I have real nunchucks, and I am now registered with the police as a deadly weapon. The truth is, I haven’t had much chance to use them, because when I do, the girlfriend says “do not twirl those in the house.” It’s basically my only move, twirling them like a baton. My sister once had a “I want to be a cheerleader phase”, in which she owned a glitter-filled baton with pink tassels. I secretly practiced with it in my bedroom. Practicing what exactly, and for what purpose, even? I do not know. These are the secrets of being a child that we forget.
The thing is, I’ve always wanted a deadly weapon. This is the kind of thing I dreamed about as a child–this, and having my own television. But I couldn’t write “bo staff” at the top of my Christmas list. A borrowed glittery baton would have to suffice. And this is just one of many of the indignities of childhood–this, and the time I took four egg rolls at once from the Chinese buffet, and then my mother made me put three back. Mom, it says All You Can Eat. Did she not understand what that meant?
I used to collect sticks in the woods that I could brandish as weapons. I sharpened them with knives from the kitchen. I used the knife my mother used to also chop things like celery, scraping away at the wood to create a point. What exactly was I planning to do? Kill somebody? Perhaps it was something more instinctive in nature. Perhaps children are born with the primordial inclination to hunt and defend. Perhaps I was in need of therapy.
Katana swords would have been my first weapon of choice. I wanted to take karate classes, where I was certain they would hand out a sword to each child upon registration. I rolled around on the floor, and begged my mother to let me sign up for lessons.
“You’re picking dog hair up all over yourself, on the floor like that,” my mother only said. But finally, one day, she agreed to let me go. I was giddy. I karate chopped the dog.
But there were no swords at the Flying Dragon, and I quickly realized karate class didn’t even teach you how to fight foot soldiers. Instead, we learned to stretch and reach for our toes. Flying Dragon was only a thinly-veiled exercise program. The place smelled like feet, and baked bread from the Subway next door. And the teacher was not anything like 1980s movies taught me; he was not a wise old Asian man with wispy white hair. He was just a regular guy with a buzz cut, wearing a Fitzgerald Auto Mall t-shirt. He taught us a few stupid blocks. I wanted to get to the high kicks and back flips.
My whole life, I have wanted a real weapon–not something like a gun, which could actually hurt somebody. No, just something I could accidentally hit myself in my face with. Dreams do come true. Pardon me, but HOLY SHIT YES I HAVE REAL NUNCHUCKS. Despite my sensitivity to racial stereotypes, I had always pictured this moment happening in the back of a small antiques shop that smelled like myrrh. An ancient Asian man would be hunched over his desk, tending to a broken clock. He would lead me to a secret room where he kept relics from the Song Dynasty era of China. “Behold,” he would say. “You shall learn the ways of Ninja.”
Instead, the nunchucks were sitting on the table at a flea market in Georgia, a fat man in a trucker hat behind the table. Oh well. I am still sure they’re dated to the Song Dynasty.
These are bad ass. These are real deal with leather grips on the handles, and a chain connecting the two solid pieces of wood. These are not the plastic training nunchaku or practice chucks made of Styrofoam. These are not for practice, you see. This is a deadly Ninja weapon, illegal to own in four states, as well as several countries.
Yes, the chucks are well-loved and worn by some ancient warrior before me, but they still have plenty use in them. Use for what? I could defend my home if a burglar ever broke in. Truth be told, I’d probably go for the baseball bat I keep next to the bed. I’m not an idiot. I know from playing Double Dragon that the bat will score you less points, but take those little bitches out faster.
I could place my nunchucks in a single showcase in our basement, with a spotlight illuminating them. I could burn myrrh. I don’t even know what myrrh is. I could get a gong too. I could go back in time, and deliver these to my nine year old self. I could watch videos online and self-train. Or I could just rewatch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to study Michaelangelo. I could impress children on Halloween. I could impress women. Okay, maybe not.
Finally, I could learn the final and greatest truth of Ninja: that nunchucks are for bringing out when you’re having friends over for cook-outs, while everyone is drinking. Man, I love being a Turtle.