Essential New Word of the Week: moonhut (definition hint: cyclical)

Traditionally, the new year is a time to make resolutions. In other words, weak-willed individuals decide that their drinking, smoking, or nymphomaniac behavior will be more easily remedied in 2006 than in 2005. Some resolutions are noble, but most are unrealistic. I, for example, will likely continue my hard-drinking, chain-smoking, seal-clubbing ways, but I do vow to become the Ultimate Fighting Champion.

Becoming the Ultimate Fighting Champion may sound like an ambitious goal coming from an out-of-shape, largely uncoordinated individual such as myself. But just the other day, I saw a motivational poster in which a kitten hanging from a branch assured me that anything was possible, if I hang in there. And adorable kittens never lie.

If you’ve never seen the UFC, then you don’t know what you’re missing. The sport itself is called “mixed martial arts,” and if you’ve ever seen the movie Bloodsport, you’ll know that when martial arts mix, some sumo guy is going to have Jean-Claude Van Damme’s fist buried in his crotch. I think I learned everything I ever need to know from this movie. It has a sassy female reporter, Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds, and lots and lots of JCVD doing the splits. As for the fighting, the best thing I learned is that there are no rules. Sure, there’s a referee, but he’s only there to express shock and disapproval whenever the bad guy kills someone in the ring. I don’t know if that’s allowed in today’s competitive environment, but it never hurts to be prepared.

“I wasn’t particularly strong or anything, but I was kind of spaz. That was detrimental for things like tetherball and talking to girls, but in a fight, it was a noticeable advantage.”

To survive as an Ultimate Fighter, I’ll have to turn my hands and feet into deadly weapons. No other form of self-defense can help me. Pepper spray has a better chance of making my burrito delicious than taking down Ken Shamrock. And Tito Ortiz is almost sure to dodge any laser-based attacks I might mount. So, it’s time to take stock of my record as an amateur fighter and see where I need to improve.

Growing up, I was trained in grappling by my older brother. By “trained,” I mean him kicking the shit out of me, and by “grappling,” I mean on a regular basis. As a fan of pro-wrestling, my dear brother would pummel me in countless different ways, but at least it was not without a sense of theatrical flair. I may have received a bruised spine, but I was the only kid on my block who had his own theme music.

Since my brother was so much bigger than me, I soon learned the value of fighting dirty. Now, I couldn’t reach his eyes to poke them, I didn’t know enough about human physiology to go for the kidneys, and to this day I remain reluctant to make any kind of contact with any of my relatives’ groins. So when I say “fighting dirty,” I’m really talking about faking injuries and squealing. I don’t think it was ever his intention to really hurt me, so faking a broken finger or a detached retina was usually a good way to buy enough time to make my escape. This skill could prove valuable in my quest to become the Ultimate Fighting Champion. Referees will usually step in if one guy looks like he’s sustained serious injury. Of course, that would mean that I’ve lost the battle, but not necessarily the war, which is where squealing comes in.

Squealing was the most powerful weapon I had in my arsenal. If I told my parents my brother was beating me up, he’d get in trouble. This didn’t hurt him in a physical sense, but revenge still felt good. Now, I doubt your average cage fighter’s mother will be inclined to hear me out, or even be in a position to suspend her son’s privileges, which is why I’ll have to rely on the grown-up version of squealing: litigation. If a referee does stop my fight prematurely, I’ll call in my lawyers, and maybe get the whole decision overturned. I may never be able to kick a guy in the neck, but I guarantee you I’ll have the best damn lawyers in the world all over him.

In spite of the beatings I took at home, I represented myself far better on the schoolyard. I was kind of a loner, and I never looked for a fight, but there were a few times I had to defend my young honor. One time an Indian kid pushed me into the snow from behind, and I got up and punched him so hard that his eye kind of turned upside-down. That was cool. I literally rearranged someone’s face. Thank god this was many years ago; today, that sort of thing would be a hate crime.

Another time, I managed to throw a guy to the ground and stomp him a dozen times or so, even after he pushed my head into a concrete wall. I wasn’t particularly strong or anything, but I was kind of spaz. That was detrimental when it came to things like tetherball and talking to girls, but in a fight, it was a noticeable advantage. Like some kind of mythological creature, I could strike with all my limbs from directions no one expected. Also, I would tend to hiss and spit a lot, adding to the whole “mythological creature” metaphor.

Of course, when high school rolled around, the schoolyard fights ended and video game fights began. For what it’s worth, I could usually kick ass at Street Fighter. You remember Street Fighter, right? It’s the worst ever video-game-turned-movie, and if you’re at all familiar with that genre, you know how malicious it is to make such a claim. In any case, unless my future Ultimate Fighting opponents can discharge sonic blasts from their arms, or electrify their hairy green Brazilian bodies, I don’t think this will really help when it comes time to enter the octagon.

I started to receive some real training when I lived in Japan. Hell, karate is a way of life over there. I couldn’t go two minutes without some wizened old guy trying to teach me to catch flies with chopsticks or something. But two experiences really stand out. I took a Shorinji Kempo class taught by my town’s chief of police. There, I learned all kinds of crazy throws, punches, and pressure points. Oh, did I forget to mention it was a class for children? Well, since I was learning through a language barrier, everyone thought it best if I attended the most basic class. For practical purposes, this meant that I had to spar against, and I shit you not, 11-year-old girls. I’m telling you, you don’t know the meaning of “moral dilemma” until you have the police chief screaming at you to punch a little girl in the face. I don’t know if Ultimate Fighters can be bribed with Hello Kitty merchandise, but it has to be worth a shot.

Occasionally, some ancient cadre of Shorinji elders was brought in to test our progress, and even though they looked pretty fragile, they knew their stuff. They could grab my arms, throw me to the ground, and choke me out long before I could figure out the Japanese word for “surrender,” which I later found does not exist. And make no mistake, they loved torturing the big, smelly, hairy gaijin. To these old-timers, I imagine my body represented a chance for revenge for the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima. I brought them all some maple syrup in the hopes that they would realize I’m Canadian and go easier on me, but no such luck.

Another notable thing about Shorinji Kempo was that its logo was, for some reason, a swastika. A great big old honking swastika. It seems pretty unlikely that my Japanese hosts were white supremacists, so I chose to believe that the symbol had been in use before Hitler came to power, and they steadfastly refused to change it. That’s all well and good, but it didn’t help me explain the patch on my uniform to the nice security officer who checked my luggage when I came back home.

The other valuable experience I alluded to is sumo. I happened to live in a city that was close to one of Japan’s traditional arenas, where I was fortunate enough to see an event and briefly meet Musashimaru, which is Japanese for “enormous man-boobs.” We drank some tea, and he was kind enough not to body slam me into a crater. Needless to say, he was an impressive individual. But never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever get a chance to enter his arena. How wrong I was.

You see, this arena I lived near was part of a shrine, and one of their yearly activities was an amateur sumo event that was open to all, even foreigners. My buddies and I were fairly big guys, so we decided to go for it. I heroically managed to miss every single training session, so when the big day arrived, I was not exactly confident. Of course, this lack of confidence might have been caused by the fact that I was wearing only a mawashi, or as it’s commonly known, a sumo-diaper.

If you’ve ever stood completely naked in a damn parking lot on a cold February morning, and you have to hold your penis to one side while a gap-toothed old man puts you in a diaper, and girls are giggling at you as they pass by, well then, you’ll know how I felt on that day. Pervert. But even though it was thoroughly humiliating, it was also valuable. If the UFC allows me to compete in my traditional mawashi, then I know the sight of my pasty, hairy buttocks might scare my opponents into submission. Maybe I won’t do such a thorough job of wiping in the days leading up to my match. Then, at the very least, they’ll be reluctant to touch me, which is really all I can hope for.

As for my sumo matches themselves, I was quite pleased with the turnout. My first match was a long, competitive struggle that I feel I could have won had I not accidentally stepped out of bounds. My second match was against a really short but fat guy who clobbered me over the head and left me dazed. My third match was against another Canadian guy named David, by coincidence. He was quite a bit older, and a whole lot bigger than I was, in spite of my beer-and-potato-chip regimen. Seriously this dude had arms that resembled legs, and legs that resembled really huge legs. I went for his knee, but he sent me sprawling.

My final match however, was a thing of beauty. I did my best to look intimidating as I got into the ready position. He was about my size, but I could see fear in his eyes. It was a moment of mutual disdain, like Clubber Lang saying “dead meat” to Rocky. The ref started us. He flew at me like a man possessed, but I caught my arm under his arm, and I was able spin and use his own momentum to throw his ass out of the ring. He landed pretty far away too.

That’s the kind of skill that the UFC is going to have to be ready for when I make my debut. And so the training continues. At this very moment I’m probably learning the best way to bruise someone’s testicles. I’ll have transformed from a weak and scared little boy into a barely-contained whirlwind of karate annihilation. And when that happens, UFC, look out.

Note: Please be careful with the karate knowledge gained from this article, and use it only for karate justice.

Essential New Word of the Week:
moonhut \‘munhUt\ n: A small isolated enclosure designed to house a girlfriend during her special time of the month. I don’t want to be indelicate, but guys don’t really know a lot about cycles and such, and that’s kind of the way we like it. We’ve also kind of noticed how the women in our lives go apeshit bipolar every time they play banjo in Sgt. Zygote’s Ragtime Band. After much deliberation at the Secret Men’s Council™, it was decided that a simple avoidance strategy is the best way to go. Hence, the moonhut. We’ll stock it with cramp medication, episodes of Sex in the City, whatever you need. Just ride out your dishonorable discharge from the uterine navy in seclusion, if you please.