I Know Kung Fu

I Know Kung Fu
Legend of the Drunken Mashter

Brendan Main | 23 Mar 2010 12:31
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Something had to be done. I started cursing my controller under my breath, but was reminded about rule number three. I started openly wondering if I didn't deserve a handicap after all, and was reminded of rule number one. Halfway through one humiliating pounding, I flat out decided to walk away while the match was still going to see about snagging a beer from the kitchen, to see if my Drunken Fist would be complemented with some actual booze. But there wasn't a drop to drink, save some ancient soda pop lurking in the back of the fridge. Things were grim... my kung-fu was being utterly destroyed, and I was pretty sure there was no such thing as Fresca Fist. This was worse than that time, all those years ago, when I struck out in Tee Ball.

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But there was one more game in the stack - a yellowing old copy of Karate Champ for the original Nintendo. Voices were raised in protest.

"That's karate, not kung-ku. They're different."

I gave it some thought. "I changed my mind. They're both awesome, so they're pretty much the same. And they both have ninja chops, right?

"No. Ninjas have ninja chops. Karate has karate chops."

After a heated argument about which kind of chops reigned supreme, we decided to blow the dust off the cartridge and give it a try. Karate Champ was one of the first fighting games, released in arcades in 1984. And it's bad - gloriously, wonderfully bad. Half the buttons have you attacking in the opposite direction of your opponent. We would stand there, backs to each other, kicking and punching the air like cretins. Maybe you'd take your opponent down, and then immediately a bonus round would kick in, pelting you with flower pots and debris, killing you instantly. Struggle as they could, after honing their skills on newer, better games, no one could make heads or tails of it ... except my Drunken Fist, which became unstoppable.

Mashing randomly, I watched as I kicked, punched and chopped my opponents into oblivion. I had finally found a game as bad as me - a game that, for all purposes, seemed to punish strategy and reward chaos. It was a moment of perfect Zen. As I mowed down all of my opponents, I caught myself humming a few bars of music over and over: the song played during the montage at the All-Valley Karate Championships in Karate Kid. I was the best around. Nothing's gonna ever keep me down.

I am Karate Champ.

Brendan Main hails from the frosty reaches of Canada, where they don't have "Fight Club," but they do have "Polite Club." He hones his unstoppable blogging techniques at www.kingandrook.com

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