Click to Subscribe
▶  More from Modern Combat The Man Cave
Grunting Gift
Meeting an Ascendant Man

I was solo training at Jim Frederick’s Kenpo Karate in Towson, Maryland in winter of 2013.

I noticed that Gabriel had this muscular, copper-skinned black guy in his prime, early 30s, who he was training with a tone of vociferous disapproval, yelling at him over and over again to hit harder, frustrated with the man’s reserve and lack of killer instinct.

Finally Gabriel, without checking with me if I was prepared to take on a fighter—let alone one who was not mentally ready to hurt someone—walked over to me holding this muscle man by the elbow and says, “Sifu James, this is Enrique [his name is Erique, but we still can’t convince Gabriel that he’s not a fellow Latino]. Enrique is having difficulty striking for effect. This is unacceptable. You are what he needs. You will make a killer out of him and then I’ll polish him.”

He then looked to Erique and literally handed him to me. Erique worriedly stepped forward with a concerned scowl and said to Gabriel, “So you want me to work with James now?

Gabriel answered, “When he is done with you, I’ll take you back.”

He then walked off and Erique turned to me with a startled grin, “Have I just been sold to The Man by a Puerto Rican?”

I looked at him, shrugged and said, “It’s more in the spirit of a loan. No cash changes hands between us—kind of like letting your neighbor use your lawnmower under the condition that he sharpens the blade and fills the gas tank.”

Erique’s face then split into a wide grin and he said, “It makes no difference—I’m property one way of the other!”

I comforted him with wide spread hands and a fatalistic nod, “In the combat arts we pride ourselves in the preservation of ancient tradition. Gladiators were all owned.”

Erique responded, “In that case, let’s get to it.”

Many misadventures later, Erique and I are sparring every week, sometimes twice or thrice, in the endless quest to be more than society allows and less than it will tolerate.

Masculine Axis: A Meditation on Manhood and Heroism

Add Comment