There are construction fences around MECCA, “Metro” Vito Valentino’s shrine to family-friendly electronic entertainment. It’s seen better days, but since we’re talking about Vito, you can rest assured that there are better days ahead. Unfortunately, its current status as a repair site leaves some previously planned programming in a state of flux, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.
In the vast parking lot, a wrestling ring sits beneath a very large canopy, offering shade for the few dozen families who have come for the already scheduled self defense class for children, hosted by Classic Wrestling’s foremost martial arts themed tag team, The Black Belts. Ken Roddy, in a very bright neon green gi, runs to the near ring post, leaps off of the second turnbuckle and spin kicks the air. Joe Jitsu in a tasteful robin’s egg blue gi, springboards into the ring with a flying thrust kick. They leap to their feet with a “Hai ya!”, which is repeated by the elementary aged children seated at ringside.
There’s no microphone, but Joe Jitsu doesn’t need one. “Alright! We’re happy that you all could make it to the MECCA parking lot today, to learn a few things about safety and self defense. We’re biased, but we think the martial arts are the best sport for keeping in shape, focusing your mind, and being able to protect yourselves. With that said, my best friend Ken Roddy, has something he wants to tell you. Ken!”
The children, along with their parents, clap for the calmer of the Black Belts. “Joe and I, we do our best to make the world a better place, defeating evil every chance we get. Neither of us are afraid to mix it up, inside the ring or out of it, but we’ve been training for most of our lives. As masters of the martial arts, we’re prepared to thwart bad people with flying dragon punches, inverted cyclone kicks, and even, should the need arise, the dreaded ten finger heart thrust of eternal distress.”
Some of the children seem to be vibrating at the thought of learning how to cause eternal distress.
“The truth is,” Ken continues, “that the world is safer than it’s ever been. Most people don’t need to know how to fight off a kidnapper. But most people will never be on fire, and we all know what to do if that happens, don’t we?”
Very tiny voices yell, enthusiastically but out of sync, “Stop, drop and roll!”
As Ken continues, Joe rolls out of the ring and starts putting on protective pads.
“That’s right, kids. So with that in mind, I want you all to know how to protect yourself if someone ever tries to hurt you. Young man in the Sgt Justice t-shirt, would you like to step into the ring?”
The child does so.
“If it’s okay with you, Joe is going to grab your wrist. It will be tight, but it won’t hurt.”
The child nods, and Joe, in comically large pads, grabs the child’s wrist and holds it over his head, before taking over the speech.
“Now you look super tough, dude, but I’m bigger and stronger. So what should you do?”
The boy looks confused and shrugs.
“ You have to take all of the advantages you’ve got. You go for the groin, the throat and the eyes.”
Children gasp. “That’s what bad guys do,” cries a young lady.
“Too true, little miss! None of those would be cool in a fair athletic competition, but if someone bigger than you is trying to hurt you, they’ve already decided that they don’t want a fair fight, so you don’t need to give them one. Alright man, I’m ready.”
Joe is already wincing before the kid punts him in his groin, dropping to his knees, where the kid thrusts at his throat. His grip broken, the kid runs out of the ring and to his Mom.
Mysteriously, a black clad ninja slides into the ring, “You’re now at my mercy, Black Belts! I will defeat you, and I’ll punch as many children as it takes if they get in my way!” He laughs evilly, but is stopped when a child kicks him in his little ninjas. And then another. And then another.
Do you know how many times a ninja needs to be kicked in the groin, chopped in the throat or raked across the eyes by children before he vanishes into smoke? Well, this despicable evildoer does.