October 9th, 2010

Ninja Moses

mo' princess, mo' problems

At the beginning of next month, my ninjutsu dōjō holds a grueling 24-hour training exercise (read: LARP) called the Campaign, in which we venture into the wilderness of Manhattan and beat on each other with wooden weapons. Our Wednesday evening armed combat classes this month cover sword, spear, and knife fighting, as well as Campaign-applicable teamwork. This past Wednesday, we ran through a series of LARP practice exercises, most notably "Rescue the Princess," in which one ninja in the middle of a field was The Princess, and we split into two teams trying to get to him and get him to a base first.

So Sensei tells us to split off to our start locations and I hand my spear off to someone else, get a sword which I can sheath, and tell my team, "k guys, you cover me and I'll get the princess and bring her to base." So we rush in, I scoop up the ninja, and I fireman's carry him towards the base while the clashes and screams of battle rise behind me. He's laughing like crazy for some reason, and thereby convulsing so much that I drop him; and as I'm going to scoop him up, this other ninja runs up behind me and spears me dead … then takes the princess BY THE HAND. And WALKS HIM BRISKLY TO THE BASE.


At this point I look back over at the battlefield, on which everyone is lying dead, both of weapon-related death and asphyxiation by laughter, including Sensei who has, it turns out, been falling over himself in hysterics ever since the entire rest of the class started beating on each other while I just scooped up the princess and trundled off into the trees, y'know, cackling and twirling my mustache with my black trenchcoat flapping in the wind and so forth (okay, I didn't cackle and I haven't got a mustache, but I was wearing a black trenchcoat, which we later used to disguise the princess for the escort mission, which might have worked OK if my teammates hadn't brought him out into the light on the way to the DZ, as he's a good deal taller and Blacker than me).

It turned out I was the only one in the class who had assumed one had to manhandle the princess rather than guiding her politely from place to place. I just figured that princesses wouldn't get captured in the first place if they knew how to run in the right direction. Am I alone in this mindset? Does this incident say something creepy about my vision of gender roles? Hello?

I'm just glad she wasn't in another castle.
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    "The Nutcracker" Ozawa Seiji & the Boston Symphony Orchestra