Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Second to the Last Samurai--and His Kendo Swords

Kendo SwordsMy two sons are best friends. This is a bit unusual I suppose, you'd think they'd rather be with boys from school or the neighborhood but whenever they have free time they're usually together and finding ways to get into trouble.

As an example, Spencer and David went outside to play basketball in the driveway last week and it wasn't until I happened to be in their bedroom looking down on them from the window that I saw Spencer, age 10, gracefully and artfully poised on top of the basketball hoop doing a Karate Kid move. Shall I repeat that? He was standing on top of the basketball hoop, his feet on the metal rim, eight feet above the asphalt, helping David's balls to swoosh. You don't see that mentioned in your homeowner's insurance do you?

Of course my reaction was to bang on the window, squawking like a mother hen, to get Spencer's attention and tell him to hike his white fanny down from there, but the noise startled him and I nearly knocked him off his perch with my frantic gestures.

Boys.

My own younger brothers--think Bo and Luke Duke meet Grizzly Adams--weren't much better, they were always getting into trouble, pulling all-night fishing trips and generally doing their best to test out Mom and Dad's lifetime insurance benefits cap. Usually I shook my head and ignored their antics but now, twenty years later, it's coming back to haunt me because my own sons think their uncles--particularly their Uncle Luke--are the coolest thing ever. This is probably because Luke hasn't quite hit the age of child-rearing soberness that seems to set in with the arrival of dirty diapers.

Yes, they love Uncle Luke--the same one who guides their education in how to beat the midway games at the carnival, who takes them fishing and gives them knives for Christmas (yea, THAT was a good idea).

Well last week my Mom showed up with a gift for Spencer and David from their uncle. He'd called from the east coast and asked her to dig out of the basement his old kendo swords as a gift for my two young Jedis. Something along the lines of "It's your uncle's kendo sword. This is the weapon of a Really Cool Karate Guy. Not as clumsy and random as whacking at someone with a regular stick, but an elegant weapon for a more civilized age" (if you'll allow me a modified Star Wars quote).

What is a kendo sword you ask? Well my brothers took karate or tae kwon do or whatever it was for years and had these long bamboo sword-thingies that they used to spar with. When I brought Andrew home that first time to meet the family (luckily we were actually freshly married so he couldn't back out) Dan and Luke immediately ran up to their new brother in-law and asked if he wanted to sword fight. Being the New Guy and not to be intimidated by a couple of teenagers Andrew agreed and went outside to prove his manhood to his new in-laws.

They must have had a serious game of Highlander going because a few minutes later Andrew came inside sporting a suspicious bloody lump on the forehead from his introduction. So naturally knowing that through the Great Circle of Life my own boys would now be the proud owners of these same two swords, the swords that had nearly cost my dear husband his dignity and his head, was a thrilling discovery.

But the boys love them. They whack and smack and attack until someone gets hurt (usually David) then take a break and come back for more action later. I've tried to teach them some safety rules on distance, eye contact and aim but inevitably they forget as they get more and more worked up over practicing their "skills."

Here's hoping they both survive to adulthood. At least it's comforting to know their uncles did. And for the record, I'm stockpiling a whole arsenal of gifts to present to Luke's future children: loud beeping toys, pen knives, fish hooks, sulfuric acid, handguns--it's all fair game.

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23 comments:

Heffalump said...

One of my old boyfriends gave me a Kendo Sword, and I think its someplace at my parent's house being cared for by my spunky younger sisters. I can't imagine what my boys would do with some of those! The toy Lightsabers they play with are bad enough. I think they are the favorite toy other than Legos here. Your boys will have great fun choreographing epic battles that you can film for posterity.

Jenn in Holland said...

Oh, boys.
Since my oldest doesn't have another testosterone laden sib close in age, we all have a chance to be part of the "can I show you what I learned in Judo?" antics. And sticks? Ever since he was a tiny toddler a stick on the ground has called his name, beckoned him, and challenged him to use it to launch into another's forehead, backside, or eyeball.
Kendo swords would be right up his alley....

Mike said...

I agree. My 4-year old and 1-year old love the "fighting" game. It's just pretend fighting. I won't will never buy them toy guns. But they'll craft one from lego blocks. They have styrofoam swords. But they seem to enjoy using train tracks more.

Hmp.


Mike
http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com/

slpenney said...

Soap crayons and fizzy bath tablets that color the water are great revenge too. ;)

G's Cottage said...

Okay, maybe I over-reacted to mine (#3)jumping Luke Skywalker-like off the deck and crunching his thumb joint. However, girls give you their own brand of heart failure. Mine decided she didn't need instructions on using her older brother's skateboard and promptly hopped on, rolled across the cul-de-sac and cracked her head on the curb.

Amy W said...

I am not sure I would have it in my to parent boys!!

Joyful Days said...

Oh you are a brave mother. My boys would love, love, love, kendo swords.

I think it is neat when they are friends. My two miss each other when separated for what ever reason. Now I'm thinking maybe because they just miss their favorite sparring partner. And here I was thinking, "brotherly love." Where was my brain.

JAM said...

I'm a laid back person, and was also (pretty much) as a kid. But even I marvel that I survived my childhood. It's a wonder any of us make it to adulthood.

I loved the other post about your brother. He's a very observant person. He's probably the only adult alive that willingly goes to Chuck E. Cheese's.

Scribbit said...

Luke's fun, the kids love him because he's on their level.

I decided last night I've got to be more stringent on the safety techniques, Spencer always whacks David and David is really getting sick of being hurt.

I never thought having sons would provide such fertile material. :)

Mercy's Maid said...

And this, my friend is why I'm hoping for girl children when my time comes. I would have a nervous breakdown if I was subjected to rough play like that. Either that or I'd turn boy children into sissies.

TeaMouse said...

Payback will be fun, if you can actually go through with it.

I bought my nephew a marching band toy and it was so much fun - I think she hid it on the poor boy and he never got to play with it.

Oh I tagged you for an ABC meme if you'd like to play along now or save it for a dry spell, or do those only happen to me....lol!

Poppy Fields said...

I am always looking for good gift ideas for boys (other people's), swords are going on my list.

Danielle said...

My boys are the same way, best friends, which I further emphasize with the mantra, brothers for life. Those kendo swords will definitely have to wait, I've been lucky so far with minimal bumps and bruises. My first introduction to kendo swords was fromSling.
I've been told there is a special place reserved for us mothers of boys, and God knows we deserve it.

As always wishing you well.

Enjoy the day

Ni Yachen said...

Have they combined the trampoline with the kendo swords. That was the best.

Don't ever let them use pads with the swords. It will only encourage them to hit harder. :)

cheeky said...

This cracked me up. Well written and the boys have definitely provided you with some great material to write about. Paybacks are wonderful, are they not? From the sounds of it though, brother Luke will probably be snatching these lovely *gifts* you give to his future children all for himself :) Big stinker!

Marie N. said...

How does one shimmy up a basketball pole? Never mind, I don't want to know.

That's a great story about Andrew's introduction to your family.

Ally Bean said...

Cute story. Such a fun-packed life you lead!

And, just out of idle curiosity, how did this kid get up on top of the basketball hoop anyhow?

Loralee Choate said...

My boys are best friends, too. I have always stressed the importance of being brothers. It is the one thing I am proudest of as a mom and have the most peace about.

Jenny McB said...

My son's role playing group makes up swords using duct tape and pvc pipes with foam. They don't hurt (as much) and they are easily made and repaired.

If you would like me to get the directions, I can send them to you. My boys have been playing with them for 6 years since they saw them at a local Renaissance fair.

allrileyedup said...

That's so awesome that you referenced both Star Wars and Highlander in the same post. If only you had mentioned Bruce Lee's Game of Death...

Susan said...

I just adore stories about your children's adventures! My mom tells a similar story about one my male cousin who was holding his little brother over a railing on the second story deciding whether or not he could "fly." Apparently, my aunt did the screaming and banging on the window thing and fortunately averted any catastrophe. Boys.

Jen said...

You know, when I found out I was pregnant with a second boy, everyone told me they'd be known as "The X Boys." All I could think was, "yeah...the school's boa constrictor is missing, go ask the X boys where it is!" So I feel your pain. And your amusement. My brother is the uncle who sends unusual and questionable things. This is all the more fun as he is in the Army and can get little camos for the boys.
There is just something different about boys, huh?

Bethany said...

I'm the mother of two boys also. I recently saw a book titled something like "Dangerous Things to Do With Boys". It's authors argued that boys need those old-fashioned risky things in their lives. I'm always so controlling and worried that they'll get hurt. Should I let go a bit and let them take more risks? So hard to do for me.