The $10,000 Challenge

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My Friends,

From time to time among the hundreds of postal and e-mail inquiries we receive, there appears a challenge from some misguided soul who has not yet realized the true meaning of warriorship or the philosophy of the Ninja. We recognize, with our understanding of human nature and the ebb and flow of hormonal adjustments, which it is the nature of young men to congregate in groups and fight amongst themselves. This fact has been used by princes for generations to foment unnecessary wars and reduce the peasant population of the best and brightest of the gene pool. Further, that those training in a martial art often think the "test" of their ability is to meet come champion in battle and prevail against impossible odds. But, that most of these challengers, if they live, eventually mature and learn that the only real enemy is oneself. And, it should not be forgotten that all criticism is merely a form of jealousy. Nor, that a man is entitled to defend himself from such unwarranted attacks. To this end, Ashida Kim has issued the following response:

"I am the Ninja, himself. I come from the nowhere, I go to the no place. I have no magic power. Anyone can do the things I do, if they but know how. I am a professional soldier and fighter. I have videotape, press clippings, and receipts to verify this claim, should it become necessary in open court. As such, I am forbidden by law and convention from engaging in personal combat, since my hands and feet are considered lethal weapons.

"However, as a martial artist and a man, I am offended and annoyed by those who write in questioning my credentials or ability, when none of them has ever taken the time to meet, speak with, or write to me. And, they know this. So they make a point of baiting me. And, when I respond with anything but utter servility, they jump back, point their finger and proclaim that I have a chip on my shoulder, to prove they are superior. This is childish.

"Others write in claiming to know more about my system of Ninjitsu than I do, despite the fact that I have written fifteen books on the subject and they have written none. Or, questioning the manner in which our martial arts fraternity, of which I am honored to even be a part, grades or tests or sanctions its membership, of which they are not worthy, nor included. Even comparing our system to other forms of the Silent Way, as if all had to be the same. Saying I appropriated this or that technique from some other martial art, as if there were more than a few basic methods from which an infinite number of variations can be composed.

"Some have even gone so far as to send spies against me or come themselves on some pretext. And, when they do, they find that I am not at all like they expected. For, that is the nature of mystery. But, they all get what they came for, because that is the nature of understanding.

"Therefore, in response to these challenges, I set the following conditions, in accordance with the time honored tradition recognized in China and Europe amongst duelists that the challenger is a fool and the challenged must be permitted certain latitude in defending his life and property in the interest of fairness.

"First, since most of the challenges are frivolous, being generated by those who have some grudge with their own masters but who are afraid to face them and so select a surrogate upon whom to vent their anger and frustration; and, in light of my own professional status, Challengers must post an Appearance Bond of $25,000 to guarantee that they will actually show up for the fight, limiting the number of unnecessary trips to meet these loudmouths who then don't show up despite all their braggadocio, if this means checking to find out if you actually have the funds, so be it. Only serious contestants need apply. If the Challenger fails to appear in the Ring within five minutes of being called for his Match, the Bond is forfeit to the Challenged, the Challenger is disqualified, and the Match awarded to the Challenged.

"Second, as a professional fighter, my fee is $10,000. Which will be paid by the Challenger 30 days before the match. Also, Challenger will pay travel expenses for myself and a party of three to the site of the match and provide food and lodging for the Party for the duration of the event. So again, be sure to check those annuity calculators to make sure you have the dough to back up your challenge.

"Third, Challenger will provide documentation and certification from local sports authorities governing such events attesting to their physical fitness and credentials sufficient to demonstrate their ring worthiness, and sign an irrevocable release absolving Ashida Kim, his agents and assignees from any financial, criminal, or moral liability in the event the Challenger is killed, crippled, or maimed.

"Fourth, the Match will be held in a public venue to which admission is paid, of which, the Challenged will receive one-half of all gate and concession receipts. A member of the Party will supervise ticket and concession sales and all amounts due will be paid before the match. No dough, no show. The reason for this stipulation is that I have fought many times in alleys to defend my honor, only to have the tale told by the loser of how he kicked my ass. Therefore, credible and numerous witnesses are required to prevent any disinformation.

"Fifth, Ashida Kim will be declared the winner in the event of a 5-second pinfall, submission by the opponent using matte or pat-out, if the opponent is unable to answer the bell, if the opponent is knocked out or rendered unconscious by a choke or stranglehold for a standard referee's 10-count, if the Ringside Physician determines he is unable to continue, if he fails to appear for the match, or is disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct. No judges, no holds barred, last man standing is the Champ.

"Now, I do not make this Challenge lightly. Nor with belligerence toward anyone. I have proven myself to myself many times and I know that the true test is getting up each day to joyfully participate in the sorrow that is one's life. What these Challenges want is to do that, to prove themselves to themselves to overcome their own insecurity and have self-confidence. And, I say unto all of you that this journey is an internal one. That peace and harmony come from within, not by imposing your will on a world that will not change to suit you, but will continue to change in spite of you. But rather by making this inner journey and facing your own dark side. That is the lesson of all religions, of which martial arts is but one. Of which Ninjitsu is but a part, of which I am but an infinitesimal speck. Certainly not worthy of all this bluster and rancor. I have never done anything to any of you people. All I have done is try to perfect my own character, live a fair and honest life, and share what little I have learned with those who have gone to the great trouble of seeking it out. For this crime I have been called a fake and a charlatan by those have no idea where I have been or the things I have done. I have been robbed by my publishers, cheated by the government, and endured the slings and arrows of those who have not one-tenth my skill. I have not asked anyone to accept what I say as The Truth, only as A Truth. I have demanded no tribute, conquered no lands, imprisoned no people. I am the innocent victim of attack by those who cannot or will not behave in a civilized manner. So, if you write in popping off at the mouth, looking for a lesson, you've have come to the right place. I don't take tests, because I have nothing to prove. I give tests, because I am a Teacher, and have State certification to prove it! So, if you want a piece of my ass, come on up and get you a bite, 'cause I got plenty. Don't bite off more than you can chew, however. 'Cause you ain't seen bad yet, but, it's coming. You put up the money and I shall be most happy to embarrass you in front of all your friends. 'Nuff said."

I remain,
Ashida Kim

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