The Best Damn Underwear I've ever OwnedWhen I was studying Chen Style Taijiquan with Zhang Xuexin we practiced outdoors in San Francisco which can be quite foggy even in the Summer. One day he showed us how many layers of long underwear he had on: Five, plus a pair of polyester slacks. Keeping my legs warm has been a part of my practice ever since, but I've never gotten past two pairs of long underwear, and that on a very cold day.

Before that I sometimes went "commando." (For those of you not familiar with modern slang, that means "without.") Unfortunately I did about 6 years of Indian Classical Dance, which is highly rhythmic, improvisational, and has footwork simular to Flamenco but done with bare feet and 8 pounds of bells wrapped around each ankle. I say unfortunately not because it wasn't a great experience, it was, and I certainly improved my gongfu because of it. The problem is that I think I busted a nut. I mean all that foot slapping took a toll on my testicular ligaments.

All this is just to say that I need to wear underwear. The problem withJust deal, ok? that is that most underwear has tight elastic which can really cut off circulation. Elastic tends to shrink, so even a comfortable pair of underwear can become uncomfortable over time. I don't know about you guys (ladies?) but I need to have my kua open when I practice. I need to feel the "gate" between my torso and my legs surging with qi, or blood/lymph, or breath, or whatever you want to call it. Inhibition sucks.Now this is a message I can get behind!

Many years ago I had a girlfriend who happily braved the gay section of Macy's to by me two sets of silk underwear that were extremely strong and comfortable. I loved them. Unfortunately, by the time they started falling apart, we had broken up and I had to go to Macy's by myself, only to find that this line of underwear had been discontinued (Alfe was the name I believe.)

I chose the color grey, but hey, they have optionsWhen I first met my current partner I was so frustrated I had taken to snipping the elastic with a pair of scissors, which looked mangy and which she was kind enough to remind me of at a party last night.

Then I discovered Rips! Rips rule! Totally comfortable, absorbents, supportive--all that stuff. They are the only drawstring boxer-briefs on market and they are really well made. My circulation is flowing.

The packaging is rather "pretty" with a peace sign, a heart and the Chinese character for "prosperity" printed on it. This suggests that they may or may not be marketing to martial artists. Still, they are great, they are on sale ($13), and if a thousand of you buy them from Amazon, I promise not to talk about underwear again!