we also gain the ability to walk on rice paper without leaving a single crease


Friends, neighbours, Internetfolk: lend me your eyes. I'm writing this post today to request your help in settling an argument between my daughter and me. 

Alex, you see, is a martial artist.  She began taking karate lessons about 3 years ago, beginning as a white belt; now she's a red belt, and in about three months or so she should be ready to test for her black belt.  She has loved every minute of it -- she's always eager to go to class, thinks her karate teacher walks on water, and rarely misses a karate movie (The Karate Kid -- both the old and the new -- are her favourites).  And I love that she loves it -- the messages of discipline, academic excellence, self-control and self-defense that the school instills in its students warms the cockles of my motherly heart.

Also, she's constantly trying to get me to join a class.

"I don't think so, Alex," I say. 

"But Mom," she insists, "you would love it.  You should join!" 

Finally, one day recently, I looked her dead in the eyes.  "I'm not joining, Alex, because I don't need to."  

"What do you mean?" 

"Well," I explained, "I know you know kung-fu, which is awesome, but I ..." here, I paused meaningfully, "... I know Mom-Fu."

She slit her eyes at me. "Mom-Fu." 

I returned to my computer screen.  "Yes." 

"There's no such thing as Mom-Fu." 

"Oh, but there is."   I turned my attention back to her.  "It is powerful. And intense.  And extremely dangerous."

She sighed.  "Okay, then, what's Mom-Fu?" 

"It is a Force that compels you to do whatever it takes to protect your child. Every mom has it.  You'll get it too, if you decide to have children.  It happens the moment you hold your child in your arms for the very first time:  there's a loud bang, and a blinding light -- it happens so fast, other people in the room might not see or hear it, but it's there -- and then you suddenly feel The Power of Mom-Fu coursing through your veins.  And then, you know."

"Mm-hmm.  You know what, exactly?" 

"You know you are now willing to do whatever it takes to protect your kid.  The feeling is sometimes overwhelming -- and you have to learn how to control it, because after all, kids need to learn to protect themselves, as well -- but the power is there.  In fact,"  I lowered my voice to a whisper, "there are legends of Mom-Fu endowing superhuman strength to its bearer.  I once heard a story of a mom lifting an entire car up, in order to save her child who was trapped underneath." 

I bore my eyes into hers, trying to make her understand the Force of the Mom-Fu with my mind. 

"Mom-Fu, huh?" 


"So does Auntie Trish have it?" 


"What about Auntie Maile?" 

"Are you kidding?  Auntie Maile has three kids -- she is full of Mom-Fu."

"Mm-hmm."  She paused, considering.  "So," her voice was filled with sarcasm, "does that mean that Dad knows Dad-Fu?" 

"I would not presume to speak for your father," I sniffed, returning to my work.  "You'll have to ask him yourself.  But I have to assume that yes, your dad knows Dad-Fu.  In fact, I suspect he's a black belt." 

She was silent again.   

"Mom-Fu, huh?" 


I glanced back over at her.  She had one eyebrow raised, as if she were waiting for me to confess that it was all a lie. 

"Wait, you don't believe me, do you?" 

She shook her head, smiling.  "Not really, no." 

"Dude, I never lie to you.  Don't make me go to the internet to prove it." 

"I'm afraid I have to do that, Mom." 

And so, friends, I turn to you:  if you're so inclined, please use the comments below to make it very clear to my daughter that Mom-Fu (or Dad-Fu) exists, whether you are full of the power yourself, or alternatively, if you haven't personally experienced the veinal coursing of Parental Fu, any credible or eyewitness account:  the ability of your parents or parents you know to forcefully fight in defense of their children, for example, or make pain magically go away (you know, like Mr. Miyagi was able to do for Daniel, or Mr. Han did for Dre).   She reads my blog, so you'll be talking directly to her.

We may or may not be successful in convincing her of the Awe-Inspiring Power of the Mom-Fu now, but honestly, I can't wait to tell her "I told you so" the moment she feels the Mom-Fu herself, if she chooses to become a mom.*


Song:  Isn't she lovely by Stevie Wonder.  It's the most famous lyrical expression of Dad-Fu I know. 

* Fear not:  I'll also be tackling the subjects of Aunt- and Uncle-Fu, Sibling-Fu, Grandparent- and Godparent-Fu, Spousal-Fu and, of course, Friend-Fu with her as well, I promise.