Gang Smasher: Alpha Episode Two
The Williams Alpha Dojo, Four Hours Later
Eddie was poised in a prone position, his face as stern as a stone. He looked as if any moment he could sprout roots. His breathing was steady and it seemed that no outside force could disturb it. Eddie was clad in a black and red muscle shirt with long sleeves and tight-fitting gloves. His black gi pants that nearly covered his feet, which were taped up with wrapping, save for his toes and heels.
"And as we arrive on our next exhibition on our tour, children, we come to the exhibition of the Cretaceous era, living proof that Dinosaurs roamed the Earth." Willy pointed behind his shoulder at Eddie, who still stood like a tree in front of a stack of ice blocks. Willy himself stood in front of a group of young teens, all about twelve to thirteen years old children who were clad in Karate gis.
"Are you calling me old, Mr. Thirty something man-child?" Eddie quickly retorted without breaking from his stance or disturbing his breathing.
The children giggled, causing Willy to furrow his brow and look back at Eddie. Eddie, still firm in his stance, stifled his laughter.
"I'm thirty-freakin'-five! I'm not that old!" Willy barked, causing the children to laugh louder. "If we wait any longer for you to break that ice, I'll probably die of old age—"
Willy's words were interrupted as Eddie thrust his palm forth and shattered three of the five ice blocks. The sound alone was enough to knock the children to the ground and cause the glass of the dojo to tremble.
Even Willy, who can do the same with a mere flexing of his ability, was surprised at the power Eddie was capable of generating. But still, to keep with his public face, he chose to play it off.
"You missed a spot," Willy said as he pointed towards the two remaining blocks of ice.
"I know – I was just demonstrating a new technique I learned. You should be familiar with it, Unc; it's called the Dim Mak."
Eddie's claims were true, as Willy was fully aware of this concept, the technique known colloquially as the "Touch of Death". "Listen up, kids; you're about to get some history from the man himself," Willy announced while emphatically pointing at himself. Eddie merely shook his head. "The Dim Mak is basically a strike in the martial arts that bears the capability to kill with what looks like a simple touch. When I heard of it, it was in China, where my teacher there referred to it as Dianxue, which means 'to press the artery'."
Eddie stepped in and added to the explanation. "It's reputed as a secret body of knowledge with a line of techniques that target pressure points and meridians. What I just used was a technique called 'Vibrating Palm', which originates from Neijing energy training in Chinese martial arts. They deal with your Qi, your inner energy, and the type of force, or Jin, that is used. The energy is gathered and focused into a wave from wherever you please."
Eddie took a few steps over to the remaining blocks of ice and took the same stance, his breathing becoming steady and slow. The young students couldn't see it, but Willy saw Eddie's energy come to life in the form of distorted air surrounding his feet.
Amazing, Ed, Willy thought. You've managed to learn the basis of Qi training. I wish I could train you further, but I skimped out on my training. Willy chuckled to himself as he thought of his time training in Guangzhou, China.
Eddie performed a spin kick towards the blocks of ice; his foot didn't connect but the Qi energy he sent out hit its target, splitting the two blocks in twain. "I'm not all that good at it, but I got the gist of it. I shirked my training 'cause I got home sick.
"Now there, kids, is a man who knows home is where the heart is." Willy said as he walked over to Eddie, who released his tension and performed a closed-palm salute.
"But Sensei, when are we gonna learn about the stuff we can use against the gang members?" One of the students, a young boy, asked. This question hit home for Willy and Eddie but the two teachers kept themselves light hearted and prepared their answers.
Willy spoke first, and Eddie crossed his arms to wait for him to finish. "Now what did I tell you all about getting into fights? Do your best to avoid them. The way this city, hell, this world is, things can quickly take a turn for the worst."
"Well, you did open the dojo to help teach them self-defense," Eddie countered, prompting Willy to dramatically turn around and shoot his nephew an irritated look.
"Yes, you're right, Eddie. But the kids must also learn the philosophy behind fighting. They should know when not to fight."
The boy was adamant in his desire to know the answer to his question. He rephrased it: "What if we can't run away? What if we're forced to fight?" At that moment, the mind of the young boy turned towards a more comical thought. "Is there such a move that can make a grown man crap his pants and he doesn't know why?"
Just then, a new voice filled the ears of the dojo's inhabitants, followed by the sound of rushing air and passing cars. Everyone looked to the door of the dojo and saw a young man who looked to be one year older than Eddie smiling. He looked as if he was right at home.
The young man was Korean and had light brown hair that was worn underneath a head wrap like Willy's own. He wore a tight blue muscle shirt with short sleeves and white Taekwondo pants with a black stripe streaking down opposite sides. He wore white taping on his hands and feet.
"Now actually, I'm not gonna lie; there is such a move. But you kids aren't ready to learn it. There'd be no end to people lined up at laundromats to wash out their shorts."
"Brad!" Eddie exclaimed, extremely happy to see his best friend and brother after so long. Two years to the day since he'd last seen Bradley Yong.
Willy, on the other hand, was nonplussed, his face in a state of utter disbelief. "What kind of move is this?"
"Master Willy," Brad began, walking over to Willy and trying to contain his laughter. Eddie watched in silence, snickering, as did the young students. "You're well-versed in the martial arts, but this move isn't one for you."
"Oh come on!" Willy exclaimed, throwing out his arms to elucidate his point. "I taught you both, so I can take anything you can dish out! Show me this move already!"
Brad didn't respond; he merely struck Willy five times in the sternum and the gut, emphatically shouting with each hit. Willy groaned and lurched forward, and instantly reared back to his normal posture. He looked as if he was holding in bad gas and tried his hardest to play it off. Willy's knees and thighs buckled but he managed to keep them straight.
"As expected," Willy said, keeping his voice strong and firm. "It didn't work. Now all of you practice on your own...I need to make a phone call." Willy walked into the back room of the dojo expediently, his legs held together as if he was attempting to keep his butt cheeks clenched.
The entire dojo erupted into laughter.
"Brad, that was jacked up, man!"
"Hey, bro, he asked for it!"
The kids were on the floor, cracking up and rolling. Eddie and Brad wiped tears of joy from their eyes and gave each other a brotherly hug.
"I missed you, man," Eddie said, regaining his composure.
Brad, following suit, straightened himself up and responded, "You too, Eddie."
"Now I've been meaning to speak to you about something--"
Brad held up a hand to stop him. "I already know. It's something I had to work out on my own, but I'm good enough to be a Contender now."
"Brad, that's what I meant. Being a Contender, an 'Oldboy' as they call 'em, isn't all what it's cracked up to be."
"Eddie, how would you know? I just want to fight in the Kumite and put myself to the test."
The mere utterance of the term "Kumite" brought back a flood of images and a cacophony of sounds that nearly gave Eddie a migraine. The Kumite is an illegal, underground freestyle fighting tournament that operated on a single-elimination format and was known to be the only venue that encouraged life-or-death matches.
And Eddie won the last tournament, held in Hong Kong, China. He was champion, but he didn't feel as such. There was so much he felt he had to learn, Eddie thought as they crowned him the winner. His opponent, a French Savate expert, was defeated too easily, Eddie openly protested. He felt that the same fighter who battled his way through much opposition and opponents who bore no qualms with killing would fall so quickly to someone who struggled as well throughout the entire tournament.
"The Kumite is a whole 'nother level of nasty. I know; I was there."
Brad's face eschewed into one that combined confusion and curiosity. "Wait; you won? You beat Allen Belle, the Savate champ? My boy!" Brad gripped Eddie tightly, cheering for his brother over such a victory.
Eddie strained to pull himself free. Brad was ecstatic but contained himself once he saw Eddie's face, an expression of uncertainty. "I won, but I don't feel like it. I think that match was fixed in some way, shape, or form; in the second round, I kicked him in the jaw to catch his attention but he went down and he was out. If I kicked him full force, then maybe…"
"Well, I'm not gonna make the same mistake!" Brad's resolve to fight in the Kumite was unimpeded. "When's the next tournament? I asked all around Korea about it but no one could give me a straight answer."
"Three years." The Kumite is held every three years, preceded by a short, single-elimination tournament to place the competitors. Eddie had time to train and probably win it legitimately.
"Shit, why so long?" Brad paused, lowering his voice before he spoke in order to prevent the training children from hearing him curse. "At least I'll have enough time to get ready. Hitting the Taekwondo academies in Korea was rough."
Eddie wanted to talk more about the matter at hand, but he felt he had enough stress for a single month. Brad, on the other hand, skipped backwards a couple of feet to where there was more space.
"You know what time is," Brad said while taking a fighting stance and urging him to come on.
"Of course I know. Let's see how good you've gotten."
"I'm good to go. Bring it!"
Brad began their scrap by throwing a rising kick at Eddie, who weaved under it and countered with a high-aimed spinning heel kick. Brad blocked the kick and attempted a hit for Eddie's sternum, but it was countered by a hip toss. Brad quickly bound back onto his feet and jutted out a kick meant for Eddie's side, but it was blocked and Brad was forced to take a punch to the gut.
Brad used the momentum forced into his body from the blow to quickly switch around and land a solid kick to Eddie's chin, causing the latter to spin around in mid air before hitting the mat.
Eddie massaged his jaw to alleviate the pain and chuckled. "You got pretty fast, bro."
"I told ya: don't sleep on my skills, man!"
One Hour Later
The class was done for the day and the youngsters chatted among themselves as they left the dojo before darkness befell the city. Eddie and Brad helped close up the front of the dojo while Willy, now wearing a different pair of pants, cut out the lights.
"Yo Eddie, Brad, join me in the back." Willy said as he walked into the back office.
"Unc, please tell me you took care of that shitty diaper you called pants," Eddie said, bringing out a sputtering laugh from Brad.
"Just shut up and come back here! We all gotta discuss something important," Willy called out from the office, sounding strangely serious than he usually does.
Eddie and Brad both sat in chairs while Willy planted himself behind an office desk. The room was illuminated by a single lamp, the rest of the building darkened save from the gradually diminishing natural sunlight bleeding in through the windows. The office decoration was simple and Martial arts themed, as it contained Willy's trophies from his days of competition on a shelf, along with a 38' flat-screen television and a DVD player beside it on a stand. His desk bore a stack of papers held down by a book, "Bruce Lee's The Tao of Jeet Kune Do", as a paperweight.
"You cool, Unc?" Eddie asked. Willy's face was suddenly stern as the two sat, bringing out a combined sense of curiosity and worry.
"Yeah, you look like someone just died," Brad responded.
Willy retorted, "No one has died, but this city is on the brink of death. Our encounter with the Children of King - that's mere child's play compared to what else we could possibly face."
"Face?" Eddie questioned, using his hands to pantomime his thoughts of confusion. "You mean to tell me it gets worse?"
"Yeah, man." Brad nodded slightly, knowing of which Willy spoke. "There are more gangs other than the King group. One of which I'm not particularly fond of."
Willy continued on the coattails of Brad's introduction. "There are three gangs - the Gekido Clan, who call themselves the self-proclaimed rivals of our school; the Children of King, a group of card-themed thieves; and the Long Sing Family, who are all about business and profit."
"That's not all they're about," Brad commented, his words dripping with disdain. "They're just as bad."
"The Alpha dojo was conceived to prevent those kids out there from suffering the backlash of gang violence," Willy began, clasping his hands together, pointing in a general direction past the young men once he mentioned his students. "Just as I taught you two, I promote the philosophy of practicing the martial arts as a form of discipline and self-defense, only to be used against those who oppress you. This school is synonymous with Justice."
"Sensei, what are you trying to say?" Brad asked, having a good idea of what Willy was suggesting but wanting to be sure.
Eddie remained quiet for the time being, but he too was thinking in the same range as Brad - was Willy suggesting they take the gangs down?
"We're the only ones who can fight them on their own terms. I made sure you two were my best students; you two even went on your own to gain experience and improve. But I don't want you two to go looking for trouble; violence should be our final, unavoidable option."
"It'd be idiotic to go out and try and fight these assholes on their own turf," Eddie commented, lifting up a finger to elucidate his point. "We have no idea how many there are, and they can just come to the dojo and hit us harder."
"What I want you two to do is protect the dojo and our students. They don't deserve to be casualties of a senseless war." Willy looked at a nearby clock and his eyes widened slightly.
He just remembered - she asked if Willy could pick her up from the studio.
Eddie looked at Willy and raised an eyebrow. "Now what's the matter, Unc?"
"Ed, I need you to do a favor for me - one of my students asked me to pick her up from the recording studio in twenty minutes, and traffic is murder around this time." Willy took out his cell phone and pressed the screen a couple of times before he handed it to Eddie. "Here's how she looks."
Eddie's eyes nearly came out of his head once he took a look at the picture. "You're training her?!"
Brad took the phone from Eddie and looked at the picture. "Oh yeah, I met her yesterday. She is pretty hot--Eddie?"
Both Brad and Willy looked up, and Eddie was nowhere to be found, save for a wake of wind that sucked in loose papers from Willy's desk.
END OF EPISODE TWO