I am a fairly high level, long time practicing martial artist. Generally when talking to people I don't know, if the subject comes up I get (almost invariably) one of two reactions from people that are not also martial artists.
- Oh, you do TKD? I took [insert art here] for x months y years ago. I got to [insert low rank here] but had to give it up.
- Wow, I guess I better not get you mad then!
The first is easily handled, I tell them that's great, it's too bad you didn't keep at it but you can always go back.
The second is pretty much a grit my teeth and smile kind of thing, as to me it perpetuates a bad stereotype that anyone trained in martial arts is some sort of slobbering grobian ready to explode into violence at the slightest provocation.
How can I respond in a way that is tactful and yet lets them know the comment is inappropriate?
To clarify the second part: yes, I can tell when it is just an idle comment, and yes, there have been a lot of the sarcastic/mocking/derogatory tones. Same for the first, if they seem interested I reciprocate, if it is an idle response I go along the lines of what I stated. I am more seeking input on the second type of response.