1. Your husband never wants to see any movie anymore unless it stars Jackie Chan, Jet Li, or Bruce Lee, or was directed by Akiro Kurosawa, or made in Hong Kong. Martial-arts themed movies were probably a big reason your husband decided to start training in the first place, and you might even have enjoyed Jet Li’s “Fist of Legend” the first or second time he made you watch it. But you’ve now seen the ^%$!@% flick 302 times and counting, and you hate that you can now remember all the dialogue, word for word.
2. Even if you liked chop-socky flicks before, they’re ruined for you now because every time a fight scene occurs, you’re subject to constant comments like, “That would never work in real life,” or “What a beautiful version of shiho-nage!” or “I’m faster than that guy, you know” or “Let’s rewind that. I want to see it again.”
3. Odd-looking gadgets and gear now fill the house. Padded sparring gear. Twenty-five different kinds of punching bags. Rattan arm rings. And loads upon loads of exotic, menacing-looking weapons that make any visitor to your home suspect that a serial killer is in residence. Your significant other has channeled his innate male instinct for buying random gadgets into the martial arts. Other men buy plasma TVs and hi-fi equipment. Yours has a selection of butterfly knives, balisongs, and crescent swords, which seem to exist solely so they can either collect dust or destroy the furniture.
4. Your friends and relatives suspect you’ve turned into a raving harpy who takes a frying pan to her husband’s face on a regular basis. It never fails: a few days before a big event – Thanksgiving dinner, your office’s holiday party, a family wedding – your husband will come home from a class with a very visible and nasty-looking injury – a black eye or a broken nose or a fat lip. It’s nothing serious, and he almost never gets even a scratch in class. But now, right before pictures will likely be taken, even your father will wonder if his poor son-in-law is a victim of spousal abuse.
5. Of course, that’s assuming your husband actually shows up to said event. You’ve lost track a long time ago of how many times he’s been late because he couldn’t tear himself away from a post-class training jam. You learn that if there’s someplace he absolutely HAS to be, he can’t be allowed to train for at least 12 hours beforehand.
6. Six words: “Honey, let me show you something!” You come to dread your husband’s return from class, because he has almost always just learned a really cool technique and wants to show it to you, for your benefit, as if he was a dog dragging a dead rabbit home for your approval. Of course, what he really wants to do is review the material and delight in its sheer coolness factor. And since he just learned it, he can’t really control it yet. He’ll promise that he won’t ACTUALLY do it or that it WON”T hurt. But you know better.
7. Remember when you always wanted to know, “what are you thinking about?” Now you don’t dare to ask because it’s probably some martial-arts topic, and you’ll be treated to three-hour lecture, complete with demonstrations, on whatever related idea he’s playing around with. Be careful what you wish for, indeed.
8. It embarrasses you to be seen in public with your husband because he’s always practicing hand techniques in his head. Of course, to you and everyone else staring at you with a mixture of pity and revulsion, his “techniques” just make him look like an escaped mental patient on heavy doses of Thorazine.
9. Invisibility. At first your husband just went to class two nights a week. Then he throws in a weekend class too. Then starts practicing every day. Soon he’s even leaving town to attend weekend seminars and training camps. Before you know it, you’re no longer sure if your husband was just a figment of your imagination. (For some spouses, I suppose this actually might be classified as a good thing.)
10. The infection can spread. Just when you’ve gotten used to items 1-9, your resident idiot decides that you or the kids should start training. “It can be a family thing,” he says. But you know that he’s just trying to make it more acceptable for him to get even more obsessed with his training and turn you all into freaks just him.