Burkas for Burly Assassins

I wouldn’t love burkas if I was forced to wear one all the time, however, I have to admit to having a bit of a fetish for hats and scarves that conceal and shadow.

Max wanted to be a ninja for Halloween and I figured it would be a cinch to buy a cheap ninja costume somewhere here in town.  I was wholly mistaken.  The only crappy ninja costume was at Walmart and was in XL men’s sizing.  I didn’t want to sew because I have finally gotten back into the flow of the novel.  Besides that, I have 9 years of experience that inform me that Max will wear a costume for exactly 7 minutes before the pieces all start coming off.  He loves the idea of dressing up but ultimately doesn’t enjoy the strangeness of garments he’s not used to wearing and that feel weird.

The pokemon costume lasted a record low of 67 seconds after which he refused to wear it for trick or treating.  It “hurt” his head he told me.

So then I figured I would go ahead and make one from a pattern.  Every boy wants to be a ninja, right?  Patterns must abound!  I confidently browsed the catalogs of all four major U.S. pattern companies to discover exactly two ninja costumes.  One was for some cartoon ninja character and was, therefore, stupid as hell and ugly, and the other was in adult sizes only.

So I did what I always do which is buy an unrelated pattern for a template and make it into what I need it to be.  I used a thing of Philip’s (forget what they’re called because I have thread instead of brains now) to make a pattern from which I might then alter the face covering head warming thingy into a ninja mask.  I did some impressive online research to help me stylize the whole costume.

Now that I’m done I have to say I’m impressed with how it all turned out.  Max is wearing sweatpants (the only pants he’ll wear) and a long sleeved black cotton top as an undershirt.  Over that is the tunic, the obi, and the gaitors.

If I ever have a waist again I’m going to make this outfit for myself to wear all the time.

I tried hard to get good action shots.  Max gave me two and one of them super-sucked.  He’s a purple belt in Kung Fu now and can execute some truly great jump kicks.

The great thing about doing anything all the time is that you get better at it all the time.  This is why old jerks have so much more mastery over their craft than fresh jerks do.  Whatever you’re doing all the time is what you will master.  That bears some serious thinking about.

I’m also thinking a lot about intentionality.  I started a post on this thought earlier today and realized that if I posted it as I was thinking it I would lose all my friends.  I kind of need them.  Becoming a master at the things we spend the most time doing is directly related to the idea of intentionally doing the things we actually want to be doing and not doing things that fall into our laps or crash into our lives randomly.  Letting life happen to you is not really living it.  Letting your life unfold apathetically may work for some people, but I say that with complete insincerity because I have never seen the apathetic approach to life yield good results.

I’ve spent the best part of my life making intentional decisions about how I live my life, going after things I truly want only after having spent time evaluating how much I want it, how good for me it will actually be, and then saying what it is and drawing up a plan.  Plans go awry all the time, paths twist, intentions evolve and so I may not always end up where I thought I would nor achieve the things I intended to but my life is not littered with accidental detours or regrets.

I lost my way completely not long ago but that’s because I lost complete faith in myself.  It’s difficult to move forward if you can’t feel your own feet.

Kung Fu has helped me find what I already had in myself and then lost for a few years: the ability to focus on what I want, to see it, to name it, and to move forward even when I can barely walk because I refuse to stand down or give up.  There is so much in life we can’t control or change but our own actions, our own decisions make a huge difference in how our lives weather the chaos and navigate the dark swells.

Personal responsibility, choice, action, and intention.

Ninja isn’t just a Halloween costume.

Kung Fu isn’t just about throwing wheel kicks.

But if you can look this good doing any of it?

Comets will bow to you.

5 comments

  1. Ann says:

    You did a great job. He seems to be in this costume for a record amount of time. The black of the cloth is super black! He looks so authentic!

  2. angelina says:

    Excellent question- the ninja mask came off within five minutes all three nights he wore his costume. So that was to be expected. However, he seemed to have kept the rest of the costume on for two hours each night! (He went to parties, my kid is already a partier!) so I have to say I was fairly impressed. But come on- look at how comfortable that outfit looks…I’d wear it for a day at the spa!

  3. audrey says:

    How do you (basically) make it?
    It looks totally awesome!
    I just need to know what the basic pieces are and how they look alone, and I can make the pattern myself.

  4. angelina says:

    Oh my gosh! I made this so many years ago now. I know I used a Star Wars costume pattern for Luke Skywalker for the top. Then I made gators for him by measuring his ankles and calves and making a pattern from scratch but it was so long ago there’s no way I can remember or describe how.

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