I was a Kung Fu Fighting!

I want to see the movie Step Brothers more than I want to be locked overnight in a supermarket. I want bunk beds now. I wonder if my wife would be cool with that. The trailers jar so many memories from when I was a kid. I am one of nine [6 boys & 3 girls] from a mixed up postmodern family. Sort of a cross between the F’ed up Jetson’s meets the anti-Walton’s. We had a boat load of love and dangerous amounts of imagination with a dash of building materials lying around.
There is this one line from the most recent trailer that made me laugh out of control last night. The line is, “Do you wanna go to the garage and do karate!?!” I seriously laughed for a good ten minutes. My wife thought I was mad.
What she did not know is that the line sparked a memory from the past. When I was a kid, some time in the early 80’s, Kung Fu movies were all the rage. We watched Master of the Flying Guillotine, One Armed Sword Man, Drunken Monkey Master, Five Fingers of Death, and anything with chamber, fighting, fatal, or venoms in the title. It was either Saturday or Sunday afternoon; the movies came on a program called Kung Fu Theater! We all gathered around the tube and digested every move and training technique.
After we got our taste of kung fu danger we went out side to practice what we learned. We would train to become masters of shaolin. I was almost always the lovably, chubby guy that was good but not quite good enough as the long hair avenging master.
We seriously would heat up rocks in the BBQ to do hot rock training that in the movies would enhance your punching speed and toughen up your fists. Forging them into weapons used to defend a helpless village. You never know. In the early 80’s the Los Angeles area was wrote of roaming bandits overtaking helpless villagers. They needed rescuing from said marauders and we were training to be the heroes.
So there we were one day my twin brother and I training after an extraordinarily entertaining flick when we decided to train for real. We don sweat pants and tie cloth around our heads, just like they did in the movies. We set ground rules and go…
We threw all that our little bodies could throw at each other. Kicks and punches flailing around like canon fire. In our minds we were as badass as any one armed master plying his trade in a not so friendly inn after he just ordered tea. Tea for god’s sake! He just wanted tea and to eat alone.
Back and forth legs, fists, throws and the noises. WAAAAAAAA! CHAAAAAAA! WOOOOOSH! CHIIIICKKKK! And breath. Pause to look mad or look at your wounds. Act angry and go! Again with the kicks and the fists…on and on.
We would be surrounded by my sisters and brothers cheering us on. Sometimes someone would throw a stick into the arena. One of would pick it up and wield it just like they did in the movies. There my brother handles the staff with the dexterity of a pubescent ninja turtle. Not quite able to move with grace and barely managing to not hit himself.
I retaliate with a pair of home made nunchucku. You know a broom stick sawed in half with an eyelet screwed into the top of it. Then the two half’s are attached with shoes strings, the dogs chain, or what ever you could get.
I swing these bad boys around seeking to equalize the playing field. The staff comes at me and I try to side step it and counter with a strategic blow to the back of the legs as the staff just misses me. What really happened was I got hit in the hind by the staff and screamed like a girl. I dropped my weapon in a very un-shaolin like manner. I saw the blood coming from my hand and got pissed. I then picked up my weapon and chased my twin brother around for real shunning the shaolin code of ethics. There I was swinging wildly at the air and my brother just hoping for a good lick. When one half of my weapon comes loose and finds a home inside of the living room. The only problem with this is that it entered the living room through the front window.
Thus ended that days training session. We all scattered like ants and hide until the situation blew over. I got disciplined for the incident and hungered for the moment when I could resume my kung fu training. The neighborhood was not any safer without us protecting it!
Over the early years the manner of protection changed from kung fu to full on weapons. Thanks to Red Dawn and Rambo. We went from unwise, heathens to the Reds. But we always sought to protect the neighborhood. Because that is the kind of guy I am. My call is rooted in these moments of my childhood. In many ways the creativity that I exhibited back then is allowing me to enter ministry with a visionary and adventurous mind.
My kung fu is still badass, to me at least. That is the funny thing. Ones kung fu is only as effective as perceived by others. The object is to create a space where your kung fu is encountered and witnessed. So that others may decide for themselves what your kung fu can do. Now that is some grasshopper shite!

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