Kali, or why my husband gets to hit me with sticks.

When you have kids in school, the school calendar tends to have more sway in your life than the Julian calendar. So, rather than starting new habits on January 1, we tend to take stock and start new things around the start of the school year.

This year, my husband and I decided to start taking Kali classes at my kids’ Taekwondo studio. Kali is a martial art native to the Philippines. It’s meant to be done using machetes, but they lost too many beginners that way, so you train with bamboo sticks until you’re less of a danger to yourselves and others. If you’re a fan of the Jason Bourne movies, then you’ve already seen Kali in action, as it’s the method of fighting used in that series. I remember watching the films with the equivalent of the emoticon :-O on my face at each of the fight scenes, so when my husband said he wanted to start taking the classes, I was totally on board.

Kali doesn’t have special outfits or belts. You just go and learn how to beat people up with sticks. That’s pretty much… it. You do some strength and agility training, move into forms and techniques, and finish with some more strength training and stretching. It’s a great workout. I’m sore for days afterward. There’s no talk about centering or the art form behind it. No. You are there to learn to incapacitate an attacker if the need arises. Our teacher is constantly talking about chopping people open and slicing off ears. It’s pretty intense.


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