Kung Fu


 

Dr. D in kung fu uniform

You’ve probably noticed the yin and yang symbol at the end of some of my blog posts. I’ve been meanig to explain why I use it, but I’ve always been hesitant to tell you. Well, now it can be told. Now that I’m feeling more comfortable with you, gentle reader, I’ll tell you. But you have to promise me that you won’t tell anyone. Okay? Well … Okay, I believe that you won’t tell anyone. So here goes.

I didn’t want to go to Divine Heart Seminary, but my mother made me go anyway. While I was there, I kept telling her that I wanted to leave. Finally, she gave in and she said I could leave the seminary. However, she didn’t make any effort to get me into the Catholic high school of my choice, or any private school for that matter. We lived in Back of the Yards, so I had to go to a public high school. I went to Tilden Technical H.S. I was extremely unhappy there.

As bad as things were, I never regretted leaving the seminary. At that time, I was only five feet tall and weighed about eighty-seven pounds. I was the perfect target for bullies. Ever since I was little, I always fought back no matter who picked on me, regardless of the consequences. When I transferred to Gage Park High School, I was suspended quite a few times for defending myself. My mother yelled at me for having to miss work in order to get me reinstated in school. I told her that if she would have sent me to a Catholic high school, I wouldn’t be having those problems.

Oh yeah, my bedroom was in the unfinished attic of our house at 4405 S. Wood Street. That added to my overall happiness of my adolescence. My bedroom was hot and humid in the summer, and extremely cold in the winter. I spent a lot of time by myself in that room. I had a black light and fluorescent posters. I had my own black and white TV. I had a radio that I wired to every speaker that I found. I had surround sound before anyone else even invented it.

Okay, get ready. Here comes the part about kung fu. Are you ready? Well, here goes anyway. I hated getting picked on at school. And, I loved to watch TV every waking moment, especially all the comedies like The Dick Van Dyke Show, Laugh In, The Bill Cosby Show, The Flip Wilson Show, the Johnny Carson Show, among many others. If the TV show wasn’t a comedy, I didn’t watch it. With one notable exception. Kung Fu. There was something about that show that attracted me. Something that really moved me. I felt lonely, scared, defenseless, and scared. After watching Kung Fu, I learned to apply some of that philosophy to my life. Oh yeah, and I observed those martial arts techniques and learned to use them to defend myself at school and in the neighborhood. I never backed down from anyone. And everyone learned not to start trouble with me. I’m not saying I won many fights since I was smaller than most of the bullies, but I would cause enough pain and anguish to my assailant the he often thought twice before picking on me again. Once, a bully approached me to exact revenge from our previous encounter. I gave him a look that could only be interpreted as, “Bring it on!” He shook his head in disbelief and walked away.

The TV show Kung Fu actually changed my life. I started practicing kung fu religiously. I wanted to be one with the universe. I wanted to be Chinese!

My favorite TV show when I was in high school.

Well, I never became Chinese. Or even learned to speak Chinese. But I have gotten older and wiser. That last time I practiced kung fu? Oh, about forty pounds ago. But I always fondly recall David Carradine as Kwai Chang Cane or Grasshopper when he was known when he was a young boy in the Shaolin Temple back in China. But I still feel that I benefited from watching Kung Fu. So whenever I get philosophical, in my own unique way, I categorize my blog entry under Life and end it with the yin and yang symbol. Peace, love, and eternal cosmic wisdom!

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David Diego Rodríguez, Ph.D.

I write about whatever comes to mind. También enseño español y escribo acerca de los mexicanos y la enseñanza del español.