acceptance in there. After that I read the news. There could be the germ of a new idea in the stores from around the world. What could we do with a chimp that knocked down a drone?

Checking for new markets for short stories is another diversion. However, that usually leads to submitting short stories, which is really productive time. A bonus! Diverting yet productive.

My favorite way to waste time is research. What was the name of a bank in Junction City, Kansas in 1867? What metallic cartridge pistols were available after the Civil War? Can a Colt peacemaker actually shoot through a six inch think hunk of pine?

Sometimes the research can lead into different tangled little forests. I have a character for one short story that needs… Well never mind that. I needed the name of a new Martial art for the story, something exotic and off the beaten track. I didn’t want Judo, Karate, or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

I asked google and it gave me over a million sites. Some were about exotic weapons. One site listed fictional martial arts. I just had to look at that one. However, in the end, I decided that Munchkin Fu wouldn’t do although it tempted me.

What real ones did I find? Pencak Silat, Escrima, Kuialua, Capoeira, Krav Maga, and Sambo. Yes, Sambo is a martial art. It comes from Russia.

While doing this research I looked into Military based forms of unarmed combat. Did you realize that a soldier spends less time on unarmed combat than the average civilian student of a martial art?

Consider for a moment the American Marine Corp Martial Arts program. To reach a black belt in this program requires 150 hours of instruction. At three classes a week that’s roughly a year. Compare that to Karate where you’ll need about three years to earn a black belt.

Did I mention all the YouTube bits available on the martial arts? I found demonstrations, promotions for DVD training courses, UFC fights, world championships in various skills and lots of clips from movies. If you have a few hours to spare look up a show called Fight Quest on YouTube.

Personally I’m thinking about taking Tai Chi again.


To see some of my short stories go to www.edwardmcdermott.net