The beginner

Many years ago I was seated with a group of people at a wedding. We were all mostly strangers to each other. By way of "breaking the ice", the young man next to me suggested that everyone should say what he or she did as a hobby (rather than the more boring occupational recital).

When it was my turn, I said: “I study martial arts.”
“Oh? I wouldn’t have guessed it. I have a friend who is a martial artist.”
“Yes, he’s a second dan. And you can see it too. You can see it in his eyes: the look of a killer.”
“Hmm. Your friend must be very advanced.”
“Yes, he is. I can’t see that same look in your eyes. You must be just a beginner?”
“Indeed I am,” I said.

Copyright © 2012 Dejan Djurdjevic


  1. I would have said, "Oh, I haven't even begun yet, I'm still studying the theory".

    Which would be true, in a sense.

    Humans don't usually have the body language perception skills to figure out what is what. Animals do though. Human socialization skills have blocked much of the natural perception abilities we were given and born with. The more people think in terms of societal rules and perceptions about killing, laws, etc, the more they lose touch with the source of creation. This has a side effect of generating false positives, although not all the time.

  2. So many possible responses...

    Maybe "In my martial art we only use the "Death Stare" in life or death circumstances. If you show it to you but you would need to sign a liability waiver first, just in case..."


  3. My hobby is to people watch so that I have a plan to immediately kill everyone in the same room as me, as all gentlemen should be prepared to do. What is your hobby, dear sir or madame?

    Then again, that may not be such an ice breaker, but more like an ice age.


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