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    Not Just For Kicks

    | New York, USA |

    (I am an instructor at a Chinese Martial Arts school. An American teenager comes in.)

    Boy: “So, do you teach all kinds of Chinese martial arts here?”

    Me: “Yes, courses are mainly in Chinese, but we can translate for you. There are quite a few Americans that learn here. What are you interested in?”

    (He names several fake martial arts from novels made into television.)

    Me: “Um… you’re joking, right?”

    Boy: “Oh, do you not teach those?”

    Me: “You’re serious?”

    Boy: “Oh yeah, I love watching them on TV and I want to learn it myself!”

    Me: “You know they’re not real martial arts right? It’s all made up in the stories.”

    Boy: “You just don’t want to teach a foreigner, do you?”

    Me: “No, it isn’t real. None of us here know them.”

    Boy: “Oh, I’ll go somewhere else.”

    Me: “No one can teach those. They’re fake.”

    Boy: “Oh I get it. You think it’s fake because you don’t know it yourself. I guess the manuals are lost and someone needs to find them. Don’t worry, I’ll be that person!”

    (The boy leaves and comes back a minute later.)

    Boy: “Hey, could I have a look at all your weapons?”

    Me: “Why?”

    Boy: “Maybe the manuals are hidden in them. At least please show me your swords and sabers. Just clash them together.” (He’s referring to a plot in one of those novels.)

    Me: *understanding that reference* “It was already recovered long ago in the Yuan dynasty, remember? They’re empty now.”

    Boy: “Oh, sure, now I’m going to find the new hiding place. Thanks for your time!”