Even If it Kills Me: Martial Arts, Rock and Roll, and Mortality
This is the true story of a rock and roll musician who takes up taekwondo at forty years old. Doni Blair, bassist for the Toadies, knows he’s past his physical prime, but he’s determined to push himself and pursue his dream of becoming a martial artist—even if it kills him.
As a kid Doni was obsessed with ninjas and kung fu movies. He and his brother took up taekwondo—there was no ninja school in Sherman, Texas. Classes were expensive, especially considering their parents’ tenuous employment status and fondness for alcohol. The family lived like “white-trash gypsies,” Blair writes, adding that he got good at moving furniture at three in the morning.
The Blair kids loved taekwondo, but the family just couldn’t afford classes. Doni walked away from martial arts. Thirty years later, he’s walking back.
“I’m not a kid anymore,” he writes. “I’m a middle-aged man trying to come to grips with being a middle-aged man. I’m not as fast as I used to be. It takes longer for the injuries to heal. I have to eat more bran.”
Doni discovers the road to black belt is rough and, well, weird. He meets martial seekers of every sort. He has run-ins with a teenage savant who seems determined to break the author’s leg. He drives a van full of seven-year-olds for the dojang’s after-school program. They puke everywhere.
Even If It Kills Me is smart and funny, introspective and irreverent. It blends rock and roll and taekwondo—two of the coolest things in the world.