Chapter 17

23 Oct

Shaolin Kung Fu Part 3: Altercation

I’d been practicing Shaolin for about three months, and I felt pretty awesome. I had two staff forms under my belt, the very first hand form, and a sword form. Suffice to say, I felt like Jackie Chan/ Jet li. I was living the Larp, and I was loving it, until one fateful day.

A friend and I had just come out of a movie theater. It was pretty late; I forget what we had gone to see. We walk out into the parking lot and something zips by. We both quizzically follow the object until it shatters as it collides with the wall.

Another one flies by, closer this time. This time we see the object for what it is; a beer bottle. We both look for the origin of these beer bottles, and we see two men laughing. One winds up, and uses a sidearm style of pitching to skip a beer bottle at us. It misses, partly because we move, and party because they’re both drunk. It’s hard to tell their age since we’re in the parking lot and it’s dark, but they aren’t that bigger than we are. My friend instinctively screams, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing asshole?”

The men drop their beer bottles and come walking/stumbling at us. “What’d you say mother fucker?”

My friend replies “I said I’m going to fucking rape your ass you little fucking bitch!”

It is obviously go time. As the men approach, I look around for improvisable weapons. With the exception of the glass behind us, there is nothing. My shaolin is wasted.

They come closer, and I realize the Shaolin I’ve been practicing is worthless.

My friend and I start power walking towards them, and he takes off his shirt. He is a very athletic boy, and has been practicing Muay Thai since he was 8; we’re both 16. I’m not worried about him, but I am damn worried about myself. Despite all the training, despite everything, I am fucking terrified. But there is no backing down. It is go time.

My friend takes off and tries to super man punch the drunk, who by luck or skill, goes for a shitty tackle. This leads to a clinch, and knee rape. I don’t see what my friend does after that, because the other man is about to haymaker me. I shoot in, and take the man down. In retrospect, there was broken glass, but I didn’t really consider it at the time. Neither of us landed on it.

The man instinctively tries to get up, and I almost start to laugh. I rear naked choke him, and I’m truly terrified. I hold on for dear life; he struggles, clawing at my face and arms. I become more scared when he stops moving. Is it a ploy, or is he unconscious? I remember my instructor saying if you held on too long, they died. I decided to take the risk, and I let him go when he is limp bodied. My friend has long since pummeled the other man with knees, and is standing over the downed drunkard yelling obsceneties at him.

“Dude, lets get the fuck out of here” I tell him.

“Yea.”

In the car ride home, I see the futility of Shaolin. In the end, I relied on my BJJ training. Thank god for the good BJJ school, who taught me to do THAT EXACT SCENARIO. The instructor would put on gloves and punch at you as you tried to take him down. Then you had to submit him. Where was the combat in the Shaolin? I had tried to make it out to be something it wasn’t.

I bid farewell to the Shaolin monk, and begin my search for another school.

Down the street from me is another kung fu school. I’m conflicted; on the one hand, kung fu has burned me before. On the other, I’m still in love with the idea of a kung fu master. I decide to watch the class, and if there isn’t any sparring or combat, I’m just going to keep on walking.

I watch the class; it has a similar warm up. After the warm up, which is notably shorter, they go into practicing mini-drills. It begins with a punch, back fist with the other arm, then a windmill esque arm movement where they crash down with a hammer fist. They perform this 1-2-3 combo multiple times, and I’m reminded of the worthless forms I had done previously.

Then the Sifu shows the combat application.

Wait, combat application?

He shows where you strike, and how fast it has to happen in real life. I’m a little impressed; their forms have applications, and are used for ass kicking. I might join them, but I’m still undecided.

In the last 20 minutes, they begin to spar. Oh yes.

A relatively built asian guy, about 17 or 18, steps up. They have some foamy TKD esque gear, and he is decked out. Another, much skinnier, kid walks up. I will call him mop top.

Mop top stands off against Asian guy. I had watched Mop Top for most of the class; he seemed, to put it bluntly, like a little bitch. He was snooty to the lower belt students, and tried to rub elbows with the older black belts. He himself was a black belt, so I didn’t know why he was always trying to show off. He was snooty, to say the least, and I didn’t like him.

Asian guy and Mop top begin. Asian guy throws a punch from 9 miles away, then goes into a round house. I expect the horrible point sparring, but it is indeed full contact as it knocks Mop Top off his feet, despite his block. He gets back up, and goes to throw a roundhouse kick of his own. Asian guy jumps as he does it, turns, and throws a side kick. It hits moptop dead on the solar plexus, and he literally flies in the air. He falls on the ground with the air knocked out of him.

I’m impressed.

I sign up for classes. This Kung fu class is everything the other one wasn’t; it didn’t focus on worthless flowery forms, it didn’t waste all of our time doing “Tricks”, and it had sparring. It was kung fu, what I wanted, and it was bad ass.

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