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The Kaaawa Chronicles – Prologue

December 8, 2009

My life has been filled with wonderful friendships, adventures and mishaps – all thanks to my love for the martial arts.

These are the stories and experiences that shaped me into the person I am today – especially in my training – observant, crazy, and, above all, lots of fun.

To bide the time until I can share insights I’ve discovered while sparring and training about my jiu-jitsu, here they are: the Kaaawa Chronicles.

I’m 21 years old. My current interests are comic books, drawing comic books and Magic the Gathering. I weigh barely over 100 pounds. I never do anything exciting; the most thrilling thing I’ll do to get the heart pumping is read a fight between the JLA (you know, the superhero team with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman within their roster) and an alien invasion or play in a Magic card game tournament. Ha. Funny, looking back at that.

Wait, I lie. At 21 I have an ’88 Kawasaki Ninja 600R motorcycle and regularly go on speed rides with friends, but that’s a completely different story…

Where am I? Oh, yes. I’m 21, sitting in my car. I’m looking at a warning sign. It says:

“Trespassers will be shot”

It’s not the sign that gives me pause. Not the bullet holes in the sign. Nor the hand painted sign below it stating, “Survivors will be shot again.”

No. I’m recalling the invitation from Sam. That’s giving me pause.

“Yeah, come up on Saturday, we’ll talk about publishing comics yourself. There’ll be a BBQ too so bring your appetite. Oh, and if you see someone with a shotgun, stop the car and tell them I sent you.”

Wait. What? There’s a shotgun?

I see the sign. My palms sweat more than usual.

I drive up the hill from the sign leading up to a trio of homes, the last one being the house I plan on meeting Sam and doing my best to avoid getting shot at. That’s one of the reasons why I’m driving slowly up the hill. Unfortunately, my car is a black ’84 300ZX with a modified (read: loud) exhaust – it automatically draws attention. I also drive slowly because the hill is embedded with large rocks and huge potholes. So much for trying to ninja my way up the hill.

To clarify: unknown sleek sports car slowly creeping up the hill doing its best to avoid the rocks, potholes and suspicion – doing a horrible job of preventing any of them.

I park the Z and Sam greets me. The most trouble I get for “trespassing” is a few curious looks from those I have yet to meet, thank goodness. Then again, a painfully thin comic book geek hardly poses much of a threat to anyone.

I meet Mrs. C, Shelly, Shawn, Akoni and Jason for the first time. Andre for the second time and before he’s completely in his “go ahead, attack me” state. Sam and I have known each other for only a short time yet we behave as though we’ve had the benefit of time seasoning our get togethers.

My original intent for meeting Sam and risk bodily harm is to discuss comics, of course. More towards the self-publishing area of the subject – Sam and I are successful self-publishers, Sam has several issues of his comic in print to my lone issue (we also published online issues) along with tons of merchandising – rather than having a “who’d win in a fight Wonder Woman or Invisible Woman?” conversation, something which I’d have far too much of with other comic book friends. Instead of that, I get a wonderful BBQ meal, listen to stories of misadventures of friends I have yet to make and immediately become part of the family.

Throughout the entire meal something catches my eye, but I pay no attention to it. Not until the meal delightfully disappears and gaps in the converstions grow wide enough to realize that the radio is on, playing background music from Hawaiian KINE 105.1 fm, that I make my move.

I walk over to the part of the garage I will get to know intimately well. It’s a storage area fit with training equipment. Stopwatches hang from nails in the wood support beams. A well-used dumbbell set leans against the gray brick wall in the rear. Two old rusted spring chest expanders lay nearby. Three sandbags hang close by and a stationary bike completes the set.

I head straight for the duct tape sandbag.

“Don’t punch that one, you’ll break your hand. We use that one for kicking.”

I gently put my fist to the bag. It’s rock hard.

“Try the one behind you.”

Looking at the bag behind me I notice its larger size. It’s not new but definitely more intimidating. Black with red lacing, it wears the word “Everlast” proudly. My fist touches the bag. This one gives more. Come on, you can hit me, I can take it. I smile and look back at my new friends.

“You can punch it harder. Don’t hurt yourself though.”

I smile again and mimic a boxer’s pose. I imagine a ring around me and the black Everlast bag my opponent. My fist flies and makes contact.

THWACK! The sound comes crisp and sharp.

I look over at everyone. Their eyebrows rise up and mischievous looks adorn their faces.

“Think you can do that for one minute?”

A minute. Sounds easy.

Sam walks over and picks up a stopwatch. He sets it for one minute, gives me a nod and hits the start button as soon as I land my first punch. I start off okay, then my energy drains out of me. I signal to Sam to which he replies that it’s only been ten seconds. Ten seconds?! My arms burn, it feels like I’m swimming through mud, and my snaps on the bag have become slush.

My hands drop.

“Keep your hands up, Patrick! Keep going! Hit that sucka! Yeah!” They know me for barely a day and they cheer for me as one of their own.

For someone who has never hit a punch bag to do so for one minute is an immensely tiring activity. Fatigue sets in very quickly. And to think professional boxers punch with 16oz gloves on – and more importantly receive punches – for three minutes each round, a ten round fight is equal to 30 minutes of punching.

Here I am, 30 seconds of punching, and I’m ready to call it quits.

I can feel my heart pounding in my chest. I’m blacking out, wheezing, gasping for air. I’m throwing puppy punches at the bag when…

“TIME!”

I stop and cheers erupt. Sam slaps me on the back. Andre shakes my hand. Shawn, Jason and Akoni give me high fives and appluase. I just want to sit down.

Andre asks Sam: “What do you think?”

Sam answers: “Not bad, sounds promising. Looks like he hits hard.”

I don’t say anything but I’m sure my face says it for me. “Huh?”

Sam makes it clear. “Wanna train with us next time?”

I take several deep breaths and wonder if I’ll need a shot of my asthma spray, but eventually I answer the question not knowing how deeply it’ll affect my life.

“OK, sure.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 10, 2009 4:26 am

    So you’re saying… you’re a geek?
    Nice post 😉

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