I’m the Ranger in a party of newbies with an experienced DM. The other day, our Rogue tried to pick a fight with a monk. We told him it wasn’t a good idea, but he’s quite stupid (he has low intelligence). Anyway, the monk sucker punched him, almost killing him.
Rogue: *teletransports behind a tree* DM: The monk already figured out what kind of man your are, and shouts loudly “MARCO!” Party: …oh, shit DM: Roll Intelligence. Rogue: *rolls 3* Dammit… POLO!!!!! Party: FUCK. Sorceress: WAIT, I scream “polo” too! *rolls 16* Paladin: Me too! *rolls 13* Ranger (Me):Oh, fuck you. I scream too. *rolls 7* DM: The ranger softly says “polo”, but all the screaming was enough to confuse the monk. He thinks you are all stupid, but he stops looking for the monk.
Context: Playing a Homebrew campaign and my Elf Ranger, along with a Half-Elf Paladin, Gnome Druid, and Human Monk are fighting against our first BBEG, but we’re getting our asses beat and running out of ideas on how to outsmart his moves.
Monk OOC: “Can I like? Throw my old quarter-staff at him?”
DM: *Sighs* “No, you can’t throw it at him..”
Me & Two Other Players In OOC: *Collectively groan*
DM: “Okay, okay, fine. You can throw it at him but you have to roll a crit to successfully hit.”
Monk: *Rolls a natural 20*
DM: *Has this ‘are you real bro’ look on his face* “Ok fine now you get to roll two d-6 for damage times 2..”
Monk: *Rolls two 6’s on two d-6*
DM: “God damn it- How do I..” *Sighs* “The Monk, with a mighty heave of his arm, sends his old quarter-staff violently flying through the air. The entire party, watches in awe as some-fucking-how, the staff manages to maneuver forty feet and smashes against the side of the prophet’s head. A loud thunk fills the air before the prophet falls over, groaning for a moment before he slowly gets back to a stand. Enraged, he snatches the quarter-staff that was thrown at him off the floor and firmly clutches it in his hand.”
Monk OOC: “Oh god, he’s not gonna throw it back at me, is he?”
Saint Raymond of Fitero (Spanish: San Raimundo de Fitero) (*? - 1163) was a fighting monk,abbot, and founder of the Military Order of Calatrava which played a crucial role in the Spanish Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula against the Muslim Moors.
a zutara parallel i rarely see discussed is that, at the beginning of the series, neither zuko nor katara are skilled in their elements; katara can’t even catch a fish, while iroh is still teaching zuko the basics. but by the end of the series, they are both esteemed masters in their own right through tumultuous work and perseverance
Mary Shelley: Are you Harriet Westbrook? If so, consider fighting Percy instead. If not, why on Earth would you want to fight Mary Shelley?
Bram Stoker: Go for it; the guy was sickly all his life. Just try not to catch his latest batch of terminal illnesses.
Edgar Allan Poe: Like Bram Stoker, but really sad. Don’t fight Poe.
Matthew “Monk” Lewis: You’ll have a fun time fighting Matthew Lewis, whether you win or not. Watch out, though- he fights dirty.
Oscar Wilde: You think you can take Wilde? Really? I mean, I know pop culture thinks of him as silly and frilly, but he was also 6′3″ and Irish. You cannot take Oscar Wilde.
The Marquis de Sade: Win or lose, there is no possible end to this fight that does not leave you feeling gross.
John Polidori: Absolutely fight Polidori. If only his little half-assed attempt at a mustache were longer, you could pull on it!
Henry James: First, decide whether you believe he was sympathetic to the plight of women or revelled in depicting their downfall. Then bypass Henry James entirely in favor of fighting one academic side or the other.
Ambrose Bierce: I cannot emphasize enough how much you cannot beat Ambrose Bierce. This man ended his life by riding off to join Pancho Villa’s army, and some scholars believe he was murdered for sassing his host. Unless you are Pancho Villa, don’t fight Ambrose Bierce.
M.R. James: You could beat James up, but then Christopher Lee would beat you up. Choose wisely.
Charles Dickens: He’ll be the one to fight you, for calling him a gothic horror writer in the first place. And while I have no proof of it, I am convinced Dickens has killed men before for such insults.
Sheridan Le Fanu: On the one hand, I feel bad advising anyone to fight a man who campaigned to get the British government to do something about the Irish famine. On the other hand, those muttonchops were meant for grabbing.
H.P. Lovecraft: You’ll win, but you won’t enjoy it. There’s no fun in kicking a man who’s already down.
So I’ve seen a lot of dystopian stories with “Everyone in the world except a few off the grid people get technology permanently embedded in them and then the world goes to hell” and like that’s cool and all, but there’s no way everyone would do that. Amish people wouldn’t. People in the orthodox Jewish community wouldn’t cause you can’t use tech on shabbos. I bet most Buddhist monks wouldn’t. Pretty much every religion has a group that can’t have 24/7 use of technology for one reason or another.
What I’m saying is dystopian worlds need much fewer motorcycle gangs and much more roaming bands of monks fighting zombies.
I’d like to say something about it, because she has been very helpful to me in a way it is difficult to explain and I want to represent her as she has done me.
The book is a lovely teenage romance and a story of coming out, but not in the way you would expect. “Cinderella Boy” is more than the fairytale. It is a strategic map for withstanding the kind of hatred and institutionalized homophobia that exists in this country. The running theme within it is that of marksmanship and Sun Tsu’s Art of War. It is an emotional love story, with a spine, to me reading like a John Hughes movie put on by a cast of fighting Monks, who sometimes prefer wearing taffeta.
If you identify as non-binary, gender fluid, transgendered, agendered, or androgynous, I recommend it to you. If you were bullied as a child for your sexuality or gender identity, I recommend it. If you need something to give you a hopeful slap on the back, I recommend it.
Please do go to the Tapas app and see about reading Cinderella Boy by Kristina Meister
[The Shaolin Monks] pursue spiritual peace through mastery of bare-fisted murder. – The Simpsons, 16x12 “Goo Goo Gai Pan”
To fightis a concept with which every person on the planet is familiar. From the impoverished bowels of third-world countries to the highest echelon of wealthy societies, fighting can almost be heralded as the true universal language. People fight for what they love, against what they hate, for change, for honor, for glory, for money, to stave boredom, to get fit. Every day, wars are waged against both mental and physical obstacles to success. The most personally successful individuals are the ones who brave adversity and courageously do battle with what threatens to block or distract them from their goals.
Challenging someone to a duel is not a foreign concept in the Western world, but conditions had to be met before making such a challenge was considered socially acceptable. Bound by a set of societal mores (the essential or characteristic customs and conventions of a community, by the dictionary definition), duels were usually made over questions of personal honor. At least superficially, the point of the duel (whether it be carried out with swords, guns, or mano-a-mano) was for each participant to demonstrate a willingness to lay their life on the line for the restoration of honor, either to themselves, their families, or some entity they represented.
In the Chinese culture (the birthplace of kung fu and by proxy many hundreds of styles of martial arts), such a challenge is called gong sau, or “speak hand.” Plainly, it is a challenge made by one individual to another to test the skills of that individual’s school or style. It was often enacted in private and under relatively civilized conditions. Bruce Lee himself notably engaged in such a fight with the still-living Wong Jack Man at Lee’s school nine years before Lee’s untimely death. The fight was unrecorded and, following tradition, held in near-complete privacy. Performed in good faith, gong sau is meant to enhance a student’s knowledge base and physical versatility, not to harm or disgrace the opponent. These days, many reputable kung fu schools will actually have written policies either barring their students from challenging other schools for the sake of martial morality or greatly restricting the circumstances under which a challenge can occur. Martial arts is a business, and while injuries are common, injuries acquired by way of an outside challenge can potentially irreparably damage a school’s reputation.
So what if the challenger wishes to challenge a member of his own school? Then it is not a question of style or the skill of instruction, but of skill. When does a match between fellow students cross the line of propriety?
Martial artists live by a code set forth by their masters and the school they are trained in. In a traditional martial art like Shaolin kung fu, the mind is trained as much as the body, and attitude is tantamount to effective absorption not only of the physical material, but of the headspace critical to becoming a respected member of the school community. Those students who embody every aspect of wu de (”martial morality”) are seen as pillars of the microcosmic society that is the kung fu school. Martial arts is indeed a sub-culture of the world-at-large, operating with its own norms, rules, traditions, and mores. There is a way a martial artist is expected to behave here, and while new students typically pick it up by power of observation, elder students have been known to correct them verbally when breaches of conduct are observed. It is the duty of higher-ranking belts to do just that, politely but firmly, to school them into the appropriate role of respectful, passionate student.
Enter the Tiger.
Tiger is the youngest third-degree black belt in the school, a few years my junior but two full ranks (and many chambers) my senior. I do not know the exact timeline or details of his martial arts history, but he began his kung fu training a few years ago as a child, and earned his black belt in Taekwondo before that. He is a champion wrestler and world-champion kung fu competitor numerous times over, cross-trains in groundfighting arts, and is a highly skilled sparring partner. His athletic abilities alone make him somewhat of a marvel to newer and seasoned students alike, martial skill aside. But what makes Tiger truly admirable is his humility, coolheadedness, and unwavering willingness to help any student who asks for it. About martial etiquette he maintains and encourages a historically “traditional” frame of thinking and it comes across very obviously in the way he shows deference to other instructors, treats his students, and handles conflict. Though quite serious when it comes to matters of martial propriety, Tiger is fun-loving, amicable, and always game for a round of sparring. The rest of us students love the uncommon occasions Tiger is able to break away from his personal commitments and come train for the simple reason that he is fun to watch and his great attitude makes him a highly respected, but highly accessible role model. I know of no one who has ventured to disrespect him. In fact, I know of no one who is not completely awestruck at him.
So when, one evening, a white belt walked up to Tiger and challenged him to a fight, I imagine even Tiger was himself was somewhat taken aback.
Enter the White Belt.
He’s a young man around Tiger’s age, give or take a couple years, with short, curly hair and big, shiny glasses. So fresh to the kwoon his perfectly black uniform still gleams under the fluorescent lights, he approaches Tiger and personally challenges him to a fight.
I was not present at the time, engaged in a class that was simultaneously occurring. The school was crowded with students that day, and once class ended at 7:30 that evening those who had attended flooded to the back of the school, on their way to locker rooms or the carpet to stretch. As I walked by, equally purposed, I saw Tiger kneeling on the floor, the white belt’s head between his legs, the rest of him all but immobilized as he struggled to buck Tiger off. Tiger, of course, looked as calm and collected as ever, if not slightly irked. Having no picture of what was occurring, as I had just entered the situation, I only got the impression that this wasn’t a usual sparring match.
Fascinated, I reached out to Tiger after the fervor had died down to try and figure out what had happened.
Goat (me): He challenged you?
Tiger: Yes, he did. The issue I had with him was that I specifically told him there was a difference between sparring and challenging someone. I made it clear that if he wanted to spar I would… make it a learning experience. But if he’s asking for a challenge, it’s completely different.
In a martial arts community, I agree wholeheartedly: vernacular is important. Challenging someone seems to imply that the challenger wishes to do the other person some degree of harm to prove a point, barring defense of honor, which was not the context here.
Tiger: I told him that it was inappropriate for him to actually challenge someone at the school, especially at his rank and lack of skill. Said that at this point, he should be seeking help and guidance rather than walking around challenging black belts.
Which is apparently exactly what the young man had been doing. Prior to making his fatal mistake with Tiger, he challenged Monkey, Horse, and a handful of other notable students. With no previous martial arts training except for some summers spent with a grandfather who was apparently proficient in some form of Aikido, he really never stood a chance.
Goat: Challenging someone to get better sounds exactly like some old-fashioned school-of-hard-knocks bullshit instilled by an overbearing (or at least misguided) father figure.
Monkey, Dragon, and I got on the subject of the challenge while hanging out at home a few nights later. It was then I first found out the white belt had been challenging other black belts; Monkey revealed he’d been issued (and accepted) a similar challenge, as had Horse. Monkey, naturally, prevailed in the match. I was surprised to hear that after losing to two successive second-degree black belts the young man would bother trying to win against a third-degree, but then, a lack of logic had already proven a recurring theme. Dragon, interestingly, had not been challenged, and expressed rhetorical curiosity as to why. To me, it was glaringly obvious: either he hadn’t gotten around to it, or (more likely), the student was shying from Dragon because, well, Dragon’s a big, scary-looking motherfucker. Tiger and Horse are both of average height and relatively unassuming standing a crowd of students. Monkey is tall but thin. I speculated that the white belt had shown at least some intelligence picking opponents with a body type most similar to his own. Tiger, Horse, and Monkey may have all presented the illusion of being equally manageable.
When I had the chance to introduce myself to the young man (I try to do this with all new students), he told me that Tiger reminded him of his grandfather, who was a “fighter,” but seemed hesitant to share more with me, perhaps still shamed from his encounter with the black belt. Still, he kept a smile on his face when I asked him if he’d learned anything, replying yes, I got a lesson in vernacular.Before taking my leave, I asked him if he was still on his quest to challenge black belts to fights and he shook his head abashedly.
Tiger’s account describes giving the kid a chance to rescind, or at least to re-consider what exactly he was asking for. As always, Tiger extended the offer to spar, to help coach the young man about technique while in a practice hand-to-hand scenario, but the white belt was relentless, insisting on a “challenge.” With his great reverence for martial etiquette at the helm, as well as the honor of the school in his hands, Tiger acted in defense of both and allowed the engagement. It didn’t last long, and while Tiger was not cruel, hurtful, or punitive, he did not show mercy with his technique nor offered any of the usual encouragement or helpful criticism that a student would be blessed to receive from him in the course of a training match.
Tiger: A challenge is a questioning. It questions my rank, my skill, my training and, most of all, my teachers. As a direct representative of their teachers, a martial artist can not take a challenge lying down. Some people might see that as an old-school mentality (the entire idea of someone challenging a martial artist is, by itself, pretty old-school), but I take it very seriously.
(Tiger, center, earning his third-degree sash last year.)
In researching modern opinions on gong sau (though this incident doesn’t completely align with the definition) I came across numerous opinions about the subject. Perhaps common-sensically, many martial artists advise against it unless certain criteria are met and rules set in place governing the fight. The best advice I read was simply this: just don’t go looking for a fight, because eventually you will find one and it will not end well. Moreover, it seems to me that if one’s mindset is so narrow and linear that it drives an individual to believing the best way to achieve the goal of becoming a great fighter is to continually challenge fighters of much higher skill, that student would be more suited to a Muay Thai or boxing gym than a kung fu school.
“The most dangerous time for any student of any discipline is when the student is at a point where ambition outreaches skill. This will serve to keep the student training, but can result in some harsh lessons.” - anonymous
Needless to say, I’m keeping an interested eye on the white belt’s development.
Winter holidays were great since we got a chance to play all the video games we missed out on! And frankly, we’re suckers for some good old stuff and resident evil 4 turned out being one of the neatest games ever! Like, so neat, we played it twice!
And maybe half the credit should be given to Leon because I’ve never seen a boy so pretty, fighting off plagued monks and running away from huge stones. 10/10, guys, 10/10.