It was 1997 we were now in grade nine, big boys, seniors by Gerehu High School standards. A lot had changed some of the crew had moved to other groups but our band of three had remained in-tact.
Now Woody had been taking Karate lessons at Walter Schnaubelts Kuyokushi Karate Dojo. His sole reason for doing Karate was, one to beat up Eza if he tried anything and two, to score chicks just like his hero Jean Claude Van Damme.
Finally the day came for his grading and there was a big tournament being staged at the Sir John Guise Stadium Indoor Complex. Woody managed to get tickets for us to go and watch him compete and hopefully attain his yellow belt.
We had seats just behind the Kuyokushin Team, it was amazing the place was packed. There were fighters from Kuyokushin Karate, Shotokan Karate, Chow Lee Fut Kung Fu, Shaolin Kung Fu, Kakfuse Kung Fu, Tang so do, Taekwondo do, Yung Jung Do including several international fighters.
Being an avid Martial Arts follower and practioner myself, Woody was minnow. So on this particular weekend there were the three of us myself, Stero and Mez watching all the action and seated in the row just behind Woody and team.
We watched in awe as they broke bricks with their bare fists and soft ball bats with their shins. Then came the action with different fights being staged Karate vs Kung Fu, Kung Fu vs Taekwondo and so on. We even got to see in action Sensi Walter Schanubelt and a young Stanley Nandex before he became the famed Headhunter.
Woody being our gracious commentator and host previewed every fighter for us and gave us the odds on who the favourites were to win.
The typical PNG crowd cheered and craved blood. Shouts of “Paitim em! Killim em!” Kirap ya! Salim em go haus sik ya!” It was just like the galdiators’ doing battle in ancient Rome.
“This next fight is a series a fights to grade our current Kuyokushin Karate Students” they announce over the speakers.
“Guys, wish me luck!” says Woody as he dashes down to the stage to prepare for his bout.
Finally it’s on as they call Woody to the stage and his opponent also from Walter Snauchbelt’s School of Kuyokusin Karate, Susan Mairi.
“What??? Woody is challenging a Chick?” says Stero with a bewildered look on his face as he turns to me and Mez.
Mez, evil grin at the both of us as he punches his fist in the air and shouts. “Cummon Woody! Kick her ass! I mean go easy on her!”
We all chuckled as we saw Woody come out onto the stage to face his opponent Susan.
Damn! She was hot, nice curves she looked bout the same age as us probably 15 going on 16, light skin, ginger hair she must have been part central and part Kavieng or Tolai.
Azumei shouted the umpire as they began to spar. Woody kept looking at her boobs and then pretended to look at her feet. Susan however wasted no time. She got stuck into him, two quick round house kicks to the head “bang!” you could see Woody’s head been rocked from side to side.
It was so embarrassing. “Oh for fuck’s sake Woody you’re getting your ass kicked by a girl!” shouted Mez.
I couldn’t bear to look yes she was giving him a hiding. And he seemed to be trying to cop a feel of her ass or boobs each time he got whipped.
Finally the torture ended, we all knew there was no way Woody would get his yellow belt. Woody remained with the Kuyokushin team by the ring side, he wouldn’t dare look at us or even come near us knowing full well he would get an ear bashing.
A couple fights later and then there an interesting match between a young rising star in the Kuyokushin ranks a green belt named Simon and an international opponent from a Shotokan Karate School in Australia.
Simon was only a kid he was part Gulf and part Simbu. He was a high school student from De La Salle, Catholic Boys School. He was about 15 a bit younger than us and was quite tall at about 175 cm.
The Australian was tall man in his late 20’s at 6 foot 8 inches, nearly two metres, big broad arms and long black hair tied in a pony tail that ran down to the back of his shoulders. An Aussie but probably of Russian or Croatian origin with funny sounding surname ending in ‘vich.’
So as they took up their stands and began nervously sizing each other up with few dummy kicks and punches. The Aussie black belt opponent got rattled by Simon who put a few sharp kicks that caught him squarely on his jaw and nose.
Spitting blood onto the floor he began retreating and then it was game on. Now having much more respect for Simon, the typical blood thirsty PNG crowd cheered him.
“Cummon Simon! Go Simon! Paitim em! Pinisim em! Em Nogat ya!” They shouted. Woody and the rest of the Kuyokushin Port Moresby team were passionately cheering on Simon from the ring side.
Both fighters exchanged some good hits on each other. But the passionate home crowd was having an effect on the foreign fighter as Simon was now making more in-roads.
Knocking the Aussie again. The time resulting in a brief stop to the fight and a standing count by the Umpire.
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ……. He then stood up nodding his head. Ok Azumei shouted the umpire. Simon sensing he had is opponent cornered went in for the kill pinning him to the edge of the ring with a combination of punches and kicks.
The whole crowd now stood their feet. Chanting Simon! Simon! Simon! Pinisim em! Pinned like a rat in the corner of a house sensing no way out. The Aussie drew his breath and “Kia!” he lodged a thrust kick below the belt and straight into the groin of Simon and in plain sight of the umpire.
In an instant Simon fell to the floor clutching his groin the kick got him in the nuts and knocked the wind out of his sails. He lay on the canvas rolling around clutching his groin as the medics and Kuyokushin Port Moresby team ran to attend to him.
The crowd fell silent as everyone watched in sympathy for Simon. The umpire held a red card in the Aussies face indicating the fight would be stopped and awarded to Simon. He nodded in acceptance and hung his head in shame.
Simon slowly rose to his feet to stand. The crowd also watched eagerly waiting for him. The while he was still bent over, with eeirie silence still lingering.
From our corner came this shriek and this croaky voice that broke the crowd’s silence.
“Waiyeeeah! Ha Ha Ha! Simon bend down ya!” It was mez. The whole crowd turned and directed their gaze at us. They looked like they were ready to kill us. It was so embarrassing meanwhile Mez was laughing away.
Stero and I pretended looked away like we didn’t know who he was. Meanwhile Mez was laughing his head off.
Woody looking on from ringside was furious. I lip-read as one his team mates asked him if he knew those guys up at the corner referring to us. Woody shrugged denying our existence and any form of connection to him.
Fortunately the crowd ignored us momentarily and assumed Mez was high on Marijuana. Simon was carried off from the ring to a standing ovation from the crowd.
As soon as the next fight was about to begin. Stero and I turned to Mez,” You dickhead let’s get out of here before the crowd get us."
With that we broke of separately under the pretext of going to the toilets and were out of the stadium. Woody sensing his life was also under threat did the same and we all ended up at the bus stop waiting for the next bus back to Gerehu.
We joked and laughed about it on the bus, Woody getting beat up by a Girl and Mez opening his big mouth at the wrong time. Yes another great action packed weekend story to brag about at school on Monday.
© 2019 Romney Charles Tabara