The Iaido Journal  Dec 2004
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The Deranged Aikidoka's Night Before Christmas

or Ejecting an Intruder/Terrorist from your Home

copyright © 2004 Sarah Fowler, all rights reserved

'Twas the night before Christmas
And waddaya know?
I'm waiting in ambush
Under the mistletoe.
There's an intruder that breaks in
The same night every year,
Under the pretense of giving,
And spreading good cheer.
"Yeah right!" I exclaim
My cynicism unfettered,
"And all that time the unibomber
was just sending love letters!"

He's round and he's red
From head to toe.
Seems sweet, but trust me,
He's a mean so-and-so.
Now you don't have to be Christian
To draw this guy's wrath.
He's attracted to corpses of evergreens
And freshly cut gift wrap.
He'll skulk down your chimney
...Don't have one? Don't be shocked
When you wake up in the morning to find
That bastard's jimmied your front lock.
No, he doesn't rob you,
As his defenders will say,
"He leaves you lots of goodies,
And then is on his way."
Sure he leaves you presents,
That old sly St. Nick,
But you might want to check them first
To make sure they don't tick.
Am I saying Santa's a terrorist?
Nothing of the sort! Don't assume!
*But* in this day and age I'm just a bit wary
About anonymous packages left in *my* living room.

So after studying Aikido a year
I decided I'd take no more,
And that this year Mr. Cringle
Would be introduced to Mr. Floor.
So my kuzushi was lacking,
And my ki was weak,
My atemi intentless,
(In short I sucked at technique!)
But it didn't seem to matter--
I would probably be bored--
Since my uke'd be coming
Straight from the geriatric ward.
So even though I knew that
I couldn't do even one technique right.
Cocky, I thought that I'd learned enough
To take on an old elf in a fight.

By the hearth, I lay in wait,
Silently, for my mark.
Unseen and unheard by anyone,
Like a shadow in the dark.
All right, so I like to wear black a lot,
And sit in the dark, but don't scoff.
Like Jake, I am not a ninja,
And, no, Corey, I'm not goth.
Suddenly I heard a jingling
And a THUD! up on the roof,
And an obnoxious "clack"-ing
With each step of a hoof.
The jolly elf came down the chimney,
All smiles before the soot-stained brick.
His joy and "ho, ho, ho"-ing
Were enough to make you sick.
I rolled my eyes at the stupid merriment
That just proved he was a jerk
And leapt out of the darkness
Brandishing an intimidating smirk.

He "ho, ho?"-ed in surprise
To which I responded hence:
"You're trespassing on my property.
Legally, it's all self defense."
I concentrated on looking tough
And thought, 'This'll be fun.'
I'd do throws and locks and such
(Were I Bartman, I'd just use my gun.)
He held up his hands and backed away
As if he were going to flee,
But I had waited a whole year for this
And took a stance in hanmi.
He cringed and toppled over
When I entered with a kick,
And my foot connected
With *his* "Jolly-Old-St.-Nick."
All right so he hadn't attacked me;
It wasn't self defense.
But you say it wasn't Aikido?
I plead my innocence.
If sen no sen and sen sen no sen are fine,
It stands to reason, then,
I just took initiative one step further
And did sen sen SEN no sen. [1]
I stood over Mr. Cringle,
Who was curled into a ball,
And took time for a one-liner
In the bad-movie legacy of Seagal:
"You came down the wrong chimney, buddy.
I don't care if you've been naughty or nice.
I know enough Aikido
To break a collarbone Twice!"
That it'd been *my own* collarbone didn't matter.
He'd gotten the gist.
And I could be certain, now, that
I'd be crossed off all his lists.
He scrambled to his feet and threw a punch,
So desperately weak.
I moved in and atemi'ed
At which he loosed a pitiful shriek.
This was easier than I thought.
The guy was a complete wimp.
Even with my crappy technique
I was beating him within an inch.
You're probably feeling sorry for him, now.
Don't! Remember my earlier plea.
This guy is just a prowler,
Leaving carpet bombs under your tree!
Irimi! Irimi! Tenkan! Tenkan!
I was on a roll.
"This is what you get, you bastard," I yelled,
"For trying to give me coal!"
He desperately pulled out a package
From the bag he'd brought from his sled
And then he chucked an X Box
Directly at my head.
While I rubbed my forehead,
He dashed for the brick and cement,
And doing that stupid nose thing,
Up to the roof he went.
"Oh, no you don't!" I shouted
At the retreating elf.
I jumped up and rushed to the fireplace
And scrambled up, myself.

When I finally reached the rooftop
(And that's no easy climb),
I was awaited by a frightening sight
Looming in the moon shine.
Santa, the wuss, was cowering in his sleigh,
As was to be expected.
Be he was not the source of my fear,
As you might have suspected.
His reindeer snorted and reared in the night
And stared at me grimly.
Their antlers huge, their hooves sharp,
They'd SURROUNDED me in the chimney!
I squinted in the dark at them,
And thought, 'No, it can't be!'
The reindeer weren't wearing harnesses,
But were tied with black obi!
"Aw crap!" I muttered under my breath,
Knowing it was too late to beg,
As each of the reindeer reared up
And took a stance on their hind legs.
I shook in my little white-belt boots,
For, as you will see,
Only a yearling, I'd done jiyu waza just once
And NEVER done randori!
Eight attackers in randori?
The most I'd ever SEEN was five.
If I were to take even one of them on,
I'd be skinned alive!

Suddenly, they descended upon me,
With combo strikes and elaborate kicks.
Bruising and beating me bloody,
Rooted on by that jerk, St. Nick.
But through the cervine kiai
And the sounds of descending blows,
A quiet quacking emerged from the night.
The reindeer's movements froze.
And then up to the roof THEY climbed,
Here to rescue their little lost Aikidoka.
Now that they were here, the reindeer
Cared about me not one iota.
"Who were 'they'?" you curiously ask?
Masters of mat and sea, but not sky.
(If you don't know the joke, by now
Visit Antarctic Aikikai [2])
Yes, the aiki-penguins had come
To liberate their long lost ward:
Birds in dresses, who think they look cool
With their sticks and wooden swords.
But first the fighting had to commence.
Would reindeer or penguin win the glory?
For unless the good and bad guys face off,
It wouldn't be a martial arts story.
So they each took their stances and centered hemselves.
It'd be throws, locks, and controls
Vs. strikes and kicks and ground techniques.
'Twas a battle of the poles!

Elaborate strikes met with big beautiful pivots
In the battle on the roof.
And soft, down-feathered, flipper-ish wing
Blended with sharpened hoof.
Then I glanced over at Santa, whose arms were crossed,
Looking at the scene, quite grim.
But he wasn't in a red coat, but a kimono.
Wait! That's not him!
I caught the bearded fellow's eye,
And he came to stand by my side.
We looked on as we watched
The two species collide.
I stared at him a moment, barely able to breathe.
I couldn't believe who I was seeing.
He quietly spoke, then, in a voice
That thundered through my being.
"They don't understand," the old man sighed,
"Despite my quoted wisdom pearl:
'Pacify your environment
And create a beautiful world.'
"Um, Sensei," I said cautiously,
"I mean no disrespect or disgrace,
But didn't you also used to say,
'First smash your opponent's face'?"
The spirit of O Sensei grumbled then
(One Christmas spirit? Weren't there two more?)
And faded into thin air, prattling
His barely intelligible philosophy of yore.

I slid off the roof, disappointed by
The way the night had gone.
And the fighting above (the way aikidoka hold grudges),
Promised to go on and on.
But something that the Founder'd said,
Made me think a bit.
He had said something about peace,
And I pondered over it.
'Maybe Aikido,' I puzzled,
'Isn't about fighting and gore,
Maybe Aikido, perhaps,
Means a little bit more.'
"Nah!" I said as I walked away
From the chaos on the roof, above.
"Screw Aikido." I shook my head.
"My new weapon is love."

Well, that's my story, guys and gals.
Can't believe you suffered through,
But for making it through this whole long ramble,
I've got a present for you:
It's just a Yuletide wish. (I know, you're disappointed.
It's like opening a present of socks)
But hopefully at the next seminar,
We can exchange throws and locks.
So whether you answer to Christ or Yhwh,
Buddha, Brahman, or Allah,
Have a wonderful holiday season,
And arigato gozaimashita!

[1] sen sen sen no sen: Moving before uke even knows s/he
will (or wants to)
attack *evil grin*


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TIN Dec 2004