As we all know, ninja are most likely to be found in dark corners, on rooftops, and dressed as the occasional Buddhist priest, because hiding in plain sight. Ninja are well-known for being prepared for every possible obstacle. Throwing stars, climbing rope, lunchboxes, and concealed cobras are part of the shinobi toolkit. Crawling in walls, tiptoeing in homes, and grabbing pizzas from manholes are part of savvy ninja shimmies in wee hours of the night. What we don’t know is how clandestine shinobi “use the facilities” in the middle of a mission. When the traipsing over rooftops, surely the masters of deflection feel the incidental urge to use the “Little Ninjas Room.”
One would think shinobi have this covered, being procurers of dirt, tip-offs, and hot tips its essential to have all bases covered, especially the evacuation of the pee. But, how can a shinobi casually walk into a public restroom and not draw suspicion you ask? Wouldn’t the above-average sneakster need a room-‘o-rest now and again? Or, do they have bladders of iron as part of their kit?
When embarking on another errand for their employer, ninja are challenged to find whizz pots along the way. If one watches carefully in the night, you might find a ninja piddling in a port-a-potty, spending a penny in the subway (apparently this is British slang for peeing), wee-weeing on the flora, or tinkling in your powder room. Because, a ninja got to do what a ninja got to do.
Next time you’re out and about make sure to take the time to look for your friendly neighborhood ninja in your local latrine. They like their privacy, so don’t bother with any selfies, because, it might just be your last time to take a leak.
We Ninja loooooove a terrible 80’s martial arts movie, especially ones involving mullets and cheesy one liners. Last night we had the dubious pleasure of witnessing one such movie: Gymkata. Sake and IPA’s might have been present to numb the senses to the over-achieving sensibilities of Kurt Thomas and a rather scurrilous cast of characters.
Our high-flying hero, Jonathan Cabot, is recruited by…somebody, to do…something. Okay the plots not clear, or I had had enough sake by then to not really care. Anyway, our gymnast hero gets trained by a Japanese dude who likes swinging kama at his crotch blindfolded, a selectively mute “Princess of Parmistan,” and some random “karate” expert who tosses out cliches like ninja stars thrown by the blind. This crazy quilt of training montages results in what appears to be some fusion of gymnastics, ninja stuff, knife work, and karate…? I guess the title of the movies sums up this new art fairly simply.
Several key things stuck out to me about this movie: the conveniently placed gym equipment, a discount Chuck Norris, the love interest and of course, the inevitable Ninja.
When one knows gymkata and finds themselves running through the Middle Eastern equivalent of zombie land, its helpful when useful and familiar gymnastics equipment suddenly appears. Those flying feet of death need the force generated by gravity defying leg circles, moores, spindles, and flairs. How convenient then that our hero just so happened to find a pommel horse when the local crazies where closing in, or one half of the uneven bars randomly attached to a couple of walls.
The Princess of Parmistan is Jonathan’s love interest. It seems inevitable from the get-go that these two crazy kids ought to end up together, but there’s too many mullets, cheese, and political tension in the way. Somehow, with nary a word in the first act, Rubali, the princess, conveys her sexual tension by pulling knives on Jonathan fairly regularly. She wants him bad, but she’s not going to say that. He has to figure it out with wide-eyed stares and the occasional flicks of a switchblade. But she’s supposed to marry her dad’s right-hand man, because that what was in the script. Being the princess of her dad’s cheese empire means she has to do what he says, and dammit, he’s gonna make her marry that mullet-headed discount Chuck Norris whether she likes it or not.
The producers really wanted that effervescent know-it-all and badass of the universe Chuck Norris to play the bad guy, but as luck would have it he was too busy proving his immortality on the internet by pointing big guns at his own bad guys. So, instead of ‘Ol Chucky we get this guy:
Zamir somehow manages to be on the kahn’s (intentional misspelling) good side, and Rubali’s bad side, AT THE SAME TIME. It’s as if the sexual confusion of his wardrobe and hairstyle choices convey ambiguity, or something. Is he good? Is he bad? Who knows, or cares? Given the discounted nature of this fellow’s acting skills, we ninja feel he is rightly dubbed Nuck Chorris.
Thanks to the ninja boom of the 80’s they tend show up in every martial arts flick from that era. But one has to wonder what these guys were doing in Parmistan, and why they look the Foot Clan? Was it Nuck Chorris’ fault? Did he extend his confusion to his soldiers, or were they white belts undergoing a hazing by their seniors? It’s kinda hard to tell what’s really going on under their masks, but we’re thankful they were standing there with their flags, pointing the way for our hero.
When it comes to films, the goings on of Parmistan is a highly marked-down wheel of cheese. With the help of his metaphysically superhuman aptitude, and some depreciated citizens of the Cheese Cartel, this movie will drive you to drink, especially since this was apparently the point?
Ah, yes. That ol’ Zen koan (philosophical riddle)– What is the sound of one hand clapping? Is it something? Is it nothing? If a tree claps in the woods and know one hears it, did it HAPPEN?? What is the point this riddle anyway? As far as I’m concerned trying to figure this silliness out is:
But I digress.
“Clapping” is boring. Especially trying to clap with one hand. Isn’t that just finger tapping on your palm? I mean clapping is really just a precursor for hitting things anyway isn’t it? If you think about it, clapping is just slapping yourself. Don’t get me wrong, slaps aren’t a bad thing. Everybody needs a good slap now and again. Take this slap for instance:
But, don’t you think Batman would rather punch pretty boy Robin straight in the thinker rather than tickling his cheeks with a piddling excuse for a strike? I’d say slapping is kinda like the T-Ball of hitting, whereas punching, well that’s major league stuff. If nothing else, the movies (and some TV shows) have taught us that when all else fails, punch ’em fast, hard, and right between the eyes. But only once, and with one hand. Which brings me back around to our original question: What IS the sound of one hand punching?
One thing’s for certain, martial artists of ALL kinds enjoy hitting things. After all, the point of anything related to war, hence the term martial, involves striking and destroying other things, and sometimes other people. We train to hit fast, hard, and with precision. We spend literal HOURS throwing our fists, feet, legs, arms, tips of weapons, and sometimes heads at stuff…and ENJOY IT. We might walk away sore, covered in bruises, but we love it and find it fun. So of course, one of the greatest highlights in any movie involving fighting is the sound of punches being laid on a bad guy. In our collective fever dreams of greatness, we too want to look and sound as awesome as THAT hero on the screen as we knock them to kingdom on their assess.
With the certainty of victory, and an embellished soundtrack, I present you The SOUND of One Fist punching.
I’m Dai Senpai (大先輩 for the uninitiated dai senpai simply means Big Senior) now. I passed all tests required before shodan and now I’m in the hold-onto-your-gi-pants-cuz-its-getting-crazy-up-in-here pattern until February. What does being dai senpai get me? More responsibilities, like the kind where herding cats seems like a dream job. Seriously though, I’m doing my best to lead people into their best selves but sometimes the process moves like molasses, or is it mole asses? My friend texted me this morning and said they (her and her family) were moving like mole asses (Autocorrect? Or did she TYPE ass…hmmm…) trying to get out the door to the gym. And I’m like, how slow do mole asses move? She never answered. BUT, it’s an idea worth exploring, because LOOK AT THAT MOLE BUTT.
I’m getting my first tastes of teaching because I’m headed toward sensei territory and guess what, more responsibility awaits. I’m pretty sure my sensei is throwing me into the deep end of the instructor pool, but it’s kinda hard to tell what with these messy swim goggles and all that splashing I’m doing in my tiny, half-dead water wings. I mean, he’s the kind of guy who gives bruises for free then says “You’re welcome” when you complain about it, but I digress (Uh-oh, a song parody of Money for Nothing is lurching around in my brain. Maybe next blog post, heh heh). Figuring out my role, duties, and authority is going a lot like I imagine mole asses go when the front end is busy digging tunnels– a jarring, muddy ride full of long-dead bug carcasses pushing up daisies.
But it’s good for me, right? After all, the shortest path to trial-by-fire learning is paved on the road of the do-or-die method of teaching. Remarkably, here I stand in the center of the volcano, pretty sure my underpants are on fire and the pool noodle of justice is headed my way (No, we’re not THAT sadistic. We gently whack each other in the name of NOT making knuckle-headed moves), but feeling determined to give it my best, despite the rambunctious moles and their yucky ass-dragging-ness.
Truly, I appreciate flailing around in the dark like a blind guy at the disco, because getting my mole-asses butt headed in the right direction is bit like corralling bulls bent on shopping for china ware. Because I’m THICK-headed. Thick like the fur on a mole ass. I can be pretty slow on picking up details, clues, and the occasional direct command. Butt, I try, oh, how I try. I guess that’s what got me here in the first place. Being bullheaded has its place in the martial arts. Dogged determination to see the training through to the next level is what makes a decent person decent-er. Even if getting there flows like mole asses.
The desire to practice a martial art is a bit like a madness that takes over your entire being. Your soul starts to burn for more horse stance while your body and mind agree that that your soul needs a chill pill. However, not all the signs of this kind of lunacy are quite so obvious and one might wonder if they have taken the red pill, instead of the blue.