The Legendary Battle of Tokutawa Park

Dustin Burfiend

I concentrated on breathing. Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth. Calmness. That’s what I was striving for. My heart was racing, sweat was pouring out of my body, and my blood was dancing in my veins. I was overflowing with anticipation. Any fight entered into as a raging fire will be a fight you’ve already lost, a voice whispered in my head. Instead be a deep pool, calm without a ripple, an enigma to your opponents. And so, I drew in another breath.

I opened my eyes and took stock of my enemy. Chris was tall and lean muscled. He had a shock of blond hair and eyes the color of granite. As hard as granite, too. Both his arms were thrust forward in my direction. Each fist was wrapped around one end of his nunchaku, the chain held taunt between them. He often smiled like he knew some joke that the rest of the world wasn’t aware of and, true to form, his mouth was drawn up in a condescending smirk.

Chris suddenly burst into movement. His nunchaku blurred as he swung them in a complicated pattern. He snaked his nunchaku around his ribs and over his shoulders, switching hands in a show of ambidexterity. He ended his display with a fierce looking roundhouse kick and then drew up in a stance known as Heron Wading Through Thrushes. The stance involves standing on one leg, the other drawn up so the foot is about at waist level, one arm raised up into the air holding the nunchaku, while the other hand rests in front of the nose, pinky and ring fingers curled against the palm, first and middle finger pointing upwards. A difficult stance to be sure, but a master could hold it for several hours.

Fortunately, Chris was not a master. He was an arrogant fool. Displays like that never win a fight, and his stance was one that was meant for balance training, not for use in actual combat. My own stance was much more practical. A slight crouch, body turned at a slight angle so my left shoulder was closer to him than my right. One end of my nunchaku was clamped in my left armpit, while the other end was in the grasp of my left fist.

I chanced a furtive glance at the woman watching us. She was sitting up against a tree, gazing at me with those slightly tilted eyes that, when combined with her bold nose, gave her the visage of a falcon. Elke, my sweet Elke. This was all for her.

I noticed that Chris was starting to get a little red in the face. I knew he’d attack soon rather than risk the embarrassment of falling out of the stance, so I wasn’t surprised when he stepped forward and swung his nunchaku at me in an overhand arc. I sidestepped easily and whipped him across the chest with my own nunchaku.

He stumbled backwards and shot me a glare filled with hate. I settled back into a defensive stance instead of pressing my advantage. Despite his penchant for ostentatious displays, Chris was an excellent and dangerous martial artist, fully capable of making me pay for any rash actions.

Chris stalked towards me, this time much more cautious. His nunchaku licked out, probing for weaknesses, but I held my ground. We continued in this way, him instigating attacks that I would easily evade or block, but I could see Chris getting impatient. His attacks got faster. Faster and wilder. I waited for my chance.

It came in the form of a blistering Spinning Back Eel Snap. I dodged around it by a hair’s breadth and Chris stumbled forward. My nunchaku lashed out and caressed his ribs. This time I continued my attack and laid hit after hit on him. He tried to bring his nunchaku up in a counterattack, but I wouldn’t be denied. Soon he was down on his knees. I lifted my nunchaku to deliver the finishing blow. “Yield,” I said.

Chris glared up at me. He forced out the words. “I…yield.” I took my eyes off him to look at my princess. I was triumphant! Elke would be mine, now and forever. Then a nunchaku slapped me in the mouth.

Before I knew it, Chris was on me like a devil. His nunchaku was everywhere, striking my face, my arms, my legs. A blow to my wrist sent my own nunchaku flying. Again and again he hit me until our positions were reversed and I was the one on my knees. But there was no mercy for me. The moment I fell to the ground he launched into a vicious attack known as the Thousand Stings of a Hummingbird.

On my knees with blows raining down on me, I managed to lift my head and saw Elke staring at my plight with horror. I lowered my head. I had won the fight, but nobody except Chris and me knew it. He would be declared the victor. Elke belonged to him now. Tears stung my eyes. I had failed…

My hand clenched into a fist. No! There was no way I could let this beast of a man have his way with my Elke. My mind drifted back to my final lesson with my Master. I could see his gnarled hand stroking his long, silky white beard. Ferocious blue eyes blazing under his bushy eyebrows. “What,” he asked me, “do you do when you are completely at your enemy’s mercy? When there is no hope of escape, no hope of successful counterattack?”

Smugly, I answered, “There is never a situation where there is no hope.”

“Wrong!” my Master snapped. “Someday, sometime, you will find yourself in a situation that seems hopeless.”

Confused, I asked, “But then, Master, why are you telling me this?”

“Because, my son, if you are ever in that situation, there is one last move that you can try. The secret desperation move of this school. It’s never to be used in a tournament, and never against any but the merciless and the honorless. Only use it in the most dire, the most hopeless situations. Its name is the Goblin Punch!”

The Goblin Punch. The final move. To be used only in the most desperate of situations. My fist seemed to move of its own accord. Fast and furious it flew. I let a loud “WHA-TA!” as my fist hit its target.

Chris sank to his knees. “Dude,” he said, “you just punched me in the nuts.”

I blinked a couple times. “I’m…I’m sorry.”

He rolled to his side, clutching his wounded manhood. “Shit! What the fuck, man? How do you just punch a guy in his beanbag?”

“Well, to be fair, you did seem to be trying to beat me to death.”

“That’s no excuse! Ow! Jesus Christ!” I rolled my eyes. Chris could be such a drama queen.

Elke ran up to me and gave me a quick peck on the cheek. She looked down at Chris and asked, “Is he gonna be alright?”

“I think so. He just likes the attention.”

“Fuck you!”

Elke giggled. “You two are too funny.”

I jumped back and started twirling my nunchucks. “Did you see my moves out there? I was like HI-YAH and WHA-TA,” I said, showing her some pretty sweet moves.

“Just what the hell is going on here?” a voice behind me said. I turned around to see a policeman striding towards me. “Are those nunchucks? Just what the hell do you think you’re doing?”

I lifted up my nunchucks, confusion painting my features. “What? We’re just, y’know, playing around.”

The cop unfastened his holster and rested a hand on his gun. “Sir, I’m warning you, put down your weapon.”

I immediately dropped the nunchucks and put both hands in the air. Chris stood up, leaving his nunchucks on the ground, and Elke just stood there, looking as confused as I felt. The cop gestured towards a park bench. “Why don’t you kids take a seat while I explain just how dangerous these nunchucks are?”

We all walked over to the bench. Chris whispered, “Dude, what the fuck is going on?”

I shook my head. “I have no idea.”

We took our seats and the cop launched into a tirade. “Nunchucks are no joke, son. I tell you what. These bad boys are completely illegal. Colorado Criminal Code section eighteen dash twelve dash one oh two: possession of a deadly weapon. Possession of nunchucks is a class five felony. Same as possession a switchblade, brass knuckles, or a blackjack.”

Chris pointed at his nunchucks. “But those aren’t even real nunchucks. They’re like foam or something. Look at them! They’re red! The chain is fucking plastic.”

“So what?” the police officer spat. “If a gun is plastic does that make it any less dangerous?”

Chris’ head snapped back as if from a physical blow. “Yes! Of course it does!”

The police officer hesitated. “Wait. That wasn’t a good example. If, hmm, if a knife is…no, that doesn’t work. If a…wait. If…no, wait.”

Chris looked over at me, eyes wide, furious and questioning. I just shrugged my shoulders and shook my head. I could see Elke hiding a smile behind her hand.

“It doesn’t matter,” the cop finally said. “What matters is that these are illegal, so I’m going to have to confiscate them.”

“Whatever,” Chris muttered. I shot him a look. The last thing we needed was to piss off this cop.

The police officer gathered up our nunchucks and turned back to us. “Now, I’m gonna let you boys off with a warning, but I don’t ever want to see you ‘playing’ with weapons again.”

Once he was gone, Chris jumped up and punched the air. “Man, what a jackass. I can’t believe he took our ‘chucks.”

I stretched as I stood up and said, “Well, let’s go back to my place, I guess.”

“Not so fast, you nut-punching asshole. We still haven’t decided things.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Well our nunchucks are gone now, so what do you propose we do?”

Elke sighed. “Can’t you two do this later? I’m pretty sick of watching you guys beat the hell out of each other.”

“No way,” Chris said, “we’re men. Therefore, we must fight.”

Elke looked at me skeptically, but I nodded my head gravely. Chris kicked a stick up at me and I caught it with one hand. It was long and slender. The stick Chris picked up, on the other hand, was short, with a great knot at the end of it. “Now, you testicle slapping wench, I’m going to get medieval all up on your ass.”

“What?”

“Let’s fight!” Chris stepped forward. He was a fearsome sight. His black plate armor seemed to drink in the sunlight. His eyes peeked out from under the snarling dragon that was his helm. A brutal looking maul was dangling from his grasp.

I stepped forward to meet him, a hundred pounds of tempered steel clanking as I moved. My own armor was gleaming silver topped by a grim-looking wolf’s head helm. In my right hand I carried a double-edged bastard sword. A hand and a halfer. Longer than a regular sword but not quite a broadsword.

When I reached him I swung my sword in a wicked arc in front of me. The winner of this tourney would be granted the hand of the fair maiden Elke. Only one opponent stood between her and me: the Black Knight, Sir Chris.

The cagey knight ducked under my attack and dealt me a surprisingly painful blow to the ribs. I stepped back and raised my sword above my head for another attack. Chris danced back and brought his maul up to guard. Before I could attack, however, a voice behind me shouted. “Freeze! Show me those hands!”


About the Author

Dustin Burfiend is currently an undergraduate at the University of Colorado. In his spare time he likes to read, write, and play video games. He also currently blogs about hockey at milehighhockey.com.