I have been studying the martial art of Kung Fu San Soo for a little over 8 years. I am a first degree black belt. There are 7 more to go to the rank of master. And today I turned in my key to the school, said good by to the Master and quit.
I love this art. I love teaching it. I love learning the intricacies of the art. I learn something new about it almost every time I do a form or technique. It is the one place where work, family, life doesn't exist. It is, for lack of a better word, my selfish time.
And therein lies the problem.
My wife has never liked Kung Fu. She thinks the owner/instructor, while a good man, is a bit flaky. Yes...he is at times. But then again, so am I and so is she. (So are you!) It costs money to train. No duh. I was paying the going rate until June of 05 when I lost my job at the USFS. I told the owner/instructor, who had become a very good friend over the years, that I would have to quit. He literally begged me to stay and in exchange for teaching, I kept coming to class when I could.
Now I have a new job. Better pay. But I have a bad history of either quitting jobs or being fired after about 4-5 years. Over the last 18 years of marriage, this has started to make my wife very nervous. She is unwilling to fork over any money in the amounts I want for something we may not have the money for in a year.
Plus there are other concerns. We've not really saved for our children's college education which comes up in as little as 4 1/2 years for our oldest, the Boy. We have tried to keep a goodly amount of money in savings for those "rainy day" things. Broken legs, new roof, major car repairs. And we've been very blessed that God has provided for us in our times of need.
So I quit Kung Fu. Why? Because my wife has a point. We need to save for those "rainy day" situations. We need to save for our children's education. We need to tithe more. We need to start doing what we've always said we should do and be better stewards of our money.
I have been crying all morning. Basically I'm in mourning for the loss of Kung Fu. I'm tearing up as I type this now. It has been my outlet, my escape, my joy and my frustration. It has helped me keep my sanity and refresh my soul. It meshes finely with my faith. I have made great strides as a person because of a combination of Kung Fu and my faith.
So why does it feel like I just shot Old Yeller?
There are those who say I should "be a man" and tell the wife what she can do with her complaints. There are those who say I am a "selfish bastard" for wanting to spend money on such a selfish endeavour. There are those who will say "Good! His wife needed to tell him how it's going to be!"
But I still feel like shite. I feel like I've let down my wife and family by wanting this for myself. I feel like I've let down the school and the instructor for quitting. I feel like I've failed as a husband, father, teacher because I've, again, let others down.
Very few understand what Kung Fu has meant to me over the last 8 years. My wife will never understand. She refuses. She has told me she will never agree with me on Kunf Fu. She is entitled to her opinion and I respect that. But I have to live with her and my kids. So, to not create a house full of tension, I quit Kung Fu. It's killing me. Tearing me up inside. I hurt for Master J. It blindsided him. He's losing a part of his school at a time when the school really can't afford to lose another customer, another student, another teacher.
I feel sick about the whole thing.