"Do the monks get emasculated when they become monks?"

Yes, I didn't make this one up. This question was submitted by an obviously intelligent, well-written young man who seemed overly concerned about the monk beanbags. So, without further ado, lets cut off the unnecessary banter and whiz right into proverbial sack.

Emasculation is the process of rendering one powerless, to enfeeble someone, to make someone impotent. More concisely, or, shall I say, more appropriate to what this concerned young reader was losing sleep over, to emasculate someone is to castrate him. But before we start looking up monk robes, let's discuss this whole castration thing.

Castration and religion go back a long ways. In ancient times, it was doctrine (and law) that rapists, sodomists, homosexuals, and Christians who were unfortunate enough to fall in love with non-European non-Christian women, be castrated. In what we could now call a "ballsy" move, it was also known to happen, but was not exactly common, for young men, who found themselves in the throes of uncontrollable insatiable lust, to put themselves under the proverbial knife, and whack off the organs of desire which were causing them so much trouble. (Interesting that women who suffered from uncontrollable insatiable lust weren't punished...Oh, where are they all today?) The practice was commonplace enough for the Catholic church to recognize it, and proclaim that men who had been castrated, could not enter the priesthood. Now, one might argue that so-called members of the faith really shouldn't be all concerned about being "memberless", as they really shouldn't have had a need for that sort of thing anyway. But the church back then felt strongly about future clerics being whole, as they had felt, in what I think is really a divine act of sophisticated thought, that men who were worthy of being clerics should have been able to control their lustful urges through an act of will, and not an act of surgery. Being dismembered was probably grounds for being defrocked.

The Catholic church at one time or another in the past, supposedly proscribed the practice of castration for those who had sinned a sexual sin, which gives the old "Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife (or else)" a whole new meaning. But, on the other hand, the church, via the first canon of the Council of Nicea, dictated that self-castration was a bozo no-no; I guess that one would interpret that to mean that young men should have will power and balls, instead of, well, neither. Interesting that only they were allowed to be the "hackers", and that a young man of those days just didn't have the freedom to express himself as he wished. I'm still trying to find out how they punished those who went against the Council of Nicea's dictates. Can't exactly shave hair off of a bald head, heh?

Castration further gained a reputation during the Inquisition, where it no doubt was one of the top ten on the torturer's list. It continued on during the second millennium, usually as part of other routines.  It was the usual accompaniment to the "drawn and quartered" routine, whereby a condemned prisoner was hung (until he hurt real bad), castrated (to show that they were serious), disemboweled (until he hurt really bad), and then either decapitated or had his limbs tied to four different horses, which, if things went according to plan, ran on command in four different directions.

Europe in the 1700 -1800's found other uses for castration. It's use in young boys led to the singing voice of the "castrato", an unusually high and artificial singing voice that was meant to replace the soprano and alto. Today that role is not as popular as it used to be, and is played by the countertenor.

Things were slightly more civilized in the newly formed United States. Capital punishment (by hanging, remember, Ben Franklin had not yet figured out that thing about tying the kite to the chair in the rain storm...) had been the punishment for sodomy and "crimes of nature". Thomas Jefferson had suggested that castration be the recommended punishment for these acts (an interesting figure in history to be concerned with moral turpitude, considering the children that he eventually fathered). And, after the American Revolution, sodomy became more widely recognized to include sex and other things between men and men, women and women, men and, well, etc, etc. The laws got more enveloping, but castration just never caught on here in the US as a punishment like it did in medieval Europe.

But we've found other uses for it. Today it is used medically for certain types of prostate and testicular cancers, but they are usually replaced with silicone imitations. The wigglers are whacked during sex change operations, and they aren't replaced, but there are other silicone imitations that go in other places. Some civic minded groups are suggesting that chemical castrations be performed on prisoners who are repeat sex offenders. Some prisoners who are repeat sex offenders have offered to undergo surgical castration to get out of prison earlier. And some people nowadays just do it for fun. You can look anywhere and find ads for equipment that will "further your own special enjoyment" (A new device that "utilizes twisting action which effectively closes the severed cord. Use with a standard, variable-speed hand drill, preferably a cordless unit for convenience and safety. It is essential that only a variable speed drill with a 3/8" chuck be used and that the castrating instrument be tight and secure in the drill chuck").  "Honey, where's my Sear's Craftsman catalogue?" It's one hell of a world we live in.

And what has this all to do with the monks. Absolutely nothing. No Ralphy boy, they aren't emasculated during their vows.

But since we're on the subject, what about that "deadly kick to the beanbags" that you see on the videos? It all has to do with pelvic tilt. (Doesn't everything good in life have to do with that?). Watch closely the next time you see someone get whacked where you shouldn't get whacked. A little forward tilt/ backward lean of the pelvis, which puts the pelvic ischial tuberosities in a more downward and anterior position, and the gluteal muscles in a more forward and downward position, and voila! The well placed kick gets absorbed by the bony and muscular structure, leaving the jewels relatively out of harm's way. Which is a good thing. A very good thing. But, there's always a catch. This all works, provided the kicker places the kick correctly into the kickee. A little too forward, and not enough backward in the kicker's placement, and it all turns into a bad thing. A very bad thing. As with everything else, practice makes perfect. Start working on it.