Martial Artist, David Shim
Interview by Jacoby Myers
Jacoby, 14, is a student at 826 Boston.


This is an excerpt from
A Place for Me in the World, a recent
publication from 826 Boston.

      David is a martial artist. He is also a college professor at Boston University and a psychologist who works with kids who have anger problems. He is Asian-American, very strong, and very calm.

Jacoby: What made you want to be a fighter?

David: Well, when I was about eleven years old, I saw a Bruce Lee movie. He was beating up everybody—a little Asian guy beating up everybody, right?—and I though, that’s what I want to do! But as I trained more, I realized martial arts is about more than just beating people up. But that’s how I got into it.

J: What style do you use?

D: I practice a couple different styles. I practice karate, and in karate we actually do something called Goju Ryu, which means “hard-soft karate.” A lot of that involves kicking and punching. I also did a lot of weapons work and things like that. But the other thing I do is—have you ever seen UFC?

J: Yeah, I watch that every day.

D: You know what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is?

J: Yeah.

D: Have you heard about the Gracies?

J: Yeah.

D: I train with the Gracie family and I do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It’s a lot of fun. J: Yeah, that’s cool.

D: So those are the styles that I teach, or that I use.

J: Is the style you use the style that you want to use, that you're good at? Or do you wish you could learn a different style?

D: That’s a great question. Well, different people have different bodies, right?

J: Is the style you use the style that you want to use, that you're good at? Or do you wish you could learn a different style?

D: That’s a great question. Well, different people have different bodies, right?

J: Yeah.

D: I’m a shorter, thicker guy, If I was taller and skinner, I might be better at things like Wushu. Wushu is a Chinese martial art, it’s like Kung Fu. In Wushu, all these guys flip in the air and do all these twirls. I actually studied a lot of different styles of martial art. Goju is good for guys that are short and thick like myself. You have heard about breaking bricks and stuff, right? Yeah, I can actually break bricks with my hands. And I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, You wanna know how old I am? Wanna guess? It won’t offend me.

J: Thirty.

D: Thirty?! Wow. I’m actually fifty years old.

J: You’re older than my dad.

D: Martial arts actually keeps you really young. I plan to live until I’m about ninety [chuckle].

.... J: If you had to pick a favorite teacher, who would you pick?

D: Oh, wow...Jacoby, can I ask you a question?

J: Yeah.

D: Have you had girlfriends?

J:...Yeah.

D: Okay, how many have you had?

J: F—

D: A couple?

J: Yeah...

D: If you had to pick a favorite girlfriend [laughs], which one would it be?

J: The last one.

D: [Laughing.] The last one! Oh, good answer! But they’re all kinda, you know...you like them all for different reasons, right?

J: Yeah.

D: My first teacher I liked because he taught me...the first way. My second teacher I liked because he gave me a black belt. And my third teacher, who I still train with, he helps me to be better and better, at ground fighting and Jiu Jitsu. So I like them all. And...I like the last one, too. [Laughs]

Jacoby is in the eighth grade. He likes telling jokes, playing sports, and playing video games, especially Call of Duty. He also really like UFC. He just moved to Columbus, Ohio, and the people of Mission Hill School miss him.