Witchwind Calling by James Lee Morgan

Witchwind Calling

by James Lee Morgan

…..in the beginning, she was known to all who came before her, as the Witchwind.

 

Prologue:

This is the story of a small group of strangers who end up tragically united through the perils brought upon them by a dream, a majestic sailboat on the maiden voyage of her new owners, and their interaction with a small group of truly ruthless, greedy, and insane killers.

They find themselves so enter-twined with the upper levels of the United States Government that they are only able to survive by the actions and leadership of one man. Understanding their predicament is not even remotely possible.

This is the account of one particular hero, and the boat which somehow becomes the glue that holds his life in the balance. It tells the story of two very short periods in his life that are separated by a span of just over two years, yet the fate of all are intricately tied together as if it were only a moment in time.

The predicaments that he finds himself in are fictional, yet based on true events that happen around our world each and every day. Believe me…..I know.

As a patriotic citizen of the United States of America, a former United States Army Paratrooper and former member of a (SERT) Special Emergency Response Team, I am proud and thankful to know that our way of life is protected by these types of men and women. They are the ones who go way beyond the call of duty. Many times further than we would like, yet it is a true necessity. Without them we are doomed.

They continually lay their lives down for us without hesitation. They give their lives for all Americans, for those who serve and for those who do not, and maintain our freedom without reservation.

Sometimes they step way outside the normal parameters that regular citizens would set for them. We should be grateful for that as well. The price for their actions is always paid for in blood. But it is their blood. Knowing the level of cruelty our world is capable of makes me thank God for these kinds of men and women. They are our Hero’s. They are my Hero’s.

 

Chapter 1

The fucking heat. It was something almost unbearable to mortal men. To the American soldiers anyway. And the fucking flies. He hated the flies. He hardly minded that he had twice pissed his own pants as he lay in silence, unmoving.

His spotter Scout Neely was laying next to him, both as quiet as a mouse and as coiled as a cat ready to pounce. Scout was his eyes, his coach, his precious counsel on windage and elevation. He was the shooter, but Scout was the one who called the shot. That was how it worked. And yes it worked very well.

They had been here now since before daylight. They waited patiently for what seemed an eternity. They waited because that was what they did. They waited. Then they waited some more.

A twinkle of light in the scope and Boomer felt the tension in Scout’s body. No word was passed, but the transfer of information was complete.

‘”Second story window, three O’clock, right above the meat vendor, four hundred twenty yards out,” whispered Scout as he continued looking through his spotter’s scope.

“Got him,” said Boomer.

“Straight shot, no wind, no elevation, rise in the bullet at this range less than two inches,” said Scout without hesitation.

As Boomer settled in for the shot his breathing subsided to a scant in and out rhythm as he said, “On your Go.”

Less than two minutes passed and both men could see as their target eased his weapon out of the window he was hiding behind. As his face entered the picture less than two seconds  passed and Scout said quietly, “Go.”

The shot rang out and was down range at a speed of  2,571 feet per second.  The shooter was right handed and the bullet entered his head just above his left eye just forward of his temple. The resulting impact of the 7.62 mm weapon tore the top of his head off, and the man fell backwards out of sight.

“Let’s move,” said Scout and both men were up and running toward their covering team based in the alley behind where they were shooting from.

As they approached the team Boomer gave them a smile and a thumbs up. “Got the bastard that time.”

Down in the streets the patrol that had been moving through the area was jumping and diving for cover. They didn’t have a clue who had shot at who, and didn’t give a shit as long as none of their guys were hit. Boomer and his team would never know the extent of the plan that day, but as they evac’d the area and turned the corner the whole world lit up in one huge explosion. Boomer never heard anything that he would ever remember. His body was propelled over thirty feet through the air by the force of the blast. He would never know that either.

 

Chapter 2

Forty-one feet of pure unadulterated pleasure.

The massive boat was a ketch rigged, Island Trader, with a single eighty horsepower diesel engine. She was bred, built, and designed for sailing the islands. Truly, she was an object of sheer beauty. As they approached her for the first time, they quickly looked at each other with a silent smile. They both knew in their hearts, she was “the one”. As Lee Landon looked quickly back at his wife Shay, he could see it in her eyes too.

“I like her,” Lee said quietly, with a wink and a subtle smile. As he looked towards Shay, he could see her lips instantly form a pouty, but stern looking pose that sent the message “don’t show it now”. She quickly took the lead, and stepped aboard with a helping hand from their broker, Bob Allen.

“What do you think Lee, is she a beauty or what”, asked Bob.

“She looks nice,” Lee said, “But we better let Shay do her thing, and then we’ll talk.” Lee knew his wife well, not to mention the fact that the two of them had already hashed out their plan on how this was going to go down.

As Lee began meandering about, he closely examined the topsides hardware, of which he knew at least something about. Shay was already ducking in through the companionway and headed for the forward berth and the anchor rode locker. From there she would proceed to fully inspect the entire boat from stem to stern. She was a ruthless inspector for sure. Shay had spent her entire thirty two years aboard all types of boats, but especially sailboats. This was a result of both her parents and grandparents being passionate lifetime boaters. This happens a lot when you grow up on the water in the Carolinas.

They could easily pay the six to eight hundred dollars for a professional survey of the boat, but Lee knew in his heart that Shay’s expertise and attention to detail would always rival the best of the best, when it came to inspecting a booat of any type.

After about three hours of work, Shay called it done and declared matter-of-factly that the boat was sound. It was decided right then that they would sea trial the boat as soon as possible. From there they would make an offer, and see where the negotiations landed. As it turned out, three days later they were seventy-six thousand dollars poorer, but the proud owners of their dream to be.

Later that evening, totally exhausted, Shay and Lee ran over the events of the last few days. Mind you, they were never really able to afford or own a boat of this size or price, but then Shay’s older cousin Randy had changed all that. He was a delightfully serious young fellow, and he and Shay had grown up very close. They had spent many a summer together sailing and sharing their love for the water, and the sea in particular. Between the two of them they had sailed almost every nook and cranny of the North Carolina coast, and had logged hundreds of hours offshore in their grandfathers old Bristol.

Both Shay and Lee had grown up in the Wilmington area. They met while both were attending college at the Universityof North Carolina at Wilmington, and had fallen madly in love with each other from the very moment they met. That was the way Lee remembered it anyway.

Shay thought he was nice, and funny, but she really never figured they would end up married. As most of us can attest, life can be funny, and they ended up marrying the day after they graduated college. Both secured jobs right out of school and had been teaching locally for the last ten years at Southport High School. She was teaching history, and he was intensely enjoying a life in mathematics. Like most people in their profession they were quite comfortable, but by no means overly wealthy.

Like most couples they occasionally had conversations about their future, and about their future retirement. They both had so many dreams, but they also knew they had years of work left in front of them. In a moment that all changed for them both when her cousin Randy came to visit just a week ago.

They were all just sitting around enjoying some of Shay’s killer, marinated steaks, when he all of a sudden asked, “What would you do, if you could do anything you wanted, regardless of price.” They both blushed a bit as Randy rarely spoke of his wealth, and although their family was fairly well off, they were a humble lot, and rarely spoke of things like this.

Everyone laughed out loud, then looked at each other and Shay blurted out, “Sail the High Seas till me dying days,” which made them all laugh even harder.

Randy said, “Then just consider it a done deal.” His statement had the effect of momentarily stunning his audience, and their smiles seemed to wane.

He then looked at both Shay and Lee with a very serious eye, and said, “Every person should have a chance to live out their dreams, and I’m going to help you make yours happen.”

“Shay,” he continued, “I have watched you grow from a high spirited, adventurous little girl, to this wonderful person you have become. Both of you are just great, hard working honest people.” He paused briefly as he looked them both directly into their eyes and then continued. “Look, you both know I couldn’t begin to spend all of this money anyway. I truly want to do this for you.”

Shay and Lee were both stunned into silence. “Well say something,” Randy said.

Lee looked over at Shay, and tears were starting to roll down her cheeks.

“Wow,” was all Lee could say.

The next day they all went down to the lawyer’s office, and Randy set up a trust fund that must have been formulated in Heaven. It would allow Shay and Lee a never ending budget of ten thousand dollars a month for the remainder of their lives. It was as simple as that, and their lives would change forever.

It was really a special gift for Randy to give, and he loved sharing his wealth with his family, especially the deserving ones, and he always said he got more from it than they ever could. His claim to fame as he called it was that he had made an early, yet large investment in Google stock. He had bought in early on when Google first emerged, when the company was in its infancy. It was the first investment he had ever made and likely would be his last. He had literally made millions of dollars from just the one move.

 

Chapter 3

It was now the second week of June and school was out for the summer. Both Shay and Lee had resigned their posts with the school effective at the end of the school term. They had spent every spare minute over the last three months doing a moderate refit, and getting the boat ready for the venture ahead. They left Southport on the thirteenth at just past 6:00 AM, heading toward a scheduled stop in Charleston. They made the southerly route via the Inter-Coastal Waterway, or the ICW, until they reached the Little River Inlet, just across the border into South Carolina.

They went through the beautiful rock-jettied inlet, and went to sea for the first leg of the trip south, at just after 1:00 PM in the afternoon. The weather was wonderful, with no rain or storms on the horizon. Because of this, they both decided to spend their first night at sea aboard the Witchwind, and under sail. They both looked forward to just gazing at the stars and getting used to keeping their watches. The remainder of the day was spent napping and relaxing, their bodies getting used to the slightly intoxicating roll of the sea. The night proved to be eerily quiet and uneventful, yet beautiful, and peaceful. They alternated watches every two hours, as is the norm at sea with a crew of two.

As the sun rose on the water the next morning, they watched the dolphins playing in water as calm as a bathtub, at times seemingly close enough to touch. As they approached Charleston, Lee found himself thinking out loud, “What the hell, the weathers good, and it’s so peaceful out here,” so he turned to Shay and said, “Let’s just keep on going till we reach St. Augustine.”

She just smiled and said exactly what Lee wanted to hear, “As long as we stop for a couple of days at the Conch House Marina.”

They both truly loved it there, and they have great food and really great music right on the dock. For a place to just chill out for a few days, it’s truly hard to beat. Having spent their week long honeymoon there, they had passionately returned each year since. Of course this time they would not be driving, and so the trip took on a significance all of its own.

“Sounds like a great plan to me,” Lee said. He smiled inwardly. There were a lot of great memories coming out of that place, he thought.

Just then one of Lee’s fishing poles started screaming off line. He had set out two King Mackerel rigs earlier that morning, and the first one had just hit. The salt water mist was flying out of the reel even while it sat in the rod holder attached to the stern rail. He eased down on the drag just slightly to put a little more pressure on the fish.

When the fish seemed to tire ever so slightly, Lee pulled the rod from its holder and engaged him in stand-up fashion.

“Wow, I think I got me a really nice one. Feels like at least a twenty pounder or better,” Lee enthusiastically yelled back over his shoulder at Shay.

She was content to stand and watch as Lee pulled and reeled, pulled and reeled. The fish was definitely bending the rod and giving Lee a good fight. That went on for a good ten minutes, while Shay clapped and laughed out loud whenever Lee seemed to almost fall of the boat. Then without any notice whatsoever, the line went slack.

“Dang it, I must have lost him,” Lee said just shaking his head. As he reeled up the rest of his line it didn’t take him long to realize he still had something on the line. When it broke the surface about twenty yards behind the slow moving boat he could easily see he was reeling in all that was left of his big King.

“It must have been a big Cuda. Bit him off right behind the head, like they always do,” Lee proclaimed sadly. “I sure hate losing a good supper.”

“Oh well, bait her up and get her back out there and try again, we got lot’s of time,” said Shay as she shook her head laughingly.

Shay went below and in a few minutes the sounds of Jimmy Buffet’s “Pirate Looks at Forty” was coming out of every crevice on the boat, and when she emerged she was wearing nothing but a really nice bikini bottom, and a really nice smile. “Might as well work on the tan,” she said looking very coy, then handed her man an ice cold Land Shark and said, “You work on this, and keep us on the right track.”

Lee accepted the ice cold bottle of beer, and just kind of stared in amazement. What a beauty. Tall and lean, nicely tanned, with beautiful long brown hair, Shay was a stunning looking woman with a flair for the athletic things in life. Both an accomplished swimmer and rock wall climber, she still possessed the body of an eighteen year old. Lee wasn’t in bad shape himself, but Shay looked like an athlete in training, and she always had.

“Yeah, wouldn’t want to get lost out here, would we,” Lee said, and then took off after her. She squealed with delight as she ran for the bow of the boat. As he reached her, he reached his arms around her and gently, but passionately hugged her from behind. They stood silently, taking in the moment, listening to the water lapping off the bow, and with the wind gently ruffling the sails, they made their way south.

“Hey mister, who’s driving this thing,” she cried out, as she spun around in his arms.

“Why no one my dear, she’s driving herself”, Lee said, and they snuggled up even closer. Both just stood there and took in the serenity of the sea. Nope, there’s nothing much that can compare to this, they each thought.

As Lee held her he gently spun her around, and began caressing her back and shoulders. He knew she loved a good massage, and he bent slightly and kissed her just between her shoulder blades and began kissing her up her spine to the nape of her neck. As he began kissing her neck, she suddenly spun back around and looked into his handsome eyes.

“Well, I was gonna save some energy for later tonight. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone around, and actually I’ve never done it on the bow of a boat,” she said with a wink and a smile.

Lee didn’t have to be coached or asked twice, and as they locked lips, he quickly shed both his trunks and then bent to take hers. They made mad love while standing on the five foot long bowsprit, the salt spray occasionally soaking them to their core, and causing them to both laugh out loud each and every time the spray would envelope them……….

Three days later they entered the St. Augustine Inlet at St. Augustine,Florida. They made the quick turn to port, and motored up the last few hundred yards to the Conch House Marina. Shay had called Captain Jack the day before and reserved a slip, and they were both looking forward to a few nights of relaxing. Not to mention listening to LoriAnn and the other bands, singing and playing on the dock.

They quickly got the boat secured in the slip, and immediately headed to the pool for a quick dip. After a short but refreshing swim, they headed back to the dock for a couple of toddies and a little open air music. A band called “Eights and Aces” was pounding out some serious acoustic rock, so they decided to hang out for a while. They ordered some of the Conch House’s world famous conch fritters, and ordered a couple of rounds of beer. The place was getting crowded early, and there were few if any seats available and it was only three o’clock in the afternoon.

Shay heard someone say “Excuse me”, and turned around to see a nice looking younger couple, and an older, say forty-ish looking guy standing behind them. “Do you mind if we join you,” she said, “There aren’t any tables left, so we were just wondering?”

Shay smiled and said, “No, pull up a couple of chairs, no problem.” The band was just now taking a break, and it left them all kind of just looking at each other, so Shay spoke up. “Hi, I’m Shay Landon and this is my husband Lee,” she said, offering her hand.

The young lady shook her hand, smiled and said, “I’m Gina Moran, and this is my boyfriend Trey Mills, and my older brother Walter. His friends all call him Boomer though. It’s nice to meet you guys.”

They were a nice looking young couple, but the one named Boomer seemed a little odd. He appeared to have some recent looking scars on his arms, face, and neck and didn’t seem to say much over the next twenty minutes or so.

Gina said they were taking her brother on a tour of Florida, and though she never said so, something certainly wasn’t quite right with Boomer. Oh, he looked all right physically. In fact he was something of an athletic specimen, which was easily seen, and you could see his muscles rippling every time he moved. But something was up with him, and Shay thought that Gina could tell she was studying him a bit close.

“Boomer just came home from Iraq. He was wounded you know, one of those IOD’s or whatever. It blew up right beside him and well, it did kind of hurt him a little. They said it will be, you know, probably ok in the future,” she said. Even as she spoke you could see a worried look in her eye, but she continued. “So, we just thought we would take some time off, and do what Boomer always wanted to do, and that’s to see Florida,” she stated brightly.

Wow, what a kid sister, Lee thought. Lee had served four years in the Marine Corp, and had even gone to Sniper School, but had never served in combat. He had gotten out and was already enrolled at UNCW, well before the war started in Iraq. You had to admire her for what she was doing though.

Boomer didn’t look like as if he cared where they were; let alone what they were doing. He just sat rather quietly the whole time. As Shay contemplated further, she realized that Boomer was in fact much younger than she originally thought. The war must really be tough on our guys, she realized quietly.

The band came back on after a short break, and played another set of truly excellent music. The newly acquainted group talked lightly between songs, and after another hour or so, the band finished up with a bang. They were really good.

“Hey, if you guys are still here at five, LoriAnn is gonna play and she’s really good too. We’ve got to get over to the boat, and grab a shower and get cleaned up,” Shay said.

“But we’ll be back,” Lee followed in his best “Arnold” voice, as they rose to leave. Everyone laughed except Boomer.

Within a half hour they were scrubbed clean, and headed back to the open air bar. They could see Gina and her group were still there, so Shay playfully snuck up behind her and said, “Excuse me, may we join you guys again.”

Everyone laughed, and Shay and Lee took their old seats back just in time to see LoriAnn stepping up to the microphone. For the next two hours they listened and enjoyed her music, drank a few more rounds, and ordered up some of the best appetizers this side of anywhere.

As they listened to the music, everyone at the table seemed to get more and more silent. This girl was good, and it didn’t take long for everyone to figure that out, and just kick back and listen.

After the last song, everyone in their little group talked about how much they enjoyed LoriAnn’s music. About that time, Boomer looked at Shay and with some difficulty said, “I like her music,” and then added somewhat slowly, “A lot.”

Shay knew that LoriAnn always had copies of her cd’s for sale, as she owned them all. So a little light bulb went off in her head and she scurried quickly over to the table where the display was set up, just as LoriAnn was sitting down to sign a few autographs.

Just as Shay arrived, LoriAnn looked up and said, “Hey, girl. Long time no see.”

Shay smiled and greeted her old friend, “Yeah, it’s been another year, hasn’t it,” she said. Shay picked up a couple of LoriAnn’s newest, had them both signed, and told her friend they would be around a few days. “Plus I have to show you my new boat anyway,” Shay beamed. They agreed to meet for lunch at the restaurant the next afternoon at noon, and Shay quickly headed back to her group.

When she sat back down she looked at Boomer and said, “Here you go buddy, you like her music, and so do I. Here’s her latest, one for you and one for me.”

Boomer smiled briefly, and said, “Thanks,” then after a short pause added, “I like boats too.”

Shay looked briefly at Lee and stated “Well Boomer, if you like boats, why don’t you guys come on over to our boat and have a look.”

“OK,” the young soldier said, and he stood up without any hesitation whatsoever.

“Are you sure,” said Gina, “We don’t want to be a bother.” She suddenly felt a little embarrassed, and you could see her cheeks were blushing.

“Nonsense,” Shay said, “Let’s go Boomer,” and all five of them headed for the Witchwind. Both Lee and Shay were very proud of their new boat anyway, and would love the chance to show it off a little.

The foursome sat on the deck house drinking cold beer, and watched for almost an hour as Boomer poured over the entire boat. His enthusiasm seemed no less complete than Shay’s was the day she saw her for the first time.

 

Chapter 4

On June 17th, at a few minutes past 9:00 am, a lone figure walked out of the Tallahassee Federal-Medium Security Work Facility, and into the parking lot. He sees the man waiting for him leaning against a large black SUV, and heads toward him. After serving six years of an eight year sentence on a trumped up bullshit charge, Miguel “Dog” Maldonado was a free man. Had the authorities been able to secure a conviction on all of the charges brought against him, he would have been locked up for at least fifty more years. But then the art of the negotiated plea comes into play, and another piece of shit gets flushed back into society far sooner than we would like.

He is a dark skinned man, with pocked facial skin, and a look on his face that tells a story of many years of living hard, and living on the edge. He is small in stature but heavily built, somewhat akin to a bulldog, hence his nick the “Dog”. He is a cunning, yet ruthless man who would kill his own brother if he got in his way. The man waiting for him is a small time crook by the name of Edward William Winston. “Fast Eddy” to his friends who liked fucking with him, as the name came about as a joke due to his unfortunate ability to get caught three times out of three trying to steal late model Corvettes and Mustangs out of Miami. Obviously he wasn’t that fast, but the nick stuck just the same.

“Sup Dog,” said Eddy as the man approached.

“Nothing man, let’s just get the fuck outa here. I don’t want to see this shithole again as long as I live,” snapped the Dog. “I mean seriously, I ain’t never going back to no place like that. Fucker’s can just kill me first, you got it.”

“Yeah man I got it,” said Eddy wearily, “Just chill dude, and wait till you see what we got worked up,” he said with some enthusiasm, “You gonna like this shit, man.”

A little over an hour later they merged onto I-75 South towards Tampa, and Dog suddenly says, “All right bitch where we headed, I can’t stand the suspense any longer.”

They had agreed months earlier when first Eddy, and then Sammy were released, that they would never communicate again concerning any plans they may have made. Nothing. Zero communication, got it. “Yeah Dog we got it,” he had made each of the others say to his face.

“All right, all right,” said Eddy a little impatiently, “We gotta get down to Lauderdale to meet up with Sammy and Will. They’re already set up in a nice condo on the beach, and we’re ready to get this thing up and running. Just lay back and relax dude, it’s gonna be another four hours or so anyway.”

“Yeah, well fuck you very much,” replied Dog as he settled in for the ride.

As he drove, Eddy thought about the plans they had made while incarcerated together over the last few years. Sammy Johnson had been at the Work Facility with the others for just the last year, and his brother Will had been a frequent visitor as he lived in nearby Destin. Both were childhood friends of Eddy’s, and both were small time drug dealers, with a penchant for fast cars, fast boats, and even faster women. After all it was “the” way of life if you were a spoiled ass rich kid.

Their parents had shoveled out the massive amounts of money required to keep the two boys out of trouble. They had hoped the boys would have learned their lessons early, and then would go on to do something productive with their lives. As it was, it didn’t work out that way, and now they were the proud parents of two of Florida’s finest.

The problem now, was the three of them were ready to move up to the big time. No more bullshit. They were gonna break out and away from this small time trivial shit, and do something big. That’s why they had befriended the Dog. Dog was not like them. Dog was a leader, and he was going to take them places. Money, drugs, women, the Islands, what ever it was, it was going to be a party for sure, thought Eddy, it was going to be big, and he was ready to do it.

Back at the condo Sammy opened his eyes and quickly looked at his watch. “Shit, it’s already after noon,” he thought. The woman stirring beside him lay naked on top of the sheets, and even though he couldn’t remember her name right now, he certainly remembered that Eddy had said he and Dog would be at the condo before four o’clock this afternoon. “Get up sweetheart and get a move on, we gotta go,” Eddie lied. “Will, you and yours get your asses up, we got shit to do,” he hollered out to his brother as he entered the living room.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Will said rubbing his head. It was a long night with very little sleep, but what the hell; it was fun, thought Will as he trotted off to the shower.

In less than thirty minutes the girls were in a cab heading somewhere/anywhere. The boys could care less anyway. It was time to get serious. Real serious.

Will and Sammy were off to the Waffle House around the corner for some breakfast or lunch, which ever you wanted to call it.

At exactly 4:08 PM, the door opened and Eddy and Dog came bouncing in. There were shouts of glee, and high fives and hugs all around as the four men celebrated their new found freedom, and the newly formed partnership that had manifested itself over the last few years. They went downstairs and climbed into Eddy’s Escalade, and headed off for the historic Lauderdale Marina.

The marina was founded in 1948, and is considered by many to be the very finest boating facility in Florida. They went immediately over to the 15th Street Fisheries Restaurant, and grabbed an outside table right off of the docks, so they could talk openly without worry. Each of them ordered heartily off of the menu, and prepared themselves for the fine sea food dishes the restaurant was so famous for. As soon as the Margarita’s and the fried calamari hit the table, Dog was ready to begin.

“OK ladies,” Dog started off with his favorite bite, “Where do we stand on the Initiate Action Process.”

They all new exactly what he meant. They had spent months under Dog’s watchful eye. Every aspect of every plan must have the proper component structure, and they all knew them by heart. Planning, Action, Evaluation, Adjusting, and then back to Action. The circle never stops. The components work independently of, but in harmony with each other at all times. He looked directly at Will, and the young man delivered his report.

“Slip D as in Delta-32, Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Resort and Marina, a 46 foot Hunter sail boat with crew of four aboard. All women, ages twenty-six to thirty-seven, the boat is owned by the husband of one of the crew, a twenty-nine year old by the name of Dawn Winters,” replied Will with an air of military professionalism that he had never possessed prior to meeting Dog.

Will then looked over to his brother Sammy, who continued, “Two days from now, on the nineteenth, the “Summer Dawn” will set sail for Freeport, Bahamas,” said Sammy, “And as of yesterday they will be taking on a couple of blond haired, bronze bodied hitchhikers,” he added, with just a little too much melodrama.

“Cut the shit Sammy and give the report,” cried Will as he looked over at Dog.

They all knew that Dog only wanted the meat of the report. No filler. And he would not stand for less, for very long. But he did like the boys and he knew that the way they looked was the key to getting inside of their targets natural defensive instincts. Especially with the girls. They were both still under thirty and very lean, tanned, good looking lads with long blond hair and six-pack abs. Pure Florida old school surfer dudes, and brothers to boot. It was the perfect covert entry tactic and cover.

“As I was saying,” Sammy went on, “We will be on the boat with them, and we have a scheduled departure time of 6:30 AM. At approximately 8:30 AM, or roughly two hours after departure, we will take control of the ship. We will make contact with you and Eddy via satellite telephone, coordinate GPS positions, and rendezvous as soon as possible. We will scuttle your watercraft and then turn over command of Summer Dawn to Dog for further instructions,” he concluded. He looked around the table for objections and or additions, and there were none.

The waitress was just rounding the corner with their main course, and so Dog took over. “Great job guys, now let’s shut the fuck up and eat,” he stated with a smile.

The plan was coming together fine. Their training had paid dividends, and Dog was pleased. And if Dog was pleased, then everyone was pleased. None of the other three had ever really known what Dog was planning. They really didn’t know anything about him at all. They were sure that he must have been in the Military, or either he was a mercenary or something spooky. One thing was sure for sure….he didn’t tell and they didn’t ask. You were either in, or you were out, and by the looks of the first few operational details, it was apparent they were all in.

 

Chapter 5

The six man team was hunkered down in the trees overlooking the pick up zone some forty meters away when the sound of the exfiltration chopper’s specially designed; sound reduction rotors finally broke through the silence of the jungle itself.

The pilot held the chopper at exactly three feet off the deck as the men from Echo 1-6 scrambled from their hiding places, and climbed aboard for the quick twenty minute ride back to the next transfer point.

Before, after, and during each mission, all Echo Teams were required to be transported via an operational security measure known affectionately as the “Washing Machine”.

By utilizing multiple transportation sources during a mission, you could wash the actual details of the mission’s transportation services completely away. By taking the mission essentials down to the fewest possible persons, you thereby effect the greatest opportunity for Operational Security.

There were now ten active Echo Teams, and not even the team members themselves knew anything of the other teams. Under no circumstances would they ever come together.

If a mission was deemed questionable due to a manpower or unit size and capability issue, then another type team would be deployed ie. Seal Team, Ranger Team, and/or Special Forces Teams etc.

All Echo Team Members were Active Duty Military however, and made up from groups of men from all branches of the Armed Forces.

They were all the same in many other aspects as well. Loners in some senses, pack instinctive in others, they were career soldiers to the man. They were all unmarried, unattached, with nowhere to be in a hurry. They were not stationed at any one Military Installation, again for Operational Security Measures. They were simply directed as to where they were supposed to be, and they went.

These were some of the best fighting men America had to offer, and these were the men previously commanded by Sergeant Major Walter “Boomer” Moran. They were also his brethren in blood. From whence he had come, and to those men of Echo 1-6, to where he would once again belong. This, they believed to a man.

Six months earlier, Echo Team 1-6 had been in Baghdad performing a daring, if impractical counter-sniper mission that effectively eliminated one of the U.S. Military’s single greatest psychological threats in Iraq to date.

He was coined the “Juba Sniper”. The media’s coverage was greatly subdued on this subject due to a high level request by the U.S. Government. He was however, a very real threat to those he hunted. The fact that the Juba sniper digitally filmed each shot he took caused the anxiety of the troops to go off the hook.

The film clips then somehow ended up being posted on You Tube, and several other heavily biased foreign web sites such as Aljazeera, and the like. The families back home were more terrified than ever, and the troops wanted his ass bad.

Utilizing an Israeli made Sniper rifle, equipped with digital camera recording capability, the Juba Sniper had already wounded or killed 143 U.S.combat soldiers. He was deadly effective. Always the same, he never deviated from shooting the invisible single shot. He effectively hit seams in the soldier’s armor or otherwise unprotected areas of the human body, and then disappeared as if a ghost into the surrounding area.

The American President was furious at the cost of American lives, let alone the fear the sniper induced into the American combat patrols, and ordered the ultimate destruction of the Baghdad Sniper at any and all costs. “Just put somebody in there and kill that son of a bitch and I mean do it now”, were the words that were used, one senior Military Advisor would later reveal describing the moment.

The men they sent were from Echo Team 1-6. The man that made the shot that took out the dreaded sniper, was none other than Boomer Moran. Five minutes later an IED, or improvised exploding device, went off thirty feet from where he was standing, nearly killing him instantly.

A miracle he was even alive today, his men knew the only thing they could and would do is to hope and pray for a full recovery. For Boomer, his only thoughts were on returning to the team he longed to fight beside again……….

Two thousand miles away, at exactly 6:42 in the morning, the Summer Dawn shed her lines and made her way out to sea. With a crew of four women and two men, they set out on a wonderfully beautiful morning, with wind and wave forecasts that were just perfect for the approximately seventy mile trip.

Making between six and seven knots per hour they should be at the Freeport Harbor Customs Station in about ten hours or so, depending on drift and current conditions as they crossed the Gulf Stream. Although all the girls were adequate and experienced sailors, Dawn was certainly glad to have Will and Sammy along. Not only were they knowledgeable and helpful as well, but they were also eye candy for her friends Beth and Suzanne, both whom were single and presently unattached.

Within the hour they were in blue water making way for the Bahamas. Spirits were on high, with Beth and Will on the wheel, and Dawn handling the navigation chores, while the rest of the crew were content in enjoying the ride.

“Hey, does anyone want some breakfast,” asked Carol, the older of the girls. Like Dawn, she was married to a boat loving man. He was a senior associate of Dawn’s husband Joey at their Miami accounting office, and a seasoned sailor himself.

“I picked up some breakfast burritos at Mickey-dees this morning,” she added.

“Oh man,” Will said, “Sure was hoping for a champagne breakfast,” he laughed.

“Not this time big boy, but maybe next time,” laughed Carol.

As she passed out the food to all aboard, Suzanne and Sammy went forward to the bow of the boat. She was thinking, what a nice looking guy, I hope we can maybe spend some time together once we get into Freeport.

Unfortunately Sammy’s thoughts were nowhere along those lines, and actually the thoughts running through his head at this time did not include her ever getting back to shore at all. Sammy actually was not the least bit uncomfortable about the prospective events of the near future.

He and Will had made the commitment to follow Dog’s orders exactly as they had been laid out. The excitement of it all made him tingle in anticipation. In fact he was somewhat aroused by the whole situation, but the plan did not call for that right now, and he was not about to deviate from Dog’s orders. Not now or not ever.

Three hundred miles to the north, the Witchwind was making her way south, straight into the mouth of hell.

 

Chapter 6

It was just after 8:00 AM on the morning of the nineteenth, and Federal Parole Officer Ray Simmons was running through his list of current parolees that had missed their respective reporting dates. At the top of his hit list was Miguel Maldonado. Released on 17 June, he was supposed to report yesterday before the close of business at 5:00 PM. Of worse concern was the triple asterisk placed beside his name that signified a “Special Handling” situation.

He fired up his computer and logged on to the case file for further information. What he saw made him immediately have cause for concern, and he yelled over to his on-duty supervisor, Jim Watts. “Hey Jim, come look at this one, will ya,” he said, “We got us some trouble here, I think.”

Together they quickly perused the information in the special information section. Maldonado, Miguel Antonio, alias “The Dog”, age 37, former Special Forces U.S. Army, Top Secret Security Risk, and then the following: ***This individual is considered a High Security Risk, and should be considered a potential flight risk. Should he fail to report at any time, please call Agent Michael Barrow of the Miami FBI Office as soon as possible.

“Oh shit, we better give them a call right away,”Watts said. “Why do they even let these guys out, if they think they aren’t going to show up? I just don’t get it,” he added.

“I don’t know either, but let me make the call right now and get the monkey off of our back. Seems like one we don’t want to mess with anyway,” concluded the young officer.

Within minutes the call was made and the FBI had an Asset Liability Case started. Another call was made. This time it was the FBI calling to a senior White House Official based on the coded message Senior Agent Bill Tankersley was looking at on his computer. His was not to wonder why, and he did not have the need to know anyway. He just made the call as directed……….

At the exact same time on the Summer Dawn, the opportunity presented itself as Will and Sammy found themselves momentarily alone on the deck with Suzanne. Without hesitation, Sammy grabbed Suzanne and hurled her over the stanchions and lifelines and into the water. Even as Suzanne began to scream, both men began hollering “Man Overboard, Man Overboard.”

This quickly brought the other three women scrambling from below to the upper deck. In those few seconds, Suzanne and the Summer Dawn were separated by more than two hundred feet. She was screaming as loud as she could, but know one could understand what she was saying. She was also flailing her hands in the air, like she was trying to wave someone down.

What she was doing was trying to warn the others. That wasn’t going to happen though. No matter how hard she tried.

“What the hell is going on,” yelled Dawn excitedly, as she came through the companionway door.

“She was leaning over the rail and lost her balance,” said Will. “I’m making the turn to port, start Man-Over-Board procedures, will you please,” he added dramatically.

“Will, take her around as close as possible. Sammy you grab the throw bag, and I’ll handle the Life Buoy,” said Dawn with an air of authority. She quickly grabbed the Ring with the tether rope so as to be ready to throw it to Suzanne as they passed back by.

“Girls, go below and grab some regular life jackets to throw out in case we miss her with the rope,” Will told Beth and Carol, and they both hurried away to assist.

No sooner than they were out of sight, Sammy grabbed Dawn from behind and threw her over as well. She didn’t weigh much over a hundred pounds, and it really required no effort at all on his part. Even though she furiously fought against his actions and attempted to grab hold of him, it was a mere moment of hope in an otherwise desperate situation.

As soon as her head broke the surface of the water he could hear her scream though, “You mother fucker,” she yelled at the top of her lungs.

Oh well, too bad he thought, and continued on with his plan of action.

By the time the other two girls came back up on deck Sammy had produced a small automatic pistol and had it pointed directly at them. “Get off of my boat, or I’ll blow your fucking heads off right now,” he said with a growl. Both girls looked suddenly terrified, and hesitated just briefly.

Sammy fired a round right over their heads and then repeated, “Get the fuck off now,” he screamed. Without hesitation they both dove off of the boat and in to the deep blue water of the Atlantic Ocean.

Will began the slow turn to come back around. Within a couple of minutes the maneuver was complete.

As the boat came around in its counter clockwise motion, toward first Suzanne and then the others, they each in turn saw Sammy standing at the rail with the small gun in his hand. He coldly and systematically shot each girl in the head and torso several times as the boat sailed by. Their feeble efforts to swim away seemed pathetic at best.

Within seconds it was over, and the sea had swallowed all signs of their first victims. The Summer Dawn in due time would follow them down to depths unknown, but it was not yet that time.

Less than ten miles away, Dog and Eddy were easing along in a twenty five foot center console fishing boat, with four fishing poles set out in a normal trolling pattern. To anyone who passed by, it appeared as if they were just two guys out fishing. Of course they were simply dragging empty hooks, because they were not in the mood to really catch anything. They were on a mission and would need to move as quickly as possible when the time came.

When the sat-phone buzzed, it was Eddy who picked it up, and said, “Yo”. On the other end, Will read off their GPS coordinates, and then followed with “How Copy.”

Eddy simply said, “Lima Charlie,” which stood for loud and clear. He then hung up, and he and Dog immediately headed for the rendezvous point. They maintained their trolling speed so as not to attract any unwanted attention.

Within another ten minutes Dog had all the lines in, and they set out towards their destination at full throttle.

In less than a half hour the Summer Dawn came into view and the two boats began to converge. Once along side of each other, the men made quick work of off loading a few gear bags from the fishing vessel. Dog pulled one of the bags to the side of the railing, and reaching in he produced a small automatic machine pistol, of the nine millimeter variety. Turning the weapon on its side to make sure the bullet casings went overboard, he proceeded to stitch the port side of the fishing vessel with fifty rounds of hollow points.

He made damn sure to hole the vessel at the water line or below, and she immediately began taking on water. The four men stood at attention and saluted her as she went down, in somewhat a mockery of the traditions of the sea.

“All right ladies, it’s time to kick this thing off,” said Dog. “We can’t stay on this boat for more than a day or two, plus there probably ain’t no fucking food on here anyways. We need to find us a loaded up travelin’ boat, that ain’t nobody looking for. But in the meantime I do hope we got some cold beer, or something,” he added as he looked toward Will and Sammy.

Will reached into one of the coolers stowed and tied on deck and produced a handful of cold, canned Icehouse beers, and tossed one to each of the others. “How about a little idea of what we got going on,” he ventured, as the others took their seats.

“Yeah, Yeah,” said Dog, “I guess we do need to go into a little Operational Planning stage, now don’t we. I’m thinking we keep heading on over, but instead of Nassau we veer a little south and make for the Exumas. A lot more islands to hide around in, and a whole lot more folks taking in the deserted islands. Those guys should be outfitted a little deeper than this shitbird is.”

Nobody said much to that, and Will was thinking about the food stores on board. They could probably survive a week, but no more on what they had, but that was plenty of time to get to the islands and find another source of supplies.

They all knew that Will was the only one with a real passport and proper documentation, as the rest were all prior felons, and were carrying fake credentials that they would rather not use if they didn’t have to. If anyone had to go on shore it would have to be him.

“Well let’s load the coordinates and set sail for the north side of Exuma, we can hide there for a while, and we’ll have plenty of help staying hid with all the cruisers around,” Dog decided.

“Let’s do it then,” said the boys in unison.

As Dog looked around at his crew, he could only wonder why these three followed him like a bunch of puppies. Maybe because he was “The Dog”, he mused to himself.

Dog also pondered on another fact that he was sure of. It was that he knew other wheels were turning. People were already looking for him and he knew that in his heart.

Will, Eddie, and Sammy knew nothing of his past, as he had not shared anything like that with them. But he had a past, and a bloody one at that.

They also had no idea that on a lonely deserted island somewhere in the Bahamas, Dog had buried a small package several years ago. That small package was worth a fortune to him, and he wanted it back. He had paid for it in blood, his career, and by serving time behind bars.

It was his and he had no intentions of sharing it with anyone else, present company included. Lying there waiting for him was approximately eighty pounds of loose diamonds that he had stolen during a raid in Eastern Africa, and unfortunately there were others who knew he had them.

They just didn’t know where. But for him, a disappearing act was possibly the only way to stay alive. The bad thing was those who were looking for him had all the resources in the world at their disposal, including the U.S. Military.

Yet forward they went, with nary a look back.

 

Chapter 7

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) serves as the head of the Intelligence Community (IC), overseeing and directing the implementation of the National Intelligence Program. He also normally acts as the principal advisor to the President, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to National Security.

Working together with the Principal Deputy DNI (PDDNI), and with the assistance of a small but highly trained group of Mission Managers including four Deputy Directors, the Office of the DNI’s goal is to effectively integrate foreign, military and domestic intelligence, in defense of the homeland and of the manyUnited Statesinterests abroad.

One of those four Deputy Directors had just received a call from the FBI, and his blood boiled over as he received the news that Miguel “Dog” Maldonado was out of confinement, and reported absent and missing.

Deputy Director Alan Jenson Sr. had not only a professional interest, but a personal one as well. His only son, Alan Jr. had been in Africa with Maldonado as a member of Echo Team 1-1, when something went terribly wrong during the mission. The entire team had been lost except Maldonado. It was certainly obvious to those in the know that a great amount of unlawful activity went on during the mission. That much was undeniable.

Although there was no hard evidence, the Office of the DNI was certain the whole mission reeked of murder, theft, and deception. Jenson himself had been soundly and thoroughly questioned about the loss of a small fortune in diamonds, an accusation made by an official of the African government in question.

With little real evidence, the prosecution team advised cutting a deal to at least get Maldonado into Federal Prison, and out of the Military. They could not afford to prosecute him via a Military Courts Martial, and due to the nature of his operational knowledge he was quietly discharged from the Military and placed in Federal Confinement. Once there, of course he was a model prisoner.

What no one knew, other than Dog Maldonado, was that the Mission Manager for the failed operation was none other than Alan Jenson Sr. and that the mission hadn’t failed at all. Everything went exactly as planned until Dog decided to get greedy and fucked over everyone else in a bad way.

It was one thing for Jenson Sr. to know his son’s killer was still walking on this earth, but it was quite another to be able to do something about it. Most importantly he wanted those diamonds back. Like it would in some way vindicate him for making such a terrible mistake, the mistake of trusting Maldonado with his son’s life. In the end he knew one or both of them would be dead, there was just no other way it could end. At this point in his life, he really didn’t care which way it went, as long as Maldonado went with him.

The next morning on the 20th of June, Summer Dawn was approaching the Bimini’s well on their way to Exuma. They needed to change boats almost daily to prevent anyone from locating, or seeing any reported missing vessel. Even if there were an attempt to be boarded by any law enforcement vessels, Dog was sure the onboard fire power could and would be sufficient to surprise and subdue anyone who tried to stop them.

At about noon they spotted the sails of another boat out on the horizon, and started making way towards them. As they closed the distance Dog was looking through the binoculars and said, “Looks like we may have a customer here boys,” he said with a sadistic smile.

Will and Sammy jumped up and peered out as well. Eddy was down in the galley making sandwiches, and poked his head out the companionway and said, “Lunch is almost ready guys.”

“Hold that thought”, said Dog, “We got a situation here. Big sailor’ coming up on the starboard side. Eddy you stay out of sight till I say so, and Will, you and Sammy grab the pistols and the flare gun. And don’t go shootin’ holes all in the boat either, and let me do the talking.”

They immediately dropped all sails and fired up the diesel engine, and continued toward the on-coming sailboat. Dog fired off a flare in the direction of the approaching vessel, and followed it with a second one. The other boat, noting the obvious distress signal began lowering its sails as well, and attempted to hail the other boat with VHS radio to no avail.

Within minutes the two boats began to cautiously approach one another. The seas were almost flat which afforded Dog the opportunity to move quite close to other vessel. He hollered across, “Radio is out and I got a very sick man aboard, you wouldn’t happen to be a Doctor would you.”

“No”, the other man yelled back across the thirty yards or so that separated the two idling boats. “I’m by myself heading back across, but I can radio for help,” he added.

While the two men were busy talking, Sammy quietly slipped below and grabbed the CAR-15 Assault Rifle. He stepped onto the deck and without hesitation took aim at the other man and shot him center mass. He never saw it coming. The bullet struck the man in the chest, tearing out his heart and left lung, killing him instantly. As he fell to the deck, Dog stated with an ugly smile, “Damn it Sammy, now you’re gonna have to scrub the deck before we can even move in.”

They all laughed at the thought of it, and then they began the process of dropping fender buoys over the sides so that they could transfer everything they needed to their new boat.

In less than an hour they were finished. Dog had tied one of the Summer Dawn’s anchors to the dead man’s foot, and kicked him overboard. Then they once again stood on the deck of the new boat and shot the Summer Dawn full of holes and watched her sink. Once again all hands saluted her departure, as she became invisible to the world above.

Dog looked over his new boat, and estimated her to be about a thirty eight to forty footer, and as he leaned over the stern to get a look at her name and hailing port he started laughing hysterically. “Look at this shit, her name is Easy Come, Easy Go, how fucking ironic is that,” he added. “All right let’s get her cleaned up and get going, you young pirates, and see what the sea has to offer.”

They laughed out loud, and seemed content with the obvious craziness of it all.

 

Chapter 8

“All of Fort Lauderdale is waiting dockside at Hall of Fame Marina. The famed river walk with its first class restaurants, the stunning new beach promenade, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and more, will lure you by day and dazzle you at night, or so says this brochure,” said Lee laughingly as Shay made the tie on the last of the dock lines.

“Well then, welcome to Ft.Lauderdale,” Shay shot back with a smile. ” I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry as a horse,” she added.

“It says here there’s a Coconut’s right across the street over there,” Lee pointed out. “How does that sound for a quick fix?”

“Works for me, if it works for you, I just want to sit down and eat, and have me a toddy,” Shay said, “And I really can’t believe we are already this far, this fast. It’s just been amazing already,” she added with a genuine smile.

Thirty minutes later they were ordering a round of appetizers and drinks when they heard someone say, “Hey ya’ll,” and they both looked up to see Gina and Boomer Moran and Gina’s boyfriend Trey. Gina was smiling and waving her hand, and acting like she was truly amazed at the site of their recent acquaintances. Trey was looking a little embarrassed, and Boomer had the same serious look on his face that he always seemed to have.

“Hey guys,” Shay said with a smile, “Wanna join us.”

“Oh we don’t want to be a bother, just wanted to say hey to you guys,” said Gina.

“Really, you all pull up a chair, it’s good to see you again,” added Lee. “And hey Boomer, are you enjoying your trip aroundFlorida?”

The young man smiled slightly and said, “Yes I am.” The three of them took chairs at the table, and the waitress brought a round of menus. They all started talking of their trips south, and what they had seen and been doing over the last week……….

On the other side of the Atlantic Channel the boys were making way on board Easy Come, Easy Go, when Dog came out of the cabin and said, “All right ladies, everybody up topside for a mission briefing.”

Once all hands were there, he began, “OK, first things first. We don’t know who is looking for us and who isn’t. We will immediately plot a reverse course and head back towards the Keys, and catch a boat that is heading over to the islands instead of heading back from. That keeps us traveling in the correct direction and on the same time frame as those whose misfortune it is to do business with us.” He looked around to make sure he had everyone’s undivided attention. When he was certain that he did, he continued, “I’m telling you all right now, we can only operate our boats for no more than a days time, max of two. Anything more and we are asking to get busted, and that won’t go down pretty. Keep your eyes open, stay aware of the program and we’ll be fine. Are their any questions?” Dog glanced casually at his boys before inviting feedback.

“Dog, look man you know were all in, and we ain’t never gonna question you man, but you know, we don’t even know what the plan is,” said Eddy very nervously. The others just nodded agreement, and rather sheepishly at that.

Dog looked at his men, and he knew it was time to give them a bone. Something they could chew on. Something good. “Well boy’s it’s like this. I have been holdin’ out on the intel, yes I have. But it was for good reason. I didn’t want any of you going weak or going south on me. Too much at stake here,” he paused and looked each of them in the eye before continuing, “So here’s the poop. A little over six years ago, I stole two million dollars in cash from the Federal Government, whom I used to work for. When, where, and how really isn’t important anymore. Now that money’s sitting in a hole on a special little island not a hundred miles from here, and this is what I’m offering. Three hundred thousand cash for each of you, plus we’ll burn a hunge on a huge ass party to celebrate the occasion. That leaves a mil for me, because it is my shit after all, and I’ll give each of you, oh, about three seconds to decide if you’re in or out,” he added with a wicked smile. “Stutter and I’ll kill the lot of you.”

In unison they all pumped their fist’s, and yelled and hooted up a storm. Oh yeah, they were all in. All in, and way the fuck over their heads and they hadn’t a clue. And in a way it was a shame, Dog thought, because he really did like them. But it wasn’t personal, and that’s just the way it was.

And so Dog kept smiling. “And look here shitbirds, this is just the beginning. So don’t get stale on my ass now, you got it. This is just the tip of this iceberg, and I got plans for you fuckers, ok,” he added. “Now let’s get some lines in the water, cause I ain’t passing up on some of the best fishing waters in the world, even if I’m on a fucking sailboat, damned WAFI’s (Wind Assisted Fucking Idiots). We’ll slow troll all night tonight, stop and sleep if we get tired, it don’t matter. Tomorrow we’ll trade this baby in on a new model, good enough?”

“Yeah Dog we got it man, and we’re lovin’ it,” said Sammy. Everyone was all smiles as they made the turn back for the Keys, and whatever the future held……….

Back at the Office of the DNI, Deputy Director Alan Jenson Sr. had already begun securing operational capabilities from within his vast network. The FBI would send out messages to all local and state Law Enforcement Agencies to be on the lookout for Maldonado, but also to report any instances of missing persons, thefts of vehicles, boats, airplanes, helicopters etc. so that leads might be generated.

He knew the extent Maldonado would go to get away and to get underground, but he was totally reluctant to include any sources outside of his control, especially foreign Island Governments and their respective Law Enforcement Agencies. Maldonado had been captured in Puerto Rico, and Jenson had always had a sneaking suspicion that the diamonds were hidden somewhere in the islands near the U.S. Mainland, but God, what a needle in a haystack.

What he knew for sure, was that Maldonado was coldly capable of anything, and would head directly to his stash, wherever that might be.

The hardest part was figuring out how to stop him, and how to do it so that he, Jenson Sr. would end up with the diamonds without anyone’s knowledge. He figured the best way was to capture Maldonado and torture the information out of him, secure the diamonds, and then kill him. There was no doubt in his mind, that he could personally fire the bullet himself. He would avenge his only son, or he would die trying. He would utilize the Echo Team program to secure the capture if at all possible. That way the operational security would be intact, and no one outside the team would even know what happened. The sad thing was that if Maldonado spilled his guts to the team, then they too would have to be eliminated. It made him sick to his stomach to even think of that. Stupid fucking idiot Maldonado, he thought to himself. Should’ve stuck to the fucking plan……….

Back at the restaurant the gang was cheerfully exchanging stories, and sipping toddies. “Well we are actually thinking of taking one of those cheap two day Cruise Ship deals over to the Bahamas for a couple of days. They say you can go for about a hundred dollars a piece, and that’s well within our budget,” said Trey excitedly.

“That or drive on down to Key West,” added Gina, “We just haven’t decided yet.”

“I like Bahamas,” said Boomer surprisingly. Everyone smiled unexpectedly at his statement.

“Do you guys all have passports,” asked Shay. They all nodded affirmatively, so she added pleadingly, “Come on Lee, let’s all go over for a couple of days on the boat. It’ll fill a dream for a very deserving Veteran, and it would be fun as hell anyway.”

The offer by Shay surprised Lee somewhat, but he quickly realized it came from her heart. Her father had fought inVietnam, and had been seriously wounded as well. Shay had always been very proud of her father, and his service to his Country. Hell, I’m a Veteran myself, he thought, so why not.

“Hey, I’m not the spoiled sport here, if you guys all wanna go, then we’ll go. It ain’t no big deal, but then again it might be. Let’s do it,” said Lee. “In fact let’s get it together and head over tomorrow, we can stay for two or three days and then zoom back,” he added cheerfully, to which everyone agreed. They all laughed and shook hands, and the deal was done. Even Boomer was smiling now.

 

Chapter 9

The next morning the newly acquired crew of the Witchwind showed up early, and raring to go. The boat still had enough provisions on board for this trip, and if they needed anything else they could resupply in Alice Town in the Bimini’s, or in Freeport once they got there. They could head directly for Freeport and the West End, but Lee was thinking of the great fishing in and around the Bimini’s, and he figured Boomer might like to hook a big fish, and experience the excitement as well. He figured they would head that way first, and at most it would only take a day or so longer, and it really didn’t seem to matter to anyone, because no one was in a hurry anyway. They all agreed, and set off the docks at just past 7:30 AM, on the 21st of June.

Both Lee and Shay were really surprised at all the beautiful weather they were having. Right in the middle of hurricane season, they had to keep a constant eye on the weather at all times. So far, the tropics had been quiet for mostly the whole season, which was slightly strange, but hey, no one was complaining. This time of year it is usually much safer heading up into the Chesapeake Bay, but both Shay and Lee had decided to chance it and head south. So far they had no regrets, and in fact were having the trip of a lifetime. As they set out on their little journey, everyone seemed to just loiter around the deck taking in the scenery.

Many people think there is nothing to look at when you are out in the open water, but the truth is totally the opposite. The water moving along the sides of the boat, with the ever occasional spray off the bow, seems to mesmerize all sailors. The ability to talk on board is so different than being on a motor boat. The wind whipping in and out of the sails is somewhat serene at times, as you feel yourself being propelled forward by nature alone. The sheer distance you can see out across the ocean, keeps you busy. You’re always looking for other boats, bigger ships, and of course all the marine life that seems to be everywhere. The crew was simply amazed at the sight of the rich, blue hued flying fish, as they soared through the air just bare inches from the water.

They were making great time, and were over half way to the Bimini Islands, when Lee hollered out, “Ship on the horizon.” Everyone began looking out towards where Lee was pointing, and sure enough there was another sailboat heading their way. Although they were still three or four miles away, it was time to pay attention to where the other boat was heading.

When they were about a mile out they could see the boat was beginning to drop sail. Lee hollered over to Shay, “Hey sweetie, can you try to raise them on Channel 16 for me, looks like they are dropping sail.” As she moved to the radio Lee picked up the binoculars and could see a man on the bow of the boat waving a flag of some kind.

“No answer on 16, Lee, but I’ll keep trying,” said Shay. By now everyone was on deck and curious as to what was going on. ” Vessel approaching the Sailing Vessel Witchwind can you hear me, over. If you can hear me please acknowledge,” she added but to no avail.

“Guess their radio’s out or the guy on front of the boat can’t get to it. Everybody be alert, we’re gonna move up close and check them out,” Lee stated. “Remember this area is full of pirates so be careful,” he added.

“Lee quit that,” said Shay with a smile, “You know that’s not quite true, and your just getting everyone all excited.”

Lee was still on the binoculars, and could see some movement on deck as they got closer to each other. He also could see the other boat was now dead in the water and no longer moving forward. “Look alive guys it looks like something is going on here,” he said. “I can see one man attending to another on the deck, and the one guy is still waving a flag from the bow. Looks like a diver’s flag, but I think they have some kind of emergency going on,” he added and handed the binoculars to Shay so he could begin to maneuver the boat closer to see what was going on. “I’m dropping both main sails and going in on jib and power only,” he added, and immediately went to work.

“Flare off the bow, our direction”, Shay hollered. “You’re right Lee, must be a medical emergency of some kind.”

The seas were running at about two feet so it shouldn’t be much of a problem coming up close to the other boat, thought Lee. As they closed the last hundred yards or so the man on the bow ran back to center deck and seemed to be helping the other man. As Lee approached, he made his turn to set both boats port side to port side and eased in as close as seemed safe. He had the boats about seventy to eighty feet apart as they began to make their first pass, still in gear but just idling.

“I think he’s broken his back,” one of the men yelled over as the two boats passed. No one could see the Dog, as he was hunkered down in the companionway with a Remington .308 caliber sniper rifle. As soon as he could see Lee at the helm he made his first shot, which struck Lee in his left eye and exited out the right side of his head. The impact of the shot sent him sprawling over the cockpit coamings, and onto the side deck. His total loss of balance and insight to what had happened caused him to crawl forward, and he fell overboard instantly.

Trey jumped over towards him and before he could acknowledge what was happening, took a round in the back, at the base of his spine. Fatally crippling him, it removed most of his internal organs out of an exit wound the size of a football. He fell down and forward into the companionway, blocking any access to the interior of the boat.

Boomer’s gaze went immediately to the other boat, and his mind began analyzing the action. He quickly noted three men on the deck of the other boat, up and running with weapons in hand. They began firing at Shay, Gina, and himself even as they began moving.

As Boomer came to grips with what was unfolding, his mind went to another place. His instincts kicked in and he began to run towards Shay and Gina, who were trying to find something to hide behind. As he got to Gina, he grabbed her and threw her overboard without hesitation. He kept moving low and fast toward Shay, who was only ten more feet away. Boomer tackled her mid body and crashed over the starboard side railings, and into the water.

Rounds were landing all around them, as the Witchwind continued on under the power of her idling engine. That left them in open water, no more than seventy yards away from the drifting boat.

“Dive deep or die,” Boomer yelled at the girls, “Do it now.” At that same moment he saw his sister jump and her body contorted as she took a round in her upper right leg. Shay was already at a depth of twenty feet and swimming as fast as she could away from the other vessel.

Boomer knew in his heart that Gina was stuck at the surface, and watched as she took another round into her torso. He watched in a hail of gunfire as she began her final act of curling up into a fetal position, and going under water, and ultimately to her death.

He had been here too many times before, and he knew there was nothing that he could do. So he dove for the depths that he might save himself. Had he not been in salt water, he might have felt the stinging of the tears that he was crying. He dove and he swam until he could swim no more and then he surfaced. He took a huge breath of air and dove under again. He had not taken the time to look around, so he knew nothing of anyone’s fate except his own.

On the surface, Dog was watching the Witchwind motor away under her own power with no one on board. Well no one alive anyway, he thought. Somewhat pissed off at this turn of events, he snarled at the others, “Well that’s fucking great, what do you guys want to do, stay here hunting, or go get the boat?”

Eddy was up with Dog in an instant, and said, “Fuck those motherfuckers, they can’t swim forever.”

Dog looked at the departing boat and said reluctantly, “Yeah, fuck them fish, let’s get the other boat and get out of here. Besides I think I got the guy, and there’s the one little chickadee floating right over there, looking a lot like shark bait. Yeah, they’re all toast anyway, so let’s move out.”

Dog then turned to where Gina was hopelessly trying to swim, trying desperately to keep herself alive, and afloat. She stared straight into his eyes, pleading without words. And then he shot her in the head, and turned and walked away.

Dog and his boys had little trouble catching up with the Witchwind. As Dog motored up beside her, Will jumped from the side of their boat over to the Witchwind just as they banged together. Within thirty minutes they had everything on board they wanted. Then they once again performed the same little drill while sinking the Easy Come, Easy Go.

Standing on the side of the boat, saluting in the same fashion as with the others, stood Dog and his boys. Complete with shit eating grins, to a man. The grim task of cleaning up their carnage seemed not to bother them at all. Within the hour they were headed back for the Bimini’s. Moving at a leisurely pace, the boys were celebrating like the twisted youth they were, worried about nothing. Though in the back of the Dog’s mind, was the lingering thought of leaving someone alive? Was it a mistake?   Should they turn back right now, and hunt them down. Dog thought this over in his mind. He played it out, over and over. He finally succumbed to the reality that no one could swim that far in open water. They were already dead or they would be soon, no fucking doubt about that now was there.
 

Chapter 10

Boomer soon became aware of the silence around him. He could see both vessels heading away from him. He simply floated in place for a moment, treading water and looking around. About fifty yards away Shay popped to the surface sucking for air.

He hollered out to her and they began to swim towards each other. As they approached, Shay broke down crying, “What the fuck just happened, and where is everybody?” she cried.

“I don’t know. Can you see Gina?” he asked struggling to get his words out. “She’s in the water, and she‘s been hit at least twice,” he added desperately.

They both quickly looked all around, and it soon became apparent that she was lost as well. They were alone. In the middle of the ocean with no life raft, no life jackets, with absolutely nothing to create a glimmer of hope towards survival. What in God’s name had happened, he thought.

“What about Lee and Trey, were they still on the boat?” Shay asked.

“I don’t know,” Boomer said. They both watched as the boats came together about a mile or so away, maybe a little less, it was so hard to tell. With the movement of the sea, they would lose sight briefly as they rode up and down on the dips of the swells. They did however hear some automatic machine gun fire, and they could see, although with some difficulty as the Easy Come, Easy Go slowly disappeared from their view.

Then they silently watched as the Witchwind disappeared from their view as well, leaving them with virtually no hope. All they could do was swim or tread water until they could do it no longer. Was this to be their final fate, each of them thought silently? The next few minutes were spent staring off at the distant horizon.

“What are we going to do Boomer?” Shay asked. Tears were still streaming down her face. “What in the hell are we supposed to do?”

He was just about to answer her when a faint call of help came from somewhere close by.

“Help,” they both heard again, and both began scanning the waters around them at a frantic pace.

“Oh my God, it’s Lee,” cried out Shay, and she started out for him as fast as she could possibly swim, with Boomer right on her heels.

They made their way towards Lee in short order, and as they closed the final distance Shay could see that his face was distorted and covered in blood.

“Oh God, he’s shot,” she screamed in outright panic. The terror and shock of seeing her husband in this condition actually momentarily froze her in place. She simply didn’t want to believe that this was happening.

Boomer blew by her, and reached Lee within seconds. The water was splashing over Lee’s face as he bobbed up and down in the ocean’s swells, and Boomer could immediately see the wound and knew he had seen much worse. The left side of Lee’s nose right at the bridge was missing. His right cheek was laid open to the bone for about two inches, and both of his eyes were already black and swollen. He had obviously cheated death by less than one inch.

“Must stop the bleeding,” said Boomer, as he tore off his tee shirt and began the struggle of staying afloat while he tore his shirt into strips.

He handed a small strip to Shay and said, “Make patches, fast.”

As they both worked feverishly, Lee tread water beside them silently. “I’ve got three here,” said Shay trembling as she spoke.

Boomer handed her the shredded strips and told Lee, “I am going to pack and wrap your wounds,” he forced himself to say. “It will hurt,” he added, and began tightly compressing and packing the wounds with the cloth. With the three of them fighting to stay afloat, he then wrapped a long piece around Lee’s head like a bandana, even though it covered his right eye. “Must stop the bleeding,” he said again, and everyone there knew what he meant.

Both Shay and Lee were speechless and Boomer knew they were likely to go into shock if he didn’t do something quick. You can not bleed into the waters of the open ocean and not attract fish. Big, hungry fish.

Shay was wearing a pair of Capri style pants, he remembered. “Shay, give me your pants,” he said without looking at her. When he got them he tied one of the tee shirt strips around each of the leg ends forming a type of life jacket. He threw it over his head, zipped and snapped the waist, and began splashing water and air up into the makeshift device. He looked at them both and said, “We’ll share.” He took it back off and put it over Lee’s head and looked at Shay. “Keep it wet and filled up.”

Shay helped her husband get comfortable as possible, but her thoughts could not escape her. “What are we going to do,” she pleaded to neither of them in particular.

“Live or die,” said Boomer. “No more talk.” Then he added, “Just relax, it’s our only chance.”

They had floated along for no more than twenty or thirty minutes when Shay screamed out, “There’s something in the water, right there.” She was pointing and Boomer’s vision picked it up almost instantly, and he took off towards it without another word.

As he approached it, his mind quickly discerned what he was seeing. Floating debris from where the other boat had been sunk. There he thought, a fender buoy floating about twenty yards out, and he was off. He grabbed the buoy and continued spinning, looking for anything that he could get of value. He looked towards Shay and Lee and could see that they too were actively looking, and so he continued on his quest. He knew they would have mere minutes, and anything that was here would be gone and out of reach forever.

Shay grabbed a two liter bottle of Coke as it floated by, and handed it to Lee. She pulled off her shirt and quickly made a sack of sorts and stuffed the bottle in it. She saw Boomer coming back towards them with something white in tow. Her heart shook with excitement as she recognized what it was. Within seconds he had it tied around Lee’s body, and he was off again.

She looked at Lee and said, “Look baby, you just relax, I’m gonna go look for some stuff,” and she turned and swam off before he could answer, her makeshift bag in tow.

They both gathered everything they could see floating. It was exhausting work that paid big dividends in the end. Within the next twenty minutes she and Lee both had on life jackets, they had gathered up two more high flotation fender buoys, and had found a couple of packages of chips, and three other bottles of soda floating with the other debris.

Boomer made his way back to where Lee was and began constructing a three person floating ring with their belongings in the middle. When they were finished, Lee and Shay slumped in their life jackets, and tied together they soon slept as they drifted towards where ever the seas would take them.

Except for Boomer, they were far to tired to consider the dangers of the sea, and each of them were content to sleep no matter. Boomer however knew they were all in extreme danger. The creatures of the sea were not their only worry. Even in the warmer waters they were now in, exposure to the elements was possible and would take its toll, and evening was coming fast. It would be a long hard night. Of that he was certain……….

It was not yet dark on the evening of June 21st, but already Billy Winters was uneasy. His wife Dawn and the others should have been to the islands by now and her call was long overdue. She should have called yesterday, but he had a habit of not showing his wife if he was worried about her doing something like this. She was an accomplished sailor and had made this venture many times by herself. She had plenty of crew with the girls on board, and the two young men that were hitching a ride over seemed nice enough, and hadn’t worried him at all.  Just two brothers hitching a cheap ride across, nothing new there, he thought.

Well that’s it, he thought. He couldn’t raise her on her cell phone, and she hadn’t called him, so that was that. He was dialing the Coast Guard’s number even as he was thinking to himself. When he hung up, he called his friend Joey, Carol’s husband, and told him what the Coast Guard had said. They would make a few passes tonight to see if they could see anything, and if nothing was noted they would conduct a formal search the next morning.

Unfortunately the plane flew a pattern over fifty miles away from where the Summer Dawn lay at rest on the bottom of the sea, and not even the Witchwind or her new crew were anywhere close. It was a futile flight for all concerned, and within a couple of hours the haze of twilight began to set in.

There had been a second call placed that evening as well. The Coast Guard also had received a late report of another missing vessel, the Easy Come, Easy Go. The on duty supervisor that evening was a sharp young man, by the name of Ensign William DeBeers. He had seen an Active Alert Bulletin from the FBI, seeking any and all information of any suspect activity in their region. Although this may be nothing he thought better of just waiting and made the call. Within the hour the message was in the hands of Senior Agent Bill Tankersley, who immediately contacted Deputy Director Alan Jenson on his private number as he had been directed to do in just this type of situation.

“Hey Alan, it may be nothing as these two boats were heading in opposite directions,” Tankersley said, “but you said you wanted to know about anything suspicious at all.”

“Look Bill, this guy Maldonado is a nut case. If he’s operating in this area it won’t be the last thing we hear about, I can assure you. But please remember this is a very sensitive situation we have here. We must operate under the radar for right now, if you know what I mean, but I will stay in touch, and please, if anything else comes your way call me, no matter what the hour, ok,” Jenson said concluding the call.

As soon as he hung up the phone, Jenson was making the call to the Coast Guard. He would have to do his best to follow this trail without putting Dog in harm’s way. Not yet. He couldn’t afford to do that, but he did need to get a line on him, if it was him. And he would know very soon, as Dog would leave a trail, and a bloody one at that.

 

Chapter 11

Dog was splayed out in the cockpit of the Witchwind, sipping on a double Johnny Black on the rocks. The air was sweet and the stars bright and lit up by the millions. The silence was broken up only by the sound of the water, as their vessel glides easily through the night. Nora Jones is singing quietly in the background, and Will is steady at the helm, his mind contemplating everything that he has experienced on this day.

The other two were down stairs catching some relax time before their watch would come on. They could sail on through the cover of night, and hopefully be ready to go ashore sometime in the early morning hours, but Dog was uneasy. He sensed something wasn’t right, but he could not put his finger on it yet. He did however; know to pay attention to this ability, as it had saved his life on many occasions.

Double back again, his mind was telling him. He could feel someone or something was on his trail. He fought the urge to turn again, because the prize was in his mind. He wanted the prize like a dog wants a steak. He could smell it. His instincts were telling him something else though, and he made up his mind right then. “Spin her around Will, something’s up, and I don’t like it,” was all he had to say, and they were heading back once again……….

Five miles off of their starboard bow; a small sailing vessel went silently creeping by, both vessels impervious to the existence of the other.

A grizzled, white bearded gentleman and his dog sat in the cramped confines of the smallish cockpit. The two companions sailed quietly along in their small, but exceptionally well built little boat. The “Clam Digger” was a Pacific Seacraft built, twenty foot pocket cruiser called a “Flicka”. Small in size, these vessels were built to sail around the world, and in fact many owners of the same type boat had done just that. The dog was a smooth coated, bob tailed pit bull mix, a mean little shit that the old man called “Critter”. He was just about meaner than his owner, but not quite.

The old man was an old retired navy chief, who just never could live on land, or not for long anyway. An ex-Submariner and a Master Diver to boot, he kept himself in money by a few odd jobs from time to time, and a nice fat ol’ government check each month. Mostly he didn’t do anything, but jump around theIslands, and stay to himself.

Right now he was headed back over to the Mainland to do his semi-annual medical visit and checkup, and he always tended his other affairs while there as well. His sails were set light, and they were moving through the dark at a leisurely four knots or so. Critter was curled up in the cockpit floor, and although he appeared to be sleeping his senses were quite highly tuned, and the old man trusted the dog’s awareness more than his own. The little boat was equipped with an autopilot, and a self steering vane, and the old man nodded a bit as the boat simply plodded along on its course.

A little less than twenty miles away the trio bobbed along in the still of the night, everyone conscious of the danger all around. No one had spoken in almost twenty minutes, as there really was nothing to talk about, except the perils all around them. Lee had been sleeping on and off for the last few hours or so.

Thankfully the expert emergency care that Boomer had provided had done its job, and Lee was no longer bleeding.

Boomer was certain that he was still in a state of shock, although there was nothing he could do about it anyway, so he did not even mention it to Shay. He could though; see in her eyes a certain look he knew quite well. It was a look of sheer determination, a testament to her will to survive.

Boomer Moran had seen this look many times before in the men he fought beside, and those he had fought against. He was somewhat surprised that this same look was coming from such a beautiful young woman.

As Lee seemed to come to, he began thrashing around in the water. It was as if he had just now realized where he was. Shay quickly reached for him and said, “Baby, don’t move like that, just relax, we’re ok,” for right now she thought, holding her words to herself. She gave Boomer a worried glance.

“He’s ok”, said Boomer, “Look, both of you need to be as still as possible. I don’t want to scare you but you need to understand that sound waves travel a long way in the water, and feeding fish are attracted to those sounds in their search for food.”

Shay stared at him in utter disbelief. Not about the subject matter of his words, but that he had in fact just spoken more than three words for the first time since she had met him.

“Boomer, you just spoke, I mean spoke normal, like a bunch of words,” she said excitedly.

He thought about that for a moment. “Hmmm.Well, you know what they say, stress does some strange things to folks”, he said, and then added, “We need to be as quiet as possible.”

Everyone seemed to nod in agreement. They all understood what he meant. They were in grave danger, and they all knew it. As the next three or four hours went by they drifted in and out of sleep, but they all remained quiet. The silence was eerie, yet there was nothing to do, and nothing they could do. It is difficult to know how far you have drifted or in which direction you were even headed. They really had no clue as to their whereabouts.

All of a sudden Boomer grabbed them both and shook them awake. Their eyes jumped open and Boomer was holding his finger to his lips, in the universal sign for quiet. He pointed out to his left, off the right shoulder of Shay’s position in the circle.

She slowly looked around and her heart leapt out of her chest. About twenty yards or so away was a circling shark. A big shark. His dorsal fin was out of the water close to two feet.

“Oh my God”, cried Shay, shuddering with her whole body.

“Don’t move a muscle,” replied Boomer, as he kept his eyes locked on the big fish.

“Untie me”, said Lee, “He can’t eat all of us. Just let me go.”

Shay could not believe what was happening, and just started repeating, “Oh my God, oh my God,” over and over.

Boomer had quickly untied the large fender buoy he was using for a float, and placed it at arms length out in front of him. “Keep me on his front,” he told the others. “Do not let him get around me”, he added almost hissing as he spoke.

His mind was one with the shark, and in an instant the shark made his initial move. He swam straight toward the group and straight toward Boomer and his outward reaching buoy, his body seeming to lift right out of the water before them. A piercing scream formed at the bottom of Shay’s soul, and as she let out the blood curdling cry of desperation, the shark veered suddenly to his right, unsure of what it was he was dealing with.

“He doesn’t know what we are,” screamed Boomer, struggling to keep the group centered up on the shark’s movement. The shark simply began his circling again, trying to determine if this was food or not. One thing was clear, he was not done yet.

A bit less than two hundred yards off the port bow of the little sailboat; the scream broke the silence of the night. The little dog jumped up and began a low guttural growl, very similar to the one coming from the old man.

The old man was up, three million candlepower spot light in one hand, and a Desert Eagle .50 Caliber Automatic handgun in the other. It took him less than five seconds to spot something in the water, and within seconds he had tripped the auto vane, and fired off the quiet but efficient little diesel engine.

He could hear the panic and screams coming from the water ahead of him as he grabbed the tiller, turned, and headed straight for the object in the water. He did not know it, but at that exact same time the big shark decided to make the kill run and began accelerating towards the group and straight towards Boomer in particular.

The big shark was on them in an instant and as his mouth opened up to take in his prey, Boomer jammed the fender buoy in his mouth with all the force he could muster. The shark spun off again, taking the fender buoy with him, thrashing wildly in the water before them.

The old man could now see the group of people in the water, and as he swept the light to and fro, he picked up the big sharks movement just outside of the group. Looked like a big Tiger Shark to the old man. They are meaner than shit and this one looked to be fourteen feet long if he was an inch. Critter was now in a high pitched growl and began drooling as he sensed something was very wrong. The old man began lining up his sights on the shark but he was still fifty or sixty yards out.

He knew he had no more time to decide, and began to slowly and methodically fire one shot after another. He would never know it, but his third shot from the big fifty hit the shark just behind his right eye, entering into his brain cavity and causing the big fish to instantly roll and dive crazily to the depths.

 He continued to shoot even though he knew the big fish was gone. Where, he could not know, and he had no clues.

Within a few more seconds he was along side the group of three people. Two men and a woman, and by the looks of them they had already seen enough action.

Scared, scarred, and bandaged, it took them less than a minute to crawl aboard the small boat, the little dog all the while trying his best to chew their asses up. The old man was screaming, the three of them were screaming, and Critter was doing his best to get at them all.

The old man grabbed the dog and tossed him in to the small cabin below and told him “Stay your ass, Critter,” to which he obeyed, but all the while still growling and ready to attack at a moments notice.

The old man looked back at the three people on his boat, and said, “Jesus Christ, Almighty. What in the hell are you all doin’ out here in the middle of the damn ocean.” He stood there shaking his head from side to side in total disbelief. “And out here a shark fightin’ too,” he added with a somewhat strained grin.

Shay and Lee lay in a lump in the small cockpit, holding each other, both obviously at their wits end. This was a small boat, and with four people and a dog, it just got a whole lot smaller, thought the old man.

“That’s a nice cannon you got there Pops,” Boomer said eyeing the man as suspiciously as he was eyeing them. “Desert Eagle if I’m not mistaken,” he added.

“What makes you so sure,” shot back the old man. Better watch this one he was thinking. “Who are you, and what the hell you doin’ out here,” he asked, this time the growl was back, and Critter picked up on it and began growling as well. “And this ain’t no time to be zip lipped either, I asked you a damn question, and I expect some answers.”

“Sergeant Major Walter J. Moran, United States Army, Special Operations Command,” said Boomer, “And what are we doing out here? Well sir, were just trying to stay alive, which is more than I can say happened to the rest of our party. We were ambushed on the water, my sister and her boyfriend are dead to the best of my knowledge, and as strange as this might sound, I need to get in contact with my superiors, as soon as is humanly possible.”

The old man looked dumbfounded, but only for a moment. “Chief Petty Officer Ellis J.Pollard, United States Navy, Retired,” said the old man proudly, “Welcome aboard, son.” Only then did he look around and then down at Lee and Shay. “Let’s get this young lady some dry clothes and let’s take a look at his wounds, and then we’ll see what we can do,” he added.

 

Chapter 12

Before sunrise on the 22nd of June, Captain Neil Jeffers, the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Air Station Miami, had his men ready to roll out. Deputy Director Alan Jenson had flown in two hours earlier, and briefed Captain Jeffers personally on the situation at hand. Jenson needed to locate the vessel Easy Come, Easy Go first to determine if his gut instinct was on target.

The family of those missing on the Summer Dawn would never know. Of course they were actually looking for both vessels that were reported missing, but Jenson was already convinced that Dog was making his move. He was also certain in his mind that Dog was running the “Washing Machine”, and that the last of the missing vessel reports were far from over.

Captain Jeffers knew that something a lot bigger was up, far bigger than he had been briefed on, but when the Deputy Director of Intelligence is sitting in front of you telling you what he needs you to do, you just do it. For that reason he was launching two HU-25 Guardian Fanjets and an E2C-Hawkeye AWACS Aircraft. They definitely wanted to find these boats, and by God he was determined to find them. They were all airborne by 0545 Hours with the AWACS Aircraft in the Command seat.

Also they were re-routing three C-130′s out of Pensacola to assist in the search, plus all available United States Naval and Coast Guard ships would be on the lookout, even if not actively involved in the search at this point……….

The sky was just opening up to a brilliant summer sunrise, and Chief Ellis had his crew dressed in fresh, warm clothes and all three were stuffing down some Vienna sausages and crackers, a dish he affectionately called “dog peckers”, along with some fresh water, for which they were all duly grateful. “Hold the reins here Sergeant Major, and let me get something you might put to good use,” said the Chief, and he immediately ducked below into the small cabin.

When he returned he held a small device that was quickly identified by Boomer. “Is that what I think it is?” he asked the Chief.

“Yep”, replied the old man, “It’s a satellite telee, and I don’t get on the water without it.”

He tossed the small object to Boomer, who quickly opened it up and began dialing. He dialed in his personal link for secure communications, or the SECCOM Network, which was a toll free linking station only.

The voice on the other end said, “How can we assist.”

“I’m sick and need to speak to a Doctor,” replied Boomer.

“Do you have an appointment,” the voice on the other end asked.

“No, but this is an emergency,” said Boomer convincingly.

“And what is your policy number, sir,” the voice asked.

“Echo 16-001 Alpha”, replied Boomer. He could sense that all eyes were on him.

“Please wait,” replied the voice.

Boomer could here the transfer taking place as the link up went through a series of identification routines, and he knew as well that a satellite tracking device went into a locate mode and established a GPS coordinated location for the caller. It took less than twenty seconds, and another voice came on the line.

The person on the other end said, “Red, White, and Blue.”

Boomer replied with, “The colors of fire.” The process was now complete. The line was secure. They knew who they had on the line and where the call was being generated from, down to a few feet of the exact location.

“Initiate Report,” the voice ordered.

“Sir, Sgt. Major Walter J. Moran. I am reporting a hostile action report, several casualties, two known KIA’s both friendly, one WIA also friendly, and one other friendly besides myself both uninjured. We are currently in a friendly vessel; a small sailing craft identified Clam Digger, repeat Clam Digger. You can monitor our tracking information and course. We need immediate evac via any available source, prefer U.S. Military if at all possible,” concluded Boomer.

“Yes, Sgt. Major we are tracking you live, and will have immediate transport to your location in 3-0 minutes or less. How Copy?” asked the operator.

“Lima Charlie, and much thanks, out,” said Boomer.

The other three on the boat were staring at Boomer in total disbelief. The old Chief looked at him and said, “I don’t know who you just talked to, but I been in this man’s Navy long enough to know one thing. Who ever you are you got big-time connections, and whoever it was that did this to you, is in deep shit. That much I do know.”

“Look Chief, you know enough to know I can’t say much, but you are right on all accounts. Whoever did this, will pay, I promise you all that. I swear it on my life,” Boomer added.

At exactly 6:25 AM, the Alert went out to the Coast Guard Naval Air Station Miami, and Captain Jeffers directed both the AWACS and Guardians to fly by, as the Coast Guard Rescue Helo was launched. The AWACS bird already had them locked on within one minute and was tracking inbound. The alert also went out to all available Military craft whether in the air or on the sea, and within minutes Deputy Director Alan Jenson knew he was on the trail. Dog was close, just as he suspected. He needed to find out who it was that reported in, in the interest of National Security, of course.

“Captain Jeffers, I’m going to need a secure line here and preferably in an office I can use as a temporary Command Post,” said Jenson.

“Yes Sir,” replied the Captain, “you can use my Staff Briefing Room, and there is a secure line in place already.” He then directed one of his men to assist the Deputy Director, and to maintain his post until relieved.

“If you can Captain, please call the Miami FBI Office and have Senior Agent Bill Tankersley, to head this way immediately. Let him know this an urgent matter, and I am requesting his presence ASAP,” he concluded, wheeling away and heading for the newly acquired CP.

“Yes Sir, is there anything else I can do?” replied the young Captain.

Jenson stopped and turned. “No, not at the moment, but it’s going to be getting real busy here today son, so get ready,” Jenson added affectionately. “Keep me posted on the ETA of the birds and the moment those people are on board I want them here, isolated, and under guard at all times, are we clear on that Captain?”

“Yes Sir”, the Captain said spinning on his heels. His thoughts were certain that this was something big. Very big, he thought. Although he was unsure of what was going down, he now knew that there were implications of the United States Government’s involvement. This was secure in his mind. This was not a rescue at sea, not by a long shot.

Inside the newly created Command Post, Deputy Director Jenson was placing his first call. Much like the call made by Sgt. Major Walter Moran, this call went through a series of identification procedures even though the line was in fact a secure line. When that link was established, and the identity of the caller confirmed, theCommandCenterwas activated, and Operational Procedures were made intact.

“How can we help, Sir,” the voice on the other end asked.

“I need to know the who, what, when, and where of a specific Rescue at Sea, and most importantly by who’s orders did this operation begin. The alert was sent to the Coast Guard Station Miami, where I am currently located,” he stated.

“Please wait one moment sir,” and the man on the other end was gone.

“Alan, it’s me,” a new voice said from the other end.

Alan Jenson immediately recognized the voice as that of Jameson Graham Farr, Director of National Intelligence, and his boss. He was slightly surprised by the fact, but recovered quickly. “Yes Sir. You know I am down here inMiamitrying to get a tail on our man. I know I probably should have utilized other sources, but I, uh, sir,” he stumbled. “Sir, you know how I feel about this guy, and I just can not let him get away.”

“Alan, we’ve got problems here. The rescue going down right now was called in by one of ours,” said the Director.

Speechless again for just a moment, Jenson replied, “Are you saying one of ours as in one of our employees, or one of our Operatives?”

“Look Alan, its E-Team 1-6′s lead, Sgt. Major Walter Moran. Something happened out there, and there’s been casualties Alan, civilian casualties that need to be repressed from the media. If our boy is on the move our shit is going to have to be in order, do I make myself clear Alan?” said the Director, in a tone that left little to be imagined.

“I understand Sir,” said Jenson.

“I’m not sure you do Alan. I mean this is a disaster waiting to happen. I am sorry about your boy, Alan, but this isn’t about him. This is about National Security, so you pull your head out of your ass, or I’ll send somebody else down there, are we clear on that?” said the Director bluntly.

“Perfectly clear, Sir. I’ll talk to you as soon as he is here and de-briefed,” said Jenson. His mind was racing wide open. What the hell is happening he thought as he sat down? His head went into his hands as he sat and contemplated on the events that were piling up on him, piling up too fast. He had to very careful from this point on.

Very careful indeed.

 

Chapter 13

Within a few minutes of leaning back to relax, Boomer heard the sound of low flying aircraft approaching. Though they would never see the AWACS bird which was already operating at close to forty thousand feet, the two Guardian Fanjets screamed by at barely two hundred feet off the water. Everyone on board began waving as if to be recognized, but that act was not needed, as they were already positively identified and under constant surveillance.

The old man dropped all sails and the little boat slowed to a standstill, and began to just bob in the small waves that they were in. The two aircraft maintained visual contact with the little sailboat as they circled around, gradually gaining altitude on each pass. Within minutes the rescue helicopter was on the scene and immediately dispatched two Rescue Divers into the water.

With the helicopter hovering overhead, the retrieval basket began lowering down towards the boat. The little boat was so small there was no room to board for the divers, so they maintained hold of the sailboats swim platform at the rear of the boat. One of the divers was a female and she spoke first.

“Folks, I need each of you one at a time to board the basket and we’ll get you up in the bird and out of here,” he said to all on board.

“Put Lee in first, he’s hurt,” said Shay to everyone. As the basket came down to the boat, the divers held it in place and Lee slipped into position and was immediately hauled up.

As the basket came back down Boomer looked at Shay and said, “You next.”

The wind was swirling water spray all over everyone and the noise was deafening but everyone seemed to be moving right along, and everything was going well, except for Critter in the cabin. You could hear him raising hell, but no one was really paying any attention to him just now.

The lady diver called out, “Who’s next.”

The old Chief looked at her and said, “He’s the only one left, I ain’t going nowhere.” He was pointing at Boomer all the while.

The other diver, a powerfully built man, evident even in his wetsuit, hollered over the noise, “Sir, everybody goes, that’s our orders.”

“I don’t give a shit what your orders are young man, I ain’t going nowhere,” said the old man rather nastily. “This is my boat, and my dog’s in the cabin there, and we ain’t in your jurisdiction anyway,” he added.

Boomer could see the situation was turning to shit with the old man so he said, “Chief keep your VHF on channel 16, and stand by. I’m going up and making a call.”

Boomer signaled to the two divers he was ready to go up. He climbed into the basket and was sucked skyward in an instant. Once aboard he told the Pilot to radio his Command and relay that the old man and the boat could sail to any facility they wanted him to under full surveillance.

At that exact second the old man opened the door to the hatch and out came Critter. He quickly rushed the back of the small boat where the two divers were holding on and began trying to bite them. They both let go of the boat, and the old man motioned them away and started the little diesel engine and began moving off in the general direction of the U.S. coast.

The pilot contacted Captain Jeffers who was maintaining constant contact with his crews anyway. “Captain, this old man and his little boat are moving towards the coast, we have three on board, and according to one of our passengers the old man is a retired Navy Chief named Pollard, and he is monitoring 16 for further instructions. He will not, I repeat, will not board our aircraft unless physically subdued,” added the Pilot.

“Roger that, we have a Coast Guard Cutter moving his way, can intercept and escort vessel to our station. Load up and head home,” replied Captain Jeffers.

“Roger that Miami Station,” concluded the pilot, who then began the lowering sequence to pick up his remaining crew members. As soon as they were all safely on board he flipped over to the frequency provided for VHF Channel 16, and said, “Chief Pollard, this is Rescue One Niner, over.”

“This is Chief Pollard,” the old man replied.

“Chief, you will be intercepted and guided into the Coast Guard Miami Station, how copy?” said the Pilot. 

“Yeah, yeah, whatever, just tell em’ I’ll be there when I get there,” said the old man. In a minute his sails were set full and his course addressed, and he and Critter were on their way……….

Unknowing that he was sailing into the mouth of the beast, the beast of his own past, Dog and his soldiers were just about back to where they started from several hours back the night before. To him it meant nothing, as his instincts had always led him, and led him straight and true. That is except for this fucking mess he found himself right back in. Years of waiting had not erased the uneasy feelings that bombarded his mind at a constant pace. He had deviated from a plan and the consequences haunted him to this day. Now he could not shake the thought of this mission’s dire situation. He needed to get to the diamonds, the thing that had consumed his every waking thought for over six years now. He had made concessions in his life, done things he ordinarily would not have done, and for that the reward must be his.

The rescue helicopter was just gaining altitude and preparing for the cruise back towards Miami Station. Flying along at two thousand feet and climbing, the crew and their passengers were just beginning to settle in for the short flight back. Boomer was lying back trying to relax, and Lee was already asleep in his seat.

Shay was staring out one of the side windows, quietly thinking to herself what an odd set of circumstances they had just survived. She really could not believe it all had happened and she was unable to comprehend that somehow any of them had survived. Her heart weighed heavy for Boomer. She knew in her heart that his sister Gina and her boyfriend Trey were gone. Who were those people, that group of madmen that had attacked them so ruthlessly? She could not even begin to fathom what could possess one human being to do such terrible things to another.

As her mind wondered and contemplated the tragic events that had happened, she looked out over the ocean and it’s beautifully serene landscape. Her eye picked up on a sailboat down in the water and she worriedly thought about how the people must be enjoying themselves, and how unaware of the dangers surrounding them, they must be. As her eye continued to focus on the ship, she slowly came to realize what she was looking at. She could not believe it, but yet there she was. Her heart jumped and she screamed, “Oh my God, it’s the Witchwind.”

She grabbed Boomer and shook him fiercely as she screamed into his face, while pointing downward to the sea, “That’s my fucking boat,” she screamed in a hysterical cry as she pointed downward towards the blue green water, “That’s the Witchwind.”

Boomer jumped to the window, and saw for himself. It was her. It was simply unthinkable, but there she was. Lee was up in the other window searching as well, having heard all the commotion in the back of the helicopter.

Boomer made his way forward to the Pilot and pointed down and yelled over the noise of the high pitched scream of the chopper’s turbine engine, “That’s our boat, right there. That’s the guys that attacked us,” he screamed.

The Pilot hit his hot mic and radioed the other aircraft in the area, “This is Rescue One-niner, we’ve got a positive ID on the vessel that attacked these folks, and were going to circle around and do a fly by.

“Roger than One-niner, Guardian 2-3 will come around,” answered the first of the escort aircraft.

“Roger that, this is Guardian 2-4, I’ll make a low level pass to see what’s up,” replied the second escort pilot, “We’ll come in right behind you and dead on the ship,” he added.

As soon as Dog saw the approaching Helo, he knew in his heart the shit was about to hit the fan. His instincts had been right all along. Sammy was on the wheel, and Dog hollered out, “Everybody grab your weapons, they’re on our asses now,” as he dove below to retrieve some fire power. Will and Eddy both had automatic CAR-15′s in their hands within seconds and as the Helo came over they both sprayed the sky with well placed automatic fire.

The co-pilot slumped in his seat as the Helo took fire, and the pilot immediately began evasive maneuvering. “We are taking hostile fire,” he screamed into his mic, “My Co-pilot’s hit and down, we need fire support, again taking hostile fire from sailing vessel below.”

“Guardian 2-4 requesting permission to engage hostile forces,” the pilot coolly announced to Miami Station, “we are on direct, target in sight, requesting a go.”

At Miami Station Captain Jeffers and Deputy Director Alan Jenson were initially stunned, and caught off guard, but quickly and to the point Jenson yelled out, “Negative, abort the run and maintain active surveillance.”

Just about the exact moment of the radio transmission, Dog stepped out of the cabin with a Russian made RPG, or Rocket Propelled Grenade, and lifting it to his shoulder he fired at the approaching aircraft. The aircraft, Guardian 2-4 had just begun to lift his nose to abort when the rocket slammed into its belly and detonated. The aircraft disintegrated in a massive ball of fire, and debris rained down upon the ocean, fire and metal debris exploding through the air. It shook every man standing on the decks of the Witchwind, causing them to dive for cover that simply was not there.

“This is Guardian 2-3, we just lost Guardian 2-4, I repeat Guardian 2-4 is down. Survivors are unlikely. Permission to engage target, over,” he added.

“This is Miami Station, negative, negative, do not engage target. Pull back and maintain surveillance only,” said Captain Jeffers coolly as he looked at Alan Jenson. “I want to know what the fuck is going on here, Sir. With all due respect, I just lost two, maybe three men and one of my aircraft,” he said directing his obvious anger at Jenson.

Jenson was heading back to his Command Post, and, simply turned and said, “Captain, I know you don’t want to hear this, and I am sorry about your men, but the fact remains, you just don’t have the need to know. I’m sorry,” he then continued on to the Command Post where he quickly called the Director to fill him in on the status of the current events.

Within minutes the Helo arrived, and as soon as it sat down emergency medical personnel were attending to the passengers and crew. They immediately began working around the co-pilot but it was obvious to all concerned he was already deceased. One bullet had struck him in the lower abdomen, and one had hit him in his throat, killing him instantly.

The pilot and all passengers were quickly escorted into the terminal building and to the facility’s main duty room. The pilot, Lt. John “Fang” Fangovich, was all over Captain Jeffers, cursing in his displeasure at not attacking the ship that had just killed three of their fellow pilots and friends.

Standing aside taking in all the commotion was a new arrival, Senior Agent Bill Tankersley. It was clear to him they were in the midst of something terribly wrong, yet he remained cool to the situation, waiting for someone to acknowledge his presence.

Jenson was on the phone describing the situation to the Director, who was pissed beyond all belief. “Look Alan, we’ve got to keep this thing contained to the best of our ability. Echo 1-6 is already airborne, heading to your location. They were down atPensacola, and with Sgt. Major Moran already involved, we can best work with him and his team. I need you to brief him, and have the Doc there at Miami Station clear him back for active duty. 

“Yes Sir, and Sir, it is him isn’t it?” asked Jenson somewhat quietly.

“I am afraid it is Alan, but we can’t just sink a ship in the middle of the ocean. We don’t know if he has any civilian hostages on board or not. One thing for sure is, he will not escape, at least not until he is closer to land. He has changed course though and it looks like he is headed directly for theBahamas. If everything is a go with Moran, then turn the mission over to him and his group. And Alan, this is definitely one of those with orders to eliminate the threat with extreme prejudice. Are there any further questions you would have of me?” asked his Director.

“No sir, I’ll file the report after the situation is contained,” said Jenson.

“Fine, we’ll talk then,” said the Director and the line went dead. Jenson walked out of the Command Post and saw a man standing there. “You must be Agent Tankersley,” he said, and the man nodded affirmatively as both men shook hands.

“Captain Jeffers, if you will secure Sergeant Major Moran and Lt. Fangovich and meet us in the Command Post, I would be most appreciative. Agent Tankersley, right this way please,” he concluded, turning quickly and heading back into the CP.

Once all the men were in the CP, and had taken their seats, a young Ensign knocked on the door and entered. “Sir,” he said addressing Captain. Jeffers, “There is a Helo just hitting the pad, sir.”

Jenson said, “Just escort them in here immediately, young man,” was all he said. When the door opened up less than a minute later, Boomer looked up and with total surprise, came face to face with Echo Team 1-6 for the first time in over six months. He jumped up and ran into their arms, and they all hugged, screamed and slapped each other with all the glee of a young football team celebrating a big victory.

After just a brief moment Jenson said, “All right men, have a seat. As much as you might want to celebrate, this is just not the time.” They then noted the solemn attitude around the room, and realized quickly this was not a homecoming celebration. No, this was an action/planning room, underlying tensions amiss, and all sat down quietly.

Jenson continued, “Each man in this room is rated at Top Secret Security Clearance or beyond. With that said, this standing order will apply to each of you for the remainder of your lives. At no time without both Congressional and Presidential Authority, will any of you ever disclose what is about to be said, or what actions are to be effected. Am I perfectly clear on that?” He then looked each man in the eye for their affirmation before continuing. 

“The man responsible for the actions against you Sergeant Major, and you Captain Jeffers, is also the man who killed my son. His name is Miguel ‘Dog’ Maldonado. He is a former Sergeant First Class, from the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Battalion, and a former member of the very first Echo Team, designated 1-1. As you all know by now, he is a ruthless and relentless killer. He is also one the most highly trained Special Forces Operatives in the world. When he was released from the Federal Penitentiary a few days ago, he immediately went underground, and ultimately, for lack of any better description, we lost track of him. Agent Tankersley is here to represent the Federal Government, and to work as lead on the disappearance of the other two vessels, and the deaths and recovery of any victims if at all possible.”

He paused briefly while looking around the room before he continued. “I, for those of you who don’t know me, am Deputy Director of National Intelligence Alan Jenson. While this man is my son’s killer, I hope that I am clear that while we have all experienced tremendous losses at the hands of this man, we still have our primary mission objective that must be met. That objective is to terminate this individual with extreme prejudice,” and Jenson paused for effect. Not that he needed to. These men had seen many a mission worse than this, yet this one was different.

To a man, you could see a lifting of spirits. This guy Maldonado would not see justice this time in a Court of Law. But justice was going to be served, and there was not a complaint raised from any man in the room. “We will launch within the hour,” continued Jenson. “Sgt. Major Moran, you have been medically released for full duty, and will be in charge of the complete operation, to include your return to Echo 1-6. Lt. Fangovich you will be riding Co-pilot with our pilot, Major Nelson, who is outside prepping his aircraft. I suggest you all get your planning strategies coordinated and get out there. Agent Tankersley and I have our own mess to clean up, and God only knows how many innocent people have already been killed. You men will get no further instruction from the United States Government, as this mission does not exist, nor will it ever. As there are no further questions, then good hunting men,” he said while standing.

This meeting was over and it was time for some payback. As Boomer walked off ahead of his men, it was all he could do to choke back his tears. All he knew was that it was Dog killing time, payback for his little sister, payback for everybody. All of a sudden a wicked smile began to form on Walter “Boomer” Moran’s face. Not a nice smile, but the smile of one who knows death is at hand.

The Witchwind was calling.

 

 Chapter 14

By 8:00 AM, Dog and the boys could see the Coast Guard Cutter sitting off in the distance. They were well over two thousand yards off, but they were certainly tracking them, and matching their own rate of speed. “Well boys, this certainly sucks. Motherfucker’s got us out here in the wide open. If I had to bet, I’d say we’re under satellite surveillance as well. In real time, no less,” Dog said disgustedly while raising his middle finger up high in the air to no one in particular.

“And I really hate to tell you this, but after they put everything together, it’ll be the death sentence for every one of us. So don’t you go thinking any different? At some point we’ll have to shoot our way out of this shit and maybe some of us might escape, but I wouldn’t plan on it if I were you. I’ll do everything in my power to get you boys through this, but I’m telling you now, for me it’s escape or death and nothin’ in between, do you all got it,” asked Dog to his somber faced crew. They all nodded. They didn’t like it, but you could tell they believed it.

“We’ll keep on sailing, but we best sail for the Bimini’s. Don’t know if they will let us get that far or not, but at least we will be out of U.S. Territorial Waters. If that’s the case we will probably be looking at a Special Op’s, small team attack against us while we’re still a ways from land. For now let’s have two on deck and two down below to start laying out the hardware first off, and load everything to the max, extra mags and all,” Dog added as Eddy and Sammy headed below.

Will stayed at the wheel and began plotting his new course, one that was just handed to him by Dog, one whose coordinates would take them straight toward Cat Cay, near the two small islands of Bimini sitting on the edge of the bank. You see, Dog had been up to his usual tricks all along. The boy’s had thought the Exuma’s was the target, but then they really didn’t know anything, now did they. Dog thought it quite funny that he had buried his prize on Cat Cay. He had always thought to himself that someday he would be diggin’ in a cat’s ass. He usually laughed out loud when he thought about it, but not today. He knew deep in his heart, today was going to be a bad day.

Cat Cay is a private island in theBahamassurrounded by warm, crystal clear water. It’s only 48 miles fromMiami, yet it’s a place like no other. Its beauty is breathtaking, its brilliant white sands hiding the prettiest, sparkling gems on mother earth. It has an airport and marinas, and plenty of shops on theNorthIsland, but these would be of no use to Dog now.

He had planned to relax a while, but now that would not be possible. At their current rate of speed, they would be there in about five hour’s tops. But Dog was well aware they may not make it that far. If the mission against them was to happen in the open water, it could go down anytime within the next few minutes to the next few hours.

He was certain at this point he thought, that piece of shit Jenson was in the nest. He could feel it. That worthless fuck was no better than he was, Dog thought. Dog knew the only reason he was left alive after his capture, and during his time in prison, was because Alan Jenson wanted the prize as bad as Dog himself. They could have offed him at any point, and Dog knew it. That’s why he broke out the gate running. He knew that motherfucker was comin’, now didn’t he, he thought to himself.

As Dog continued to ponder his situation, a light went off in his head. Blink. That fucker is watching me, and waiting for me to show him where the shit is, he thought. Oh yeah, he’s a smart one all right. Tracking my ass right to the prize. That’s why they haven’t hit us yet, he thought, his mind now racing through the possible scenarios……….

As the Team began to ready themselves, Boomer looked at his team, and said, “Guys, it is good to be back, but these are bad times, and it’s gonna get worse from here. These shitheads killed my baby sis’ and her boyfriend, and as far as I am concerned I’m not taking any prisoners. Any of you can’t go that route let me know right now and I’ll pull you from the mission, no questions asked. I just won’t force you guys into this shit, and you all know that.”

The big Texan, Rob Tulley, Boomer’s second, looked around and spoke for all the Team, “Fuck it man, we all know the creed, “No Brother Without The Other”, and we’re all with you Boomer.”

Hooh-Ahs all around and it was a done deal. These guys were the best thought Boomer. Jesus, he thought, there isn’t a man here that wouldn’t give his life for the other in a moment. It was surreal, just the thought of it.

The sat phone in hand he began punching numbers. What he got was a “Yeah” from the other end. “Chief, spin that little ship of yours around and head straight for the Bimini’s and keep heading that way till I tell you different. Anybody ask tell ‘em to fuck off and call me. This is gonna get nasty Chief, so if you don’t want to partake, just let me know now,” said Boomer.

The old man thought about it for about two seconds, and said, “Hell no I ain’t gonna miss this for nothin’ son, you just tell me what you want me to do and by God we’ll do it. Soldier or Sailor don’t matter none to me, we got something we gotta do, we just gotta do it.”

As he spun the little ship around and set the new course, the old man just smiled and looked at Critter and said, “Boy, you better get your shit ready. I know you been hankerin’ to tear somebody’s ass up, and I’m thinkin’ you might just get you some here shortly.” His jaw tightened, and the old man’s eyes hardened as he headed toward what he knew was trouble………

Back in the Command Center, Alan Jenson was briefing the other two men in his small group. Those who needed to know, but would never really know. Agent Tankersley and Captain Jeffers were both somber faced as they listened to Deputy Director Jenson explain to them, the situation here at hand. “We have the families of both the Summer Dawn and the Easy Come, Easy Go waiting for some news of their family members, and obviously we can’t tell them what we think probably has happened here. I suggest the continuation of normal rescue procedures, to include full grid flyovers and full alert to the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships in the area.  According to Sergeant Major Moran, the Easy Come , Easy Go, is at the bottom of the ocean, and we should be able to get a location on her, but we will want a covert, Naval Special Operations team on that as well. I will get that in motion ASAP, and we must also assume that the Summer Dawn is also in the same situation. Under no circumstances will the nature of this operation be divulged outside of this room. If either of you feel the need to object, my office will bring your superiors in on this situation, and we will do so now, but again this is a matter of National Security at the highest level, and we must move swiftly to secure this individual. And Captain Jeffers, I am truly sorry about your men sir,” Jenson concluded, as he turned to pick up the secure line………

The Cat Cays are actually two islands in the Bahamas, North Cat Cay and South Cat Cay, located approximately ten miles south of the Bimini’s, which is also two islands, North Island, where the action is and South Island, where the airport is. North Cat Cay is a privately owned island, and is run as a private members club by the Cat Cay Yacht Club. South Cat Cay is uninhabited, that is except for Dog’s private treasure.

Diamonds, especially uncut diamonds, are worth as little as $200 per carat. Dog thought about that for a moment, as he had many times before. Let me do a little more figuring here, he thought. With there being five carats in a gram, and 454 grams in a pound, he quickly figured his diamonds were worth $450,000 a pound, maybe a little more. About a half a million dollars for one little ol’ pound of not so pretty diamonds! Times that by eighty pounds, and there you go. Damn, thought Dog, as he had many, many times before. Forty million dollars give or take a few one way or the other. It hardly mattered which way. It’s no wonder that shithead Jenson is stuck to my ass like glue.

Dog laid his head back and closed his eyes. He knew this was about to get rough. Damn things weren’t worth a shit if he died trying to get them. He was sure of only one thing. Jenson would not make his move while they were still on the boat. He couldn’t afford to tip his hand, nor would he ever find the diamonds if he did. Dog didn’t care if they yanked out his teeth and toe nails, and cut off his balls, he would die before ever giving up that precious information and he was quite sure that Jenson knew that was the truth of the matter………..

Over the next few hours the Clam Digger and the Witchwind both slowly headed closer and closer to the Bimini’s. Each group was trying to figure out what was going to happen next. The Chief and Boomer had been in contact again and the Chief had been fully briefed on the situation.

The Coast Guard cutter stayed on Dog’s tail just out of range of any conventional weaponry, and the Guardians were still making loops around the whole group two at a time with constant relief coming out of Miami Station. Deputy Director Alan Jenson was in constant contact with the Live Feed Satellite crew and as soon as Dog began heading in a more southerly route, heading in effect to the lower banks of the Bimini’s, he knew it was time to pull the Coast Guard Cutter back off the tail and rely strictly on the live feed. He could not afford to alert or involve the Bahamian Government in any way, and while the flights over their Territorial Waters were normal activity, the presence of a lingering Coast Guard Cutter was not.

The pilot in the Echo 1-6 Helo advised that they had an hour or so more fuel to burn and then they would need to head back to Miami Station to refuel. The good thing was they were really only minutes away. Boomer was studying his maps of the local area around the Biminis and with the knowledge shared down the pipe about the Witchwind moving south, he made his decision to come in just off the top of the water, and to drop the team on the southern end of Cat Cays southern most Island.

It made perfect sense to him, as they could set up in the area, and make plans as things unfolded, plus this portion of theIslandwas uninhabited, and would provide them with the concealment they needed for the short stay. The chopper could then pick them back up within the hour if needed, but Boomer truly needed some quiet time to further his plan of action. He also had full knowledge at all times of the Witchwind’s location via secure Sat lines, so really there was no need to fly back to Miami Station with the air crew.

He ordered two of his men to bring along their Underwater Assault Gear as a simple precaution, and then the Helo was off. He also contacted Jenson at Miami Station and had another Helo on stand-by just in case they needed to make a hasty exit, and called the Chief and advised him to move south of the Bimini’s.

Boomer was a consummate professional; he never really ever failed to think his plans through to the finest detail. Such would make for a terrible day for Dog. He just had no idea yet, in fact neither of them did………

Within the next few hours the Witchwind was approaching Dollar Harbor just south of the Cat Cays Southern Island. The boys got in as close as needed, and set out the anchors. The weather was nice, and the afternoon sun was really not too unbearable for this time of the season.

Dog thought hard about going to ground and coming back another time, and just fighting his way out of this shit and living to fight another day. But he knew in his heart his odds of getting away were slim. He had about the same chance getting on the Island, getting the diamonds, and then getting away. 50/50 was the best he could hope for, so fuck it. He was going……….

The Sat Feed boy’s had alerted Boomer to their destination, and to the fact that they were now anchored up no more than one mile from his present position. Those Sat boys were like a good bird dog out in a field. You can run, but you just can’t hide. As long as you are outside, that is.

Call it what you want, thought Boomer, be it luck or Karma. It really did not matter to him. He pulled out the Sat Phone and called the Chief. “Chief, they’re anchored down just south of the southern Cat Cay in Dollar Harbor. No use spooking them, so if you can just split the middle and ease into the Marina at the North Island, and catch a slip if they got one. I’ll be in touch,” he concluded.

The old man headed for the Gun Cay Cut, which was the way through to the eastern shore or the Bahama Bank side of the Island where he knew theMarinawas. The Dockmaster at the Cat Cay Yacht Club was an old friend of his, who went by the name of Joey Conch.

He called ahead and reserved a slip, and started thinking about a nice, ice cold beer at the Bu’s Bar, which was located right on the dock. The Chief had been here many times over the years and was a well liked guest, and he liked them as well. Nice and quiet there, he thought. Might not be for long though. TheNorth Island has its own Security Force, but he knew already they were way out of their league with this situation. He pitied them if something went down, knowing what he knew, and knowing what they would be up against. Nothing he could do about that right now, but his eyes were wide open, and he was keen to the danger around him.

 

Chapter 15

It was just after three o’clock in the afternoon when the old man pulled into theMarina. He hailed Joey Conch on the radio, and Joey told him to take Slip #5. The old man liked Slip #5 because it was right close to the watering hole, and he let Joey know the first two were on him. It was their long standing, usual ritual. As soon as he got tied in, he told Critter to sit still, and he and Joey headed over to the Bu’s Bar for cold Red Stripe or two. It wasn’t like he’d been gone long, as he was just here a couple of weeks back.

“What brings you back so quick Old Man,” asked Joey.

“Good ole’ Naval Intelligence, my man,” replied the Chief. “Nothing more, nothing less.”

To that Joey Conch just shook his head. The Old Man was an amazing character, but what the hell; he was a good one for sure. The rules were clear that non member visitors could only stay for three days at the Marina, but long ago Joey quit counting on the Chief. The waitress brought them their beers and they continued to shoot the shit, the Chief easily hiding his weary and wary feelings from his old friend.

At one of the other tables sat a group of four men. Two were Club Members, and two were guests that had flown in about a week ago. The guests were both fromMiami, and had flown over for a short vacation, so they said. While they were pretending to be potential club members, they were actually waiting on contact from a client they did not know. What they did know was that they were there to make a pickup of one passenger, and then they would continue on their flight plan to Aruba. They did not care why or who. The one hundred thousand dollar deposit in up front cash, and the promise of one million dollars in untraceable cash upon arrival in Aruba told them all they wanted to know. For now they were content to wait and enjoy the Island, and all it had to offer.

So the old man and his good friend sat there and enjoyed their beer, and their company, as they had done a hundred times before………

Dog had already planned his escape, and unfortunately it obviously did not include the Boys. Really, Dog did not think twice about them, not even from the very beginning. Just the way it had to be. In the end he had to go deep under, with no loose ends, and no one with any knowledge of where he was would be left alive. Anything less and Jenson would be on his ass, and he knew it. And that included his two getaway pilots as well, thought Dog, “I got a plan for them too.”

You see Dog was one of those rare breeds of crazy ass individuals that the Military spots early on. Then they take them on a journey into the really crazy shit. The world where they have few rules to go by and even fewer people that could really do anything about it, anyway. Then they polish them to perfection, all the while utilizing their skills in all kinds of nasty ways that they don’t want us to know about. Then they pat them on the head and give them medals, and tell them what good boys they are. But sometimes, just sometimes, they forget that in all things there is good and bad. Yin and Yang.

Dog is the perfect example. He’s good; oh you can bet your ass on that. He’s also bad. Very, very bad. You had better bet the whole wad on that.

The two pilots were to remain waiting, until they received a call. Then they would proceed to their aircraft and await the arrival of their passenger. They were to be expecting one man, plus gear, plus payment in full. Dog had it all. Long before his capture Dog had made a transaction, selling off some of the stolen diamonds. While it surely netted him some serious cash, it also led to his ultimate capture. While Dog would have loved to gotten clean away with everything intact, his instincts had told him that Jenson was on his ass, and would be for ever. Hell, I killed his son, I wouldn’t expect anything less, he thought as he continued prepping his gear. That’s why Dog made the sale, and then stashed the cash. Two hidey-holes were better than one. They would never get them both, he knew that for sure.

His gear bags were heavy. He had already stowed everything he would need to escape inside two specially weighted, completely waterproof containers. One contained everything he would need to successfully jump out of the airplane at well over twenty thousand feet, complete with an oxygen bottle large enough in case the need arose to free fall out even higher. Dog was actually planning to jump his gear, and then as he was falling to deploy a small landing parachute that was built in to the specially constructed container he would be secured to. Unknowing to his pilots, Dog had selected the perfect aircraft for this deployment. This was not going to be your everyday parachute jump designed for soft landings. This was a survival system, complete with SCUBA gear, his money, his diamonds, and anything else Dog would need to arrive safely in Aruba. Dog smiled inwardly. Not your typical vacation flight to Aruba, now was it, he thought……….

Back at Miami Station, Captain Jeffers, at Jenson’s direction, had assigned a full 24/7 Armed Security Team for the two civilians. Lee had already gotten out of emergency surgery, and the two were being held in an on-base Visiting Officer housing unit. Although they had provided everything they needed, Shay was pissed beyond all belief. She continued her outrage at the Security Officer that was stationed inside the small apartment with them. She demanded to speak to the Officer in charge, and the young man politely told her that it was already scheduled, and that a full explanation would be provided at that time. She also wanted access to a telephone to speak with her family, which was flatly denied.

Although she was furious, she was also smart enough to know that something really bad was going on here. She was also acutely aware of something else. She could feel that the people in charge here knew something. They knew who this piece of shit and his buddies were. She could feel it, she new it and she wanted some answers. She also wanted to know where Boomer was, but could not get anything out of them on that either. She would wait, because she had no other choice. But she was determined to make the wait equally uncomfortable for all involved. She was in no mood to be nice about anything.

She looked at Lee, impervious to all as he slept in his morphine induced stupor, and felt both a pang of guilt, a pang of sorrow, and yet acknowledged her and Lee’s survival was purely the work of one man. Boomer she knew had saved them both, even as he had lost everything he loved. Even now she could feel his strength, his raw ability to survive at all cost. As she laid her head back, and closed her eyes it was he who she thought of. What kind of man was he? How and why had their lives enter-twined? As she finally succumbed to sleep, her last thought was one of total confusion……….

The Miami Station was a controlled Tactical Mission Planning facility by now. There were now five new operatives inside the facility, having been flown in from somewhere just hours ago. Satellite Imagery stations were set up in three separate locations inside the room.

Captain Jeffers was just concluding a telephone call with Mr. Winters and his group on the Rescue Mission details, and had advised him that he was sending an Officer to their location, until a conclusion was reached. He did this not so much for the families, but in order that they might have a total insight on the actions of the families in question. The presence of the Officer would only help subdue the family’s needs to go outside the Miami Station for further assistance.

Jenson on the other hand was glued to one of the monitors at all times. He watched in real time as the men on the deck of the Witchwind went about their business. He could barely contain himself, and inwardly his emotions were at a peak. He really had no control over what was about to go down, and he could feel the prize slipping from his hands.

In an instant it hit him. Like a bullet right between the eyes. Dog. Cat. Dog. Cat. His mind raced. That’s it, he thought. The prize is buried on Cat Cay. Where is another matter, another problem all on its own? But the answer is Cat Cay. Done deal, and that’s why the bastard stopped here. He is gonna make his stand right here, thought Jenson. Last stand; make it or break it….that was the way it was going to go down. Six plus years of waiting, and now the next few hours would tell the end of the story. It seemed surreal, like he could not believe it was unfolding before him.

Vengeance and greed melted into one. His face and body tensed as the adrenalin rushed through his body. He had to figure his next move. Should he kill him now, or fly out to the island. What if Dog gets the diamonds and in the end they get confiscated. For a moment he actually even thought about somehow making a deal with Dog for half of the prize, in exchange for his escape. He never even thought about how sick of a thought that was. He just wanted the fucking prize……….

On the southern island of Cat Cay, Boomer and his men had moved into various tactical fighting positions, spread out over the southern tip of the small island. If Maldonado attempted to gain access to this island he would be taken out on sight. Jensen’s orders had been as clear as a bell. Boomer’s orders were clear as well. Terminate with extreme prejudice left little in the way of imagination.

Jenson had no choice but to issue this type of order as it had come all the way from the top, and Boomer had briefed the same. He was certain at this point; there was even Presidential approval on this. And at this point that suited Boomer just fine. Thing was, they never said how he had to accomplish this.

This was a cold blooded killer, and a rabid piece of shit, thought Boomer. But his Sis’ was owed, and due some payback. Every member of Echo Team 1-6 was on the same page. They all knew what Boomer wanted even though he had said nothing of the sort. If at all possible they knew this kill was Boomer’s alone, and in any manner he saw fit. They were all on the same page and they had no problem with this aspect of the mission. They also trusted Boomer completely and knew it would have no effect on his judgment in a pinch. He was far more professional than that………

Aboard the Witchwind, Dog was completing the process of prepping and loading his special canisters, which included weapons, ammunition, and LRRP’s rations for food. He also had three gallons of potable water in specially sealed individual packets. The containers were close to eighty pounds a piece, and although completely waterproof they were specially designed to sink to the bottom of any body of water. Once there a man would be able, although with difficulty, to pick up the cases and walk across the bottom of the ocean floor while breathing with normal SCUBA apparatus. At his present location the depth of the water was just less than twenty feet, and should not prove too difficult for Dog to accomplish.

His plan was to go over the side just after dark, which should occur within the next two hours or so. Like so many other times in his life Dog could sense that something was amiss. He did not have a clue that the Echo Team was less than a few hundred yards from him, yet is primal instincts made the hair stand up on his back. He had the nagging suspicion the something just was not right.

And what does Dog do when something ain’t right. Well, he changes directions as fast as he can. Look left, and run right. Anything except stand flat footed. That’ll get you killed every time, thought Dog. He knew the Sat boys were watching him, but fuck ‘em, what could they do, and how fast could they do it, were the questions in Dog’s mind. He walked up on deck and hollered to the Boys, “All right let’s get back to some planning, you boys gather round here.”

When they were all seated around him, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a bag of beef jerky. He tore it open with his teeth, reached in and grabbed a chunk, and stuck it in his mouth and began chewing. “Ya’ll better eat some of this shit, cause likely as not we ain’t going to no dinner parties tonight,” he said.

Each man reached into the bag, grabbed a handful and began stuffing, believing Dog all the way. Dog put the bag down, reached behind his back, and pulled out his Glock .40 Caliber automatic pistol. In less than three seconds, he effectively emptied ten rounds of hollow point Black Talon ammunition into the boys on the deck. They never had a chance. They were in their throws of death, and making all the normal gurgling, choking sounds of a man fighting to secure his ability to breathe. Dog walked away with all the knowledge of his profession that not a man was getting up.

“Oh shit,” exclaimed one of the young officers on one of the monitors inside Miami Station. “We got something going down, right now.”

Every person in the Command  Centerturned their immediate attention to the three monitor teams, and watched in real time as Dog went below, and then returned with what looked like some type of luggage or container. The monitor operator one Monitor #1 said, “We got carnage on the deck, looks like three men down on the forward deck, sir.”

Monitor #2 called out, “He’s dropping stuff over board, there’s one, and there’s two. Two objects overboard.”

“Monitor #1 staying with the subject, real time, looks like he’s headed back below decks,” described the young officer.

Jenson snapped to his senses, having been in deep thought and partially caught off guard with the sudden turn of events. His secure Sat Phone was buzzing, and he snapped it up, almost screaming, “Jenson”.

On the other end it was Boomer. “Sir we got multiple shots, rapid fire from the boat, what’s going on there, can you tell.”

“Sgt. Major, it looks like Maldonado just took out his crew, and he has jettisoned two containers over board,” said Jenson excitedly. “Wait one”, he added, looking at the man on monitor #1, who was holding up his hand and waving.

The man on Monitor #1 said, “Ok, he’s back on deck and it appears he is gearing up. Looks like SCUBA gear, yes, yes he’s donning tanks at this time, sir.

Jenson relayed the message to Boomer, and just as he moved closer to Monitor #1, Maldonado jumped off the boat and into the water. “Ok, Sgt. Major he is in, and under the water. Where he goes from here is going to be tough for us to follow, but we will maintain active scan and search procedures until we pick him up again. He’s all yours. Good luck,” he added with a worried look. God he felt so helpless. He was racking his brain trying to determine what his best course of action was to be. At this point he was sure the prize was right there on the island, though with Maldonado you could never really be sure.

At this point in his mind the best possible scenario was a quick kill by Echo 1-6, with no chance of Maldonado sharing any information with the team. But how would he, Jenson ever know. What would any man do to secure that kind of prize? If Maldonado spilled his guts, what would the team do or say. He probably would tell them if he had a chance, thought Jenson, just to fuck me over. He knows I’m watching, and he would do anything to fuck me at this point. His ability to think straight was spiraling out of control, and he fought the urge to mount up a chopper team and fly straight to the island himself.

 

Chapter 16

Back at the Bu’s Bar, the Chief was turning up the bottom end of number three, but his eyes were glued to the four men at the table across the way. He looked at Joey Conch and quietly asked, “What’s up with those two guys. I recognize two of them from before, but the other two seem a little, I don’t know, ah…. different maybe.”

Joey Conch shook it off, and said, “Who knows, couple of pilots from the mainland. Talking about joining the club, who knows? They been here a week though, just hangin’ out.”

In his pants pocket the Chief’s phone went off and he opened it up like usual, “Yeah”, and paused, apparently listening to someone on the other end.

Joey Conch could see his friend stiffen as he listened, and then as the Chief looked him square in his eyes the old man said matter-of-factly, “I got my eyes on two pilots right now, and I figure they been here a week, they must be waiting on our man.” The Chief then listened again for several minutes, and said, “Roger that Sgt. Major, we’ll handle it here on our end.”

As he hung up he looked right into Joey Conch’s bulging eyes and said, “Buddy, we got us a seriously deadly fucking problem here, and those two young bucks right there are part of it. Follow me.”

The old man stood and quickly headed off around the corner out of earshot of any of the patron’s of the bar, and took hold of Joey Conch’s arm and said, “Look man, and listen to me good, this is a very, very serious matter. It is a United States Government issue of the highest order. Top Secret’s ass, its way beyond that. Grab the Security Team Commander and tell him to arrest and hold those two gentlemen until further notice, and tell him to expect a U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter to be here in less than fifteen minutes. The military will brief him then, but look, we got to move fast.”

Joey Conch took off running towards the Security Headquarters building which was really only a few hundred feet away. The Chief headed towards his boat to pick up a little piece of equipment, just in case he needed it. He already knew who and what they were expecting, so he had no disillusions whatsoever. He commandeered theMarina’s little dinghy, and motored off out of the sound and headed back toward the south, toward the east side of the south island……….

Boomer pulled Rob Tulley, his second in command aside and quickly ran down his plan. He was going to high tail it to the eastern edge of the island and then move north as quickly as possible. Then he would meet up with the Chief who was right now heading his way. Tulley and the team would maintain position and if Maldonado surfaced they would take him down. With no one really knowing where Dog would surface, it was Boomer’s belief that while he certainly could not predict his actual location, he sure as hell knew where he was heading in the end. Ultimately, Dog would be at the airport, linking up with his hired pilots.

He ordered Tulley to suit up two team members, and insert them into the water in presumably forward positions of the last known area of Maldonado. They would both be equipped with the Glock 40′s, fitted with the Glock maritime spring cups. They’re two little plastic pieces about the size of a grain of rice, that are there to ensure the proper function of the firing pin underwater for successive shots. He was hoping that with Maldonado incarcerated for the last six years that he may have missed out on this important piece of knowledge.

Boomer was going to move forward to the North Cat Cay airfield, and if all had gone down as planned would meet up with Lt. Fangovich, the Helo pilot, and they could then stand in as the two waiting pilots. He had no idea if the two pilots were known to Maldonado or not. He really did not care. His plans were simple; he would kill Maldonado on sight. He thought about sending Tulley to the airfield, but something in his sixth sense said no, Maldonado was truly a force to be reckoned with, and Boomer just had a sneaky suspicion he would make it to the aircraft. If he didn’t, well dead was dead, anyway you looked at it.

Things moved extremely fast at this point and almost simultaneously. The Security Team made the arrest on the two pilots, and around the corner came the Chief in the little boat. He popped the little engine up and glided to the shore and Boomer hopped in.

“Chief”, he said, “I owe you big on this one.”

The Chief looked at him and said, “OK, I guess I get to shoot the sumbitch then.” He laughed out loud at that, and Boomer pushed them off and they zoomed back towards theMarina.

As soon as they got to the Marina, Joey Conch was waiting, and led them toward the Airfield office. As they walked through the doorway, Boomer noticed the four armed Security Team members, and their Captain. The two pilots were sitting handcuffed on a small bench against the wall. He introduced himself, and told the young Captain he would need an immediate word with the two men. The Captain simply nodded, and while he approached the two pilots, they visibly shook at his sight. Without hesitation Boomer quickly and effortlessly pulled his weapon and stuck it directly to one man’s head.

“One chance asshole, does he know what you look like or not,” he growled.

“Not a chance, sir, really we’ve never met, I swear,” he stuttered, his face contorted in absolute terror.

“Great, which plane, where’s your flight plans, and anything else I need to know, tell me now, cause I don’t ask twice,” Boomer said with a deadly serious look about him.

“Beech Craft Twin, six-place, right out front, on the far left. Flight plans are in the front seat. She’s fueled, pre-flighted and ready to roll out. We are scheduled for landing at Queen Beatrix International Airport in Aruba, although we don’t have a time pre-determined. We were actually waiting for the arrival of our client, or actually for his call,” the man said.

“Yeah, I bet you were,” added Boomer.

Boomer turned as the approaching Helo made it’s landing on the designated Helo pad, “Captain, if you would please place these gentlemen in secure quarters, and retrieve all their clothing for me except their underwear, I’m going to get that Bird out of here ASAP. Our man won’t want to see a US Coast Guard chopper sitting on the pad.”

He met Lt. Fangovich at mid stride and the chopper peeled up and off with a quickness, and headed out of site as fast as possible, yet hugging the water, way down low……….

At this same moment, plodding along on the bottom of bay, Dog wearily trudged along with his cumbersome load. No matter, he thought, I’m almost there. The prize is so fucking close I can feel my heartbeat slamming in my chest. He smiled inwardly. Fifty feet more and turn in towards the beach. Step by step, he thought, moment by moment. As soon as he broke the surface he would leave the containers momentarily, and sprint towards the hiding spot he had left so long ago.

He knew they would be searching on the Sat’s, looking for his movement, looking for any chance to pick him up. He was bound and determined not to help them by moving slow. He had rehearsed this moment a thousand times since yesterday alone. The small clump of palms would be right where he remembered it. With the island being virtually deserted, there was no chance of anything having changed. It would be just as he had left it.

There now, he could see the surface of the water was a mere two feet above his head. Ten more steps and his head broke the surface and he gently let go of his containers. He paused, only his head above the water. Looking to the shore, he scanned the area and within twenty seconds his eyes landed on the spot he was waiting to see all these years. It was unmistakable. Sixty yards away, he started sprinting towards it. His unconscious eye, however, picked up something.

Something behind the palm trees, and down on the sand. As his minds eye came to the realization of what it was he was seeing, a monstrous whallup hit him dead center of his body. He was lifted up, through the air and was flying backwards even as the sound of the gunshot registered in his mind. Blackness, and then nothing……….

Lying behind the palm tree was Sgt. 1st Class William Brody, the Echo Team designated Sniper. The beast that so efficiently took down Dog was the M110 SASS, Semi-Automatic Sniper System, which is the latest technology the United States has in an anti-personnel sniper rifle. It fires the long used, ass kicker 7.62mm cartridge, and is fitted with noise and flash reducer. Not totally silenced, but very, very quiet. As of this moment, it is regarded as the best sniper rifle of its kind. It had already seen way too much action in Afghanistan and Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division, and other Special Forces Detachments, all with excellent results. This was also the exact same weapon that Boomer had used successfully against the Juba Sniper several months back.

All members of the Echo Team were utilizing the top of the line radio communication devices these days, as well. The Motorola Talkabout, fitted with the Stryker Throat microphone, was their preferred choice. The Stryker mic eliminated all background noise, and even allowed the team to whisper information to each other. It was without a doubt one of the most critical pieces of equipment a tactical team could have, and a vital part of securing mission effectiveness. Even now as Brody whispered, “Target down,” this message was received by all team members including Boomer, who was a little over a mile and a half away.

Unfortunately this did not include Smitty and Jonesy who were geared up in SCUBA, and in position underwater somewhere near by, in an attempt by the team to cover and secure the largest amount of area they could.

Boomer was not on the scene and therefore would not interfere, and in fact did not acknowledge. Tulley was running this part of the operation, and Boomer would just have to wait.

It’s like the end of a football game, where you’re ahead and clocks ticking down. The other team has the ball, and it appears they have no chance, yet you know better than to raise your hands in victory. To do so, brings on bad things, and bad turns of events. Just don’t do it, thought Boomer. So he waited……….

Fuck that hurt, thought Dog as he lay flat in the sand. He had taken a hit directly into his armor plated chest piece. Oh yeah, it’s gonna hurt for a while, he thought even as he quickly summarized what had happened. He knew at some point he was about to be approached by one or more Spec Ops guys. Who the fuck else. He knew his Glock would still be in his leg holster, secure, and waiting. This was it then. It all comes down to this. He did not need to see they were coming, he knew they were coming. They had to, now didn’t they.

And coming they were. Pretty much standard SOP, small “V” shape, center man forward, crouching low, their weapons trained on the subject, ready for any movement. Dog thought about it for only a second, and he knew he could not make his move until he could hear their voices. If he could hear them, he would know where they were. So he waited……….

Tulley raised his right fist, the silent signal for all to stop. They were no more that twenty yards away, when Tulley whispered, “No blood.” Quickly the team assessed the situation, and all acknowledged. It was obvious to all that the subject was wearing armor, yet that really meant nothing, as the concussion alone could kill you. If nothing else it would knock you out, stone cold, and bust your ass up on the inside.

Tulley signaled, and whispered to the man on his left, Scout, to move forward and check it out. “Brody, shift to your left a little,” he whispered to the other, as they all inched forward a little. Boomer was listening to this and thinking to himself, just shoot the motherfucker, who cares. Double tap his ass right now, and make it certain. For some reason, Tulley did not.

Just as Scout got close, Dog made his move. He knew someone was standing over him, because he could feel it. It was more than just a feeling, it was hearing, it was smelling, it was sensing with your whole body. And Dog knew one important fact of combat always remains the same. Action is faster than Re-Action. Oh, yeah, thought Dog.

His hand was like lightening, and the gun was out and firing before Scout could respond. Center mass, two shots and Scout was crumpling down on top of him. Even as Scout’s body was coming down, Dog was pulling him in and rolling to his left, using the man’s body as a shield. In one continuous move this madman came to grips with everything around him. He didn’t even think as he fired off one round directly into the face of Brody, who was standing flat footed no more than thirty feet away, sniper rifle still in the ready.

Tulley quickly began to exchange fire with Dog, his rounds tearing into the body of Scout and the ground all around. In a second it was over. One well place round hit Tulley in the right side of his chin, blowing away teeth and bone, and knocking him sprawling.

Dog rolled out and away from the bloody remains of his savior. He was up, and moved through the carnage with the quickness of any seasoned professional in this arena. Two obviously dead and the big man still breathing, but missing the most part of his chin and lower jaw. Dog knew this was not the whole team, but had no way of knowing where the others were.

Smitty and Jonesy were suited up with double 80′s and would at their current depth, be underwater for another fifty minutes or more. Dog grabbed Tulley, disarmed him, and began dragging him to the small clump of palms.  Once there he took the radio and headset, and quickly announced, “OK fuckers, who’s the Six here?”

 

Chapter 17

Boomer froze in his tracks, his hand coming up to his mouth. He did not know Dog’s voice, but he was well aware of all of his team-member’s voices. This was not one of them. Shit, he thought. Bad fucking news. “Come on Six”, he heard coming from the radio. “Look asshole, your teams down, I got one big motherfucker lying here in front of me who needs immediate medical attention, and if you don’t respond, I am just gonna whack his ass right now”.

That would be Tulley, thought Boomer.

“Ok, what gives Maldonado,” said Boomer dryly, while his right hand pushed on his own larynx, in order to change the sound of his voice. He was still thinking clearly ahead, even amidst all this havoc.

“Well now, you know me, who am I talking to,” he smiled and said.

“Fuck off”, was all he heard.

“Ok Six, this is the plan. I know you got a bird within ten, so have them land over here on the south end of the south island,” he paused. “You know where the fuck I’m at, just get them over here right now, or you can scratch the big guy, got it.”

Dog then placed his phone call to his waiting pilots. He never knew the man he spoke with and ordered to the flight line was Lt. Fangovich. Then Dog went to digging. Digging in the sand, four feet deep, just a few minutes and Bingo. There they were. Dog held the prize in his hands and savored the moment. Not too long he thought, we ain’t done yet. No sir, long way from done.

He took off running towards the beach and recovered the two containers. He brought them back and loaded the prize in one of them. He then sat the containers down, and grabbing the big man he pulled him close and waited, his Glock stuck visibly to the side of Tulley’s head, for all to see.

When Major Nelson brought the Helo around for his landing, Dog could see there was no one in the chopper except the pilot. Good, he thought. With the sand whirling and flying through the air, the Helo sat down on its skids mere feet away from Dog and Tulley. Dog shoved the gruesome looking man to the ground and then loaded the two containers into the bird. He then pointed his Glock at the pilot and told Tulley to get in. The big man was struggling, but he somehow made it on his own, and lay down on the floor of the chopper. Dog jumped in right behind the pilot and put the gun to the back of his head. “To the airport,” was all he said.

Boomer and Lt. Fangovich had quickly donned both men’s civilian clothes. Luckily they were all of average size, however the shoes Boomer had on were a little tight. Oh well, gotta do with what you have. They both went to the airplane and began stuffing and hiding their weapons, and pretending to do normal pre-flight duties and checks on the airplane.

Thankfully Lt. Fangovich was not only a Helo pilot, but a multi engine, instrument rated fixed wing pilot as well. Nothing like training now is there. Within minutes the helo came around for its landing. Boomer knew that Dog would call, and he knew he was out of moves too. He sat in the cockpit with the doors open, and waited.

“Ok, Six, we’re coming in,” said Dog.

“Just put her down by the plane on the end, with the props turning. I didn’t think you’d want to hang around for a drink or two would you,” Boomer added.

The chopper sat down on the hard stand about forty yards off the nose of the airplane. Dog hopped out, with one hand still pointing the gun at the pilot, he motioned for Tulley to shove his containers out the door. As soon as this happened he waved the pilot off, and pointing the gun at one of his approaching pilots, he said, “Hello Ladies, why don’t you grab this shit and put it in the back seats, and let’s get the fuck out of here.”

Fangovich grabbed the two containers and loaded them on the small airplane, while Boomer pretended to be talking to the tower. Dog climbed in behind them. When Fangovich jumped in Boomer looked at him and shot him the thumbs up, and they right away began to ease towards the main runway for takeoff. Boomer had the flight plan out on his lap and Lt. Fangovich made the plane’s takeoff and subsequent altitude climb in a normal, professional manner.

Boomer looked back at Dog, and wearing the worried looking face of a person caught up in some deep shit, he said, “Sir, we don’t know what the hell is going on here, but really we just want to fly you where you want to go, and then get back home.”

“Fuck off,” said Dog. “Just turn around, and fly. I’m paying you fly, right?” he growled. “If I want conversation, I’ll order conversation. Get it,” he added nastily.

“Yes, sir,” said Boomer and he turned back around, and he and Fangovich flew. For now, that’s what they would do. Just fly, and wait. He thought about the situation. Tulley would survive. He did not know who was down and who was not. He had no way of knowing if they were all dead, the remainder of the team, or not. He did know one thing though, even as a pang of guilt hit him. Dog would never get off this plane alive. If he and Fangovich had to go down to get him, then so be it. It was a price he’d gladly pay. For his Sis, then her boyfriend Trey, and the other couple Shay and Lee. And Dog apparently he had done something to another Echo Team somewhere down the line. Man, this fucker was a bad one.

Even as Boomer was silently thinking, he was slowly maneuvering his weapon into place. Slowly, not wanting to have his passenger pick up on anything, he moved on with his mission. Within minutes he had his weapon in his hand, still hidden from view by the flight plans he held in his lap.

The flight plan called for them to be on a schedule of a little over five hours flight time, figuring a cruising speed of two hundred miles per hour. They had no way of knowing that Dog was planning to jump out as the plane passed over the western edge of Haiti, approximately two hours out. As it was, it would be dark and a perfect tactical situation for him. Dog began working on his containers in the back, and continued to do so as the plane made its way along at twenty two thousand feet.

About an hour into the flight Dog was taking his liberties with the prize. He opened the container and ran his hand into the diamonds and allowed them to roll around and through his fingers. He was starting to feel cocky now. He could sense that he was within his right to claim victory. Fuck Jenson, he thought, that asshole made it a tough game, but fuck him just the same. Shame I didn’t get a chance to off his ass though, he thought smiling. That would have been a first rate capper there, now wouldn’t it.

“Hey up there,” he hollered towards the two pilots. Scared sumbitches haven’t even looked back here in an hour, he thought. “You ever seen forty million dollars worth of diamonds,” he said looking them both square in the eyes. He even raised his hand up and let the diamonds dribble out of his hand and back into the container they were in. And he continued this motion, like he was teasing them. Which of course he was.

So that’s it, thought Boomer as he looked at Fangovich. The whole fucking deal was over these diamonds. Dog was just laughing and playing with his stash like a little kid. Boomer turned back around to the front, and contemplated the whole scenario. What the hell was happening here? It just did not make total sense.

On one hand he’s running a mission for the United States Government, and supposedly trying to eliminate a National Security threat, by order of the Deputy Director of National Intelligence. What was it he had said? His son was a member of Echo Team 1-1, along with Maldonado.

And then it hit him. Hit him like a sledgehammer. Oh, shit. He’s involved, thought Boomer. The fucking Deputy Director and this piece of shit are connected. How, he had no real idea, but he was sure the connection was there. That’s why he wants him, but he’s reluctant to just hit him and take him out. Jenson never knew where the diamonds were. This guy obviously had hidden them on that island. Why else was he there, and why else would he go through the trouble of getting there the way he did. And that’s why his sister Gina and the rest had to die, so this fucker could have his fortune in diamonds.

Boomer’s blood was boiling now. And the Deputy Director! Boomer could hardly believe it, yet it was now plainly there for him to see.

The silence was broken when Dog leaned in over Fangovich and said, “Take her down to twelve thousand, right now. When you get there re-set the autopilot for the same course.

Something going down now, thought Boomer. What are his plans, what is he going to do. I ought to just shoot the fucker right now and be done with it, his thoughts continued.

Within minutes Fangovich had the plane at their designated altitude, and had reset the autopilot.

Boomer was still pondering his course of action, when Dog leaned in and looked over at him and asked, “Do you really fly as well, or are you just along for the ride?”

Boomer looked at him and said, “Actually, no I don’t, and yes I am.”

“Just what I thought,” said Dog. As he sat back, he deftly withdrew his pistol and shot Lt. Fangovich in the back of his head. The exiting bullet smashed through the front windscreen, and out of the aircraft with a deafening roar. The remaining portions of the windscreen began to disintegrate into and out of the aircraft at will.

At the exact same moment in time, Boomer had decided it was time to end this situation. He was already in the process of turning to shoot Dog, as Dog rose into position to shoot Fangovich. Even as Dog fired his own round he could see what was happening before him. His mind flashed again, the simple rule of combat. Action is always faster than Re-action. As the fire escaped the barrel of Boomer’s gun, blackness is all the Dog knows. He has no further thought, just the simple action of falling backwards to his death.

Boomer quickly realized that the aircraft had lost all ability to provide him with escape—and life. He now had mere minutes to save himself without oxygen. The masks had dropped down into place near all the back seats, and he fought his way to the back over the deafening roar of a two hundred mile an hour windstorm inside the aircraft. There were two parachutes in the back secured to the wall of the aircraft. Thank God, he thought, I used the time on the airfield to thoroughly inspect this airplane and its equipment.

As he struggled into the parachute while taking turns breathing from the hanging mask, he thought of the diamonds. As soon as he had his harness secure he opened one of the Dog’s containers, and there it was. A large black, canvas backpack. He quickly opened the pack, and saw it was full of strange looking rocks that must be uncut diamonds. After a few seconds he simply zipped it closed, without emotion. He held fast to the pack and with his other hand yanked open the door to the aircraft.

As he looked down he could not see any lights so he had to assume they were still over the ocean. He reached back and secured the oxygen mask, and held it to his face and waited.

Yes, he waited. You see there is always a time for action, and a time for patience…..for waiting. This was a time for waiting. As long as the plane was flying on course, and he was breathing good air, he would wait.

Boomer was still waiting patiently, more than twenty minutes later, when lights began to appear below him. He knew this would be the coast of Haiti. Not too friendly a place for certain, but far better than the open ocean. He looked around the small plane, made sure his gear and weapons were secure, and he jumped.

As his body screamed through the night air, he reflected on how many times he had done this exact thing. How many years of his life had been consumed by these talents that he’d worked so damned hard to master? It hardly mattered any more. This he knew would be his last. The price was just too high this time. No if’s, no butt’s, and no doubt’s. That only left him with one more thing to do, now didn’t it. One more piece of shit to take care of, and then it would truly be over.

Then and only then could he try to move on towards a new beginning……..

 

Four months later…………

The Sea holds many, many secrets. More so, than even the most cunning of Government Offices. The Sea has held her secrets dear and close, and for all those she has consumed she weeps not.

Those who live their lives on her, and give their lives to her, would not ask that of her.

It’s a bright and sunny October morning. The sun is just breaking over the docks of the Conch House Marina.  A lone figure sits at a corner table. He sits, and he stares over towards his slip, a mere fifty feet away. His boat rocks gently from the subtle movement of the incoming tide. It is his first boat, the Witchwind, and although he has owned her for just a few months, they are intimate partners and he knows she will be his last.

He barely notices the beautifully tantalizing music coming from his boat, but he knows her work, too. He’s heard it many times now. It soothes his soul, this girl’s music, and brings back fond memories of better days. He looks over at the sign on the wall, where the outdoor stage sits next to the dock’s open air Bar. It says, “LoriAnn live tonight from 5-7 PM.”

A single tear finds its way down the man’s rugged, but handsome face.

He closes his eyes, and captures the vision of the one he misses so dearly. His sister Gina is gone. Yet in his mind he sees her, and smells her scent, as if she is right beside him. He hears her laughter, and feels her presence all around him. She comes to him easily, each time he needs her.

He thinks about the beautiful, shiny new sail boat that is moored in the slip right next to his old girl. She’s a stunning flag blue hulled, Mason 44. Ketch rigged, with every conceivable option. Why, it must have cost a million bucks or more, he thought. Oh, yes. He was sure of that, now wasn’t he?

It was the very best that money could buy in this size range. You might be able to buy bigger, but you couldn’t buy better. And he liked the name too. “Gina’s Wish” was truly a beautiful boat. One that would never… and could never… be forgotten. The existence of both of these vessels, and how they came to be, was etched in his heart and mind forever.

He stares back down at yesterday’s copy of the Washington Post. The small story on the lower right side detailed the untimely death of Deputy Director Alan Jenson. An apparent hit and run victim. According to the story the police were still investigating, but apparently there were no witnesses to the tragedy. Hmmm…what a shame, he thought, yet no smile comes to his face from this traumatic ending to his personal nightmare.

In the next moment, he is brought back to reality by the sounds of someone approaching.

As he looks up, he sees the smiling faces of his two good friends. The only family he had now.

“What’s up there, guys,” he says smiling at the proud new owners of the “Gina’s Wish”.

“Mind if we join you,” Shay asked smiling back. The two hugged briefly, yet deeply.

“Not at all, not at all, my date ought to be here any minute,” he added with great big smile.

Boomer was suddenly beside himself, and laughing out loud when he said, “Yeah, can you believe it. I’ve got a date with an Old Man and a Dog.”

 

 

Interlude:

Walter “Boomer” Moran was medically retired from the Army just over two months later. He tried to sit down, and play the part of the retired guy. He truly tried. It really didn’t take him long to figure out that he was a man of action, and that he needed something else in his life. He did not need the money, and it did not fulfill his needs. The diamonds were safely stashed away, yet they too represented little more than a reminder of his grief, and the devastation that they had caused.

Sitting on the deck of the Witchwind one peaceful December morning, Boomer was reading the Miami Herald, when he saw a big add for a position in a Tactical Police Unit in Tucson, Arizona. He pondered briefly on it, and went inside and began packing his things. The boat could stay here at the Conch House Marina, and he would hire a local diver to keep her scraped and washed while he was gone. She was a tough old girl, and he knew he would be back soon, and often.

In less than four hours he was on a plane heading to Tucson.

In the blink of an eye, two more years had gone by…………..

 

Chapter 18

On a warm and sunny April afternoon, a young mother wheels her Toyota pickup off of the main road and into the parking lot of the local IGA. Her six-year-old daughter Cassandra is asleep in the seat beside her. She looked towards her, and briefly thought about waking her up and taking her inside, and immediately decided to pass. Her baby wouldn’t be thirty feet away, and she only needed a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, and a few other things. A few minutes tops, she thought, she’ll never even know I’m gone. She smiles at her thought, and quietly shuts the door.

The man in the blue van three cars down had just came from the telephone booth on the corner. He was hoping to score some weed from Dude, a friend of his just outside ofTucson, but his friend said he would have to wait another few hours before coming over.

He didn’t mind waiting. He didn’t have anything else to do, and besides that he was good at waiting. He decided to go in the store to buy a pack of smokes. That’s when he looked into the truck parked in front of the store, and saw the little girl. Pretty little thing he thought to himself.

Keep going, he told himself, do not do it. Not in the open, not here. Ok, he thought, fuck it. I’ll wait. He turned around and got back in his van, and pulled over to the phone booth. He waited with his engine running, hopefully appearing to any passerby who might have seen him, as someone waiting on a phone call.

Sally Jordan came out of the store four minutes later and as she opened her door she smiled. Nope, she never missed me, she thought. She fired up the Toyota and turned right onto North Oracle Road, toward Oro Valley. She is very familiar with her surroundings, yet each time she makes her way down this road, she is in awe of the area’s sheer, natural beauty.

Six months earlier, she and her husband Rob had completed construction on their beautiful new home in the valley. It was a stunning, six thousand square foot home surrounded by desert and mountain views as far as you could see. Rob was a very successful Attorney in Tucson, and had made full partner with the highly prestigious law firm of Beine, Howell, and Martinez. Things could not be going better for the couple and their two children.

As she looked into her side mirror she saw a blue van coming up behind her. The road was straight and empty to the front, and the van eased into the passing lane to pass her. The man driving never looked over, just passed and headed on down the lonely highway. She does look at him however, and notices that he is a middle age man, most likely American Indian. Nothing odd about that she thought as she looked over at her daughter.  With a smile she quietly resumed the short ride to their home.

In less than a minute, the van is over a half mile in front of her, yet she can clearly see as it starts weaving erratically. Back and forth across both lanes, and then off the road onto the right side shoulder it comes to a sudden stop.

The man steps out of the van, and falls to his knees in the middle of the road. He begins crawling up the road, his right hand clutching his chest. Within seconds she is upon him, coming to the obvious conclusion the man is having a heart attack.

She quickly throws her truck into Park, and jumps out and runs toward the man who is now folded up in the road, with his head touching the hot pavement. As soon as she reaches him, she lifts him up by one shoulder, and looks into the eyes of a madman. She knows it instantly.

He grabs her by her right ankle, and with the swiftness of a rattlesnake striking, he reaches out with his right hand. He deftly, and deeply, slides his cold steel across the inside of her right thigh.

She screams in pain and in horror, but it does not matter. Her main femoral artery has been severed clean, and the man is up and running towards her truck, and ultimately towards her baby. She fights to follow him, but her leg does not want to work. Her pain is the last thing on her mind as she crawls forward, inch by agonizing inch. She feels dizzy and weak, and simply crumbles to the road, unmoving.

She can hear her daughter screaming now, but she can not raise her head. She tries one last time as the man walks by, her baby in his clutches crying out for her mother. Then nothing.

 

Chapter 19

Cassandra Jordan is fighting as hard as a six year old girl can fight. It does not matter. Dewey Rainmaker is six feet tall, lean, and as strong as a bear.

He opens the side door of the van and throws the girl in. He reaches over to his tool box and pulls out a small blue container. It used to hold wet wipes. Now it holds wet chloroform wipes.

He quickly grabs a small handful and jumps into the van, and applies the wipes over the little girl’s mouth and nose. When she passes out, he waits just a little longer, then proceeds to tie her up and place duck tape over her mouth.

“Don’t you fret none there little one, I’ll have you home in just a few minutes,” Dewey said out loud to no one in particular. He slammed the side door shut, goes around, hops in and turns back the way they came from. As they drive back past the spot where Sally Jordan lay in a puddle of blood, the man barely glances her way. The simple fact of her desperate attempt to save her daughter escapes his diluted imagination.

He crosses over Interstate 10, and within a few miles he turns off the main road and heads deeper into the desert. His little ranch is just off the back side of the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation.

Dewey Rainmaker was not from this tribal area originally, but had bought land here just over five years ago. He had come down from White Bear, in the Southeastern corner of Saskatchewan. Dewey had grown up around the Moose Mountain area, and had grown tired of the cold weather, and the long, boring winters.

He had found the small parcel of forty acres of desert land in the back page ad’s from some magazine. Buy your own desert ranch for next to nothing, the ad had said. Only five hundred dollars down, and forty-nine dollars a month. It took Dewey less than two months to put together his down payment and off he went.

Within the first few months, he had met Dude down at this little roadside bar and grill, the Last Call. Their friendship started out slow, but it was soon apparent to both that this little hang out was something they had in common.

It was one evening out in the parking lot that Dude fired up a joint, and began puffing away. He offered it to his new found friend, and they quickly had two things in common.

Neither of the men cared for working a regular job, and it didn’t take long for Dewey to figure out how Dude made his living, or who he was getting his shit from. Dude thought he was an important man, and he let Dewey know it.

Dewey was in the right place at the right time, it seemed.

Dude knew that his man was down in Mexico peddling some young girls, and the next time he went down to see him about the weed, he told him Dewey was looking for a gig of his own.

The old man had Dude bring Dewey down for a weekend, and from there Dewey got tapped for this little business. Hell, the next thing you know ol’ Dewey’s got a hundred and sixty acres, a nice medium sized log house, and no fucking neighbors to bother him.

As they pull into the driveway his two Rottweiler’s come running to greet him. It’s not really a drive way, not in the conventional sense. The road just abruptly stops in front of his house which is quite normal out in these parts of the country.

He thinks to himself, good dogs, this breed. No one wants to get out of their car with these two on their asses. Even if they were to end up here, which ain’t likely anyway?

He gets out of the van and opens the side door. He grabs the little girl, throws her over his shoulder and heads for the house. He leaves the dogs outside so he can tend to his business.

Little Cassandra is wide awake now. Bug eyed and terrified, she has no clue who this person is, or where she is. At this point she is actually too scared to cry.

When they go through the door and into the living area, he heaves her onto the couch and says, “Get this shit off of her, and put a shackle on her leg, and get it done pronto.”

Cassandra looks around and sees another young girl, who quickly begins tending to her.

The girl is smiling, but the look in her eyes tells a different story. She works quickly to unbind the younger girl, and Dewey is there handing her an open shackle. A very small open shackle. It is attached to a very long chain.

The older girl says nothing, as she snaps it shut around Cassandra’s left ankle.

“Case you wondering, little girl, my names Dewey,” he said.

“This here’s Julia, and she’s twelve. She’ll take care of you, but she don’t talk. Nope she was a whiner and a crybaby, and screamed all the time, so I cut out her tongue. It’s an Indian thing, you know,” he added with a wicked smile.

Cassandra was visibly shaken, and Dewey just smiled and continued, “Go on Julia, and show her now. Show her why it’s important to be quiet, when I say be quiet.”

Julia promptly opened her mouth and showed the little girl her stump of a tongue. It scared the little one even more, but she did not cry or utter a sound.

“Don’t you worry none little girl, old Dewey ain’t going to hurt you. Nope, you’re way too valuable for that,” he said.

“What’s your name little one,” he asked the little girl.

“Cassandra,” she mutters quietly, her head tilted and eyes down.

“Well Cassandra, just follow Julia and she’ll show you where the bathroom and kitchens at,” he said, smiling.

Dewey went on about his business. He knew the girls couldn’t get out of the house because the chains wouldn’t reach the doors. They could tend to themselves, and get whatever they needed without his help. He also knew that Julia would take good care of the little one, just like she had for all the others.

You see, Julia knew the deal. She took care of the others, and she took care of Dewey. That was the deal. Anything different and he’d bury her ass out back with the last one. He’d made Julia watch him do it too. Nope, she was a good little girl, and she was going to stay that way.

He took Julia one day up in Provo, Utah. Must have been just over two years ago, when she was ten. Little bitch he had before her was just too much trouble.

Her name was Katherine, and she was twelve when Dewey grabbed her just outside of Phoenix. Too old to learn, and way too much trouble. When he got Julia, he just took them both outside, and hit the bitch in the head with his hammer. Done deal.

Since then he’d brought home six others, and Julia was working out just fine. Except the few times early on, but then he hadn’t had any more trouble out of her after the tongue cutting.

 

Chapter 20

The crime scene on Highway 77, just south of Oro Valley, had Sheriff Adam Marks confused, but not for long.

He knew Sally Jordan, and knew her well. He knew the whole family. Her truck was still running, and nothing was missing. Sally was lying lifeless in the middle of the highway, seventy-two feet from the front of her own vehicle.

Bled out, from a massive cut on her leg. Clean and to the bone it looked like, but he was waiting for the coroner to confirm it.

When he had called Rob at their home, he told him that Sally had been in a bad accident, and that he needed to get here right away.

Rob had immediately asked about Cassandra, and Sheriff Marks knew then, it was a much worse situation than he had thought.

“You just need to get here quick, Rob,” he said. “And Rob, leave the baby with Nanny.”

He had already called the State Police, and they were already in route. Now he made his way back to his radio to call in additional help, as well as the rescue helicopter team. They needed to quickly search the desert area to make sure the little girl was not out wondering in the desert.

Sheriff Marks already knew better than that, but was certainly compelled to go through the motions just the same.

When Rob arrived on the scene, he jumped out of his car running, and instantly fell down next to his wife and lost it completely. Sheriff Marks comforted his friend the best he could, but really it was a mess. The only thing he could do was to get him away, into the police car, and away from his wife.

“Where’s my daughter,” he cried over and over.

“I just don’t know Rob, but were working on it,” was all Sheriff Marks could say……….

Just over one hundred miles away and sitting in his favorite chair beside the most gorgeous pool his eyes had ever seen Juan Pablo Lopez was smiling.

Looking over his vast estate, bordering the Sea of Cortez, he could feel his excitement rising. His man Dewey had just picked the perfect peach. This one had the potential to make Juan Pablo a great deal of profit. The young, pretty ones always did.

And to think, this idiot would take only fifteen thousand dollars. And the entire initial risk. Juan Pablo’s clients would pay tens of thousands of dollars for each one of the little ones, sometimes more. But for the pretty young blond haired ones, who knew, he thought.

Who knows what ever happens to them, his thoughts continued. He could not worry about that. All he knew was the payments were made in cash and that was that. End of story from his perspective.

He never touched them, and certainly never hurt them, so in his mind, he could live with the deal. If it were not him providing the service, it would simply be someone else.

He told Dewey he would send his driver and his payment the following morning. He hung up the phone and started thinking. Who was his most special client? Why, the one who would pay the most of course. He picked up his phone and began dialing……….

It was now 3:00 PM in the afternoon. The Tucson PD Special Narcotics Investigation Team was moving in on their suspect house. The twelve man team was led by Captain Walter “Boomer” Moran, a two year veteran of the Tucson Police Department. Normally it took years to reach the rank of Captain, but Boomer brought a whole sack of goodies to the table when he showed up for the job. It didn’t take long for the Chief to realize he had a special man in his ranks, and not a man was jealous when Boomer shot up the paygrade scale faster than anyone in Department history.

Boomer to his team, and to all his friends, was the man. If you had to go into the shit, you wanted Boomer Moran in there with you.

Like most Special Op’s guys, Boomer was all in on the physical shit. He ran ten miles every morning, was a master of Brazilian Jujitsu and Okinawan Karate, and Arizona’s top shooter every year for the past two years at the Police Olympics.

Six feet, two inches tall and weighed in at a buck ninety, and as his friends would say, the boy’s just bad.

As the Op’s van screams around the corner, it slides to a stop and the troops deploy. High speed, heavy weapons, and moving fast, they bust through the door and into the middle of a major drug deal going down.

The perp, one Charles “Dude” Daily, was supposedly taking delivery right now of two hundred pounds of Mexican weed, as well as five pounds of Cocaine.

The informant was dead on the money, and when the door crashed down on them, the deal was going down.

The two Cartel mules, who had brought the stuff in, must have thought the crashing party was a little light. Both men pulled their weapons, and instantly took a dozen hit’s a piece, and went down hard and dead.

Dumb fuck Dude, rolled up in a ball, and pissed his pants. Really, he just pissed all over himself.

They yanked his ass up and cuffed him, and lo and behold, he knew his shit was weak. And the bird started singing.

“Look man, who’s in charge here,” he said.

“I am, why,” Boomer asked. He eyed the piece of shit suspect warily, yet without malice.

“Look man, I’m fucked and I know it,” said Dude.

Boomer could see the panic in the man’s eyes. Same as always. Once they were caught, that is.

“Look, I got some shit here; right the fuck now, says I’m good for a break. Some kind of break, mother fuckers, or some little girls are gonna die,” Dude screamed.

He was frantic, but Boomer wanted to hear him out.

“Then give it to me, Dude. You know the drill, no promises. If the shit’s real, you know it will help. That’s it,” said Boomer.

“Fuckin’-A, it will. Go to the end of Sagebrush Road, out in the county not twenty minutes from here. This guy Dewey Rainmaker…. he’s got young girls chained to the fucking floor,” Dude cried hysterically.

“Man, he done cut one of them girl’s tongues out. He’s a sick mother fucker, man; I swear to God this ain’t no shit. They’re there right now, man, right fucking now, you hear me,” he screamed.

Boomer looked into the man’s eyes and said, “You lying to me Dude, and I’ll cut your fucking balls off.”

“I swear to God man, I swear it,” said Dude.

Boomer thought about it for about two seconds. He ordered two of his men to stay behind, and handle the situation at the present site, and he and the other nine ran towards their van.

Like all Special Operations vehicles this one was equipped with the latest in GPS Navigation systems. The punched in the Sagebrush Road location, and were on their way within seconds.

Boomer’s second in command, Lt. John Mackey looked at him for a moment and said, “Boomer, we calling this one in.”

Boomer looked at him and said, “Can’t do that John, it’s out of City jurisdiction, and I’m not going to jeopardize the lives of any young children. My orders, I’ll have to fade the heat.”

Everyone in the truck knew they were stepping outside of their operational boundaries, but then if Boomer’s going in, they were going in with him.

They readied themselves for the assault that was surely to take place in just a few minutes. When they entered onto Sagebrush Road they knew this was it. It was a dead end road. The target was straight ahead. Boomer’s mind drifted briefly back to a time long ago when his actions had cost the lives of some of his team, and he wondered if he was again taking chances he should not take.

They came into the yard and went from sixty miles per hour down to zero in a sliding stop.

As they bailed out of the van, the Rottweiler’s charged. It was not a challenge. They popped them both, and never slowed down. The Ram Man drove the door in, and with Boomer leading the way they ran straight into hell.

Dewey Rainmaker had been snoozing on the couch and barely got to his feet before the door caved in and he met the team face on. Before he could even gather his thoughts, he was staring down the barrels of ten different guns.

Boomer could see the two young girls, chained to the floor. They were both down on the ground crying, sobbing uncontrollably.

He went to them immediately. Gently tugging on each of them, he very softly asked them to open their mouths. The older of the two girls broke down, and began to tremble, but she complied with Boomer’s request. The poor child was in fact missing her tongue, and Boomer simply exploded inside. He went straight for the man who had violated these young girls.

With the strength of a hundred men, he drove his rifle butt into Dewey’s face, knocking out teeth, and spraying blood everywhere.

He reached down and grabbed the man by the hair of his head, and physically drug him out of the front door and into the yard. With all of his might, Boomer grabbed the man by his head and ass, and raising him up to shoulder height he threw the man forcibly to the ground.

As Dewey sat up, Boomer savagely kicked the man to the side of his head. The force of the blow drove Dewey over and face down into the hot desert sand.

Boomer reached down, and yanked him up to a sitting position. Dewey had blood and sand all over him, and was as close to unconsciousness as humanly possible.

Boomer squatted down in front of him, looked him straight in the eye, and said, “Dewey, you tell me what your doin’ with them girls, or I’m gonna kill you right here, you understand me.”

Dewey could hardly talk, but you could hear what he said. It was a simple, yet garbled, “Fuck you.”

Boomer stood up, and turned around. He went ghostly white, and then fiery red.

His men were all around him, yet to a man they would later say they never saw it coming.

Boomer forcibly threw his rifle out of his hands, and into Dewey’s lap where he now sat, blood flowing out of his face and mouth.

“Pick it up and shoot me, asshole,” Boomer said. “You’re a dead man either way,” he added.

Dewey looked the man in the eyes, and knew he was at the end. He quickly moved the rifle up and towards his shoulder, just as the first round of Boomer’s H&K .40 caliber pistol hit him in his left eye.

The back of Dewey’s head exploded, and sprayed his sick brain matter all over the yard. That was the end of Dewey Rainmaker.

It was also the end of Boomer Moran’s career as a Law Enforcement Officer.

It was also the beginning of a whole new career.

 

Chapter 21

To most folks in Tucson, Boomer was a hero. To everyone on the Police Force, he was certainly a hero. To Rob Jordan, and the remainder of his family, Boomer Moran was more than a hero. He was a savior, and a redeemer.

For the City of Tucson, and the Police Commissioner, there was little they could do to save his job. The violation of Policy was just too great to bear. Rob Jordan worked as hard as any attorney could in representing Boomer, but there was just no way they could legally win.

With the testimony of the other officers present, it was clear that Boomer had ordered his team to the ranch. Although outside of his jurisdiction, there was no desire to charge Boomer with any crime. Especially since Dewey Rainmaker had somehow wrestled a weapon away from one of the officers, and was about to fire on the task force. Sadly, because Boomer had elected to go outside of the City’s legal jurisdiction and that opened them up to undue civil liability, for that reason alone he was fired.

In the subsequent Administrative Hearing, the appeal was denied, and Boomer was officially unemployed.

Dewey Rainmaker had no siblings, and no known children. His mother had already passed, and his father was far too embarrassed over the whole matter to even care, let alone sue.

The case however, brought the national media into Tucson. All the big networks were there, and all the cable ones as well. Polls were running everywhere, and due to the nature of what they had found at the scene, the whole country thought Boomer was a hero.

Rob Jordan went on national television in an interview with CNN, and said he was starting a Trust called the Cassandra’s Hero Fund, and that he was making the first donation of one hundred thousand dollars.

He called on all Americans watching; to not let this act of bravery cost this man his life, and his career.

He called on Washington to act, to put out a Bill, to fund a special Prosecution and Investigation Team, to put an end to child trafficking once and for all.

Within days, the fund had amassed more than a million dollars. People all over America were standing up, ready and willing to help where they could. It was clear that many American’s were sickened by the constant reports of child abductions, and children being victimized and murdered.

The law firm of Beine, Howell, and Martinez, offered to pay Rob’s salary for the next year, so that he could take the lead in organizing and managing the trust.

Every day more donations came in. And they kept coming.

It also got the attention of a very powerful attorney in Washington. Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather III, was not only a great attorney, he was employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Senior Legal Advisor for the Child Abduction Taskforce.

He was also a very dear friend of Rob Jordan, who just happened to be his former college room mate at Yale Law.

His friends all called him Trey, and at this very moment, he was studying the lie on the 14th green at the Tournament Players Club at Avenel, one of  Washington DC’s premier PGA Tour Event courses with his dear friend Dee Martin Gibson.

Dee Martin, worked for the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crimes (NCAVC), which is part of our Governments Critical Incident Response Group, located near Quantico,Virginia. He was also the current Operational Support Director.

Upon being notified that a child has been abducted, his field offices and the NCAVC coordinate an immediate response to the abduction situation. Special agents would then join local law enforcement in coordinating and conducting comprehensive investigations. Evidence Response Team personnel would conduct the forensic investigation of the abduction site, while a Rapid Start Team would immediately be deployed to coordinate and track investigative leads. That’s the way it works on paper. In the real world it’s much uglier.

“What do you think of the shit that went down out in Tucson, with my roomies wife and kid,” asked Trey.

“Yeah, I heard, that was tragic, man. Glad they got the kid back, though,” Dee Martin said. “The cop that saved her got the shaft too, from what I hear.”

Trey lined up his shot, and made a well placed ten footer. Both men headed off the green for the next tee.

“My buddy Rob’s got him set up though,” said Trey. “At least the guy will have a job. We might even want to coordinate with them on this thing, as it looks like they might have some kind of national movement going on. People are tired of this shit bro’, really tired,” he added.

“Hell, we’re all tired of it. But we seem to just be chasing the tail, never the head,” said his friend.

“Shame is they know who these assholes are. They know a lot of them. Legally we just can’t get close enough to prosecute,” said Dee. “And it sucks, big time.”

“No the shame is we don’t have the balls to do what this guy Boomer Moran did,” said Trey. “You don’t think he didn’t know what was gonna happen. This guy didn’t give a shit about himself. He went in there and popped that guy’s ass. I got it straight from Rob. Hell man, everyone knew, and nobody cares,” he added dramatically.

“Yeah, what I wouldn’t give for a guy like that in the hole. You know what I mean, in the dark,” Dee said. He rubbed his eyes and looked at Trey.

“Like I said Dee, we might want to coordinate with him,” said Trey as he drove the ball off of the 15th tee.

The two friends went on and enjoyed their round of golf. Nothing else was said about the conversation they had. That’s the way it works in Washington. Plans are made, and shit happens.

 

Chapter 22

It was now early June, and the desert was in full bloom. Juan Pablo Lopez was just now beginning to relax. That stupid Indian piece of shit had gotten himself killed, and the perfect little peach was lost along with all of Juan Pablo’s money that he had planned on making on that little one.

Also, he had spent the last six or seven weeks on high alert. He had added several additional patrols to protect his hacienda, and spent a small fortune doing it. As much as he despised the idiot Dewey, he must have at least known how to keep his mouth shut.

And the dumb ass gringo, Dude. He’d gotten his ass busted, and two of Juan Pablo’s men had been killed in that fiasco as well.

A double dose of paranoia, it had been. Certainly, neither of them had talked to the authorities about him, or Juan Pablo would have heard about it already. He had men on his payroll on both sides of the border.

Coincidence possibly, but in his heart he knew that Dude had turned Dewey to the cops.

Juan Pablo was most certain of two things. One, both men knew the wrath of Juan Pablo Lopez, and how far and deep his punishment could reach if needed. And two, the gringo was a dead man.

He could no longer trust the man. Once he was able to locate him, he would have him eliminated, and their connection would be severed forever.

Other than that, at this point, he could begin to relax again……….

Back in town, Boomer was amazed at how fast things were turning. Although the Jordan Trust was simply an amazing feat of accomplishment, and Rob Jordan was handling most of the duties from the legal sense, Boomer was out of his element.

He wasn’t out of opportunities though. Being a thirty-four year old, highly fit, totally unattached and eligible bachelor had its benefits. Boomer truly looked ten years younger than his actual age, and that didn’t hurt things a bit either. He couldn’t buy a drink in a bar any where in town, and the ladies just could not get enough of the man. He was a hero to everyone, and everyone wanted to enjoy his company.

But even that was getting to him. He and Rob had spoken just the night before, and Boomer had expressed his need to get away for a short vacation. He didn’t even know where, he just knew he needed one, and needed it badly.

He thought of just heading back to the Witchwind, and back to a life of uncomplicated freedom. Each year he had went back to her at least twice, just to make sure she was being kept up like she deserved. Each time it had proved harder and harder to leave her, and now this.

Rob was on the other end of the spectrum. He needed to stay busy. He needed and wanted to stay focused on the task at hand. Boomer couldn’t blame him at all.

Sally’s funeral had been tough on Rob. She truly had been the beacon of light that led his life. The town had turned out in its entirety, with the media still in the mix and going full blare.

Cassandra was home now, and although they were still watching her close, she seemed to be rebounding from the whole event quite well. She missed her mommy, and that crushed Rob’s heart. He was thankful that Sally’s mother Nanny had decided to stay on and help with the kids. Rob was certain that he could not do it without her.

Rob was working at the office that morning when the phone rang. He answered, “Cassandra’s Hero, this is Rob, how can I help you.”

“Hey Robby, it’s me Trey,” said the caller.

“Trey, what’s up my brother,” Rob said. “How’s everything up your way.”

“Good, good, just wondering how you’re holding up, and how everything’s working out,” said his friend.

“It’s going good, really good. We’re still taking in a lot of contributions weekly, and honestly, I’m already wondering if I’ll even have the time to go back to the firm. I mean we’re really busy here,” said Rob enthusiastically.

“And the family,” he added, “Well, were doing the best we can. It’s hard Trey, really hard.”

Trey paused for just a second. “Rob, how’s our boy Boomer doing, is he hanging in there.”

“You know, I think he’s a little bummed. He say’s he’s out of his element, and wants a couple of weeks off to get away,” said Rob.

“Hey to be honest, a guy like that, he’s done good sitting on his hands for this long,” Trey said. “Actually that’s part of the reason I called. I figured he might be getting antsy.”

“Look Rob, you know I got that little place up inColorado. It’s just north of the Longmeadow Ranch’s private trout fishery on the North Fork of the South Platte River,” Trey said. “I’ll happily let him use the place for the two or three weeks, it’ll give him some space. Let him get back in a good way.”

“Sounds good to me, I’ll make him the offer, and let you know, said Rob. “And buddy, look, I truly appreciate you for being there for me and my family. I love you, dude.”

“Ah man, what are roomies for,” concluded Trey. “Just let me know if you need me.”

Later that day when Boomer came to the office, Rob shot the proposal to him. Trout fishing on a private strip of the Platte River, hell yes I’m in on that deal, Boomer had said.

A week later Boomer was moving into the small, but exceptionally well built log cabin, sitting just off the banks of the most gorgeous trout stream he had ever seen.

He had gotten all his gear off loaded and was admiring the view out of the main living area windows which overlooked the river itself. His friend Rob had said it was fully furnished and fully stocked, and by all accounts, he was dead on. Down to the beer and food in the fridge, first rate, all the way.

He sat down on the couch, and looking down on the magnificent solid agate coffee table, he saw an envelope with his name on it.

I guess these are my do’s and don’t list, he laughed to himself. As he opened the letter, he noticed it was not what he thought. It was much more official than that.

The contents of the letter were simple and to the point. Enjoy your stay. Stay as long as you like. The fishing’s great, and there’s a grill on the back porch. Nothing like fresh grilled trout, and a cold beer, Boomer thought.

The letter continued…….. If you have an itch to get back to doing work more along the lines of what you really do, there’s a safe behind the picture over the fire place mantel. It’s digital. Punch in your social security number. There is a short proposal inside. Read it over; if you’re interested call the number. If not please place everything back in the safe. But go fishing first. It was not signed.

Boomer thought to himself. That sounds like exactly what I’m gonna do. Fish first, eat second, and then maybe I’ll take a look. Piqued his interest anyway, but first things first, so he grabbed a couple of cold beers, and his fly rod, and headed out the back door.

Within the next hour, Boomer had landed and released four brookies, a nice cut throat, two rainbows, and a beautiful German Brown that must have topped four pounds.

The Brown went back to the cabin with Boomer. Within fifteen minutes, Boomer was watching the succulent, sweet; tangerine colored meat, as it slowly but surely grilled to perfection.

When he deemed it perfect, he shut down the grill, grabbed a cold Heineken, and went back to the living room table.

He thought about the safe, and wondered what its contents would reveal. But his orders were clear. Fish, eat, and then read. And that’s what he did, in that exact order.

 

Chapter 23

As evening came to a close, Boomer sat out on the back porch enjoying another one of this places great amenities. A very nice Montecristo White, an outstanding cigar by all rights.

He had seen the beautiful Burlwood humidor on one of the end tables, and upon opening, found it full of nice cigars and a very exquisite small card that said, “For your Enjoyment”.

Boomer was not a cigarette smoker, and had never really been more than an occasional cigar smoker. But then he wasn’t a fool either.

The small but adequately stocked bar, revealed a host of top shelf liquors, of which Boomer had selected a nice fifteen year old Glenfiddich Single Malt, which seemed to suit both he and the Montecristo just fine.

The letter was drawing on his inquisitiveness, and when he was finished with his smoke, he poured himself another scotch, and headed to the living room.

He gently removed the picture from above the mantel, revealing a small but very sophisticating looking safe. He then punched in the numbers of his social security card, and the locking mechanism released. What he found inside was simply another envelope, slightly larger than the one before, and nothing else.

He sat down on the beautifully designed elk horn couch, and opened the envelope. It contained two sealed letters. They were numbered, Letter 1/Open First, and Letter 2. As he read the contents of the first letter, he realized almost immediately that he was not just here for a rest and relax.

No, he was sent here specifically in order to review this potential opportunity. The letter was clean as well. No names, no agencies, nothing to tie the letter to him, or back to anyone else.

He read it through, and then reread it twice more. It said simply;

Sir: It has come to our attention that your personal circumstances and ours have a common denominator. Your ability to accept the fact one may have to work outside the normal operating parameters of Law Enforcement leads us to believe you can be a valuable asset to our organization, our country, and the world at large.

Should you decide to accept this offer, this facility where you are now located will become your base of operations. You will have full financial and tactical resources at your disposal at all times.

Your mission scenarios will be provided to you on an ongoing basis. They are not negotiable. Failure to except, and or to complete any mission scenario will result in termination of your employment.

If for any reason you can not accept this proposal, please place all other items back in the safe, and enjoy the remainder of your vacation.

That was it. Boomer held the letter in his hands, and thought long and hard about the consequences of the decision he was about to make. Every decision has consequences, some good, and some bad. Who ever had written this letter and set up this deal, was certainly working within some agency of the U.S. Government.

With that said, it was obviously a fully covert, tactical operation. Spooky to the max, no doubt about that, Boomer thought. Boomer was also not the slightest bit disillusioned about what they would want him to do, nor that they were not privy to his Military background as well.

It dawned on him then, that this deal was offered to him as a vacation, by Rob Jordan. Rob knew that Boomer had shot that piece of shit Dewey Rainmaker, for doing what he did to those little girls. It was his actions that had saved Rob’s baby girl.

Rob knew that Boomer was not really ready to be a corporate kind of guy. Without anything being said, Rob had done everything he could to provide for Boomer. Everything he needed. It was the man’s way of paying him back for saving his daughter, and executing his wife’s killer.

He was certain there was a connection here, but that really didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was what Boomer wanted to do with his life, right now, at this point in time.

He reached down and picked up the second letter. He held it in front of him and then he just laid back and closed his eyes. He stayed there for almost twenty minutes. He was not resting. He was not sleeping. He was playing out the possible outcomes of his decision in his mind. He weighed out all his options. He didn’t need this, and he knew that in his heart.

When he sat up, he opened his eyes, and then he opened the second letter.

And it said; Your country thanks you for your service. We have already taken the liberties of securing your fingerprints and your palm prints from your personnel files. If you will move over to the Fire Alarm system on the wall in front of you, and open it, you will find a blank screen. Place your palm against the screen. Thank you and good luck in your new venture.

Boomer stood up and followed the instructions in the letter. When his palm touched the screen, it activated something in the wall, and the large bookcase to the left of the fireplace began to slide open.

When it stopped, Boomer was looking into a small, but highly equipped vault. It ran approximately fifteen feet down the wall, and was about four feet deep and maybe ten feet high. He stepped in, and the wall closed behind him.

There was enough shit in there to start a small war. Weapons out the ass. Ammunition, communication and navigation gear galore, and cash. Lots of cash. Three containers full of multiple types of currency. Tens of thousands of dollars, by the looks of it. It was hard to tell, but it did not matter. Boomer was sure if he needed something that wasn’t here, it would somehow find its way here. Simply unbelievable.

At the far end of the little room, there was a work station of sorts. It had a table, a chair, and was a well lit area with a full equip of stationary supplies. Lying in the middle of the desk was another envelope. A thick one.

Boomer sat down at the small desk, and opened the envelope and shook out the contents. It contained photos of a slightly heavy set Mexican male. The accompanying document gave the full mission parameters.

On April 16th, 2009, the FBI had taken jurisdiction over the case investigation concerning the abduction of Cassandra Jordan, the death by homicide of Kathryn Jordan, and the subsequent kidnapping and recovery of  Julia Robinson.

Based on the information retrieved from one Charles “Dude” Daily, he was also taken into Federal Custody on that date. After intense interrogation, the subject Charles Daily identified one Juan Pablo Lopez, the man in the photographs, as being the point of sale for the kidnap victims of the deceased suspect Dewey Rainmaker. Charles Daily had then been placed into a witness protection program, at an undetermined location.

A Federal Special Response Team was dispatched across the border on June 14th, and the suspect Lopez was captured, and transported to a safe house in the United States.

The location of the safe house was in the document, along with the final instructions. Boomer was to secure all evidence and information from the subject Lopez, and once he was satisfied there was no more value in maintaining the subject, he would no longer be needed.

He would no longer be needed. I guess you can read into that what ever you wanted, thought Boomer. He placed all of the documents from the envelope in the shredder as directed, and hit the button.

There was a satellite telephone sitting on the desk along with an instruction card on its use. The card said, “Memorize your ID Code, and this number, it is your life line.”

He picked up the phone and dialed the number.

 

Chapter 24

Boomer left the next morning for the safe house. It was located in a very remote area near the Yuma Proving Grounds, close to Martinez Lake.

The Government boy’s sure like these secluded desert areas, don’t they, thought Boomer. Too damn hot out here for normal folks and way the hell away from prying eyes. Guess it works out for all concerned.

He was driving his own personal vehicle, a 2008 GMC Sierra extended cab, four wheel drive. I guess they don’t want any connections back to any Government office, he thought. They sure as hell provided for everything else, including the GPS unit he installed in his truck the evening before, but it was all virtually untraceable.

It was almost midnight when he arrived at his Safe House location. There were lights on, but there were no other vehicles present. This was a very remote spot and there wasn’t a neighbor that he had seen, for well over three miles.

Still somewhat unsure of the situation, Boomer went into a tactical approach, with his weapon out. He stayed in the shadow of darkness for the next ten minutes, just to ensure he was alone. He circled the unfenced house twice to make sure he was not walking into something unexpected.

Finally, he felt the area was secure, and so he approached the front door. It was locked, but a key had been provided in his packet. He opened the door, and walked into the empty room.

His pistol still at the ready he began to do a full sweep of the house, to clear all rooms to his satisfaction. When he opened the door to one of the back bedrooms, there sat Juan Pablo Lopez.

He was chained and shackled to a large metal chair, which was bolted to the floor. It was the only piece of furniture in the room. His mouth had been duct taped, and triple wrapped around his head.

Boomer had no idea how long he had been here, but from the looks of him, he’d been well taken care of, and had been kept properly nourished. With that in mind he checked the restraints, and told Juan Pablo that he would see him in the morning.

He shut off the light and closed the door behind him.

When he awoke the next morning, he took the time to inventory his surroundings. Though well equipped, this was certainly not the river house from where he had just come. There were no messages, no letters, and no instructions of any kind.

As Boomer went through his morning ritual, his usual two cups of coffee, and then outside for his normal workout and run, he thought of his task at hand.

He had always been somewhat of a soldier, and he attributed that to his youth. His father had been a career Special Forces Green Beret, from the old days, and he had grown up in Okinawa. Boomer had grown up tough, and had always admired his dad’s commitment to service.

Boomer’s entire career had been in the Military or Law Enforcement, yet his genes tugged at him always, and he seemed to always find himself in a special operations type of assignment.

He contemplated on his new requirements, and how they were different, yet the same. Law Enforcement. Yes, it would be a much more pro-active approach, and it surely would be an enforcement of the law. The fact was, it would require at lot of enforcement.

As he had traveled down yesterday, he had given much thought to this situation. In the end, he decided he would approach it exactly as he approached hunting. He hunted for food. He never was thrilled by the kill, and never considered himself an animal killer. He was a hunter.

Boomer decided that he was still a hunter. He was a hunter of bad people. If he had to kill them, he would not revel in that fact. He would kill out of necessity, and in order to feed justice. Simple as that.

He did his warm up exercises, then went through his list of karate kata. His extensive list of twenty ancient kata, he performed three times each. Then he ran fifty laps around the perimeter of the house. He finished in just less than ninety minutes.

He went inside for a shower and some breakfast, and then he would finish the task at hand.

It was approximately 9:00 AM, when he opened the door to the bedroom that housed Juan Pablo Lopez. The man was already awake and staring coldly and directly at him as he entered.

He made his way forward and immediately removed the tape from Juan Pablo’s mouth. Juan Pablo started to say something, but the first of Boomers savage right hands landed to the left side of his head.

Boomer threw two more successive right hands, all to the exact same spot, right in front of Juan Pablo’s left ear, and on his upper jaw. The effect was devastating, and left Juan Pablo in a state of semi unconsciousness.

Boomer waited patiently for Juan Pablo to regain his senses. And then he looked closely at him and said, “Senior Lopez, this is a bad day for you my friend, a very bad day indeed.”

Juan Pablo was struggling. His face was already swelling tremendously on the left side where he had absorbed the vicious, unprotected blows. Although he was considered by many, a ruthless man, he was not a man of these means. He could not remember ever being in such a predicament before.

“Senior Lopez, we both know you are a business man. So, I will make you a business proposition. You give me the names of three of your top buyers. I will check them out to ensure you are telling me the truth. If you are, I will set you free. If not, I will cut off both your feet and throw you out in the desert to die,” Boomer leaned in close as he finished.

“It is a tough deal,” Boomer continued, “And I respect you for understanding that business, is just business. But in this case, it is the truth, and only the truth, that can save you.”

Juan Pablo was certain this man was the devil himself. He was also certain that his only chance was to give the man the information he wanted, and then pray that he kept up his end of the bargain. This time, saving the others could not save him. And as the man said, business is business. And after all, that’s all it was.

He nodded his head in the affirmative manner. He closed his eyes and just kept nodding yes. What else could he do?

The man rose and left the room. When he returned he had a warm washcloth, and began to wash Juan Pablo’s face, and placed the warm compress against his cheek.

He left again, and came back with a zip lock bag full of ice and held it to Juan Pablo’s face. He said to Juan Pablo, “I have no desire to hurt you further, but the information must be truthful. I do hope you understand, Senior.”

The man left once again, and when he returned he had a chair from the kitchen table, and a notepad and pen. He quickly sat down before Juan Pablo, and looked the man directly in his eyes.

“You’re most prized customer, Senior Lopez,” said Boomer.

“Senator Maxwell Harrington, from your great state of Kansas,” he said without hesitation.

Boomer just about choked, and was visibly taken back by the man’s statement. Juan Pablo merely smiled. The best he could, anyway.

“Does that surprise you, young man? Do you think that your Country is immune from such disease? Come now, do not be so naive,” he stated with smug satisfaction.

Boomer made his notes, and looked at the old man and said simply, “Number two.”

“Carlos Antonio Veron, the head of the local cartel within the state of Durango, in the northwest quadrant of Chihuahua,” said Juan Pablo with some difficulty on his part.

“This is a very dangerous man, Senior. If you do not kill him, he will kill us both if he learns of our encounter.”

Again, Boomer made his notation, and looking up at Juan Pablo he said, “And the last one.”

“The last one is the head of the snake senior. Rarely does he make the purchase, but I know it is to him, where they go. His name is Tuksin Somwan. He is from Bangkok, Senior. You will not be able to touch him. He is far too powerful, even for you,” added Juan Pablo with a smile.

Juan Pablo smiled. It was a weak smile, from a worried man.

“There you are Senior, my end of the bargain is complete,” he said.

“Yes it is Juan Pablo,” said Boomer as he made his final notes.

“Are you sure these are the men you wish to declare,” he added.

“Yes, these are the three top buyers, my top three for over four years now. Yes, this is the truth, and you may check it out, with whatever means you choose,” said Juan Pablo proudly.

“I believe you, Senior, I do believe you have given me the truth. And so I offer you your just reward,” Boomer said.

As he pulled out his pistol, Juan Pablo could not believe his eyes. The gringo had played him for the fool, and he had given the truth for nothing.

Boomer never said another word. He leveled his pistol from four feet away and punched a whole right between Juan Pablo’s eyes. Then he turned away, gathered his belongings and headed back for the river.

His work was done for the day. And more importantly justice had been served. Yet the plot thickened, and he knew not what was in store.

 

Chapter 25

Two days later Boomer was standing on the bank of the Platte, fighting a nice big ol’ rainbow trout. In fact, this morning he had caught several. Each time, he gently removed the delicate fish from the barbless hooks he used on all of his hand tied flies, and released the fish back into the river.

Unharmed.

He pondered on the ease of catching the beautiful, but extremely wary fish. He knew the answer was in the proper presentation of the bait. You couldn’t just throw a piece of bait in the water, no you could not. A lunker trout of any species, was a very wary, but vicious predator, and very difficult to catch.

So, that’s what I am, thought Boomer. I am a hunter and a fisherman. It was somewhat ironic, in that many men consider themselves such. There simply are more levels to the equation than meets the eye.

As he laid his line out with the ease of a polished fly fisherman, the water boiled, and the fight was on. He knew right away that this was a nice one. The fish fought a magnificent fight. The fisherman fought even harder.

Patience, thought Boomer, let him go where he wants to. He’s already hooked and he knows it. The fish came out of the water, and exploded through the air. Boomer knew the fish was fighting for his existence. Yet, was he not also fighting for his own.

The fight lasted for over ten minutes. In the end the fish gave up. Tired, and exhausted from the fight, he succumbed to his fate and rolled over on his side. Boomer reeled him in the last few feet, all the while taking in the beauty of his prey.

A giant German Brown Trout, and the sweet succulent meat that Boomer craved more than any other in the river. In fact this was his favorite fish of all time. There were none that tasted finer, and this giant must have weighed over ten pounds.

Boomer slowly, and gently removed the hook from the big fishes mouth. He looked at the fish for a moment, then put the fish back into the cold, rushing water, and released his grip.

“There you go big fella,” Boomer said, as he watched the big fish come back to life, and then dart away to his safe haven. “You haven’t done a thing wrong, no sir you haven’t.”

Boomer stood there for a moment, staring into the river. He absorbed the experience. He closed his eyes, and let his thoughts continue. He allowed himself to indulge in the knowledge that life was about give, and take. That the predators of this earth, were simply feeding an internal craving, a need to seek out that which they wanted. In this moment of time, he knew who he was.

Walter “Boomer” Moran was the predator of predators.

He turned away, and headed back up to the cabin. He made himself a nice fat cheese and ham omelet. He sat out on the back porch and ate heartily. He enjoyed his two cups of strong Cuban coffee and he thought about heading home, back to Tucson for a day or two. Since he’d been back to the river cabin he had yet to go into the secret vault. No, he needed to relax, and gather his thoughts.

He felt no remorse for what he had done. Not to Dewey Rainmaker, nor to Juan Pablo Lopez. They were predators of a different sort. Those kinds can never be released back into the wild. Not ever.

He looked down at the satellite telephone he carried on his belt. He had not made or received a call from that phone since the first call he’d made.

That call had went to some type of answering service. The automated voice had simply said, “This device is for emergency use only. It is also a tracking device. Keep it with you at all times. Good luck.” And that was it. No further explanations, nothing.

He had to assume then that his source of communication would be from the vault. Obviously when he left, someone else came. He could already tell that by the fact that the groceries had been slightly restocked, and there was more beer in the fridge than when he left. Quite convenient really.

Well no use putting off the inevitable thought Boomer. He headed straight to the alarm panel, opened it and placed his palm on the glass. The bookcase slid away, revealing the small vault, and Boomer stepped through.

As he entered the small room, the doorway closed behind him, and he looked towards the little work station. And yes, there was a new envelope waiting. He thought briefly about not opening it, yet he knew his commitment had been made. He sat down and dumped the contents out onto his little table and began to read.

The instructions were quite simple. It said, “Work at your own pace. The information you now have, will lead you to where you should go. We do not wish to know, nor do we have a need to know. Come here as often as you like. Included are your passport and other required credentials. Good luck.”

He looked at the small packet and realized for the first time what was really happening. They were turning him loose.

They provided the first piece of information, and all the equipment and supplies he would need. But that was it. Passport, credit cards, a copy of his Social Security Card. He was hiding in the open. Wide open, for all to see. Actually he could see the beauty in it. It was the perfect camouflage, and the perfect cover. For now anyway.

If he deemed it necessary to have different credentials, then he would just tell them. But for now he could understand that this would make him remain wary of his own movement. He would have to watch and cover his own trail, at all times……….

The next afternoon found Boomer back at the office that had been rented especially for Cassandra’s Hero. They now carried an administrative staff that included the receptionist Helen, of course Rob, and his new assistant Aleese.

They were actually very busy, and they had just today completed the filing to make the small fund into a NPO, or a non-profit organization.

When Boomer came through the door, Rob was all smiles.

“Hey buddy, you back so soon,” Rob said.

“Well actually yes, and no,” Boomer said looking somewhat concerned.

“To be honest Rob, I think you know this is not me. But please let me say first, that I truly appreciate everything that you have done for me. And I mean everything,” Boomer added, while his friend Rob kept smiling.

“It’s ok, buddy, seriously. I’ve known all along. I think you’ll find your niche in the market,” he said. There was a distinct glimmer, or sign of recognition in Rob’s eye. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”

Boomer looked at his friend. There was nothing more to discuss. He reached out and shook Rob’s hand.

“You’re a good man, Rob,” said Boomer, looking his friend in the eye.

“You’re a good one yourself,” said Rob. “Guess this means you’ll be doing a lot of fishing and hunting, I mean, with all the time off your gonna have on your hands.”

Boomer just looked at his friend and said, “Yeah, guess I will.”

Rob looked at Boomer and said quietly, “Come see me when you can, my friend.”

“I’ll do that, I promise,” said Boomer, while the two men shook hands again. A long and firm shake it was too.

Boomer spent the rest of the day emptying out his apartment, and moving everything into a rented storage facility.

Thankfully, he thought, I’m still single and I don’t really own a whole lot of stuff. Once he got everything stored, he drove down to the precinct to say some goodbyes.

He told his old compadre’s it wasn’t anything permanent. He just needed to get away for a while and rediscover his life. Figure out what it was he wanted to do. They all seemed to understand, and they all wished him well.

When he left the precinct, he never looked back. He would head back to the river for a day or so and then, thought Boomer, I guess I’ll head over to Kansas. Do a little visiting.

 

Chapter 26

When Boomer returned to the cabin, he knew he had some preparation and study work in front of him.

He spent his mornings working out, and then he went fishing. But from lunch time on, he stayed at his computer and studied his work like any professional should always do.

Senator Maxwell Harrington was a State Legislator, and not a full U.S. Senator. Boomer was thankful for this in two ways.

One, if the man was guilty, he would be a whole lot easier to deal with at the state level. Then again, just because Juan Pablo Lopez said he was his best buyer, did not make it so.

Two, Boomer just plain did not know if he could assassinate a sitting U.S. Senator. That was just a bit too deep for his first week on the job. Hell, he wasn’t sure he even wanted to kill this guy, either. Gonna have to think this one through, Boomer thought to himself.

I think this is going to be a fishing trip, he thought to himself. But some ideas were already coming together.

Senator Maxwell was a four term sitting senator, from District 19. That meant he was in his home turf, right there in Topeka. He had grown up on a small farm about seventy miles away, and had gone to Kansas University, before going on to Harvard Law.

He was fifty-six years old, married to his first wife, and had two children, both boys. One was a young Captain in the Air Force, and the other was currently enrolled at Kansas as a freshman. Squeaky clean on the topsides.

Obviously an intelligent man on the surface, Boomer knew that meant nothing when looking at a man’s secrets. And yes, everyone has secrets. No matter how small. No matter how deeply hidden. And then sometimes, there are those who appear normal in everything they do, yet they are monsters on the inside.

When you dealt with these kinds of animals, Boomer knew in his heart, it was the same as fishing and hunting. It was always about the lure. Putting something out there in front of them, they could not resist. And the best of lures, would always take out the most wary of predators. It was an internal flaw in the genetic makeup of the predator beasts.

And sometimes the best presentation is to just throw the lure right at them. Nothing fancy. Direct in their face, and force their hand. Make them choose then and there, and without the opportunity to study the situation at hand.

When Boomer arrived in Topeka, he checked in under his own name at the Senate Luxury Suites Hotel, just a block from the Capitol itself. His prior research had determined that the Senators were in house and working, so Boomer knew the place to be was right at the front door.

It took less than two days to determine that Senator Maxwell was a creature of habit when it came to eating. He took both breakfast and lunch at the Falling Water Grille, located in the prestigious Capitol Plaza Topeka. The full service open atrium hotel is located adjacent to the Kansas Expocentre and just a short walk from the Capitol itself. It also houses the very upscale Water’s Edge Lounge.

The next morning Boomer went to the Men’s Wearhouse off of Wanamaker Road, and purchased himself a nice Andrew Fezza suit, and a nice set of loafers. He wanted to look the part and certainly did not want to scare the Senator, nor did he want to appear out of place at the Falling Water, later that day.

He took a table for lunch, at approximately 1:00 PM, having noted on the two previous days that the Senator was a late luncher. He ordered for two, and at exactly 1:17 PM the Senator walked into the restaurant alone, and the hostess took him to his seat.

Boomer approached the Senators table, looking quite the executive professional that he was and said, “Excuse me Senator, but would you care to join me at my table.”

The Senator simply looked at Boomer and said, “I’m sorry, do I know you.”

“No sir, but I do know that you know Juan Pablo Lopez. If you could please join me, our dinner will be here momentarily,” Boomer added most graciously.

The Senator turned almost ashen. His composure failed him completely, and he started to speak, and then decided against it.

“We’re just right there Senator, if you would please,” added Boomer, with his hand outstretched and leading the way.

The Senator was overwhelmed, and yet he rose and followed the lead of this stranger. Dear God, he thought. Oh, Jesus. He was dizzy, and could barely walk. His world was crashing down upon him, and his mind began racing through the possible scenario’s of the predicament he seemed to be caught in this very moment. That this is fucking unbelievable, was the best his mind could do for him on such short notice.

“Please, please, just have a seat Senator. Everything will be fine,” said Boomer. He was smiling and talking so quietly, as if he was trying to hypnotize the Senator into obeying his every command. And it was working.

The Senator sat down across from Boomer and just stared at the man who had delivered the one, single crushing blow that he had dreaded for years. He had always known this day would come. And yet, he was not ready. Why in God’s name had he fallen into the trap? Why had he allowed himself to take liberties with the young ones? Why, why, why? His mind continued the barage of internal questioning.

As he looked at the man across the table from him, he leaned forward. He did not want to be overheard, and his voice was just above a strained whisper. “I guess this is the end of my political career,” he asked.

Boomer leaned forward as well. He also did not wish for anyone other than the Senator to hear his response. “No sir, this is the end of your life.”

The Senator went white, yet Boomer continued. “You walk your ass right up that stairway, to the top of the Atrium, and you jump. You do that and nothing will ever be revealed. Your family will be protected, and no one will ever know. Anything less and the world will judge you for what you have done.”

Boomer looked him square in his eyes, and got up from the table and walked out of the Hotel. The Senator got up, walked up the Atrium stairs, and jumped.

 

Chapter 27

Before Boomer could get back to his hotel, he could hear the sirens blaring. Bunches of them. He continued on to his hotel room, changed into his workout clothes and headed down to the on-site fitness center.

Within twenty minutes the local news station was breaking the story. Boomer ran on the treadmill as he watched. KSNT 27 News broke in on the regular programming.

“This is Kaitlyn Minton, KSNT 27 News. We are on the scene, live, just outside the Capitol Plaza Topeka, where apparently State Senator Maxwell Harrington has just taken his own life. Early reports from witnesses on the scene, say the Senator jumped from the top of the Atrium staircase, in an apparent suicide. I’m here live now with witness John Fratten, who was in the hotel at the time of the incident……”

The remainder of the interview was of no importance to Boomer. He walked over to the multi gym and laid down on the bench to do his bench press sets.

He would leave in the morning and head back to the river. He was content that the Senator was in fact guilty, and therefore felt no remorse for his own actions.

Boomer had never mentioned anything to the Senator, except the name of Juan Pablo Lopez. If that in fact was enough to make a grown man jump to his death, then without a doubt, he was guilty of his crimes and deserving of his punishment.

The next morning Boomer began the drive back to the river, and back to the solitude he so desired. He actually looked forward to getting back out on the river, and fishing for the magnificent trout that seemed so plentiful.

It was an amazing set up. The cabin, the river, the job. Was it really a job? Boomer thought long and hard about his new found situation as he drove. Was it really something he wanted to do, or needed to do. In the end he decided it was what it was. A simple opportunity to do something he could do. When it was time to walk away, that’s what he would do as well.

The next morning at the Belmont Hotel in Dallas, Judge Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather II, was enjoying an unbelievably good, but true to form breakfast at the Cliff Cafe.Its serene blue floors, cushy booths, and muted yellow walls were lit by a multitude of antique lanterns. It was quite the place to be seen, and the food and staff tremendous. Judge Merriweather presided over the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas. The Fifth District has jurisdiction over appeals from both district and county courts located in Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Hunt, Rockwall and Kaufman counties. The Judge had been sitting at this bench for the last eight years.

He opened his copy of the Dallas Morning News, and the front page story caused him to gasp uncontrollably. His good friend Senator Maxwell Harrington was dead. My God, a suicide.

Oh my, he thought. I’ll need to make some arrangements this morning, yes, and send flowers as well. Yet even as he stared down at his paper, his body shook uncontrollably.

Jesus, I wonder what in the world he was thinking. But inwardly, he was afraid that he already knew. Please, not this, he thought to himself.

He continued reading his paper, but his mind was numbed. As he turned to the second page, he saw an unrelated story about the discovery of a wealthy, yet eccentric Mexican businessman by the name of Juan Pablo Lopez. He had been found dead near the Arizona/Mexican border, on the U.S.side. By all reports he had apparently been dropped out of an airplane or helicopter, from several thousand feet up. He had obviously been beaten, and then executed, prior to being dumped in the desert. Or so was the speculation of the local police and FBI.

Judge Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather, the Second, puked into his breakfast plate. He then got up, and stumbled out of the restaurant, in a state of massive confusion. It was actually closer to outright terror………..

Boomer spent the next two days relaxing and fishing. He was not in a hurry. He remembered the words on the letter. Work at your own pace. Sounded good to him, he thought. He had yet to enter the vault since his return, as he was certain that when he did the work cycle would begin again. Tomorrow he thought, I will check the vault.

When he rose the next morning, Boomer was all business, and back to his normal routine. Workout, then breakfast, including the Cuban coffee he loved so much. Each time he drank this coffee, he had to reflect to himself just how good it was. The taste was simply incredible.

When he had finished his second cup, he went to the wall and slapped five with the panel, and the vault slid open. He went to his work station and sat down and picked up the envelope that was waiting for him. He opened it up and dumped the contents onto the table and began to read the enclosed instructions.

The context of this letter was somewhat different. It was still formatted very simply, and to the point. The subject of concern was one William Robert Graham. Age thirty-two, white male, unmarried, no military history, and employed by Aero Engineering of Atlanta. Lived alone in a nice upscale condo, and frequented all the gay bars in and around Cheshire Bridge Road in Atlanta,Georgia.

Over the past year seven individuals, all male, all white, and all gay, had come up dead. All the same, ice pick wounds to the upper torso. They had all been bled out completely prior to being dumped. In other words no blood. And two other strange coincidences. One, each victim had apparently been soaked in pure bleach for a number of hours and methodically scrubbed clean of any forensic evidence before being dumped out in the street totally nude. And two, none of the men were from Atlanta.

In other words a serial killer.

The subject wasn’t in much of a hurry, but the pattern was there for all to see. Local police and FBI efforts had reduced the likely suspects to this one man. They had a couple of other maybe’s, but the consensus was that this was their man. Problem was, no priors, and no concrete evidence, and certainly no witnesses. None that were talking anyway.

The solution, send Boomer to Atlanta. Work the local area. Hit the hangouts, especially the Cheshire Bridge area, to include his known hangouts the Heretic, the Jungle, and the Club Eros. Nice clubs, full of good people, and a lot of fun for those who chose.

But for this guy, this was his hunting grounds. This is where he went to feed his addiction. To quell the monster that raged within him.

He probably wasn’t gay cool; he was gay and hated it. Maybe he wasn’t even gay. Maybe he was just an opportunistic piece of shit, and just targeted gay men.

That was Boomer’s mission. Go in. Get close. Up close and personal. If the guy made a move, take him down. If not, they would wait. Maybe it was the wrong guy, but obviously they didn’t think so. If they’re sending me, Boomer thought, then they already know. He once again placed all documents into the shredder, and hit the button.

Not unlike any undercover operation, Boomer began with a planning strategy. He walked through the many scenarios he might encounter. What if the guy just wanted to have sex with me, thought Boomer. What if it’s not him. I guess I’ll just knock him on his ass and leave, thought Boomer. The more he thought about it, the more he didn’t like it.

 

Chapter 28

As Boomer made his plans, he did the same as many of us do. He looked on the internet. He needed a hotel close to the action and this is what he found.

The Cheshire Motor Inn is indeed right out of circa 1955. There is also not another motel like it in the U.S. The staff and the Manager are all very kind and helpful, with the possible exception of the overnight clerk, who is not really that mean, but he really is not that nice either. Without a reservation, he most likely will not lease a room after midnight.

Also, there is the matter of the cruising by gay men. Most of the cruising takes place in the back building and in the many times I have stayed there, I have yet to see anyone mistreated in any way. Just as in any other hotel, in any city, keep your curtains drawn, door locked and you will be fine. The cruising has an added bonus that very few think about, it keeps the property safe. Criminals do not like witnesses and there’s rarely a time when people are not milling around, so the crooks go elsewhere. Parking is also free and that is extremely rare in today’sAtlanta. Also present is security; however you do not see them unless there is a problem, and problems are few and far between. Or so says the review of one patron. And so says Boomer. He called ahead and made reservations for a week. He got the truck packed up and drove up toDenver.

He left the truck in long term parking, and purchased a one way ticket to Atlanta on Delta’s flight 1904. It was a three hour non-stop flight, arriving in Atlanta at 3:30 PM Eastern Time.

He picked up his rental at Avis and was on his way. He decided to stop at a local Wally World for some groceries for the room, and then he hit the Roadhouse right in the parking lot for a steak dinner before checking in. No plans for tonight he thought. We’ll get settled in and relax, and be out on the town tomorrow, with the regular Friday night crowds.

He stayed in his room all night, not wanting to mingle with any of the men cruising the parking lot that evening. And yes, they were cruising. Boomer peeked out of the window a few times and there was certainly no lack of activity here.

The next morning Boomer woke up and did his workout in his room. They didn’t have a Fitness Center here, now did they?

No matter, he went through his routines, focusing on his Karate. He loosened up by shadow boxing, and throwing a multitude of kicks and punching combinations. As usual he drove himself from a moderate workout to an intense finish, lasting close to one hour.

After showering, he went out for breakfast and to do some scouting around. He needed to get the layout of the land. See what things looked like in the daytime, in case he needed to know where he was later. Buildings, streets, alley ways, everything was important to Boomer.

The photos of his subject, William Robert Graham, were already burned into his memory. Surveillance photos from a multitude of angles and positions. Hand gestures, facial gestures, they were ingrained in his memory as well. When Boomer saw this man for the first time, he would recognize him instantly. No doubt about it, what so ever.

According to surveillance reports, Graham liked to frequent the clubs in order. He was a late arriver, and usually showed at the Heretic first and usually around 9:00 PM. Sometimes he partied here all night, sometimes he would head over to the Jungle about midnight, along with many others who were just doing the scene.

Boomer showed up around 8:30 PM, and the place was already rocking. He took a seat at the bar and ordered a scotch on the rocks. He spun his stool to face out into the crowd, and tried to ease in to the mood and the environment. Time to act like a good undercover cop, and go gay quick. Boomer was a pro, and had no problems at all playing out the role.

He thought back to an incident that happened earlier in his career. He was at an FOP, or Fraternal Order of Police party with a bunch of the guys and gals on the force. He was a young Sergeant on the Narcotics squad at the time.

He was drinking with the husband of one of their rookie female cop’s, when the guy said to him, “Yeah, my wife’s wanting to get on the undercover team with you guys.”

“Really,” Boomer said.

“Hey, she’s really into this stuff, and she’s pretty hot too, ought to be easy for her to get in with some of those guys,” the guy went on, smiling.

Boomer remembered looking at the young man and saying, “And you wouldn’t mind her fucking some cranked up dope head, just to help us out, now would you.”

Boomer remembered driving home the point, “Yep, she’ll be coming and going all hours of the night. Dressing like a whore, and acting like one too. Won’t want to fuck you, cause she’s been fucking all day, and half the night, just trying to get the poop we need to bust these assholes.”

Boomer smiled as he remembered the young man’s look. His smile had fell off his face and hit the floor.

And no, the young lady never made an application for assignment to the Narcotics Division. She was a good cop though, and still was. Funny, some people just don’t have a clue what it takes to keep America safe. No clue at all.

Boomer was just about lost in thought when through the crowd he came. Walking straight towards the bar was William Robert Graham. And Boomer made it a point to look him up, down, and all around. He looked Boomer in the eye, smiled and made his way into the crowd at the bar. Boomer picked up his drink and walked off into the crowd.

This was not a quiet bar. The music was jamming, the lights were swirling, and the dance floor was full. It was full of all kinds of people. Dudes with dudes, chicks with chicks, people by their self, it didn’t matter. Everybody was dancing, like in one big group. It was actually mesmerizing. Boomer eased into the crowd, and danced with them all. Hell, it was actually quite fun.

And Boomer was a pretty good looking guy, and certainly a man in great shape. Man or woman, he would not find it hard to start a conversation with anyone.

He danced his ass off for the next ten or fifteen minutes, smiling, mingling, touching, and swaying, but not talking. Just dancing. When the DJ pulled the hammer, he downed the rest of his drink and headed back to the bar.

What he didn’t see was William Robert Graham. But William Robert Graham definitely saw him. Oh, yes he did. And he liked what he saw.

 

Chapter 29

Boomer had to practically fight his way to the bar. There were plenty of waitresses if you had a seat, but the crowd was already extremely thick. This was a big club, and must hold three, four hundred people, thought Boomer.

By the time he got to the bar, he was actually thinking about ordering two drinks instead of one. In fact that’s exactly what he did. Two double Johnny Blacks, to be precise. When he got his drinks, he threw down thirty-five in cash. “Will that work”, he asked the bartender.

“Thirteen bucks a piece, that’ll work,” she said, and she was off to another customer.

When Boomer turned to ease out of the crowd, he came face to face with William Robert Graham. Boomer had a drink in both hands, and his new found friend reached out and relieved him of one of them.

“Why, thank you so much. You’re new here. I haven’t seen you before,” he said.

Boomer never batted an eye, and certainly did give up, or back up from their closeness. “No, actually it’s my first time. Here I mean.”

The man just kind of nodded his head, like follow me and he turned and made his way out of the crowd surrounding the bar. Boomer followed him across the room, to a table full of partying people. People of all types. No one seemed to notice they were even there, or maybe they simply didn’t care.

The tables were large, each seating at least ten or twelve people. Everyone was engaged in conversation, but the music was so loud that in order to hear, you had to be close, real close. Maybe they planned it that way, thought Boomer.

They never sat down, but Boomer took the lead anyway and leaned in close. “My name’s Walter, but my friends call me Boomer,” he said.

The man just smiled. “My name’s William and my friends just call me William,” he said, clearly amused. “So Boomer, what brings you to our little hideout.”

“Oh, I don’t know, curiosity I guess,” Boomer said with a smile. “Actually I’m heading over to Tampa, to see some friends,” and Boomer paused just momentarily.

“Hey, truthfully I just got divorced, and I need a break. I just wanted to get away for a week or two,” he added.

“Ouch,” said William, “She didn’t hurt you did she Boomer.”

“Long story, bad ending, but hey who cares, anyway,” Boomer said, looking William directly in his eyes. Put out the lure, thought Boomer. If he’s a predator, he’ll bite. They always do.

Boomer went on, “So, I thought I’d stop here for a couple of days. You know, I heard the place was upbeat, so I just thought, I don’t know, that I might give it a try.”

“Oh my God, you’re a virgin,” William exclaimed. “I mean you’re not gay,” he added.

“Well no, not really,” Boomer said. “I guess I am curious though, I’m just not sure.” Bigger lure, direct presentation. Nothing scary, just straight to the point.

“Hey look,” said William, “and really no pressure intended, but I’m kinda throwing a special get together tonight for one of my special friends. It’s his birthday, and look, it might be an easy way to mingle with a few really cool gay people. Your welcome to come, it’ll be fun believe me.”

“Your house,” asked Boomer. He knew where this guy lived and it was quite a ways away.

“No, no. Look we all pitch in, and we have us a little party pad. Keeps the home front clean, if you know what I mean. Discretion is the key, baby,” said William. He was smiling now.

Funny how both men thought they were the one setting the hook, thought Boomer. But hey, I didn’t travel this far to walk away.

He looked at William and smiled. With all the talent he could muster. “You sure it would be okay, I mean with your friends.”

“Of course, man, everybody’s open dude. No pressure on anyone. Really it’ll be a blast.”

Boomer said, “Sounds good then, I mean really, it sounds exciting.”

“Great, man, look it’s just a few blocks away, we can take my ride if you want,” said William. That was his hook, and he set it deep.

“Let’s do it then,” said Boomer enthusiastically. Oh, yeah, we’re on now. Won’t be long now, thought Boomer. It will either be a yeah, or a nay.

They both left the club and went out to William’s car. A very nice 1969 Jaguar XK E-Type, in British Racing Green, no doubt. Sweet ass ride, thought Boomer.

As they got into the car Boomer commented, “Very, very nice dude. Twelve cylinders, I imagine.”

William just kind of looked over his glasses, “Is their any other, really.”

The two men pulled out of the parking lot at 9:52 PM, and within minutes were across Interstate 85. William turned right on Buford Highway, and looked at Boomer, and pushed the gas down. The big twelve cylinder engine roared to life, and both men laughed out loud.

William brought the powerful car’s speed down and quickly made his turn onto East Roxboro, and then veered right onto North Druid Hills Road.

He looked over at Boomer and said, “She’s the only girl I’ve ever owned that’s never hurt me, and asks nothing of me. You ought to get you one.”

“She’s a nice one, not many like her left either,” agreed Boomer.

In less than eight minutes, and after driving less than four miles, William pulled into the prestigious townhome community, The Escape, and maneuvered through the common areas until he came to a rear entry double garage of a beautiful three story town home.

The garage door opened automatically, and William eased the sleek automobile into the garage and the door closed behind them.

“This is it,” he said. “Told you we were close. Hey come on up, you’ll love it here.”

William punched the button on the wall, which opened the elevator door, and the two men got in. When the door opened and they stepped out, Boomer was really surprised. Stunned would be a better word. This was an unbelievably beautiful home. Not old school, but upscale hip and modern. And no carpet, just killer looking exotic wood floors.

“Nice, very nice,” said Boomer taking in the whole ambiance. Killer lighting, immaculately furnished, monstrous flat screen that looked like a movie theatre.

“Impressive,” he added.

William smiled and said, “Well thank you. Here let me get us a drink, and then I’ve got a couple of things to do, before everyone gets here,” and he headed off towards the bar.

He quickly made a couple of drinks, top-shelf scotch on the rocks, and handed one to Boomer. He hit a button on the wall console that apparently was like a master panel for the entire entertainment center, and the big plasma screen fired up with a music video plumbed completely through the surround sound system.

“I just love it here,” said William, “Fully sound proofed walls. It’s great, we never get a complaint, and we never have to make one. Look, I gotta run upstairs real quick, but the bath’s right over there, and really, just mingle around, it’s okay.”

“Cool,” said Boomer.

As Boomer just looked around, he thought about the situation. Private place, not his home, and sound proofed, that was interesting. William certainly could not afford a place like this on his salary that was certain.

The car, well you never knew how someone could have acquired a car, even one as nice as that one.

When William came back down stairs ten minutes later, he was dressed like some kind of fucking witchdoctor.

He looked at Boomer and said, “Welcome to my nightmare.”

Boomer thought, “What the fuck.”

 

 Chapter 30

As Boomer looked on, William headed towards him. In his arms he was carrying a group of ten or twelve spears. The spears were pointed, but not with conventional stone spearheads. No these were tipped with very slim, very long, stainless steel spikes. Like ice picks.

William dropped them at his feet. All except one. He looked at Boomer with a crazy, sadistic look, which was blended to his face with the strange face paint that he had apparently applied to himself while upstairs.

“Let’s party you little faggot,” he hissed, and drew the spear up over his shoulder and hurled it at Boomer.

These were not toys, but perfectly balanced, lethal weapons. The spear covered the twenty feet between them with extraordinary speed and accuracy.

Boomer spun to get out of the way, but the projectile was much too fast. The six inch long spike buried itself in Boomer’s left arm, just above his elbow. The length of the spike went completely through and penetrated slightly into his rib cage.

Even as Boomer screamed, he began pulling out the five foot long spear. As he looked up, William was already preparing to throw the second.

No sooner than he had it out, the second spear was on its way. Boomer deflected the spear off to his left side, and attacked. As he closed the distance between them, William was already grabbing another spear.

As the two men closed, it became a battle of close quarters. William thrust forward in an attempt to spear Boomer in his mid section.

Boomer deflected the attempt, and used a side strike, landing a vicious blow to the side of William’s head.

William began a series of furious center thrusts towards Boomers stomach.

Boomer fought to evade, and deflect them the best he could, but his wounded left arm hampered his best defense. Within seconds one of the thrusts found it’s home deep in Boomer’s lower abdomen.

Just as quickly it was out, and William was swinging the shaft in a downward arc, striking Boomer on the head and knocking him to his knees.

Boomer knew his life was in peril, and just as William lifted the spear high to deliver his final strike, Boomer drove up and into his body. He ran forward lifting William’s body up off the floor, and drove him into the wall. He turned his body slightly away, and executed the perfect harai-goshi, or sweeping loin throw, driving William to the floor.

Boomer followed him down to the floor and mounted the man and began pummeling him with both fists. The ground and pound technique was devastating. Boomer could see the man losing it.

Boomer brought his right hand high and delivered a crushing blow to the man’s nose. With his left hand he pinned William’s head to the floor, and drove successive right hands into the lifeless mans head. He would leave no doubt in his mind, and threw at least ten more blows to the man’s head before he rolled off, exhausted, and bleeding profusely.

Boomer was hurt, and he was hurt bad. He knew it, and he knew he had to get out of there as well. He stumbled to the front door, and walked out onto the lawn and right into the next door neighbor and his wife, who were returning from dinner out on the town.

She screamed, and Boomer collapsed. He was down, and bleeding at a rate that was not sustainable. Within minutes, he could hear the sirens as they drew near. He was aware of people around him, working on him, asking him questions, yet he drifted in and out without response.

He awoke four hours later, after emergency surgery at Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital. There were two armed Police Officers in the room with him when he woke. There were two Detectives outside the room waiting for him to get to a point where the Doctor would allow them to interview him.

There were several Media crews on the ground at the hospital, as well as at the crime scene, all asking questions, and wanting to know the names of the victims, and the details of the crime. They would not be leaving until they got them.

The police certainly already had these details but were not releasing any statements at this time. Things were moving fast inside the police circles, as they had quickly identified the deceased as William Robert Graham, the subject of a dual FBI and Atlanta PD investigation.

It also took very little time to determine who else they had. He was a former police officer out of Tucson, Walter “Boomer” Moran. With a couple of quick phone calls they knew most everything about Boomer and his recent experiences. What they did not know, was what the hell he was doing in Atlanta, and especially what was he doing with their guy Graham. That made no sense what so ever. What did make sense was holding out on the press release until they could find out.

In the end, Atlanta’s Police Chief Kevin Richardson, after meeting with Mayor Richard Townsend, and the FBI’s Atlanta Bureau Chief, held the press conference that none of them wanted to give.

Once again Boomer found himself thrust into the national headlines. He had yet to make any statements, and in fact was waiting for his attorney Rob Jordan to arrive from Tucson, before even considering doing so. Boomer knew his situation was not a good one.

Given Boomer’s reputation and who he was, he was not getting a lot of pressure from the locals or the FBI. They were content to wait for his attorney, and needed to follow legal protocol anyway.

And really, considering he bagged this piece of shit Graham for them, they really were on Boomers side anyway. They just could not put together the angle on how and why he was here.

 

Chapter 31

Even as Rob Jordan was in the air, heading to Atlanta, the story was breaking around the big cities across America. In his home in Topeka, Kansas, John Fratten was sitting on his couch watching the television, when the story was played by 27 News.

He jumped to his feet, in instant recognition. The guy, the cop, Boomer Moran, was the same guy sitting at the table across from his, at the Falling Water Grill. The same guy that was talking to Senator Maxwell Harrington, just minutes before the Senator jumped to his death.

John Fratten ran to his kitchen and retrieved his local phone book, and was dialing his phone within seconds. In two rings the other end was answered by a female computer generated voice.

“Welcome to KSNT- Channel 27. If you know your parties extension, you may dial it at any time. If you need the 27 News Team please press 1 now,” the voice said.

He never heard anything else as the phone connected to the News Department.

“This is KSNT-27 News, this is Sheila, how may I direct your call,” a new voice said softly.

Thank God, a human voice, thought John Fratten. “Yes please, I need to speak with Kaitlyn Minton. Tell her this is John Fratten, the man she interviewed at the hotel on the day of Senator Harrington’s suicide. Tell her I need to speak to her immediately,” he added.

“I’m sorry, Miss Minton is not available at this time, would you like to leave a message sir,” the voice said.

“Sure,” said Fratten, “Tell her if I don’t hear from her in five minutes I’m calling another network. My number is 612-6655. Five minutes tops.”

John Fratten hung up his phone and waited. In less than three minutes his phone was ringing.

“Fratten,” was all he said.

“Kaitlyn Minton, 27-News, what’s up,” she said.

“Look, are you up on what just happened out in Atlanta. Ex-Tucson cop kills serial killer,” said Fratten excitedly.

“Not exactly, why,” she asked.

“Why is a good question? Our boy, the cop or ex-cop in question was the man sitting with Senator Harrington just before he jumped off the Atrium stairs that day. I don’t know what the connection is, or if there is one, but seems to me that this man is attracting death wherever he happens to be,” concluded Fratten.

Kaitlyn Minton was completely clueless as to what he was talking about. But she was a good, solid investigative reporter, and she could smell a story from a mile away. She also was not about to let this lead, or any lead of this magnitude slip out of her grasp.

“Don’t talk to anyone else about this. Can you come to my office right away,” she asked. There was something here, she could feel it.

“I’ll be right there. Give me forty-five minutes,” Fratten said as he hung up his phone. He quickly freshened up, and was on his way within ten minutes.

As soon as they hung up, Kaitlyn Minton was doing what she did best. She started on her computer, first to the story coming out of Atlanta, and then on to researching the background of Walter “Boomer” Moran. Then she started making phone calls. To the Tucson press, the Tucson Police Department, and to Tucson City Hall.

It did not take long for her to figure out who Boomer Moran was. A highly skilled, professional police officer, he was well liked and respected by everyone she talked to. It also did not take her long at all to figure out something else. Death and Boomer Moran were walking hand in hand.

The man loses his job and becomes a local hero for killing some sadistic piece of shit, during an arrest in a child abduction case. Then he’s seen with Senator Maxwell Harrington just before he leaps to his death in an apparent suicide. Now he’s seriously wounded in an Atlanta hospital, after supposedly beating a suspected serial killer to death with his bare hands.

Kaitlyn Minton smiled the biggest smile that had ever spread across her face. This was the shit, she thought. The shit that Pulitzer Prize’s are all about. This was a fucking story. And she was going to drive this one into the ground.

What the hell was going on here, she thought. One thing was sure, the linking piece of the puzzle was with John Fratten, and she had to figure out how to keep him quiet for the moment on that.

Her phone buzzed, “Miss Minton, a John Fratten to see you,” said Sheila from out front.

Kaitlyn quickly walked out to greet her visitor. Although they had not seen each other since the interview, she always reviewed her performances several times for technique, and presentation, and therefore easily recognized the professionally dressed, middle aged gentlemen as she approached.

They shook hands as they came together, and Kaitlyn quickly ushered her guest away from the lobby and into the private confines of her office.

“Mr. Fratten, let me bring you up to speed on what information I have been able to gather since we spoke,” Kaitlyn began. She would need to quickly take charge of their relationship as it pertained to this story.

She spent the next ten minutes building up the scenario that Boomer was the local, home town hero. He had stepped outside of his local jurisdiction, and had lost his job because of it. In fact he had now killed two very serious criminals. But the problem was what was in the middle. The Senator.

“I don’t know how to say this Mr. Fratten, but the information we share could be crucial evidence. It could also be very dangerous information to possess until we know how it is linked to the others, or if it is even linked to the others, at all,” she said.

“Dangerous,” said Fratten. His face carried a look of uncertainty, ” How so.”

“Sir, what type of business are you in, if you don’t mind me asking,” she asked as she leaned in towards him.

“Why, I own a little art shop right around the corner from the Capitol Plaza, the Gallery “K”, why,” he asked.

“Well, look at it like this. If someone walked in and sold you a painting, and later that day you found out it was a priceless Van Gogh, would you call me for a full press release, or quietly start doing some homework. More importantly would you protect your find, or let everyone in the world know you had it,” she looked him dead in the eye as she finished.

“I see your point, but this is information that might be important to law enforcement,” he said adding, “It might not be legal to withhold it.”

“I can see your point too, but you really need to understand the seriousness of such information. Give me forty eight hours, and we’ll go to the authorities together. I’m sure we will need to call the FBI, but I want a chance to dig into this Senator Harrington issue in order to protect ourselves. I don’t need any unwanted accusations being made out of my office, and I’m sure you can relate to the same thing.”

She could sense his hesitant feelings, and needed to push just a little more.

“Let me just check up on all of this. I’ll keep you posted each and every day, and we’ll meet again the day after tomorrow, right here, say 3:00 PM. Fair enough,” she said.

“I don’t know, and I don’t like it. But then you are more of the expert in areas like this. This is more than I care to deal with, I can tell you that. Makes me nervous as hell,” said John Fratten.

But the deal was done, and she had her forty-eight hours. Time to go to work.

 

Chapter 32

As soon as Rob Jordan made his way out of the Atlanta airport, he took a taxi straight to the hospital. He had no idea as to what Boomer was doing here, and surely he thought that it must simply be a circumstance of chance. What in the world would he be doing with this man, this suspected serial killer.

Boomer had already been stepped down from the surgical ICU, to a private room on the eighth floor. When Rob arrived he found the door to Boomer’s room closed, and one of Atlanta’s finest standing at the nurse’s station directly across from Boomer’s room.

He introduced himself as Boomer’s attorney and requested to see him.

“No problem sir, I will just need to check your identification, and contact my superiors, but that will just take a moment and we will get you right in,” said the young officer.

Within five minutes, Rob was in the room and at Boomer’s side.

“Hey buddy, how you doing,” said Rob.

“Hey man, good to see you, and thanks for coming,” said Boomer, somewhat groggy headed.

“Look Boomer, we need to get to the facts here,” Rob said seriously. “No use pretending we can wait. They are going to want to interview you as soon as possible, and I doubt they’ll wait till tomorrow.”

Boomer looked at his friend, and felt a tinge of guilt for having dragged him into this mess so close to his own tragedy. “Look man, I’m sorry as hell to drag you into this shit. Really I am truly sorry.”

“It’s ok; just bring me up to speed. I need to know what we’re dealing with here,” Rob said genuinely. Really there was nothing he would not do for this man, within reason of course. But the limits were high, real high.

The next fifteen minutes blew Rob’s mind. Really, it blew him away. Boomer told him everything. The cabin, the set up with Juan Pablo Lopez, the information gleaned from their encounter, and the subsequent meeting with the Senator from Kansas. Then this deal, here in Atlanta, and everything he knew about William Robert Graham. He told Rob how the whole deal was working, even about the vault at the cabin, everything. Boomer was not a fool. He knew he was entitled to attorney/client privilege, and he also was smart enough to know he was in deep shit here.

A knock at the door, and in came two suits. Detectives out of Atlanta PD, Homicide Division no doubt.

“Detective Branch, and this is my partner Detective Williamson,” said the older of the two. “Hoping we can get a statement if we might.”

Rob took the lead instantly. “Other than the fact that my client was attacked by some kind of fucking mad man, and that he was required to use deadly force in the defense of his life, I’d say right now gentlemen, that for now, that’s all we have to say.”

Rob looked at both men with an air of certain professionalism.

“I am assuming that no charges are being brought at this time,” he continued, “And with my client’s condition being what it is, I would say that we are likely to be here for a few days. We will happily advise you before we discharge from the hospital, and head back to Tucson, if that is ok with you,” he concluded.

“Actually we are going to need a statement before Mr. Moran leaves, but no, there are not any charges pending at this time,” Detective Branch conceded.

He really hated being manhandled by attorneys, but hey, it was part of the job, and there were not any plans at this time to charge anyone with any crime.

That would be for the District Attorney to decide, but the scuttlebutt was already out, and there was nothing here but jubilation at having nailed this Graham asshole, anyway.

As soon as the Detectives left, Rob looked at Boomer and said, “Look Boomer, this is kind of a mess here. Best we say nothing at all, to anyone outside of our little circle so to speak. I’m going to call my buddy Trey, who owns the cabin. You haven’t met him I’m assuming, but obviously the two of you are connected in some way. With him you never know, because he never really tells. For sure though, we want his input,” Rob concluded.

He had a worried look on his face, and he really felt they were quite vulnerable at this point.

Boomer looked at his friend and said, “Your call Rob, we’ll do it however you see fit.”

“Great, you get some rest. Say nothing to anyone. Nothing at all. I’m going to get a room nearby, make some calls, and put together a plan,” Rob said smiling, “We’ll talk tomorrow morning, okay buddy.”

After Rob left, Boomer was fast asleep within minutes. His body needed rest in order to heal. He was in great shape, and that helped, but his body had taken on some serious injuries.

For now he just needed rest……….

Back in Dallas, the Judge was frantic. He really was having great difficulty thinking. Hell, he was having great difficulty breathing. At this very moment he was sitting in his car, on the fourth floor of the parking deck across the street from the Courthouse, literally afraid to go in.

The last few days had been a living hell. In fact it had been five days of sheer terror. He knew he was doomed. He could feel it. What the fuck were they thinking?

Almost five years had gone by since that first fateful day. He and his good friend Max Harrington had taken a week long business trip to Tokyo to shore up a potential business deal. It concerned a local, but large automotive parts supplier business located in Topeka, but headquartered out of Dallas.

That’s where they had met Hideki Mitsumori, the CEO of Injin Automotive. The three men hit it off quite well, and their Japanese host provided them with the most exquisite, and tantalizing treats they could ever hope to have enjoyed. Food, drink, and of course the women. All three were of the highest caliber available in the world. Or so they thought.

Four days into their trip Hideki summoned them to his office. Once there he approached the two men on their most primitive level. He offered them a quick overnight excursion into their most seductive desires. They quickly and secretively flew out of Japan on his latest Learjet acquisition, and hastily made way for Bangkok, Thailand.

Once there, they did not mingle with the crowds of normal people, foreign or domestic. No, they were met by the elite of Bangkok’s nightlife, and one of Hideki’s closest friends, Tuksin Somwan.

Tuksin Somwan was to Bangkok, what any Hollywood star is to Los Angeles. Only more. Far more. Tuksin Somwan held the secrets of many and for that reason alone, he was in fact a very powerful man.

Tuksin’s palace was the pinnacle of success. His estate was monstrous. His security detail was top notch, and no one entered the palace that was not an invited guest. For that matter, no one left that was in any way a question, or for any reason, a risk to the security of the palace itself.

What went on there, stayed there. It made Las Vegas look like a joke.

It was here that both he and Max Harrington had allowed themselves to do the unthinkable. In America and in many places around the world it was truly out of bounds. Way out of bounds. But not here. No, here a man could satisfy his most discreet desires. Here there were no limitations to the imagination, and nothing was off limits.

It was a place Judge Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather II, wished he had never seen in his life. The Judge sighed, and in a moment relented to his fate. He was done. He had no other option that was open in his mind. He would call his son. Not so much for his help, but he felt the need to alert him to the possible future outcome.

His son, Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather III, was employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as their Senior Legal Advisor on the Child Abduction Taskforce. If this were to come out it would devastate him. Professionally, he would be ruined. On a personal level, the consequences were simply unimaginable.

Right then the Judge understood why Max had taken his own life. At this point in time, he also considered that action may best suit him as well. Yet, he felt compelled to make the call.

 

 Chapter 33

Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather, the Third, was sitting comfortably in his favorite chair watching the national news on CNN. They were running a back burner follow up on the burial of Senator Maxwell Harrington. That’s odd he thought, I wonder why Dad didn’t call me. His father and the Senator were fairly close friends. And a suicide as well, damn that just doesn’t make any sense. His thoughts were broken by the buzz of his cell phone.

He looked at the number, and it was his friend Rob.

“Hey Robby, what’s up,” said Trey.

“Trey, I hate to hit you with anything like this but I have to,” Rob said.

“Look Boomer is here in the hospital in Atlanta, seems he got himself fucked up by some serial killer according to the locals,” Rob added. “Hell I’m surprised you haven’t seen it on the news yet. He beat the guy to death Trey, and the shit’s getting hot here. You know they are wanting to know what he’s doing here. The whole show.”

Fuck me, thought Trey.

“Ok, just stall them and don’t say shit. I’ll get some guys on it first thing in the morning. Look Robby, you’re a good attorney, just play it out like one. I’ll talk to you in the morning.”

That’s not good, thought Trey. Gonna have to think this through and quick. Just as he sat back down the phone buzzed again.

This time it was his father.

He flipped it open. “Hey Pops, what the hell, I’m sitting here right now watching a story about Max’s suicide. Why didn’t you call me?”

Nothing. No response at all. “Pops, you there,” asked Trey.

“Son, I’m in big trouble,” the older Merriweather said. Then he broke down.

Trey could hear his father sobbing on the other end of the line. He was concerned, but even more confused. He had never seen or heard his father cry. For that matter, he had rarely ever seen the man even lose his composure.

“What’s the problem Dad, what’s going on here,” Trey asked somewhat bothered.

“Son is this line secure,” his father asked.

“Secure enough for what,” Trey asked. Now he was really concerned. What the hell was happening here, he thought.

When his father failed to say anything, Trey said, “Look it’s as secure as it get’s. What the fuck.”

“Look son, I really don’t know how to say this, so you listen and I’ll talk. When I’m done then you ask me whatever you want to ask me. But you listen first,” the elder Merriweather said somewhat coldly.

“Ok, just tell me what the hell is happening,” Trey responded.

“Five days ago Max Harrington jumped to his death at the Capitol Plaza,” his father started. “The next day the paper runs that story, and another one. A story about the death of a wealthy Mexican business man by the name of Juan Pablo Lopez.”

Trey heard what his father just said, but his mind did not want to digest it. “Pops, you didn’t know this guy,” begged Trey.

“I said don’t interrupt me, son,” his father said. His voice was not hysterical. It was icy cold.

“Fuck that,” said Trey. “We bagged that piece of shit ourselves. He was a drug dealing, child abducting, child trafficking piece of shit.”

It was now Trey who was hysterical. His head felt like it was about to explode. He could feel the words coming at him like a locomotive bearing down.

“I’m sorry son,” said the father.

“Noooooo,” Trey screamed into the phone.

“You tell me you weren’t involved with that fucking piece of shit. You tell me that right now,” he screamed.

“I can’t do that son, I just can’t,” his father sobbed.

Over the next ten minutes or so, the old man told Trey everything he knew. About himself and Max. About the trip to Japan. About Hideki Mitsumori, and about Tuksin Somwan. He left out nothing. When he was done there was silence on both ends.

Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather, the Second was done.

When he spoke next, his words were simple.

“I’m going out like Max, Trey. There’s nothing else I can do to protect you,” his father said calmly. “At this point it’s the least I can do,” he added.

Trey jumped quickly on that. “No,” he said. “I can fix this.”

His mind was moving fast. What would he need to do to contain this? Who all really was aware of this situation?

“Ok, who else knows about this? Did you and Max ever involve anyone else,” Trey asked hurriedly.

“Of course not. Hell no. Neither of us could afford to do that. We never mingled with anyone else from the States. We were always adamant about that,” said the elder Merriweather.

“Pops, take the fuck off. Right now. Fly down to the Tabacon. I’ll have someone contact you there. Go now, and don’t come back until we’ve spoken,” said Trey. “Please Pops just do it my way.”

“I just don’t know what to say, son. I can try it your way for now I guess, I just don’t know if I even want to,” he said.

The pause in the line was deathly quiet, and uncomfortable for both men. “Trey, I’m truly sorry,” the old man added.

“Just stay there until I get back to you,” said Trey, and he hung up the phone.

The Tabacon was a favorite hang out for the whole Merriweather Family. It was a five star, thermal spa resort in northern Costa Rica, near the base of the magnificent and beautiful Arenal Volcano. The resort’s spectacular location along the banks of the Tabacon River had made it a favorite of their family for years.

Now it had become a hideout of sorts for his father, Trey thought. What a mess. This was like a nightmare for the young FBI attorney.

His own father of all people. If it had not come out of his own mouth, he never would have believed that his father was capable of such low down shit. It was crazy.

Yet he was now faced with two distinct paths of action. He could clean up the mess behind him, or he could just have his ass whacked while he was in Costa Rica. He gave that some serious thought. Some really serious thought.

His whole career was on the line here, and he knew it. The Bureau just had no tolerance for shit like this, and he knew it was career over if anything leaked out. He picked up his phone and called his friend Dee Martin. Had to cover his ass too, Trey thought.

They quickly discussed the situation. It just about made Trey sick to his stomach to even think about it, let alone talk about it.

In the end he was not real happy with Dee’s take on the situation. But he knew his friend was right. Even a small drip will turn into a big leak.

They would send in a team to scrub the cabin. Some minor construction would eliminate the vault. They could open the wall and re-construct the small area into part of the main living room. That part would be easy, and it would be done by tomorrow. The second part was the part that Trey didn’t like.

Dee Martin felt it was absolutely imperative to isolate all sources close to the situation.

That meant their boy Boomer had to go. No way around that, Dee Martin had said. The only link from Juan Pablo Lopez back to them was through Boomer Moran, and neither of them was willing to play out their careers on someone they didn’t know. Tough luck on that one.

The worst thing of all was the lingering question in both of their minds. Did Boomer get any information out of Juan Pablo Lopez. They were both sure of it, as it had led him to the Senator. And it scared them both. This was getting nasty very quickly.

Like many things in the world of dark operations, some things just had to be. You didn’t have to like it; you just had to do it. There was far too much at stake here to do anything else except shut down the whole operation. Dee Martin had said he would handle it. Trey was glad for that part.

On a positive note they had gleaned the information on Tuksin Somwan, and Hideki Mitsumori, and could pursue those two as well. Actually they would have too in order to close the loop, and protect the Judge.

When they hung up, both men contemplated on the fact that this day, was the worst day of their lives. Trey’s problem however was miniscule compared to that of Dee Martin. But then, Trey would never know that. The chill that went through Dee Martin’s body was one of those feelings that a man rarely ever feels. Hard and fast, it cut straight to the bone. His eyes narrowed, and his face tightened like the head of a drum, as a cold reality set in.

 

Chapter 34

At 6:15 PM that same evening, Kaitlyn Minton boarded the Continental Airlines flight 3029 out of Kansas City International Airport.

She had driven the fifty-four miles from her apartment in Topeka, and parked her car in the long-term lot.

She had also called ahead and reserved a room for three days at the Super 8 on Peachtree Avenue, just less than a mile away from the Peidmont Hospital where Boomer Thompson was recovering from his injuries.

She arrived in Atlanta at 11:42 PM, took a cab to the Motel, and settled in for an early wakeup.

She stepped off the elevator on the eighth floor of the Peidmont Hospital at exactly 7:42 AM the next morning. She walked to the nurse’s station, showed her identification, and asked for directions to Walter Moran’s room.

The nurse simply directed her down the hall there on the left, where the police officer is sitting.

She was in the act of unsuccessfully trying to talk her way into the room, when the young officer looked over her shoulder and said, “There’s his attorney, you talk to him, Miss. They want you in there, its ok by me.”

She turned and saw Rob Jordan approaching and she made her way to greet him and to put some space between her and the officer.

“Kaitlyn Minton, Mr. Jordan, KSNT 27 News out ofTopeka,” she greeted him with her hand extended.

Rob Jordan was polite enough to shake the young woman’s hand. “How might I help you this morning,” he said. Topeka, he thought. Odd.

“Anything but an interview, we are not doing interviews as of yet,” he quickly added, at the same time doing a complete, visual once over of this young lady. Not the supermodel, but quite pretty, he thought.

She leaned in close. “We need to talk. I know your client was the last person seen talking with Senator Maxwell Harrington before his death. Or should I say, seconds before he leapt to his death,” she added for punctuation.

“Yes, please come in,” said Rob Jordan, stunned by her words, yet intrigued just the same.

This was the second time in two days he had heard this, and he damn well didn’t like it. The depth and scope of Boomer’s problem seemed to be much greater than he had hoped.

“It’s ok,” he told the officer as the entered the room and closed the door behind them.

Boomer was already awake, and had finished his breakfast by the look of things. Rob noticed the IV stand was in the far corner, and Boomer no longer was hooked up to the myriad of plastic tubing.

Rob Jordan made the introductions. He also told Boomer what Kaitlyn Minton had just told him. The young woman stood there somewhat defiantly.

“No shit,” said Boomer.

He threw back his covers and swung to a sitting position just as the glass windows exploded into the room. Boomer instinctively dove for the floor. Wounded or not, he never gave it a second thought. Chaos wreaked havoc throughout the room. Bullets were hitting everywhere, tearing plaster off the walls. Glass breaking, shattering. Screaming.

In the midst of all the confusion, Boomer saw Rob Jordan fall against the wall, and down onto the floor.

The police officer stationed outside the room crashed through the door, and drew his weapon. As he approached the window, he jerked violently backwards and fell instantly to the floor.

The woman reporter was screaming, as Boomer crawled to where Rob was laying, and rolled his friend over. The instant he saw his face, Boomer knew his friend was dead.

He crawled towards the reporter and towards the doorway.

As he rose to a low crouch, he grabbed her and drug her out into the hallway.

The hallway was full of people running from everywhere, trying to figure out what was happening.

“Call the police,” Boomer yelled. “Someone’s shooting at us through the window.”

Boomer guided Kaitlyn Minton past the crowds of people, and down the hall towards the stairwell. They went through the door and headed down.

“Got to get out of here fast,” he said. “Someone either wants to kill me, you, or all of us, but they certainly don’t give a shit who or what’s in the way.”

Kaitlyn was scared but she wasn’t a lay down. She was gutsy for sure. She opened the door and they entered the seventh floor hallway. The elevator was ten feet away. They entered, and she hit the button for the Basement/Parking Deck.

When the door opened, they coolly and calmly walked the two hundred feet or so across the parking deck to her rented Ford Taurus, and climbed in. They made their way out onto the street before anyone said anything.

They both looked at each other.

She spoke first.

“What the fuck just happened there,” she said wild eyed.

“That was what I would have to say was an assassination attempt,” said Boomer.

“Oh really,” she said sarcastically, “Like the ones in the movies.”

“No,” said Boomer, “That was a real to life killing field there, in case you didn’t notice. I didn’t have time to check, but I’d say that two men were just killed in front of your eyes. One of them was my friend. You call it whatever you want.” He looked at her coldly.

“I know you were with the Senator the moment before he jumped,” she said.

“So you say. I bet you didn’t know that I’m a deep cover operative for the United States Government,” Boomer said, still looking at her.

“At this point I’d also say that what you do know is probably going to get you killed,” Boomer added.

“This is bad, isn’t it,” she asked.

“Yes, it is. Real bad by the looks of it,” he said.

“And I do know more about you, than you think,” Kaitlyn said. “I know your history. I know you are well liked, and a well respected cop. I know because I checked,” she added. “That’s my job, and I’m good at what I do too.”

Boomer looked over towards her and paused. She was certainly gutsy. Probably a real ball of fire. Good he thought; she was going to need to be.

“I believe you. Look, we don’t really know each other that well, so here goes. We need to decide where we are going with this whole mess. If you want to, just pull over, and I’ll get out and go my own way. If you believe you’re in as much danger as I believe you’re in, then we can stay together,” Boomer said without a pause.

“Ok then, where to. My hotel, so I can grab my things, or that’s not a good idea,” she asked questioningly.

“No, we leave Atlanta. Get lost quick. We need clothes, so we’ll stop at the first place we see, and you can buy for both of us. We get some food, and we hunker down and wait. Try to figure out what’s going down, and who can help,” Boomer concluded.

“Right there,” said Boomer. It was a Wal-mart Store, oh yeah and a super center at that. “God Bless Wally World,” he added.

“Find a spot to park in the middle, not to close, and not out on the fringes. They have these places loaded with cameras. Best place to hide’s in the middle,” Boomer said rubbing his hands together.

“OK, this is the plan. You go in first. Three short sleeve shirts each. Three long sleeve shirts each. Two pairs hiking shorts, many pockets as they can have, and one pair of jeans, each. My size is 32 waist, and 34 long. You got a pen, write it down,” he said.

She jumped out of the door, “My purse is in the trunk,” she said.

When she got back in they went over everything.

Then he added, “Shirts are large. Get us a pair of hiking boots each, mine are size 12. Soft tennis shoe types if possible and high tops. Six pairs of socks. That’s it, you got it. Then meet me back here.”

She got out and headed into the store. Boomer laid back and relaxed while he thought out their plan of action. Ok, let’s think this thing through, he thought to himself. The whole world knew where I was, and what had happened.

Somebody knew that I had something to do with the Senator’s death, but it was not my handlers. I never told them, he thought. But maybe they know. They knew about Juan Pablo, but did they know about the Senator.

The best Boomer could come up with on short notice was that somehow the combination of the Senator’s death, and him getting caught in this deal had rattled them. Rattled them to a point where they no longer trusted him. No, to a point where they wanted him dead. There was a huge difference there, now wasn’t there.

Boomer was asleep when the door opened. Kaitlyn had everything that he had ordered, and immediately Boomer went to change clothes. That’s when he remembered he didn’t have on any underwear.

“Ahem, you might want to look out the window there while I slip into these clothes,” he said smiling.

“Really,” she said. “In case you didn’t notice I am all grown up. And I don’t really embarrass easily.”

“Your call,” said Boomer and he started peeling off his hospital garb. When he lifted his butt off the seat to pull off his pajama bottoms, it stretched the stitches in his abdomen, and he emitted a short yelp.

She looked his way when he did, and saw him in all his glory. Yep, she thought. Just like her initial investigation had revealed. Boomer was all man. No doubt about that.

“See anything you like, just let me know,” said Boomer.

“Yeah right dude, I’m just worried someone else will see you and call the law on us both,” she said, “Now what?”

“Now we both go back in. You go back to the sporting goods department. Ask if you can buy a gun here for your nephew with an out of state driver’s license. If they say it’s ok then buy a Ruger 10-22 rifle, and any kind of .22 pistol, preferably an automatic of good quality,” Boomer said. She was writing everything down, as he spoke.

Boomer continued, “Grab about five hundred rounds of .22 long rifle ammunition, and pick up a portable GPS, preferably a Garmin, and a shit load of batteries. If they ask or say anything, just tell the clerk they’re for your nephew’s birthdays. I’ll buy some backpacks, sleeping bags and groceries. You got any cash,” he said.

“Yeah why,” she asked.

“Cause I don’t. You got enough to pay for everything ok, if not just charge the guns and GPS. It doesn’t matter anyway. If it’s who I think it is that’s after us, they’ll know about it within a few days anyhow. Maybe by then it’ll be over,” said Boomer.

He just didn’t sound too convincing.

She reached in her purse and got out two one hundred dollar bills and gave them to Boomer, and they were off.

Within thirty minutes they were both back at the car. When they got there, they loaded everything into the trunk and took off.

“Any problems,” Boomer asked.

“None what so ever. No permits required in Georgia, for pistols or rifles, so I got everything,” said Kaitlyn.

They got back onto Highway 400, and headed up towards the backside of Lake Lanier.

Boomer figured the farther away from the big city they got the least likely they would get spotted. He knew they needed to go to ground as quick as possible if they were going to survive. He didn’t want to tell Kaitlyn that, although he had to admit she did seem to hold her own. As his Daddy used to say, she had grit.

“When you get near the lake wake me up,” Boomer said, “I need to rest. And turn your cell phone off. They are all like tracking devices.”

“Right, get your beauty rest, I’ll wake you if I need you,” she said.

Tuffy, thought Boomer, as he settled in. He was asleep within minutes.

 

 Chapter 35

Lt. John Mackey, was sitting at his desk inside the Tucson PD’s North Sub-station when the call came in.

“Mackey,” he answered gruffly.

“Mac, this is Boomer,” said the other end.

John Mackey visibly stiffened in his seat, before answering. “Jesus Boomer, what the fuck is going on,” he asked quickly.

“Look Mac, just listen quick. No matter what you hear, I’m being set up. This is an FBI operation, I’m on the run, and they’re trying to kill me. They already killed Rob, and some cop from Atlanta.”

“Boomer look, Rob’s not dead, but he is in a coma. The other cop’s dead, but they are saying you did it, and that you escaped with a hostage,” said his friend quickly.

“That’s fucking bullshit Mac, and you know it. I’ll be in touch,” said Boomer as he hung up the phone. Less than thirty seconds on a pay phone would leave them nothing.

They were in the parking lot of a small convenience store just off of Hwy 400 at exit 14, the Buford Road/Hwy 20 exit. They were just getting in to the foothills at Cummings,Georgia. This was also the area where the Lake Lanier plan was coming to an abrupt end.

Boomer knew in his heart that if Rob was still alive, he was in serious danger. That Rob had been the friend of his contractors meant nothing at this point. Something dramatic had happened behind the scenes, of that Boomer was sure.

“Kaitlyn, look we are only one hour from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. You’re getting on a plane there and heading back to Topeka. You bust this story wide open, girl, and you don’t take no for an answer,” Boomer said matter-of-factly.

“What about you Boomer. Why do I get this crazy notion that you are going to do something even crazier? What is it with you,” she said with a certain air of camaraderie, yet infiltrated with obvious affection.

“It’s about Rob,” Boomer said seriously. “They’ll kill him if we don’t move quickly.”

He suddenly, yet gently reached out and touched her cheek. Boomer then looked deeply into her eyes and said, “I really hope you’re not married.”

She blushed instantly, and then quickly recovered, “You really are special, aren’t you.”

“That’s what my momma always told me,” said Boomer with a big grin.

Before they left the store, Kaitlyn went inside and purchased four Trac-phones, and paid for their fuel. When they got on the road they headed for the airport, and what ever lay ahead……….

Back on the East Coast, in his office sat a worried Dee Martin. He was leaning back in his Herman Miller Aeron chair, with his feet propped up on his desk, yet he was far from relaxed. In fact he was in deep shit, and he knew it. This whole situation was a complete fucking nightmare. When Trey had mentioned the name Tuksin Somwan, Dee had almost shit his pants.

It was no wonder that the Senator had taken his own life. This guy was the gutter king. A billionaire fucking weirdo, who held the goods on many a high roller through his private parties. Dee knew this for a fact. He had been there several times himself.

You see, this was one deviously genius mother fucker.

Oh, there were plenty of private visits, from plenty of private visitors. And yes, they were all able to have and enjoy the graciousness of Tuksin Somwan, and his private stock. The problem wasn’t that. No one would ever reveal that and live to talk about it again, and everyone involved was dead certain of that.

The problem was what happened to the stock when they were finished with them. And that thought Dee Martin, is where I am fucked. You see Dee Martin was at the top of the food chain on this one. And he was going to stay there. At this point he really did not care who had to die to keep it that way. Just didn’t fucking matter at all.

Dee Martin knew the whole truth. The truth that blackened his heart. The truth that crushed his very soul, and certainly damned him to hell for eternity. These kids were not only forced into sexually pleasuring the elite sicko’s of the world, including himself, in the end they were treated like nothing more than fucking farm animals. Used up in every way imaginable, and then came the tragic ending.

Dee Martin actually found himself glad when they were gone. At least their nightmare was over.

The final gift of giving, Tuksin Somwan always said. When they were truly finished with one of their investments, they would surgically remove the important organs in a private operating room at the palace. They then burned the remains at one of his fertilizer plants, and dispersed the product to the farms around his part of the world. Nothing wasted, money at every level, and all of his products were in extremely high demand at all times. It was a wonderful business model in any sick mind.

Tuksin Somwan also knew that the nature of his business ensured his continued success. Dee Martin knew in his heart this was a once in, never out situation. And that caused him some grief on this day. Because what he was about to do, what he had to do, was to eliminate everyone involved in this little mess. No choice in the matter, so there was nothing left to contemplate on. Period, over.

What bothered him the most, was this was all part of Tuksin Somwan’s own paranoid fucking decision to clean house a little. The hit on Juan Pablo was at the direct request of Somwan. They had been thinking of doing it anyway, and Dee Martin finding himself with Boomer as a new operative, sought the go ahead, and was given the green light. The hit on William Robert Graham however, was his own idea. All his. He’d done it to help a freind, a buddy down in the Atlanta office, so now he owned this little fiasco all by his lonesome. 

There was no doubt in his mind that Tuksin Somwan would now hold him personally responsible. While Dee Martin was not scared of many things in life, he was no fool either. He was going to have to think this through very quickly, and act even faster. His own life would depend on it.

Within the hour he was headed for Dulles, and then he would be heading on to Costa Rica. Had to tidy up a little down there, and do it now.

 

Chapter 36

During the last several hours, Boomer had done several things. First and foremost was to strategize a plan of action. Step one was to get Kaitlyn back to Topeka where she could break the story on a national if not international level.

Next everyone needed to be protected, fully and completely. And that would mean 24/7 Special Op’s escort and protection services. Even then, that might not be enough. Boomer had no clue who his enemies were. That had to change and change fast.

Kaitlyn had taken one of the Trac phones, and had left Boomer with the other three. He had made his first call on phone number one to his old friend Chief Pollard. When the Chief answered on the third ring, he just said, “Bout time.”

“Chief, I’m in big time shit this time. You still getting the envelopes?” Boomer asked.

“Yep, want me to open the last one, I will. Give me a second,” stated the old man. The line went dead for a little over a minute. When the Chief returned he said, “You ready to Copy?”

“Go ahead Chief,” said Boomer, “I’m ready.”

“239-333-8811,” said the Chief, then quickly added, “Boy, you better get under cover quick, they got you plastered all over the national news, they’re saying you killed a cop and took a lady reporter hostage.”

“That’s bullshit Chief and you know it. It’ll be dark here shortly, and I’m turning south for Florida….any ideas,” asked Boomer to his old friend.

“Head forEverglades City and call me when you get there. I got an old friend with a cabin out in the swamp we can use for a few days. I’ll rent me a car and head that way. Just call me,” and the old man hung up.

As Boomer sat there he pulled out his map and started planning the quickest route to Everglades City. Then he picked up phone number two and dialed the number the Chief had given him. He already knew who would be at the other end. Rob Tulley, his old second on Echo 1-6 was now the Command Sergeant Major at Ft.Bragg’s Joint Special Operations Center. The Team had gone down hard on that last operation, but he and Tulley were like brothers. He dialed the number and waited.

“Your Dime,” was all Tulley said.

“Hey Bubba, it’s me,” Boomer said quietly.

“Boomer?” whispered Tulley, “Where the fuck are you?” His voice was somewhat different, but then the bullet he took in the face had done some serious damage. He’d been following the story on Boomer on the news as well and was highly worried about his former team mate.

“Heading to Florida, but right now I’m in Georgia,” Boomer told his friend.

“Good, do you have a GPS with you?” Tulley asked hurriedly.

“Of course why?” asked Boomer, although he could sense what was coming.

“Find me an LZ, an open field if possible. Get out of your car, and get concealed, and then call me back with the coordinates. I’ll send a chopper to pick you up. Look Boomer, don’t fuck this up. We don’t need anybody else getting their hands on you, got it?” Tulley said with an air of authority.

“Roger that, quick as I can,” and he hung up the phone.

With the third and final phone, he called Lt. John Mackey back in Tucson. This time it wasn’t a quick thirty second call. He explained everything to Mackey as quickly as possible, and convinced him to get full security details assigned to Kaitlyn by the Topeka PD SERT Team, and to get Rob an equal team from the Atlanta PD boys.

“And absolutely no Fed’s John, not until we figure out what’s going down here,” Boomer insisted. When he hit the “end” button he threw the phone down on the ground and stomped it to pieces. He really did not know who to trust at this point. Tulley was a different matter. The man would die for him even today. Of that he was still sure.

Before Kaitlyn ever made it back to Topeka, Sergeant Major Walter Moran, US Army (Retired), was sitting in a secure location on Ft.Bragg giving his good friend the full lowdown on everything that had happened since that fateful day when he had shot Dewey Rainmaker. He left out nothing. When he was done, Tulley had a very worried look upon his face.

His brother in arms was indeed in deep shit. It obviously involved some branch of the Federal Government. They had obviously tried to whack Boomer at the hospital, and had killed a police officer in the attempt. The big question was who, and more importantly why.

Tulley was convinced there was a connection to one of the targets that Boomer had eliminated, and the organization that had effectively directed Boomer’s missions. No other way around it, Boomer had somehow spooked his handler’s, and that was the first question that had to be answered.

Thankfully the list was short, the Senator and Juan Pablo Lopez were definitely connected, Rob Jordan and his ex room-mate Trey Merriweather were definitely the key starting point, and Merriweather worked for the FBI.

That was enough for Tulley. “Boomer sit your butt right here, I’ve got to bring my Commander up to speed on this. After that it’ll be out of my hands, but I will tell you this, Colonel Axel Axson is a good man, and I trust him as much as I trust you.”

Boomer just looked at his friend and conceded, “Nuff said then.”

Thirty minutes later, Tulley was back and had a strange look on his face. Boomer could have sworn it was a smirk; it was just too hard to tell as he wasn’t use to Tulley’s facial expressions anymore.

“Follow me,” Tulley said and without another word headed down the hallway to another office. He knocked twice, firmly, and announced himself with all the professional courtesy he could muster.

“Sergeant Major Tulley reporting as ordered, Sir. Sergeant Major Moran in tow,” he said with a twinkle in his eye, which went unseen by Boomer.

“Both of you in here now,” the Colonel growled. “And shut the door behind you, too.”

Boomer was slightly taken off guard, as he was no longer active duty military, but he was a lifer and he could always play his part.

Colonel Axel Axson stood as the men entered. When they approached the front of his desk, the three men saluted each other as was the common military courtesy.

“This may come as somewhat of a surprise to you Sergeant Major Moran, but as of ten minutes ago, by the Authority of the President of the United States of America, you are hereby ordered back to Active Duty Status, effective immediately. Are you clear on that, Sergeant Major,” hammered out the Colonel. His affect was immediate.

“Uh, Yes Sir. I’m a little confused as to why. But I’m sure you’ll let me know, Sir,” Boomer replied.

The Colonel looked both of his men directly in eyes and said, “Time to clean up a little mess. If you’ll both follow me please.”

No more than thirty feet down the hallway was an ultra secure, Planning and Warfare Strategy Center. It was triple door technology, including encrypted entry, with heavily armed Sentries at the second level, and it was obvious to Boomer that this was a place where decisions were made about wars to be fought, and people died from the results of those decisions.

It was a huge room with a full array of live scenario scanners, technicians, and communication devices of every type imaginable. The room was very active and there were at least thirty or more people in all kinds of operational status, performing various duties unknown to Boomer.

“Team Alpha on Bank One,” one of the technicians hollered out to nobody in particular. “They’ve got the FBI guy Merriweather in custody.”

“Get him over to Andrews and out here ASAP. When they get here let me know. And put him in one of the monitored offices,” ordered Colonel Axson………..

Five hours after she left Boomer, Kaitlyn Minton walked through the front door of KSNT 27, and straight to the news department Director’s office door. She stopped at the doorway, and stared directly into the face of her boss, Anthony “Big Tony” DeSalvo. He was sitting at his desk, scowling his usual menacing expression, while quietly screaming into the mouthpiece of his telephone. He waved her in with a quick double movement signifying his willingness for her to enter, and even quicker holding up his index finger in a sign to wait.

“We’ll talk later,” he concluded, banging the desk phone to its cradle. “And you, young lady, where in the hell have you been. I’ve been calling you all day.”

She reached into her purse and quickly pulled out her phone, not sure whether to turn it on or not. She thought about it for only a second and put it back in her purse, and looked directly into her boss’s eyes before continuing. She turned and pulled the office door shut and said, “Tony, sit back, shut up, and hear me out.”

While he was quite taken back by her sudden outburst, the last four years of working with this woman gave him the insight to do just what she said. There weren’t many people in this business who could speak to “Big Tony” De Salvo in this way, but he trusted his own instincts, and he trusted her. “Ok kid, give it to me,” was all he said.

The next fifteen minutes were completely one-sided. Kaitlyn laid out the scenario, everything that happened and everything she knew. Everything. The last thing she said was the hardest thing she’d ever done in her life. “Tony, I’m breaking live with this in the next few minutes. This is our story.” She paused only a second. “This is my story Tony, and it’s fucking huge. You put me out there right now, or I swear to God I’m taking it outside this department, if not outside the station.”

“Jesus H. Christ,” he said shaking his head, “Damn it girl, you’re going to get us both fired. Either that or promoted. Get in their right now, we’re going live in five.” She whirled around without another word and headed to the news desk with Big Tony right behind her barking out his orders in his normal yet excited way. Within minutes the buzz around the station was all-inclusive. All hands were on deck and the show was about to hit the road. Big Tony was dialing the number of the main producer of The Nightly News. He wanted a break in with Brian Williams, Lester Holt, or Hoda Codp.

Kaitlyn would get her story, but there was a right way to do it, and Big Tony knew all the right ways……….

Right about that time an eight man team from the Secret Service rolled up in front of the station in two black unmarked sedans, and when they entered the front door they were all business. Within one minute they were in Big Tony’s office, along with Kaitlyn, and the door was shut, and the shades were drawn. Two Agents stood guard outside of the office door to insure their privacy, so to speak.

“Ok Mr. DeSalvo, here’s the deal. Miss Minton will be leaving with us. This is a matter of National Security. There will be no story going out tonight and in fact not until we give the go-ahead. In one minute or so you will be receiving a phone call from your boss, advising you of the same. Until then we’ll wait,” replied the Senior Agent.

What the fuck, thought Big Tony, was going on here. This was like nothing he’d ever experienced in his life. Senior Agent Nobody just stared at him and waited. The phone rang. Big Tony grabbed it up before the second ring.

“Big Tony,” he screamed into the line. He was not a very happy man right now at this time.

“Yes, Sir. What ever the fuck they want. You got it,” and he slammed the phone down, and looking at Kaitlyn he added, “See ya soon, sweetheart.”

 

 Chapter 37

The Chief sat there for a while contemplating the mess his old friend was in. He grabbed his telee and hit his speed dialer and waited.

“Well God Almighty Chief, how the hell have you been,” asked a quite surprised Shay Landon. It had been almost a year since they had last talked.

She and Lee had kept in close contact with both Walter and the Chief after the tragic events that had brought their lives together. But time has a way of healing old wounds, and people have a way of just moving on. Early on they had all agreed to meet each year in remembrance, but even that had proven far tougher than enjoyable, and with Boomer living out inTucson that faded out after the first meeting anyway.

The old man smiled at hearing her voice, as he simply liked the woman. Different than most, and had some guts about her. “Where you’all at right now,” he asked.

“Well we’ve been sitting here on Houseboat Row at the Key West City Dock for the last two months. Just wasting away, as the song goes,” she said laughingly. “Why you asking Chief, is something wrong.”

“Matter of fact there’s plenty wrong. You ain’t seen the news about Boomer,” he asked.

“Chief we heard and saw a little about what went down inTucson, but we figured he would call us if he needed us. Seemed a might touchy subject, after all we went through before,” she added.

“Well I’m hiding over here just off of Key Largo, at the Manatee Bay Marina at MM112. Kinda quiet, and an outa sight, outa mind kinda place, but we are only a couple of hours from each other. Boomer’s supposed to be heading this way,” the old man concluded.

“Okay, what do you need us to do? You know there’s absolutely no limit to what we will do to help. Tell me you know that Chief,” Shay said emphatically.

“Right now I just don’t know anything but that. And our boy is in serious shit, he’s hurt, and we got to be ready at a moments notice. I’ll call you back, soon as I hear from him, and we’ll go from there,” the Chief concluded and hung up his end.

When Shay got off the phone she immediately fired up her laptop and started researching the latest on Walter “Boomer” Moran. What she found scared her. Scared her bad and it dredged up bad memories and bad feelings. Within minutes she and Lee were preparing their bags in case they had to leave in a hurry.

She looked at Lee, “Honey, I can feel her, all the way….. deep in my soul.”

Lee looked at his wife and knew the feeling she was experiencing. They had spoken many times of this feeling.

The Witchwind was calling.

“I feel it too,” was all he said. They both kept packing……….

Back at the JSOC Command Center at Ft.Bragg, Colonel Axel Axson’s office was starting to fill up. Not with people, but with noise. No sooner than they had escorted Kaitlyn Minton into his office, she looked Boomer in his eyes, and then rushed to his arms. He held her in his arms briefly and kissed her forehead.

She pulled away from Boomer and quickly turned toward Colonel Axson, “Pardon me for being a bit brash, but do you mind telling me what the hell is going on here.”

“Bit of a spark plug hey Sergeant Major,” he said to Boomer. “If you’ll just have a seat I’ll try to bring you up to speed the best I can Miss Minton,” he said turning his attention to the young journalist.

The Colonel took his regular seat behind the desk, slightly pushed back. He was leaning back looking at the two of them with his arms crossed across his chest. Kaitlyn and Boomer were seated in the chairs in front. The door was shut. Besides being a huge man, the Colonel was a powerfully spirited man, and you could feel his energy. It surrounded him constantly.

“I’ll make this simple, to the point, and it’s not negotiable,” Colonel Axson began. “Just so you know Miss Minton, Sergeant Major Moran has been temporarily re-activated into the Army. That takes care of him. You are being reassigned to the White House Press Secretary, by order of those you do not need to disobey. You will get your story, Miss Minton, if that’s what you’re worried about, but we’ll do it my way. Either that or I’ll have you confined for the duration, and someone else can report the story, which ever you like.”

Kaitlyn Minton looked hard into the face of the man to her front. When she spoke, he knew she was all business.

“We best get started then,” was all she said.

“Very well, then follow me,” and the Colonel got up and led the two of them back down the hall, only this time to another room. Another heavily guarded room.

This place was all business she could see. She glanced at Boomer, but he just stared away. Serious shit here she, thought to herself.

When they went through the windowless door, they came face to face with the only occupant in an otherwise empty room…..FBI Agent and Attorney, Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather, the Third.

When he looked up and saw Boomer in the group of three people who just entered, his mind thought the same thing that his mouth quietly muttered. A Simple “Fuck me”.

A knock at the door, and in came two older, distinguished looking gentlemen. Suits. Fed’s no doubt.

The taller of the two spoke first. “No introductions needed, or wanted. Agent Merriweather, from you we want the truth. The whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Start from the beginning, and leave nothing out. Start now. And try your very best to not leave out the parts about your father and our dear friend Dee Martin Gibson.” He reached into his pocket and retrieved a small recording device. He sat it on the table and turned it on. “You may begin,” was all the man said.

The shock in Trey Merriweather’s face was plain for all to see. He wanted to cry, but obviously that was something that no one in this room was prepared to tolerate. For the next two hours the pair of suits grilled Trey to perfection. He told them everything he knew. He told them about his father’s involvement, where he was, everything. He left out nothing. He conceded everything.

One of the agents made a phone call as soon as Trey had told them where his father was hiding. Trey was worried, but there was nothing he could do about it anyway. What he could not figure out was the scope of the investigation, and why the hell was this interrogation being held here, instead of in Washington. So he asked.

Agent number one said simply, “This is a matter of National Security. It goes far deeper than you can imagine. This could be a very embarrassing situation for the Administration and the United States Government as a whole. Before each of you leaves this facility today, you will sign a Decree and Testament of Silence. If you break it, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the Federal Government. Simply put, you will go to jail for many years. End of story.”

They both turned and left leaving the others quite stunned and silent.

Colonel Axson spoke first. “We will make you all as comfortable as possible, and you will be able to leave when I receive orders from a higher authority than myself. Some one will be here shortly to assist you.” With that, he too left the room.

Within minutes two soldiers from the Security detail entered the room. One took Trey Merriweather away, and the other led Boomer and Kaitlyn back to Colonel Axson’s office. Trey felt a scent of relief. He could somehow sense his own safety within the necessary cover-up that was going down before his very eyes.

When the Security Team stopped in front of, and opened the office door to the Colonel’s office, Boomer and Kaitlyn stepped through the door. Sergeant Major Tulley was already there.

When they entered he pointed to the chairs, and they both sat silently. Colonel Axel Axson just looked at the two of them for what seemed like minutes, but surely it was for only a matter of a few seconds.

“Ok folks, this is how it’s gonna go down. Miss Minton, you will be leaving for Washington within the hour. You will be briefed on what the report will contain. Since you were personally involved, it will be easy enough for everyone to stay on the same page,” the Colonel said with a grim look on his face. “As I said, it’ll be your story; it just has to have our twist.”

With a slight pause he continued, “What I am about to say right now does not ever leave this room. It is highly classified, and not for disclosure to anyone. I do hope I am abundantly clear on that. There will be a counter measure taken. It will happen within the next few days, possibly a few weeks. When it’s all over, I recommend you both meet somewhere and disappear for a while. Unless I’m reading my signals wrong I don’t believe that will represent any problems for the two of you.”

Boomer looked at the Colonel and said, “Sir, with all due respect. What the fuck is really going on here? I mean really Colonel; I’ve served this man’s government long enough, and certainly hard enough to know the truth.”

“You know I can’t lay it out Sergeant Major, but let’s just say that we, the American people, and we the fucking Federal Government,” he said his voice rising in a crescendo, “have some sick mother-fuckers within our ranks.”

“With that being said,” he continued, “This little fiasco is coming to an abrupt fucking ending. Is that understandable enough,” the Colonel asked with a look around the room.

There were no comments……….

 

 Epilogue:

In the beginning and in the end……..it was the Witchwind Calling. She was always calling…..

Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather, the Third, learned of his father’s tragic accident with his dear friend Dee Martin Gipson the following day. Their funerals were the talk of Washington and Dallas. Such a loss of two great men, it was almost unbearable. Almost, but not quite.

Carlos Antonio Veron was killed by a rival Cartel assassin within a week.  He was never remembered. Just replaced.

Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather, the Third, went on to retire from the FBI, and retired into complete and utter oblivion.

Tuksin Somwon died three months later in a massive explosion inside his palace kitchen, which nearly destroyed the whole palace. His funeral was attended by many heads of state and many important government officials. He was no doubt, a very important man. Several other very important guests had died in the inferno as well, Hideki Mitsumori of Injin Automotive among them.

Rob Jordan recovered, and carried on in his life’s work. He never re-married, but raised his children well. In time their scars healed, yet the hurt hides deep inside.

The old man, Shay and Lee got their dear friend back. Plus one.

Kaitlyn got her story. Well not really her story, but it was “The Story”. It was the story of the year, actually. And yes, she got her Pulitzer Prize as well. And then she promptly retired to St. Augustine.

Walter “Boomer” Moran got retired again. He also got smart again, real quick. This Kaitlyn gal was the real deal, and he was holding on for dear life. They ended up living on the Witchwind for many, many years. They never felt the need for children, yet they lived out a wonderful life. They spent many a year cruising the Out Islands, the Caribbean, and the Keys with their old friends, and they never looked back.

Critter never did get to dig into anybody’s ass. But then, somebody took care of that for him.

That’s the way it works in Washington. Plans are made, and shit happens.

Oh, and the diamonds. What diamonds?

The End

Seito Karate, And The Truth As I Believe It

 

The International Study Group, Kokusai Seito Karate Kenkyukai (ISKK):

The ISKK was developed by a group of high ranking, senior karate men from locations around the world. With the hope of bringing together like minded individuals who can and will commit to the process of educating the public at large on the origins of all Karate from Okinawa, and teaching about the great teachers from whom we all owe our gratitude.

Without them, we would not be where we are today. Without the leaders of today we could not know our past. Karate from Okinawa is now practiced in many forms in virtually every corner of the world, and through its travels much has changed. What is important is to keep the truth, study the truth, and most importantly we must share the truth.

With that being said the following transmission of information follows the guidelines set by our teachers within the methodology of “Kuden”, or oral transmission of the knowledge. This work is not of just this author, but represents the knowledge of many masters from the beginning of time, to the present day.

In over forty years of study, it is the best I can humbly provide to those who come after me.

I dedicate this to my grandson Alexander Blake Matich. His heritage is that from many generations of warriors including Japanese Samurai, American Indian, and European heritage as well. His grandfathers have historically served as warriors for over twenty generations.

Some of the work described below is from copyrighted material of other authors. Yet I find it difficult to understand how any person can copyright history. I do acknowledge the author of the content provided and presented, yet I include it at my own peril simply because it is too important not to. I do hope they understand.

  

What is Karate ?

by Bud Morgan

What Karate is now, is many different things to many different people. Karate as we know it today, has it’s roots in Okinawa, but by it’s very nature has now spread across the entire Universe. Virtually every country on Earth has had it’s own impact on the art of Karate. Karate has grown into a magnificent sport that has attracted millions of follower’s into it’s fold. The vision of Itosu Sensei has truly blossomed. The art of Karate has now been made available to the masses, young and old. The level of sporting karate is at it’s very best technical level ever.

And yet, to the well trained karate-ka, the knowledge of how to revert the art of Karate back to the original art of Okinawa-te, a method of bujutsu, or the warring/combat aspects of the art, are readily at hand. This is the beauty of the art itself. Not only can it be taught at various levels, depending on the needs of the practitioner, but it continues to be a catalyst for developing the warrior skills from whence it originated.

The history of Karate’s beginning is somewhat obscure due to the lack of written records, and therefore much of the information we do have is based on oral transmission of the facts. The true beginning of Karate was based on the blending of Chinese Chuan Fa or Kempo and the Okinawan art of Te.

Satunuku “Tode” Sakugawa (1733-1815) is considered to be the first teacher of true (Seito) Okinawan Karate. Also called Kanga Sakugawa, he was an Okinawan martial artist who played a major role in the development of Te, the precursor to modern Karate. In 1750, Sakukawa (or Sakugawa) began his training as a student of an Okinawan monk, Peichin Takahara. After six years of training, Takahara suggested that Sakugawa train under Kusanku, a Chinese master in Ch’uan Fa. Sakugawa spent six years training with Kusanku, and began to spread what he learned to Okinawa in 1762. Kusanku is credited with development of both the “Hikite” or pulling hand and for the develpment of Kumiai Jutsu (Kumite), or fighting techniques. In most all styles of Karate, even today there exists a Kata by the name of Kushanku, or it’s derivative, ie. Kusanku, Kanku, Kosokun, or Kongsangun.

Sakugawa then begins to teach the new art of “Tode” and teaches many distinguished martial artists, among them Bushi Ukuda, Macabe Chokun, Bushi Matsumoto, and Sokon “Bushi” Matsumura. “Bushi” Matsumura (1797-1889) was by all accounts one of the top martial artists of his time. His style of Shuri-te (Tode) certainly formulated the beginnings of the Shorin Ryu style, although his student Ankoh Itosu (1830-1915) is generally credited with the founding of the wording “Karate”. Fortunately for us all, Bushi Matsumura left us a small, but important piece of information contained in a letter sent to one of his pupils.

The Precepts of Master Matsumura

You must first resolve to study if you wish to understand the truth of martial arts. This resolve is very important.

Fundamentally, the arts and the martial arts are the same. Each has three fundamental elements.

As far as Art is concerned they are Shisho-no-Gaku, Kunko-no-Gaku and Jussha-no-Gaku.

Shisho-no-Gaku is the art of creative writing and reading – in a word, literature.

Kunko-no-Gaku means to study the past and gain an understanding of ethics by relating past events to our way of life.

Both Shisho-no-Gaku and Kunko-no-Gaku are incomplete until supplemented by Jussha-no-Gaku, (the study of the moral aspects of the teaching of Confucius).

Have a tranquil heart and you can prevail over a village, a country, or the world. The study of Jussha-no-Gaku is the supreme study over both Shisho-no-Gaku and Kunko-no-Gaku.

These then are the three elements necessary for the study of the Arts.

If we consider Budo, there are also three precepts. They are Gukushi-no-Bugei, Meimoko-no-Bugei and Budo-no-Bugei.

Gukushi-no-Bugei is nothing more than a technical knowledge of Bugei. Like a woman, it is just superficial and has no depth.

Meimoko-no-Bugei refers to a person who has physical understanding of Bugei. He can be a powerful and violent person who can easily defeat other men. He has no self-control and is dangerous and can even harm his own family.

Budo-no-Bugei is what I admire. With this you can let the enemy destroy himself – just wait with a calm heart and the enemy will defeat himself.

People who practice Budo-no-Bugei are loyal to their friends, their parents and their country. They will do nothing that is unnatural and contrary to nature.

We have “Seven Virtues of Bu”. They are:

Bu prohibits violence.
Bu keeps discipline in soldiers.
Bu keeps control among the population.
Bu spreads virtue.
Bu gives a peaceful heart.
Bu helps keep peace between people.
Bu makes people or a nation prosperous.

Our forefathers handed these seven virtues down to us.
Just as Jussha-no-Gaku is supreme in the arts, so Budo-no-Bugei is supreme in the martial arts.

“Mon-Bu” (Art and Martial Arts) have the same common elements. We do not need Gukushi-no-Bugei or Meimoko-no-Bugei – this is the most important thing.

I leave these words to my wise and beloved deshi Kuwae.
Bucho Matsumura

Around the turn of the century, Ankoh Itosu introduced Karate (Tode) to the Okinawan Board of Education, and was asked to develop a program suitable for inclusion in the Physical Education curriculum. This Karate was to be distinguished by a different Kanji, being read as “Kute” or as “Empty Hand”, instead of “Tode” or “China Hand”, however both are pronounced as “Karate”.

In 1904, Itosu introduced the “Pinan” Kata 1-5. He also designated a total of fourteen kata for his PE karate program. The kata’s named were Pinan Shodan, Pinan Nidan, Pinan Sandan, Pinan Yondan, Pinan Godan, Naihanchi Shodan, Naihanchi Nidan, Naihanchi Sandan, Bassai Dai, Bassai Sho, Kosokun Dai, Kosokun Sho, Chinto, and Gojushiho.

In 1908, Itosu presented his “Toudi Jakkajo” (Karate Report) to outline his less lethal form of Te by way of his famous “Ten Teachings”.

10 precepts from Yasutsune “Ankoh” Itosu

°Tode did not develop from the way of Buddhism or Confucianism. In the recent past Shorin-ryu and Shorei-ryu were brought over from China. They both have similar strong points, so, before there are too many changes, I should like to write these down.

°Tode is primarily for the benefit of health. In order to protect one’s parents or one’s master, it is proper to attack a foe regardless of one’s own life. Never attack a lone adversary. If one meets a villain or a ruffian one should not use tode but simply parry and step aside.

°The purpose of tode is to make the body hard like stones and iron; hands and feet should be used like the points of arrows; hearts should be strong and brave. If children were to practice tode from their elementary-school days, they would be well prepared for military service. When Wellington and Napoleon met they discussed that ‘tomorrow’s victory will come from today’s playground’.

°Tode cannot be learned quickly. Like a slow moving bull, that eventually walks a thousand miles, if one studies seriously every day, in three or four years one will understand what tode is about. The very shape of one’s bones will change. Those who study as follows will discover the essence of tode:

°In tode the hands and feet are important so they should be trained thoroughly on the makiwara. In so doing drop your shoulders, open your lungs, take hold of your strength, grip the floor with your feet and sink your intrinsic energy to your lower abdomen. Practice with each arm one or two hundred times.

°When practicing tode forms (kata) make sure your back is straight, drop your shoulders, take your strength and put it in your legs, stand firmly and put the intrinsic energy in your lower abdomen, the top and bottom of which must be held together tightly.

°The bunkai (application of kata techniques) should be carefully practiced, one by one, many times. Because these techniques are passed on by word of mouth, take the trouble to learn the explanations and decide when and in what context it would be possible to use them. Observe principles of torite(grappling) and applications will be more easily understand.

°You must decide whether tode is for cultivating a healthy body or for defense.

°During practice you should imagine you are on the battle field. When blocking and striking make the eyes glare, drop the shoulders and harden the body. Now block the enemy’s punch and strike! Always practice with this spirit so that, when on the real battlefield, you will naturally be prepared.

°Do not overexert yourself during practice because the intrinsic energy will rise up your face and eyes will turn red and your body will be harmed. Be careful.

°In the past many of those who have mastered tode have lived to an old age. This is because tode aids the development of the bones and sinews, it helps the digestive organs and is good for the circulation of the blood. Therefore, from now on tode should become the foundation of all sports lessons from elementary schools onward. If this is put into practice there will, I think, be many men who can win against ten aggressors.

The reason for stating all this is that it is my opinion that all students at the Okinawa Prefectural Teachers’ Training College should practice tode, so that when they graduate from here they can teach the children in the schools exactly as I have taught them. Within ten years tode will spread all over Okinawa and to the Japanese mainland. This will be a great asset to our militaristic society. I hope you will carefully study the words I have written.

Itosu Ankoh 1908

Two other Shurite experts assisited Itosu in developing the School PE Karate Program. They were Chomo Hanashiro and Kentsu Yabu. Although Hanashiro was the first to publish the Kanji for Karate as “Kute”, it is Funakoshi Gichin (1868-1957), the student of Itosu who was responsible for promoting the “Empty Hand” term on mainland Japan.

Funakoshi was one of the school teachers with some training in Shuri-te and was therefore sought out by Itosu and his assistants to promote and teach the new system of Karate. In 1917 Funakoshi went to Japan to introduce the PE Karate Program. He returned to Japan in 1922 and was to remain there for the remainder of his life.

Gichin Funakoshi is known as the “Father of Modern Karate”. His style became known as “Shotokan” with the construction of his Dojo between 1936 and 1938, which reportedly opened in January of 1939. The art of Shotokan Karate has taken on many changes throughout it’s history, with many of those changes being implemented by the JKA, or the Japan Karate Association after Funakoshi’s death. We know for certain that it is not the same as it was when Funakoshi brought the Original Karate Syllabus to Japan.

Funakoshi Sensei did leave us with some important pieces of work. The Niju Kun, or Twenty Precepts is an example of Funakoshi’s beliefs that karate could be used as a tool to develop one’s character.

While it has been suggested that the kun were documented by around 1890, they were first published in 1938 in a book The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate in the form below:

Niju Kun

1) Karate-do begins and ends with rei
空手道は礼に始まり礼に終る事を忘るな
Karate-do wa rei ni hajimari rei ni owaru koto a wasaru na

2) There is no first strike in karate
空手に先手なし
Karate ni sente nashi

3) Karate stands on the side of justice
空手は義の補け
Karate wa, gi no taske

4) First know yourself, then know others
先づ自己を知れ而して他を知れ
Mazu onore o shire, shikashite ta o shire

5) Mentality over technique
技術より心術
Gijitsu yori shinjitsu

6) The mind must be set free
心は放たん事を要す
Kokoro wa hanatan koto o yosu

7) Calamity springs from carelessness
禍は懈怠に生ず
Wazawai wa ketai ni seizu

8) Karate goes beyond the dojo
道場のみの空手と思ふな
Dojo nomino karate to omou na

9) Karate is a lifelong pursuit
空手の修業は一生である
Karate-do no shugyo wa isssho de aru

10) Apply the way of karate to all things. Therein lies its beauty
凡ゆるものを空手化せよ其処に妙味あり
Ara yuru mono o karateka seyo; sokoni myomi ari

11) Karate is like boiling water; without heat, it returns to its tepid state
空手は湯の如し絶えず熱度を与えざれば元の水に還る
Karate Wa Yu No Gotoku Taezu Netsu O Atae Zareba Motono Mizuni Kaeru

12) Do not think of winning. Think, rather, of not losing
勝つ考は持つな負けぬ考は必要
Katsu kangae wa motsuna; makenu kangae wa hitsuyo

13) Make adjustments according to your opponent
敵に因って轉化せよ
Tekki ni yotte tenka seyo

14) The outcome of a battle depends on how one handles emptiness and fullness (weakness and strength)
戦は虚実の操縦如何に在り
Tattakai wa kyo-jitsu no soju ikan ni ari

15) Think of hands and feet as swords
人の手足を剣と思へ
Hi to no te-ashi wa ken to omoe

16) When you step beyond your own gate, you face a million enemies
男子門を出づれば百万の敵あり
Danshi mon o izureba hyakuman no teki ari

17) Kamae is for beginners; later, one stands in shizentai
構は初心者に後は自然体
Kamae wa shoshinsha ni atowa shizentai

18) Perform kata exactly; actual combat is another matter
形は正しく実戦は別物
Kata wa tadashiku, jisen wa betsumono

19) Do not forget the employment of withdrawal of power, the extension or contraction of the body, the swift or leisurely application of technique
力の強弱体の伸縮技の緩急を忘るな
Chikara no kyojaku tai no shinshuku waza no kankyu

20) Be constantly mindful, diligent, and resourceful, in your pursuit of the Way
常に思念工夫せよ
Tsune ni shinen ku fu seyo

 

The Five Dojo Kun

Senior instructors at the JKA developed the Five Dojo Kun, which every-one studying at the JKA commits to memory. With each practice session at the dojo, students kneel in the seiza position and repeat these five precepts out loud. This process reminds students of the right attitude, frame of mind and virtues to strive for both within the dojo, and outside. The number 1, or Hitotsu, was used to precede each of the following, in order to assure all five rules were considered equally important.

1) Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto Seek perfection of character

1) Makoto no michi o mamoru koto Be sincere

1) Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto Put maximum effort into everything you do

1) Reigi o omonzuru koto Respect others

1) Kekki no yuu o imashimuru koto Develop self-control

Varying translations and interpretations of the dojo kun exists. Each translation differs in the terms used and the interpretations vary regarding the philosophical depth, meaning, and intention. The population of English karate practitioners has pushed one form of the translation into being the most widely accepted outside of Japan. Generally, the English translation states:

Each person must strive for the perfection of one’s character.
Each person must be faithful and protect the way of truth.
Each person must endeavour (fostering the spirit of effort).
Each person must respect others and the rules of etiquette.
Each person must refrain from violent behavior (guard against impetuous courage).

A more terse translation is used by many Dojo’s:

Seek Perfection Of Character
Be Faithful

Endeavor
Respect Others
Refrain From Violent Behavior

In recent times we have began to realize the truth of what Karate was and what it has become. It was and is the product of Ankoh Itosu’s desires to spread the cultural fighting arts of Okinawa to many people.

He then developed a program for the youth of Okinawa, to be taught within the school systems. Although this program was elementary in it’s design, the true master of Karate (according to Kinjo Sensei and Mitani Sensei) is also aware of how to convert the techniques of Karate back to the art of Shuri-te, one of the original systems of Okinawa-te. This is what gives us the ability to teach our system correctly, and to teach to the students needs and capabilities.

Kazuya Mitani is the student of Hiroshi Kinjo. Hiroshi Kinjo was the student of Chosin Chibana and of Chomo Hanashiro. Hanashiro Sensei was both a student of, and an assistant to Ankoh Itosu. Through Mitani Sensei we were able to realize the truth of our roots. Karate had no styles in the beginning. It was simply Karate.

Master Funakoshi, in the middle of our last century, was known to have written the following poem and calligraphy: 

 
“To search for the Old is to understand the New. The Old, The New, this is a matter of time. In all things man must have a clear mind.
The Way: Who will pass it on straight and well

 

On Karate and Budo

Written by Kazuya Mitani and Edited by Bud Morgan

Buddhism and Taoism are the main Oriental philosophies and although these two philosophies have a close relation in Budo, they are different. It is because it had united with Taoism rather than the pure Buddhism (Indian philosophy) of China.

It is in which the Buddhism imported by Japan was called Chinese-books Buddhism, and it was united with Taoism.

Budo was greatly influenced by this Chinese-books Buddhism, and many of theoretical basis of martial arts were obtained from here.

The cult which had influence important for Budo was the Zen sect. In ancient Japan, many martial art people received the instruction of a priest of high virtue. They trained their heart by Buddhism, and studied skill.

Here, a martial art and zen were united. This is called Budo in the present age.

It is such if it is roughly called the Oriental philosophy stated here. It is monism that this differs from an Occidental view fundamentally.

For example, the adjective which means two contraries is the opposite meaning in dualism. In Oriental philosophy, this is considered to be the same thing. The low thing is the same as a high thing. The ugly thing is the same as a beautiful thing. An attack and defense are the same things.

Zanshin (it leaves the heart) was also born from here. It is explained to leave the heart without leaving the heart.

It is difficult for us to explain this by means of words, and to understand by means of words. Then, it is said that it conveys to the heart from the bottom of its heart.

“Gokui to iu ha ishin denshin” The secret is conveyed to the heart from the bottom of its heart.

Simultaneity is in one of the secrets of Budo. A martial art requires a quick response. If a time lag is there, one thinks he cannot beat the opponent. Making this response time into zero is called for.

It is explained as the nimbleness to which one thread of hair does not fit in between. “Kan hatsu wo irezu.”

If a window is opened, the light of the moon will arrive on the floor. Did he open the window first? Or did the light of the moon enter first? It was simultaneous.

“Shoji akureba tsuki no sasu nari.”If a window is opened, the light of the moon will enter.

“Mizu no shizuku ni utsuru tsukikage.”The light of the moon is reflected in the drop of water.

These are the words for teaching the secret of budo. People made this word the hint and were told to understand the secret of budo.

I have to mention Oriental philosophy in many cases. I will carry out by carrying out, and I will stop at this juncture now, and speak of Karate.

Anko Itosu created karate with the duel purpose of improving one’s humanity and physical strength. This is how karate began.

Educational Karate is the original and the true karate. This is the biggest difference between the original karate and the karate we have today that attached style names.

Matsumura-Te, later to be known more commonly as Shuri-Te, is the mother of the original karate.

Shuri-te differs from that which was known simply as Te. Shurite, thanks to Matsumura, has a most excellent fighting technology (maniau) that was incorporated into karate. The purpose of Shurite was self-defense.

This is not the home page of pure “Budo.” I would need to cover other elements such as, “Bushido, Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism”. Each of these could fill a book or even several books.

This is for considering karate and its relationship to the term karate-do. There are many errors in this regard as many Japanese are ignorant about these matters and in particular, karate teachers.

Another problem is that the term “zanshin”, which even Japanese people do not understand is also becoming out of control.

Is anything related to karate and zanshin?

I aim to provide you with information about Budo to help with your understanding of karate.

Generally it is said that “Karate is Budo” and not a sport.

However a part of karate is a sport, some hold the view that it is not a common sport, so what is karate?

Although this is a general view in Japan, what is the view in the world?

Seemingly, sport karate and Budo karate both exist in foreign countries. Is karate aiming to be a tournament sport? Then, what is Budo Karate?

Does Budo mean the art of self-defense?

What thing is Budo really? It cannot be argued whether karate is budo or is not if we do not know what Budo is.

If I express my opinion, I will only be involved in an argument without a conclusion or worse, it may also become the cause of karate war.

If I listen to the opinion of people in Japan about Budo, I will be surprised at their misunderstanding and ignorance. What is the situation in the world?

The opinion about karate is very confused. In Japan, it is because karate people are ignorant.

In the world, the difference of culture is a large barrier.

Originating in the difference in philosophy cannot overlook the difference of this culture, either. Probably, a word, an intention, besides feeling, etc. will be difficult for understanding the essential difference in culture.

I will explain Budo, Japanese culture, Oriental philosophy, especially Zen, and I will provide information about them.

I have been engaged in karate for a half-century. At the graduate school, I studied Budo.

I was also the karate teacher of a public high school in Chiba Prefecture. My junior students dominated in the All-Japan tournament for many years.

My dojo is known as the strongest dojo in Tokyo and Japan. I am the student of Hiroshi Kinjo. I know a few things about karate.

Present-day Japan is Japan, and is not Japan. It is also difficult in the environment of Japan today to understand budo or karate.

Is Karate Budo?

I explained what budo was from various angles. I want to ask you this “Is karate budo?”

I think that karate should be raised to budo in the future, but I feel it is very dangerous to be taken to task by people who do not understand budo, if karate is budo. What do you think?

Conditions to discuss karate as budo :
1. Demonstrate an understanding of Budo.
2. Understand Zen and Taoism correctly.
3. One does not have a huge ego.
4. Understand karate correctly.

Wouldn’t many karate teachers fail in an examination such as this?

The present condition of the Karate community :

People who do not know karate make noises about karate. People who do not know Budo express an opinion about Budo. Michi (Do) is discussed without understanding Oriental philosophy.

These things trouble me very much.

Degeneration of karate : A church depraves Christianity. A temple depraves Buddhism. That is because a religious group is organized and class is introduced.

This is the side on which the human world became dirty. The same will be said of the karate community.

Karate is not about Dan level. Karate is not a Kata list.

Karate is not the status and referee license in a federation.

I will mention several books. If you study Bushido, I will recommend “Bushido” of Nitobe in the first place. This is the best starting point for Europeans and Americans and it is written in English.

Although the study of Confucianism is not necessarily required, read “Rongo” if you are keen. This is a book about outstanding morality. Since it is not carried out by not learning about Zen, a book is not needed.

Zazensan which I mentioned is one piece of paper.

You do not need to learn about Taoism in my opinion.

Many English books are published about the above and you can begin research at any time. Although Zazensan may be difficult to locate, there are to many unnecessary books of Zen published.

The budo document called “Neko no myojutsu”(Skill which was excellent in the cat), “Teng Geijutsuron”(A tengu’s artistic discussion ), etc. is also published in English. “Neko no myojutsu” is the jujutsu book which enables one to understand Taoism.

The book “Ken to Zen” is another. I do not know whether there is any English translation of this book, but this is an outstanding Budo book which explains the essence of Budo pleasantly and intelligibly.

The author is Sogen Omori and he is the priest of Zenshu. Furthermore, he is the specialist of Kendo. His kendo is Jikishinkage-Ryu. He is Soke of the 16th generation Jikishinkage-Ryu.

Probably, all, such as Budo, Zen, and Bushido, are known with this one book.

Attaching a ‘style’ name is meaningless with karate.

I have always said that style karate is not true karate.

Karate was performed in the radius 500m or a little less in a narrow area in Okinawa.

There was no style etc. there.

But the martial art of a Japanese mainland is another story. Although it is a small country, Japan compared to Okinawa is huge.

Many styles were born there. Like karate, kata of the same name did not exist in a different style. People of each area produced the characteristic original styles.

Mitani Kazuya, President Okinawa Seito Karate-do SeitokukaiChiba, Japan

 

About Kumite and Tuite

By Mitani Kazuya (Translated by Joe Swift from the Seitokukai Japanese language web site)

I have already written on Kihon-gata and Kihon for Kumite. If Kumite and Tuite are the actual techniques, then kata is the Kihon.

This is the theory of Karate practice as written in Itosu’s 10 lessons, i.e. to learn Kumite through Kata and to practice on the Makiwara. I also learned this way, but I was interested in how styles other than Karate did things as well. Especially the competitive format as developed by the JKA.

As I watched this format, I believed that Karate could also be used in this arena, so I participated in the modern arena. I believed that 70-80% of Karate techniques could be used there. And, just as I thought the athletes from my organization showed the power of Karate. I also have interest in other styles fighting techniques.

Leaving this alone for a while, I also hear that Karate is based on kata, or that it is a Budo passed on through kata. I have believed this way of thinking was a bit odd over the years. The different kinds of Te probably had this tendency, but the Te of Matsumura had to have been Kumite and Tuite. The concept of “being in time” that Matsumura passed on shows this.

Karate uses Kumite and Tuite as its central practice as well, according to Itosu’s 10 precepts. Hanashiro Chomo Sensei (Kinjo Sensei’s teacher) wrote his “Karate Kumite” in 1905, the year Karate was established, so Kumite existed right from the very beginning.

Leaving Tuite alone for a while, this means that Kumite was a central theme in Karate. Hanashiro Sensei was one of the originators of Karate, and he learned Matsumura’s Te, meaning that the same was true of Matsumura’s Te. Also, as we can see from the 10 Precepts, Tuite was also used in Karate.

Karate was practiced mainly solo, but it was not Kata practice. Even if you practice kata every day you will not improve at Karate. This is also generally misunderstood.

Itosu Sensei distinguished between Kumite and Tuite, but I believe this distinction is comparatively recent. I believe that they were considered the same in the past.

On the “Oshima Hikki,” Te is referred to as Kumiai-jutsu. The person who was responsible for bringing it to Ryukyu was Koshankin. Thinking on the existence of Kushanku Kata, then it must have been Koshankin who disseminated the Kumiai-jutsu on which this kata is based. This Kumiai-jutsu may have been dying out or lost by the time Matsumura came around (this is why Matsumura’s Te was created), but it was the first art transmitted.

This Kumiai-jutsu, as we can see from the kata, must have considered Kumite and Tuite as the same thing. Looking at Motobu Sensei’s “Watashi no Karate-jutsu” and “Okinawa Kenpo Karate-jutsu” (he says Karate but it is really Shuri-te), he shows many photos within grappling range, showing that Kumite and Tuite were not clearly distinguished. (Comparing these photos with the Kumite photos in later books, we can see that Motobu Sensei was actually good at what he was showing).

Kinjo Sensei is the same in this regard: when facing him and exchanging blows, you are invariably grappled and tied up. Thus, Kumite and Tuite are actually one in the same, but they were broken up for the purposes of analysis.

 

About the Kata of Karate

By Mitani Kazuya:

Kata is not technology (waza) but a style (yoshiki). It is not the style but the technology of fighting that is useful to us.

Technology is in a style but the style itself is not technology. Many Japanese karate teachers do not know this.

Thus the great difference in the relationship between a style and technology is not usually known. Traditional karate differs greatly from other karate at this point. Although nobody knows it, this is the difference between Shurite and other karate.

I do not agree with kata competition. There are very few kata that relate to kumite. The only karate kata that I teach my students are Naifanchi Shodan and Pinan Nidan. I use the technology from these kata in kumite competition.

The technology of a kata competition is mostly the technology of dance. This is the reason I do not favor kata competition. I teach other kata only for kata competition. This is not karate but more like freestyle dance. I teach the following kata for this purpose: Nipaipo, Oyadomori Passai, MatsumuraPassai, Anan, Heiku, and some others.

On Pinan Nidan:

Pinan Nidan is the simplest kata. It is the stepping punch (oi-zuki) and the correct timing and proper distance (maniau) that I teach from Pinan Nidan. I do not know any others that teach this. Maybe there are no other teachers in mainland Japan who understand Pinan Nidan.

The stepping punch is delivered before the foot lands. It is the method of putting weight into a punch. There are few people who can understand oi-zuki from the instruction of many Japanese karate teachers.

When I see the Pinan Nidan (Heian Shodan) of Shotokan, Shitoryu and Wadoryu, I have to believe that Gichin Funakoshi, Kenwa Mabuni, and Hironori Ohtsuka could not have understood karate. It is clear to me!

On Naifanchi:

There is no oi-zuki in the kumite lesson from Naifanchi. One of the features is not switching the body. It is “ushiro-te sabaki maete-zuki” that is demonstrated. It means that kizami-zuki is carried out, by defending with the rear hand. This is difficult waza in a kumite tournament. Therefore, I only teach this to experienced adult competitors.

I teach neither sanbon kumite nor ippon kumite. I do not teach ido kihon either. This kihon is for kata, not for karate. These are all methods developed by Shotokan. In the Japanese mainland, karate is wholly based on such training. I think it is a big mistake and will not lead to understanding karate.

I carry out the methods for practicing original karate. Karate practice methods are not about learning kata. Karate practices fighting techniques by using a makiwara. This is the difference between true karate and other karate. The “10 teachings of Itosu” is our textbook.

Mitani Kazuya

 
 

Funakoshi Gichin, the Early History of Karate in Japan

Author unknown
edited by Bud Morgan

The great karate master Gichin Funakoshi was a key pioneer in the development of modern karate.

In fact, he was one of the instructors responsible for bringing traditional Okinawan karate to Japan. He himself was caught in the great wave of social change sweeping through Japan and its prefectures. His contributions include authoring several of the first publications describing the previously secret art of karate, strengthening the connection between character development and karate training, and the development of modern teaching methods. Master Funakoshi supported the realization that karate would evolve from a provincial fighting system to a prominent member of the modern Japanese martial arts.

Funakoshi was born at the beginning of the Meiji Period (1868), a period of considerable change throughout Japan. Meiji means “Enlightened Rule” and with the reigns of power transferring from the Shogun back to the Emperor, modernization and social change became the order of the day. This was a time of considerable social change and exposure to new ideas. This period led to a new view of Japan in the modern world.

Because Funakoshi reached adulthood during this volatile period, he had great opportunity to witness and consider the nature of change within society. By his actions, Master Azato, one of Funakoshi’s primary teachers, demonstrated his insight regarding change during this period. Azato demonstrated his support for change by cutting his topknot off when they were first declared illegal. This enlightened view toward the reforms of the Meiji Period probably influenced Funakoshi.

The clandestine practice of karate persisted through the early years of Meiji. This would change also. Karate was about to come out of the dark and into the light of day. It didn’t take long before many prominent and influential members of society took notice of karate and its virtues. This departure from secrecy to open contribution to society should be viewed in the context of social changes brought on by the Meiji Period. Karate was being changed from merely a fighting art to an art which improves human beings through rigorous and challenging endeavor.

The value of karate as a means of self-improvement was a key point which Funakoshi became expert at describing when lecturing about karate. He widened the scope in regards to who should practice karate. He stated that karate “should be simple enough to be practiced without undue difficulty by everybody, young and old, boys and girls, men and women.” His opinion that karate training can contribute to both mental and physical health must have some genesis in his recovery from poor health during early youth.

He further described benefits of practice in the following way. “Karate-do is not merely a sport that teaches how to strike and kick; it is also a defense against illness and disease.”

Because of this way of viewing the value of karate, it began to make the all-important transition from jutsu (technique) to do (way).

One of the areas were Funakoshi exhibited a pioneering outlook was in his appreciation of different styles of martial art. Azato demonstrated an open mind toward the other martial arts by encouraging Funakoshi to study them also.

There was considerable rivalry between some of the schools of karate, with some claiming superiority due to their Chinese influence (ch’uan fa) and others claiming superiority because of their Okinawan heritage (tode). One of the chief areas of contribution by Funakoshi was to look beyond this situation of inter-style competitiveness and seek a synthesis of the best aspects from the different styles.

Given the open minds of his two primary instructors, Azato and Itosu, Funakoshi was in an ideal position to appreciate the strong points of the various styles of karate and begin integrating them together. He had been exposed to the different styles of the two masters, Shorei through Azato and Shorin through Itosu, and had trained with many of the other prominent Okinawan karate masters of the day. Funakoshi had become the most eclectic karateka of his day.

Karate was to undergo an important transition during the Meiji Period. It was time to evolve away from its secretive and lethal past and move into a new phase of public interest and contribution to society. It was perceived that karate had much to offer to a rapidly changing society during the upheaval created by Meiji Period reforms. In fact, the public’s interest in karate was aroused by several key events during this new phase of development.

The commissioner of public schools, Shintaro Ogawa, strongly recommended in a report to the Japanese Ministry of Education that the physical education programs of the normal schools and the First Public High School of Okinawa Prefecture include karate as part of their training. This recommendation was accepted and initiated by these schools in 1902.

So began a long, fruitful, and continuing relationship with the educational system. Funakoshi recalls that this was the first time that karate was introduced to the general public. Thereafter, karate was successfully incorporated into the Okinawan school system.

To what extent did Funakoshi, due to his background and personal familiarity as a teacher within the Okinawa educational system, play a part in this development? It seems evident that this new policy demanded an even-handed, unbiased approach to representing and teaching karate so nobody was offended by omission. Funakoshi performed the task of primary spokesman for Okinawan karate with the capability of a seasoned diplomat.

Some years later, Captain Yashiro visited Okinawa and saw a karate demonstration by Funakoshi’s primary school pupils. He was so impressed that he issued orders for his crew to witness and learn karate.

Then, in 1912, the Imperial Navy’s First Fleet, under the command of Admiral Dewa, visited Okinawa. About a dozen members of the crew stayed for a week to study karate. Yashiro and Dewa were thus responsible for the first military exposure to karate and brought favorable word of this new martial art back to Japan.

During the years 1914 and 1915, a group that included Mabuni, Motobu, Kyan, Gusukuma, Ogusuku, Tokumura, Ishikawa, Yahiku, and Funakoshi gave many demonstrations throughout Okinawa. This practice would have been quite unheard of during the earlier period of secrecy. It was due to the tireless efforts of this group in popularizing karate through lectures and demonstration tours that karate became well known to the Okinawan public.

In 1921, the crown prince Hirohito visited Okinawa. Captain Kanna, an Okinawan by birth and commander of the destroyer on which the crown prince was traveling, suggested that the prince observe a karate demonstration. Funakoshi was in charge of the demonstration. This was a great honor for Funakoshi and further established him as a prominent champion of Okinawan karate. It was shortly before the crown prince’s visit that Funakoshi resigned his teaching position, but maintained excellent relations with the Okinawan school system.

It was the Japan Department of Education which, in late 1921, invited Funakoshi to participate in a demonstration of ancient Japanese martial arts. In order to make the greatest impression, something more than a demonstration was called for.

With significant assistance from Hoan Kosugi, the famous Japanese painter, Funakoshi published the first book pertaining to karate, Ryukyu Kempo: Karate. This book was forwarded by such prominent citizens as the Marquis Hisamasa, the former governor of Okinawa, Admiral R. Yashiro, Vice Admiral C. Ogasawara, Count Shimpei Goto, Lieutenant General C. Oka, Rear Admiral N. Kanna, Professor N. Tononno, and B. Sueyoshi of the Okinawa Times.

Soon, Funakoshi was balancing his time between early university clubs (such as Keio and Takushoku), a main dojo, and speaking and demonstration requests. His age ranged from 50 to 60 over this period — he was supposed to be approaching the autumn of his life and was instead introducing karate to Japan!

Funakoshi’s background as an educator was helpful for presenting ideas in concise and systematic fashion. Funakoshi pioneered the organization of karate instruction into three fundamental categories of practice: kihon, kata and kumite. In fact, practice of kumite was rather new and aroused great enthusiasm among the young university students. Competition between university karate clubs helped fuel the interest in kumite and the popularity of karate.

Once in Japan, the universities became fertile ground for karate study. Was this also a result of Funakoshi’s educational and intellectual background? Was it because karate represented a wonderful blend of physical and mental challenge, combined with a sense of tradition and history? The popularity among the intellectually inclined was very fortunate for karate. The university groups helped transform karate from a mysterious, arcane art to a scientific martial art and modern sport.

Master Jigoro Kano, the father of modern judo, was instrumental in acknowledging karate as a valued Japanese martial art and in encouraging Funakoshi to stay in Japan. Even several sumo wrestlers became students of karate-do during this early period. They clearly recognized a noteworthy and potent martial art. During a period where Funakoshi wasn’t able to use floor space at the Meisei Juku, H. Nakayama, a great kendo instructor, offered Funakoshi the use of his dojo when not in use.

Later, the time came when constructing Funakoshi’s own dojo was ripe. About 1935, supporters gathered sufficient funds to construct the first karate dojo in Japan and in 1936 it was dedicated as the Shoto-kan. By now, many initial students who trained with Funakoshi earlier and had moved to other cities due to work, had also created a demand for instruction throughout the country.

With the acceptance of karate by other established martial arts and with a growing number of dedicated students, the introduction and popularization of karate in Japan was now well underway.

Funakoshi was an advocate of karate’s health benefits. His strong conviction that karate training can enhance physical health must have been influenced by his dramatic recovery from poor health during early youth.

Funakoshi may have subconsciously realized that karate-do, when seen as a well-rounded and highly challenging form of exercise and health maintenance would greatly expand its public appeal and value.

Other qualities had to be learned before Funakoshi could become a successful pioneer. He gained a great sense of humility and modesty from Azato and Itosu. “If they taught me nothing else, I would have profited by the example they set of humility and modesty in all dealings with their fellow human beings.” These qualities were clearly evident when, struggling to make a living upon arrival in Japan, Funakoshi swept the floors and grounds of the Meisei Juku.

The quality of humility was fostered by his two primary instructors. As Funakoshi stated, “Both Azato and his good friend Itosu shared at least one quality of greatness: they suffered from no petty jealousy of other masters.

They would present me to the teachers of their acquaintance, urging me to learn from each the technique at which he excelled.” All indications are that this demonstration of humility and respect made a life-long impression on young Funakoshi.

He learned valuable diplomacy skills as a young school teacher. As an example, he was asked to mediate a dispute involving two different factions by the village of Shaka. The issue was political and stemmed from Meiji reforms. Tact and intelligent arbitration was required to resolve a vexing situation.

Also, his wife became known throughout their Okinawan neighborhood as a skillful mediator. When the neighbors grew quarrelsome, it was often Funakoshi’s wife who interceded on behalf of reason and peace. He had great respect for his wife and probably learned from her diplomatic qualities.

Because of his study with the other prominent karate masters of the day, his integrity and fairness, and his respected position as an educator, Funakoshi evolved into the primary Okinawan karate “public relations” spokesman. He represented a unique blend of well-rounded physical expertise, intelligence, foresight, and conviction. He was articulate, sensitive to tradition and propriety, appropriately humble, and conveyed a sense of balance. Funakoshi felt the pull of Japan and found a nation fertile with eagerness for a martial art with the depth of challenge that karate-do represented. This is surely part of the reason Funakoshi had difficulty ever leaving Japan to return to his family in Okinawa.

The Meiji Period represented a time of great social change in Japan and consequently Okinawa. With the covert aspect of karate practice no longer necessary, it was soon perceived that karate had much to offer to a rapidly changing society. Karate underwent a profound change — it evolved from merely a fighting art to an art which improves the character of its practitioners. This adaptation from a purely self-defense art to a method of self-improvement was probably a response to the social changes initiated by Meiji reforms.

Master Funakoshi described the new notion of karate in the following manner. “Karate is not only the acquisition of certain defensive skills, but also the mastering of the art of being a good and honest member of society.”

This statement indicates the importance of self-improvement and contribution to a better society. No longer could “good” karate be defined simply as a fast punch or powerful kick. Qualities of character were also now a part of the equation. This concept is captured concisely by Funakoshi’s statement that “Karate begins and ends with courtesy.”

Funakoshi performed the task of primary spokesman for Okinawan karate with the capability of a seasoned diplomat. He expertly guided karate through a transition from a clandestine, provincial, feudal period, fighting system to a modern, widely-practiced member of the Japanese martial arts. His efforts and foresight provided the foundation for the wide appeal and eventual internationalization of modern karate.

The importance of Master Funakoshi’s accomplishments and contributions cannot be understated. Rather, events such as described below seem to poignantly capture Funakoshi’s sense of achievement.

“I still vividly recall every single moment of that day when I, with half a dozen of my students, performed karate kata in the imperial presence. The impoverished Okinawan youth who used to walk miles every night to his teacher’s house could hardly have foreseen, even in his dreams, such a high point in his karate career.”

At the end of his life, Funakoshi remembered this event as significant. Events such as this came to signify the emergence of karate as a traditional Japanese martial art. Events such as this also signify the pioneering role that Master Funakoshi so expertly performed. Master Funakoshi died on April 26th, 1957, leaving behind a legacy that continues to this day. He will always be remembered for the role he played in securing Karate for the entire world.

 

Shinken Taira, the great Okinawan Kobudo Master

By Bud Morgan

Shinken Taira was born in Okinawa on June 12th, 1897. His birth name was Maezato Shinken, but it was his mother’s maiden name of Taira which he would become known by.

He was the second son in a family of three boys and one girl, and it has been said he was given up for adoption as a child, (not an uncommon practice in old Japan), and that he was somewhat a mischievous child. At some point in his early life he took on his mother’s maiden name of Taira, and would be known as such for the remainder of his life.

As a young man, Taira Sensei worked in the sulfur mines in Minamii-jima. He suffered a badly broken leg when he was trapped in a mine collapse, having to dig his way free.

This accident caused permanent damage to his right leg, and much hardship for Taira Sensei. It is said that he would carry a limp in his right leg for the remainder of his life.

In 1922, after traveling to Tokyo to find work, he was introduced to Funakoshi Gichin, a fellow Okinawan and Karate instructor who was just settling permanently in Japan. Taira Sensei became a deshi (student) of Funakoshi Gichin in an effort to properly learn Karate-do.

In 1929, Taira Sensei began his studies of Ryukyu Kobudo under Master Yabiku Moden. Yabiku Sensei, who like his colleague Funakoshi Sensei, was working for the promotion of Karate-do as well as Ryukyu Kobudo on the Japanese mainland.

In fact, both Yabiku Sensei and Funakoshi Sensei were quite well acquainted having both received instruction in Shuri-te from Ankoh Itosu Sensei on Okinawa.

During his study under Yabiku Sensei, Taira Sensei mastered the use of such weapons as the Roku-shaku Bo (six foot staff), Eiku (oar), Sai (metal truncheon), Tonfa (right angled hand truncheon), and Nunchaku (wooden flail).

In 1932, after studying Kobudo for approximately three years and Karate-do for 10 years, he received permission from his masters to open his own Dojo. Taira began to teach Karate-do and Kobudo in the quaint hot springs resort town of Ikaho, within Gunma Prefecture, Japan.

Taira Sensei had an insatiable appetite for Budo knowledge. He continuously trained, and researched, finally assimilating his findings into a Kobudo system that remains to this day.

It was because of this constant search for knowledge that, in 1933, Taira Sensei was introduced by Master Funakoshi to Karate and Kobudo master, Mabuni Kenwa . In 1934, Taira Sensei would invite Mabuni Sensei into his home, where he became a deshi, or personal student of Mabuni Sensei.

Mabuni Sensei graciously accepted Taira’s invitation and taught him Karate and Kobudo up until Taira Sensei would return to Okinawa in 1940.

During those six years, Taira housed and paid Mabuni Sensei for his instruction and under the close scrutiny of Mabuni Sensei, Taira expanded his knowledge of both kata and techniques of the Bo and Sai.

In 1940 Taira Sensei returned to Okinawa and shortly after the death of Yabiku Sensei in 1941, he established the beginnings of the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinkokai.

The curriculum of Taira’s Hozon Shinkokai included instruction in the use of nine different weapons and their respective kata. These included kata which he had learned throughout his years of instruction, as well as kata which he had created himself.

He also continued to make frequent trips to both the Kanto and Kansai areas to teach and promote Okinawa Kobudo on the Japanese mainland. His students on the mainland and in Okinawa were a virtual “who’s who” of Karate greats.

Karate giants such as Sakagami Ryushou (Shito-ryu), Hayashi Teruo (Shito-ryu), Kuniba Shogo, Eizo Shimabuku and his brother Tatsuo Shimabuku, as well Mabuni Kenei (son of Shito-ryu founder Mabuni Kenwa) were all frequent practitioners of Taira Sensei’s Kobudo.

In 1955 he officially established the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinkokai, to promote the Ancient Okinawan Martial Arts as passed down to him by so many great masters.

In addition, in the early 1960’s Taira published the first comprehensive book on Ryukyu Kobudo in Japanese entitled, “Ryukyu Kobudo Taiken” which added greatly to popularize the art on Okinawa.

Later in the 1960’s Taira Sensei formalized and strengthened his association by appointing his students to different positions within the Shinko Kai and established testing and licensing standards for his students.

Also in 1963, to further the growth of Karate-do and Kobudo at an international level, the Kokusai Karate-do Kobudo Renmei was formed with Higa Seiko as Chairman, and Taira Shinken as Vice-Chairman.

Later in 1964 Taira Shinken was recognized as a master teacher of Kobudo by the All Japan Kobudo Federation and was awarded his Hanshi certification.

Taira Shinken is credited with bringing together many of the Okinawan’s oldest and most prominent weapons traditions into one comprehensive system of weaponry training.

He left behind a legacy as an innovator of combining unarmed and armed combat, and as an inventor who developed the Manji-Sai. He was by all accounts a truly brilliant martial artist.

Taira Sensei was succeeded in Okinawa by Eisuke Akamine of the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinkokai, and in mainland Japan by Inoue Motokatsu of the Ryukyu Kobujutsu Hozon Shinkokai.

Although there is some dispute as to who was the senior student of Taira Sensei, it is the opinion of this writer that this is an issue of political nature only. These two masters have had the greatest influence on the world-wide preservation of the ancient weapon traditions collected by Taira Sensei, and respectively, they continued the traditions of their teacher in the best way they saw fit.

In the same way that Itosu Ankoh Sensei had formalized the exercises of karate (kata) to establish a more comprehensive system of training, so too did Taira Shinken bring together many of Okinawa’s oldest and most prominent Kobudo traditions.

Taira Sensei also developed his own innovative training exercises (kata), many of which themselves later became standardized Kobudo Kata.

They included kata for the Nunchaku, and the Sansetsu-kun, a three sectioned staff.

With such an extensive collection of Bojutsu knowledge (more than twenty separate traditions) Taira Sensei also decided to create a single kata, which embodied the central elements of cudgel fighting.

This creation, his kata Kongo-no-kun, best illustrates his mastery of the art of Bojutsu.

In an effort to teach the principles of Tekko-jutsu (knuckles dusters), Taira Sensei also developed another kata called Maezato no Tekko. The unique configuration of this kata is believed to have been based upon the foundation developed while learning under Funakoshi Sensei, and is an excellent example of kata. The kata can be performed both with Tekko, and as an empty hand form.

After many years of dedicated work bettering the art of Kobudo, the great master Taira Shinken died at his home in September of 1970 from stomach cancer.

Although gone now from this world, Taira Shinken will not soon be forgotten. His efforts to research, preserve, and promote the ancient fighting traditions of the Ryukyu Kingdom shall live on forever through the enormous legacy he has left behind.

 

The Shuri-te of Gusukuma Shinpan

by Ernest Estrada, Okinawa Shorinryu Kyoshi

One of Yasutsune “Ankoh” Itosu’s students was Gusukuma Shinpan (1890-1954) who was also a peer of Chibana Choshin. Gusukuma, also called Shinpan Shiroma by the Japanese, is virtually unknown due to the fact that he was a very quiet individual who was not interested in spreading the art that he so loved. His only concern was to teach good karate and hence only had a few dedicated students.

Shorin-ryu Training In The 1950’s

Although a peer of Chibana Choshin, very little is said about the master technician, Gusukuma Shinpan. He began teaching shortly after WWII and was close friends with Miyagi Chojun, Kyoda Jyuhatsu and Kyan Chotoku. He taught regularly at Shuri Castle and had a dojo at his home in Nishihara City. He was a school teacher by profession but his first love was Shuri-style karate.

One of his former students was Iha Seikichi (who presently resides in East Lansing, Michigan) who often talks about his teacher. The following are some thoughts concerning how it was like to train in the l950’s under Gusukuma:

Training under Gusukuma-sensei was very strict and traditional. It was a lot of self-training where he would watch to see how hard you wanted to learn. All students would first become an apprentice student and help clean the dojo for six months to a year. They could watch training but could not take part in receiving instructions.

When Gusukuma-sensei thought that they were ready, he would then tell them to join in. Sensei never actively taught but would have the senior students do all the teaching. Sensei would only teach the top two or three students and then have them pass on the knowledge. This was a very traditional way of teaching.

During class, sensei would evaluate every student and advise them of their weaknesses. He would allow each student to demonstrate two kata for him while he watched. Sensei would then tell them that they needed work on their stances, or their power, etc. They would then train themselves based on sensei’s evaluation. Sensei would sometimes show a student a technique and then say, “Ha, I showed you something! You are very lucky I did this! Now go train!!!”

Gusukuma-sensei would personally teach the top two or three senior students and it was then their responsibility to pass on the methods to the rest of the students. One senior would always be there to teach while sensei observed or trained by himself.

Sensei was about 5’1″ and weighed about 125 pounds. He was extremely strong and trained his fists and toes on the makiwara everyday. He believed a karate-man must be able to generate power equivalent to three times their own body weight with either fist or foot. Needless to say, the students were constantly repairing the makiwara punching boards.

If a student did not train hard, Gusukuma-sensei would tell him that he should leave and come back when he was ready to train. If the student continued with this attitude, Gusukuma-sensei would tell him not to come back unless he was serious about learning and training.

Sensei was hardest on students that did not listen. He had a good memory and would often tell a student to work on his punch or kick or kata. If the student did not do this then sensei would bring it to their attention and kick him out of the dojo for wasting his time by not listening.

Makiwara Training

All styles of Okinawan karate-do stress the importance of the makiwara board. It is said that training with the makiwara develops power through concentration of technique. This ability to “focus” is external power developed internally.

Through constant training with the makiwara the student starts developing confidence in their technique. They see that it is stronger than those that have just started and find that through this confidence they are really able to punch and kick harder.

This is the usual difference found in Okinawan karate as opposed to the others. Their focus is on power – and the power is extracted from the makiwara. A lot of people can look good punching the air but their power can be seen as lacking or in some cases, non-existent. So, through makiwara training, one can readily see the power generated by training with these ancient pieces of equipment.

Gusukuma Shinpan stressed and possessed great power for a man of his size (approximately five feet tall). He believed in being able to hit the makiwara with the equivalent of three times your own body weight. So, if one weighed approximately one hundred pounds, Gusukuma felt that this individual must be able to hit with approximately three hundred pounds of force.

Gusukuma strived to developed this kind of power with both hands and both feet. He kept this level of power through training with the makiwara board and striking it approximately 300 times per day with each weapon. He was a firm believer that a measure of a karate person was in their ability to produce this kind of power.

Teaching Methods

Gusukuma’s teaching methods consisted of kata, kata and more kata. He believe that kata provided the foundation of the body and spirit.

He said that the Japanese sword is sharp and beautiful but that in order to get to this end (that is, sharp and beautiful) it must be pounded and tempered with the sweat of one’s body.

So the teacher must do the same to the student. If the student is dedicated to the hard training of Okinawan karate, then he can be molded into something sharp and beautiful. After all, Okinawan karate-do, if done correctly, is “sharp and very beautiful” to watch. And like a sharp and beautiful Japanese sword, it is also very deadly.

Techniques

In the kata kusanku-dai, in the kick and the drop down technique, Gusukuma stood supreme. He could kick and travel about eight feet before he dropped down.

Gusukuma changed a number of Itosu’s kata and techniques to coincide with his own personal “enlightenment.” He stated that this is a common practice by all karatemen and that it is merely based on human nature to try and improve what one has learned.

Gusukuma Shinpan had no fingernails because of his constant practice of the spear hand technique (nukite) on the bamboo bundles that he used as training aids.

The Bus Driver

In Okinawa, one of Gusukuma’s students was a bus driver. One time a drunk got on board the bus and started to cause trouble with the passengers by trying to pick a fight. The student yelled at the drunk, “do you really want to fight?”

The drunk was quick to take up the challenge and demanded to fight now. The student then said that he would be more than glad to show him his fighting prowess. At this the drunk became very angry and demanded that the driver open the door so that they could go at it. When the door opened the drunk stormed off and readied himself by taking off his coat.

As the drunk got off, the student just simply smiled, quickly closed the door of the bus and drove off with the drunk in hot pursuit. After a several hundred feet run, the drunk fell and threw up on himself. The driver had nothing to prove to the drunk or to himself. All the passengers laughed and told the bus driver that he had used good strategy.

Gusukuma’s Family

Gusukuma Shinpan has three sons and one daughter that are still alive today. During WWII he received a severe concussion from the American bombing that continued to bothered him for the rest of his life. He use to have severe headaches centered around the back of his right ear.

The first son is presently a school teacher, the second son is handicapped from falling three stories on his back and his last son is presently a fireman. None of Gusukuma’s sons have equalled their father in his karate skill but the first and the third son are strong enough to teach. None do.

Dying

Gusukuma Shinpan always told his students that he would refuse to become bedridden or get to a point where he could not take care of himself. On the day of his death, he taught class and trained for two hours. He ate a light dinner and went to bed early. Three hours later, when his wife checked in on him, they found that he had died in his sleep.

That day his students stated that Gusukuma had spoken of his own death. He had said, “My body is strong but everyday my will gets even stronger. I will pick my day and die at peace with no long illness or discomfort for my family. Wait and see.”

Gusukuma, The Teacher

Gusukuma Shinpan was a school teacher and very educated while Chibana Choshin never finished high school. He saw the practice of karate as a hobby and never accepted payment for lessons. It should be noted that the common way of paying an instructor during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s was to bring food for all to share after training.

Guskuma’s Trip To JapanJust before the war and when Gusukuma Shinpan was in his prime he vacationed in Japan and saw a martial arts demonstration. He watched a group of female yari (spear) experts who had a dojo by his home in Tokyo. He was so impressed by their focus that he decided to take lessons in the yari from the female Sensei.

Gusukuma then went to her dojo and requested lessons. He also stated that he would only be in Japan for about three months because he was a high school teacher in Okinawa and that he had to return to teach. The teacher then gave him a wooden yari and showed him how to perform “nuki” (a spear thrust). He was then told to practice for about two or three hours.

Gusukuma continued to go to the dojo every day for three months and the only technique he practiced was the “nuki.” Just before he returned to Okinawa, he asked the Sensei if he was doing well and whether he should practice other techniques.

She replied that he was doing well but that he needed more practice before he could learn another technique. He then asked her what was the average time it took to go on to another technique. She replied, “about three years.”

At the end of his stay in Japan, Gusukuma once again approached his Sensei to advise her he was returning to Okinawa. He thanked her for her time and stated that he would continue to practice and would be back next year.

She then took a long look at the great Gusukuma and said, “I’m glad that you’ll continue to practice. We all need to do this in order to learn the WAY. Thank you for your efforts and good-bye.” She then walked away.

Gusukuma’s Considerations

Gusukuma Shinpan often spoke of the eight considerations in kicking and the four considerations of the punch.

Considerations for kicking:

1. When kicking in kata or kumite, the back must be straight and true so as to allow you to punch if blocked.
2. The quickest kicks are of the snapping variety.
3. The kata kicks are performed with the toe-tipped foot.
4. The most important kick is that done to the chudan (middle) area.
5. Consider the knee the “hinge” of the kick.
6. The ankle must be strong in kicking as the wrist is strong in punching.
7. The leg is loose and flexible while the toes are tight. Just like a punch, the arm is loose while the fist is tight.
8. When kicking, kick with both legs.

Considerations for punching:

1. The large knuckle finger and the thumb squeeze the index finger in a good fist.
2. In making a strong fist, the index finger is folded first.
3. Punching is done with a loose arm and tight fist.
4. You strike with the index knuckle first.

 

The following are a group of writings that have been published in a Book, though the authors name has been disguised for the reason of not wanting to start the war of words within the Karate community.  However this is the truth, and if you read the words carefully you can come to know who this author is……..

In Consideration of Kata
by Gennosuke Higaki 
 

(Part 1) Is A Kata Merely a String of Basic Techniques?

Section 1 What is Kata?

It appears that the understanding of kata in modern karate is that it consists of basic techniques strung together. According to bunkai kumite, which has been passed down by my master, one can see that techniques consist of various complex movements.

A movement that is called a block is not necessarily expressed as a block. Therefore even if one can perform the basic techniques such as punches, kicks, and blocks separately, a kata is not just made up of those individual techniques. “A whole is not a gathering of its parts, rather it is a union of its parts.”

For instance let’s take a jigsaw puzzle. At first, all of the pieces are in a box or a can. At that point, all of the pieces are separate, and one cannot see the picture or photograph. They are only physically together in one place. That is the condition that the pieces are simply “gathered” together. In order to complete the photograph or picture, the pieces must be put together in their correct positions. By doing so, the picture or photograph is completed. This is the condition where the parts are “united” to form a whole.

Accordingly, if one just removes individual techniques from a kata, such as punches, kicks, and blocks, they alone will not be able to express the original intended meaning. It is through the learning of how to put the techniques together that one can understand the application and recreate the original meaning of that kata. So we can see that no matter how much one practices the basic techniques, they will not be able to grasp the essence of the kata.

(Part 2) A Means to Record Offensive and Defensive Techniques.

Katas were created to record techniques. In the case of martial arts, each technique is recorded as a kata. There are written records of the steps and explanations for these katas.

Okinawan karate was influenced by Chinese martial arts and employed as a means of training, the practice of arranging numerous techniques in one kata. A close friend told me an interesting example relating to this. He said that it is easier to learn individual vocabulary when learning them with a melody, as in a song.

If one learns katas by actually performing them, there will be no need for texts.

(Part 3) Oral Instruction

The purpose of katas is to transmit the knowledge to the next generation. To learn a kata is to learn that kata’s techniques, so the idea that one knows the kata but not its application is, to the rational mind, impossible.

Accordingly, if one learns a kata, but hasn’t been taught the application of the techniques, then one cannot say that they have learned the kata. The masters who created the katas of course knew the meaning of the techniques and left a tool by means, which future generations could recreate the moves of the kata.

That tool is the oral instruction of bunkai or Kuden. Master Anko Itosu, in his “Ten Principles”, said that “one must understand the meaning before practicing. Also, the real usage is often explained orally.” As Master Itosu wrote, katas have been handed down together with an oral explanation of the bunkai, and the reason this has not been passed down is that many instructors themselves have not been taught.

(Part 4) Training

When one speaks of training there is a tendency to interpret it as referring to physical training. In Japanese, the word “kiso” (foundation) is related to the word kisotairyoku (fundamental physical strength). I believe the general conception is to equate “kiso” with “stamina”, and “training” with “power”.

Here, I will use the word training to refer to the effort to learn how to use proper body mechanics, which is the foundation for use of techniques.

Through the practice of katas and their bunkai, one can learn the dynamics of proper body mechanics in the process of perfecting these techniques. As this knowledge, then, is passed down through several generations, a certain amount of techniques are amassed and the terms “tips” and “points” undergo a linguistic transformation, and individual techniques become and independent technique.

Understanding these various techniques is useful in hastening ones advancement in karate. Therefore, without the knowledge of bunkai, it is very difficult to understand proper body mechanics as it relates to karate.

Moreover, once can imagine that the reason one should begin practicing simple katas like Naihanchi and Seishan for three years, is because the simpler the kata, the easier it is to master the techniques. Another way to look at it is that the purpose of practicing these katas is to create correct body mechanics for the practice of karate. This information, as with the bunkai and kata, has been passed down orally.

Section 2 Kumite Makes Katas Useable.

Today, kata and kumite are two separate entities in competition. Originally, though, the purpose of kumite must have been to be able to use katas. The key to that was the application of the katas, or bunkai kumite. Unfortunately, though, much of that has not been handed down or lost.

The proper order to practice was to first understand the bunkai kumite, then after one has thoroughly practiced a kata individually, begin to practice kumite with a partner. In this progression the practice of kumite enables the use of katas.

In “Okinawan Karate Gai Setsu”, Master Kentsu Yabu states that Master Sokon Matsumura practiced kumite with a partner. Today, however, much of the bunkai kumite that one sees is for beginners, and as similar to the kirikaeshi in kendo, and it is not the real bunkai for katas. Regarding the assertion that, “If one practices a kata for many years, they will be able to understand it by themselves.”

It may be true in some instances, but the odds of that are slim, and there is the danger of losing many techniques to future generations. More than anything, though, if one were generally able to learn by one self, then they would not require teachers.

Furthermore, if, for example, one were supposed to learn independently, then all of the practitioners of karate from its introduction about 100 years ago to the present should be able use katas.

The bunkai of kata is fundamentally meant to be learned along with the oral tradition from one’s teacher. No matter how genius one is, katas, which are the accumulation of the wisdom of generations of the masters, are not that simple as to be solved through only on lifetime of practice. I believe that the biggest challenge facing us is to begin to organically connect katas with kumite through the understanding of bunkai.

Section 3 Kumite Did Exist

(Part 1) Kumite Did Exist-Part 1

Historically speaking with regard to karate, the common explanation is that long ago the individual practice of kata was the principle method of practice, and that kumite was not practiced, rather the practice of challenge matches akin to fights was common. Is that really true? Could martial arts training really have been complete with just the practice of kata? Did they just suddenly go from kata and use the techniques in real combat situations? Were all karate practitioners a bunch of thugs who roamed the streets looking for fights anytime they saw someone who looked strong?

If someone began learning karate, only practicing kata and hitting a makiwara at their dojo, or at home, and then went out to town selling karate through challenge matches, like some kind of street fighter, what would people think? That seems pretty strange, actually when we think about it.

Since karate is stylized, one must understand the actual bunkai kumite, because there are many movements, which are not obvious from the outward appearance. Naihanchi is a truly representative example of this.

Even if one were to practice Naihanchi for 3 to 5 years, could one truly use the techniques in a real fight?

Since the practice of challenge matches is practiced secretly, if one were to just diligently to practice kata as one is instructed by one’s master, it is would be insufficient as a martial art.

So we see that when we carefully examine these commonly held notions we are left with many questions and doubts.

I will cite several pieces of circumstantial evidence to support my premise that they are incorrect.

(No. 1) In Chinese martial arts, which is the basis for Okinawan karate, in addition to the practice of kata by oneself, there is a method of practice with a partner.

(No. 2) In 1867, at a demonstration for the Chinese envoy kumite using weapons as well as bare hands was performed.

(No. 3) Since Master Sokon Matsumura of Shuri style karate was quite talented at Jigen Ryu swordsmanship, it is only natural that he was familiar with the fighting forms of swordsmanship.

(No. 4) It is said that Master Kosaku Matsumora of Tomari style karate learned kumite from his instructor.

(No.5) In 1905 Master Chomo Hanashiro, a student of Itosu, wrote a handwritten book entitled Karate Kumite. It indicated that kumite was a part of karate.

(No. 6) It is said that when Master Itosu made the Heian katas, his partner was Master Chomo Hanashiro. So, at least for the Heian katas, bunkai kumite existed from the beginning.

(No. 7) In Goju ryu and Uechi Ryu there is a method of practice involving 2 persons, called “kakete”.

(No. 8) There are photographs of Master Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Goju Ryu practicing kumite when he was young, and also instructing his students in kumite.

(No. 9) There is a photograph of Master Chotoku Kiyan and a student facing each other in a fighting stance.

(No. 10) I have heard stories of sensei Kubota practicing kumite with master Funakoshi.

There is more that I can add, but in terms of circumstantial evidence, I believe this is sufficient. I believe this evidence points to the existence of kumite.

In Master Funakoshi’s Karate as My Way of Life it nowhere states that he practiced kumite. Rather, he stresses the practice of katas individually.

It is likely that because of the “secret pact” of which I heard about from sensei Kubota, he did not write about kumite.

(Part 2) Kumite Did Exist-Part 2

The first person to introduce kumite to the mainland was Master Choki Motobu, in his book entitled My Okinawan Karate there is a section called “kumite”. The gist of that book was that in Okinawan karate, both basics (kata) and kumite existed. In that book, however, it did not specify how to do it, but it could be practiced after learning basic kata, as a kind of “uke hazushi” (blocking and countering). So it was something like bunkai kumite, or ippon kumite. Also, there that is evidence that the term “kumite” existed apart from teachings from individual teachers.

(Part 3) Kumite Did Exist

In Kempo Gai Setsu (Published in 1930) by Jisaburo Miki, and Mizuho Takada, there is an interview entitled “The Distinguished master and Experts of Ryukyu.” In it he interviewed some of the masters who were considered distinguished at the time. The following excerpt touches on kumite.

(Sensei Kentsu Yabu Yamakawa cho, Shuri shi)

Currently he is teaching at the Instructors School. He has also spent some ten years in America giving lectures on Okinawa Kempo at various seminars throughout the United States, as well as taking challenge matches to show karate’s true power.

His serious efforts undoubtedly gave birth to many American karate students. He has not only been a close friend, but he has trained for many years with sensei Choki Motobu, but his main objective has been actual fighting.

In his youth, he frequently fought matches and challenged other dojos on occasion. He said that his method of training is to engage in serious practice sparring matches with Master Matsumura (Yabu’s instructor) after practicing kata 3 or 4 times, without the use of protective gear. I was able to gain valuable insight into his method of offense and defense.

Master Kentsu Yabe is known as a student of Master Anko Itosu, but he was originally a student of master Sokon Matsumura and apparently he was a fellow student of Master Itosu.

From the above article, we see that master Yabu, a student of Master Itosu, spent more time on practicing with a partner than individual kata work. By the way, there is a photograph of Master Yabu engaging in kumite with Mr. Miki, who is wearing protective gear.

Section 4 Consideration of Heian Katas

It is said that Master Anko Itosu (1830 – 1915), the father of the revival of Shuri Te, introduced the Heian katas and used them as a part of the curriculum in schools in 1904. The popular belief is that master Itosu used an existing kata, removed the dangerous moves and created a new set of katas for the purpose of teaching karate in physical education courses in public schools. Recently they have become widely used as beginning katas, and often used only for promotion test, but they are rarely used after one puts on a black belt. I would like to take a look at the Heian katas in the following manner.

(Part 1) The Historical Background When the Heian Katas Were Created.

I found a website which investigates the opinions on the mainland concerning the movement to introduce martial arts into the educational curriculum in the Meiji period. This is comparable to the period when Master Anko Itosu introduced karate into the school education in Okinawa.

Also, in the case of Kendo, which had fallen into decline after the Meiji Restoration, there was a heightened movement to start kendo in the public schools around the early 1880’s. The Ministry of Education began an investigation into whether martial arts were appropriate for introduction in to public schools, in response to petitions to do so from the civilian sector.

In 1883 the Ministry of Education charged the National Gymnastics Institute with carrying out the investigation. While recognizing its physical and mental merits, it was deemed inappropriate because it would be difficult to teach as a regular course due its dangerous and violent nature, and its insanitariness.

After the Japan- China War of 1893 and 1894, with the establishment of the Dai Nippon Butokukai, and the increase in popularity in Kodokan’s judo, the day to day interest among the general population was high.

In 1896 the Ministry the same Institute to investigate the merits of including kendo and judo in the public schools. They gave the same answer as before, that martial arts were inappropriate as a regular subject. In 1904 the Committee for Gymnastics and Recreation was established. After meeting 37 times, it too, concluded in a report that mainly from the standpoint of its growth and development, and the fact that was inadequate research into its method of instruction, it should be denied introduction as a regular subject.

After that the movement to allow kendo to be introduced as a regular course continued to be taken up in committee, and the “Proposal for Physical Education” was submitted and approved. Even then, though, the Ministry did not move on it, and finally the proposal was recognized but martial arts did not become a regular course, rather in fact a mere elective.

So, we see that it took over 30 years for a martial art, which began in the early 1880’s to bear fruit. I can cite various reasons for this, including the lack of equipment, the lack of facilities, and the dearth of qualified instructors, but perhaps the biggest reason was the fact that there was no clear method of instruction.

In 1908 the final proposal to introduce martial arts as a regular course was approved in the Diet. After that there were changes in the regulations of the Ministry of Education, and in 1911 the “Ordinances and Regulations For Normal and Junior High Schools” was made public. At that time kendo developed as a regular course in physical education.

As we see from the above, it took 30 years for the Ministry of Education to decide whether or not to introduce martial arts into the education curriculum. It is important to note that, even in the case of kendo and judo, they were passed over because they did not have a reliable method of teaching.

Let’s take a look a Master Itosu’s activity around that same time. In 1901 he taught karate at Shuri Elementary School. In 1904 he introduced the Heian katas. 1905 he taught at the Dai Ichi Jr. high School and normal School. In 1908 He submitted the “10 Principles” for the practice of karate to the Prefecture Office. When he submitted his “10 Principles” it was during the above historical background as a reply to the investigation of the Prefecture Office. Of course, the Okinawan Prefecture office was aware of the activities of the Ministry of Education, as well as the rise in popularity of Kodokan judo, and kendo.

(Part 2) The Intent of Itosu’s “10 principles”

In his “10 Principles” he used such phrases as “one person against ten opponents” and “a useful part of a militaristic society”. Such phrases make it clear that he viewed karate as a martial art, with a philosophy, which was the opposite of modern day sports.

When the “10 Principles” was written, Japan had just ended the Japan-China War (1888 – 1895) and the Russo-Japan War (1904 – 1905), and the trend toward creating a prosperous and militaristic country was growing daily. Also, when Master Itosu submitted his petition to have karate introduced into the public schools, the governor of Okinawa was reported to have said that “if the training in karate is so effective for the realizing the confidence of body and mind of soldiers, we should recognize its value, and for the encouragement of the youth of the prefecture, it should be adopted as a part of the physical education program immediately.”

Master Itosu, who submitted the proposal, and the Governor, who approved it, both recognized the value of a militaristic education.

(Part 3) The Characteristics of the Heian Katas

The characteristics were, as Master Itosu wrote, “They were designed so that one could advance through them in a short time. And they can be used for a quick attack, and the application must be transmitted orally.”

As we saw earlier, in order to successfully introduce karate into the public schools, it was essential to establish a method of instruction. Until that time the most common way to learn karate was to learn Naihanchi from such and such an instructor, then learn Passai from another instructor, and so on, learning from various instructors.

It is believed that Master Itosu created the Heian katas because he felt it was necessary to educate instructors, and create a system to facilitate the spread of karate. The terms ” shodan” and “nidan” are the same used in the Jigen style of swordsmanship to denote the order of steps.

Thus they were created with the idea of advancing step by step. He said that if one were to train 2 to 3 hours per day for 3 to 4 years, one would possibly be able to understand the hidden parts of the katas. It is also believed that the Heian katas were made with a great deal of consideration to the effectiveness as an immediate means of self-defense, without lowering the traditional technical level.

Also, since in olden times it was common for karate practitioners to know only 2 to 3 different katas, he believed it necessary to use the technical framework from many different katas in order not lower the overall technical level. Therefore it can be said that the Heian katas embody the essence of Shuri Te Karate.

(Part 4) Are They Simply Beginning Katas With Dangerous Techniques Removed?

The common notion is that Master Itosu removed the dangerous techniques to make the Heian katas appropriate for the public school education in physical education.

Is this really true, though?

In his “10 principles” he wrote that “It (karate) is extremely appropriate for soldiers.” And that “Some students will be able to learn the inner secrets in 3 to 4 years.”

In other words he was training the ability to respond immediately in a combat situation. For example, if one were to create a new kata, would one create something that was unusable as a sport like version that his students would unable to use?

I think one would create a kata which is easier to learn, and is more effective. In Itosu’s “10 principles” he wrote that “There are many oral teachings concerning the application.”

This indicates that there were oral teachings concerning the Heian katas. Thus there is the possibility that the Heian katas were created in such a way that they were not effective without the oral teachings that were meant to accompany them. In reality the oral teachings, which I learned from Sensei Kubota about the Heian katas’ bunkai are simple, but are amply effective, and they included dangerous techniques.

(Part 5) What are Dangerous Techniques?

Generally speaking, “dangerous techniques” are considered eye gouges, and groin kicks. These are stipulated as prohibited techniques in many combat sports.

But, were those techniques really removed from karate and the Heian katas? If we look at the writings of masters Funakoshi and Mabuni, we see that they included groin kicks, and nukite.

In “Kempo Karate” published in the year 1933, the explanation for a front kick is that it is a groin kick.

Additionally in the book “Karatedo Taikan” (Genwa Nakasone), which was written to introduce karate to elementary school students, groin kicks are included. So, from these examples, one can conclude that the idea that dangerous techniques were excluded is impossible. There exists the explanation that groin kicks were changed to front kicks.

Anyone, however, can change a front kick to a groin kick. Also, there is also groin kick where you kick up with the instep. So, I think the basis for that explanation is weak.

It has also said that the face punch was changed to a body punch. But if you pull in the opponent’s hand they will lose their balance and their head will be at body level so a mid level punch becomes an upper level punch. The same is true for eye gouges; they have not been removed from karate texts.

(Part 6) Would Karate Have Been Able to Last Had it Not removed It’s Dangerous Techniques?

The idea that in order for karate to survive after the Meiji period, it was necessary to make it a part of the school curriculum is problematic. I do not believe that as the case.

Even though karate was prohibited by governmental policies, and was for a while forced to be taught in secret, and not in public schools, it was still able to survive and be passed down generation after generation.

It is a well known fact that, while judo removed the dangerous techniques from randori practice, they still remain in katas.

Other disciplines such as traditional jujutsu, and kenjutsu have maintained their dangerous techniques, and yet managed to survive. Moreover in the age of a militaristic society, at that time, there was ample room for the existence of martial arts.

In conclusion, what was important for making karate acceptable for public school education was not to remove dangerous techniques, but to establish a methodological teaching system.

The Characteristics of the newly created Heian katas is that they progress in difficulty from Shodan to Godan. In addition to that master Kentsu Yabu created the etiquette, and the warm up exercises under the influence of military training.

(Part 7) About the Fact That There are Various Different Versions of Heian Katas.

Currently there are numerous versions depending on the style. Why do they exist, and which ones were newly created in the Meiji years?

The photograph entitled “Kata practiced at an Okinawan elementary school” shows the students doing a zenkutsu dachi (front stance) and a gedan barai (down block). In Shotokan they are performing Heian Shodan. It is often said that master Funakoshi changed the kata, but photograph of master Funakoshi teaching Heian katas on the mainland is approximately the same as the photograph of the Okinawan elementary school.

On the other hand, it is different from Shito Ryu’s neko ashi dachi (cat stance), tettsui uke (hammer fist block), and motodachi (basic stance).

According to Sensei Hiroshi Kinjo the karate that Master Itosu taught could be divided into “the karate, which he taught at his home” and “that which he taught at schools”.

It may be that the photograph shows the “karate, which he taught at the schools.”

Sensei Kinjo also wrote in his book “Karatedo Taikan” that Master Itosu altered the traditional katas, so even among his own students there was a differences among his students before they were changed and those who studied with him after the changes.

Master Mabuni, in his book, Kobo Kempo Karate do Nyumon, wrote that the original name for the Heian katas was Channan.

Thus, indicating that the katas were not named Heian when they were created. In the same work he wrote that there were differences in the katas known as Channan and Heian.

It appears that there was a divide in the transmission of the kata in Okinawa, even before it was taught on the mainland.

Also, according to “Karate Kenkyu (Youju Shorin) master Choki Motobu was reported to have learned Channan from master Anko Itosu. It makes reference to the fact that Heian and Channan were different. Sensei Motobu was from 17 to 25 years old during that period. So, since he was born in 1870 that would have been 1887-1895. Since the Heian katas were officially introduced in 1904, we can imagine that the Channan, which is considered the original existed for quite some time before that.

From these facts we can guess that various versions of Heian katas existed even in their creator/master’s lifetime.

 

Section 5 Consideration of Shotokan Heian Katas.

So, it is generally believed that Shotokan katas have been altered, but in exactly where and in what way manner have they been altered?

Here, I would like to do a comparative examination of the katas in Karate Kempo. Karate Kempo was written by Mr. Mizuho Mutsu in 1933 he studied under Master Gichin Funakoshi, but wasn’t satisfied, so he went to Okinawa with Mr. Jisaburo Miki around 1928 to study under sensei’s Kentsu Yabu, Chomo Hanashiro, Chodo Oshiro and Chotoku Kiyan, who were considered to be the leading students of Master Itosu at the time.

These sensei’ were co-disciples under Itosu. Mr. Mizuho Miki also co-wrote Gaisetsu of Okinawan Kempo, which contains interviews with Mr. Jisaburo Miki in 1930, and he also was an instructor at the Tokyo University karate club from 1933 – 1936.

In the table of contents of that book, in section 2, there is a portion of bunkai, under the heading “The Meaning of Individual Postures”.

Then, after that there are some illustrations of katas explaining the “Method of Katas”.

In that book 20 Shuri katas; Heian, Naihanchi, Passai Dai, Kushanku Dai, Jitte, Seishan, Wanshu, Jion, Chinto, Passai Sho, Kushanku Sho, Niseshi, Chinte, and Gojushiho.

(Part 1) A Consideration of Shotokan’s Side Kick.

Basically, the katas, which Master Anko Itosu taught, did not contain side kicks. It is said that Master Gichin Funakoshi altered Master Itosu’s katas.

One of the things, which he changed, was the side kick. This side kick is Shotokan’s signature technique, and it is a major characteristic of its katas.

When Master Gichin Funakoshi came to the mainland, the Side kick was already in the kata. Master Funakoshi was born in 1868, and was in his fifties when he came to the mainland. It is pretty hard to believe that he changed a leg technique from that time.

It is believed that he practiced and used the side kick from when he was younger. Let’s look at where the side kick came from. It is said that master Funakoshi was taught it by his first teacher, Sensei Anko Asato (1827 -1903).

Sensei Asato was one of Master Sokon Matsumura’s early top students. If we look at traditional oral lore, Master Funakoshi is his only student ever listed. In 1902 in the Ryukyu Shimpo Newspaper there was an article dictated by Sensei Asato, and written by Master Funakoshi entitled “Okinawan Combat Techniques”.

In that article, there is a reference to a leg technique that attacks from “below the field of vision”. I believe that there are many who value hand techniques over secret leg techniques, but sometimes leg techniques can be more valuable.

From this article one can surmise that Sensei Asato was very good at leg techniques.

Section 6 The Mystery of Naihanchi (Tekki)

(Part 1) Karate’s Biggest Mystery.
This kata was originally called Naihanchi or Naifanchin. In Shotokan master Funakoshi changed the names of katas from their Chinese pronunciation to Japanese pronunciation.

At first it was changed to Kiba Dachi and then to Tekki. In Shuri Te, karate, before the creation of the Heian katas, it was the first basic kata which one learned, and it was said that students were made to practice this kata for 3 years. It is believed that it took its present form when master Itosu improved upon kata called Channan.

Itosu further broke down the one kata into its Nidan and Sandan forms. In the dialogue “Speaking About the History of Modern Karate” (Shinkin Gima, Ryozo Fujiwara) the following conversation is introduced concerning the karate in Okinawa around the time the ” Bubishi” was introduced. I would like to take an excerpt from it.

Fujiwara- This is a story, which I heard from when I visited Okinawa about 10 years ago. Around the end of the Edo period, there were some Chinese drifters who came to Tomari who were quite skilled at martial arts. They built a log hut near the Tomari cemetery, where they lived. It is said that Masters Sokon Matsumura and Kizo Teruya paid a certain amount of money for tuition and took lessons in Chinese martial arts from them. When the Chinese were going to return home, they asked for some paper and a brush. In a few days they handed a scroll to Master Sokon Matsumura.”

Gima- “There is also a story that says Master Anko Itosu learned Chinese kempo from Channan, a Chinese drifter who was living near the Tomari cemetery.”

Fujiwara- “Yes, that is the kata Naihanchi, which Master Kenwa Mabuni learned in his youth.

In other words, Master Mabuni learned the kata Naihanchi from the pupil of Sokon Matsumura, Sensei Morihiro Matakichi. Years later, when he performed that kata in front of Master Anko Itosu, he was told by Itosu that “That is the original form of the kata which he had learned from the Chinese drifters. The current kata is one, which I have altered after careful study. So stop practicing the old form, and practice the new form.”

There are conjectures about the identity of Channan; that he was a Zen priest, that he was a spy, or that he was a pirate, but it is certain that he was a practioner of martial arts. It is also true that Master Anko Itosu learned the kata Naihanchi from him.”

This kata is representative of those katas, which are difficult to explain. There many interesting explanations for the embusen (line of performance), which is in a straight line horizontally.

Some say that it is for fighting with one’s back to a wall, or that it is for fighting on a bridge, or for fighting in a narrow space like a hallway. I think these explanations came about because few people actually know the actual application.

It is said that Master Choki Motobu, a master of actual combat, knew only this one kata. (This, in fact, is a misconception because it was only transmitted to a few disciples.)

It is a mysterious kata, though, which is effective for fighting, but the application is practically unknown. Currently, the application of this kata is probably one of the biggest mysteries of the karate world.


(Part 2) The Alteration of Naihanchi


As we have seen, a legend about Master Kenwa Mabuni was that he was told by master Itosu that “That is the form of Naihanchi before I changed it.” Because of this it is said Master Itosu changed the kata. But to what degree did he actually change it?

Master Mabuni began studying under master Itosu in 1903 around the age of 14. Since this coincides with master Itosu’s introduction of Okinawan karate into the public schools, he may have been referring to the changes, which he made for teaching at school.

In an interview with Choki Motobu, in “Karate Kenkyu” (Genwa Nakasone) he states that Master Matsumura and Master Itosu’s Naihanchi were different. Master Matsumura performed the hook punch diagonally in the front, and Master Itosu performed the hook punch with a bent elbow. Master Matsumura performed the nami gaishi by putting his foot down quietly, while Master Itosu stomped his foot fiercely.

In Hiroshi Kinjo’s Karate Taikan, he wrote that in generations before his time (1919) the double handed hook punch was performed open handed, and the hand that supported the uraken (back fist) was a nihon nukite (two finger thrust).

Currently, those are the changes that are believed to have been made. If the bunkai had been passed down with the kata these would not pose a problem. If Master Itosu did make major changes in the movements, it would be radically different from the Naihanchi of other styles, but even if we compare it to the Tomari Naihanchi, except for the direction of the moves at the beginning of the kata, there is not a recognizable difference.

(Part 3) Did Master Itosu the 2nd and 3rd Parts to Naihanchi?

It is reported that Master Itosu created Naihanchi 2 and 3. Since other styles also have 2 and 3, it raises some doubts about that. I think it is natural that they existed already.

(Part 4) The Characteristics of Naihanchi

1: Learning Basic Posture

One can learn basic posture from standing in a kiba dachi (horse stance). Master Choki Motobu said that “The posture of the legs and hips in Naihanchi is the basic posture for karate.”

Also, “Whichever direction one turns, to the left or to right, they will be in a correct fighting position, and all of the hidden movements (meaning) are included.”

The width of the stance is the length of the shin plus two fists. One should stand on the ball of the foot. At that width, if one turns their body diagonally to the front and places their weight to the front, it becomes a zenkutsu dachi (front stance). And if they adjust their weight to the rear, it becomes a kokutsu dachi (back stance).

In this sense, it is a basic stance. Also, through the repetition of the basic movements, it effectively trains the body.

2: Application for Close in Fighting

Contrary to the stereotypical notion that Shuri Te style karate is for fighting at a distance, the application for Naihanchi, the first kata taught, is for close in fighting. It is a good text for learning to immobilize one’s opponent before striking, which a basic principle of combat. If one were to describe this kata in one word, I believe it would be that it is surprisingly “complete”.

 

Seito Karate: The Explanation, The Truth

as written by Gennosuke Higaki

What is Karate?

Section 1 The Definition of Karate.

When one is asked the question: What is Karate? What comes to mind to differentiate it from kickboxing or Chinese Kempo? They are all martial arts, which employ punches and kicks, but there must be some essential difference between them.
Although we use the term “karate”, there is an extremely large number of “karates” that exist today. First off they can be divided by style.

Beginning with the four major styles on the mainland, and the three major Okinawan styles, there are countless numbers of organizations that have arisen as styles have split or new branches of styles have been formed.

Then there are styles divided by rules. There are various competition rules, the main ones being “non-contact”, “full padding”, “full contact”, and “glove rules”, etc., and even those, which have added elements such as, mat techniques, etc.

There are so many variations in styles and rules that it is impossible to get a precise overall picture of karate. This phenomenon is not found in other martial arts such as Kendo and Judo. In fact it may be correct to say that there is no definition of karate.

That, however makes it difficult to further discuss this topic, so for the purpose of this conversation, I would like to divide karate into the following categories. Okinawan karate before it was imported into the mainland of Japan, and the karate that was developed on the mainland after it was imported.

Also, since I concentrate on the bunkai, or the use of katas as its main thrust, I will not include those new wave styles, which do not maintain the practice of kata. This deals only with those styles which predominately practice Shuri style katas which were created in Okinawa.

While I realize that there are many different views and philosophies about martial arts and karate, I will use certain terms for the sake of practical expression and organization.
From a historical standpoint, I will concentrate on karate after it was imported to the mainland. I will concentrate on other details elsewhere. I have also written about other martial arts, such as the traditional arts of jujutsu and kenjutsu, and the modern art of judo for the purpose of comparison. Karate has been influenced most, perhaps, by traditional martial arts, the best known being Shinkage Ryu Heiho (kenjutsu).

I will also refer to “shintai sousa” (proper body mechanics), which has received considerable attention recently, as “jutsu”, or a complete technique and the form of punches and kicks as “waza” as separate techniques. “Kata bunkai” refers to the use of kata.

Section 2 What is Kata?

With the spread of karate much thought has been put into different methods of holding competitions, such as “non contact”, “use of protective equipment”,” full contact”, “gloves”, etc. The World Karate Federation World Championships have reached their 17th year and are becoming more and more extravagant. There is even talk of karate becoming an Olympic event.

Along with kumite competition, there is also the extremely interesting part of karate, kata competition. Recently the WKF rules have changed to “tournament style”, increased the number of shitei(compulsory)katas, and required the kata bunkai for the finals in team events. All of these events have increased the need for further study of bunkai in Japan, the birthplace of karate.

The question, which arises here, is “What is kata?” The martial art of karate developed on the island of Okinawa under the influence of Chinese Kempo; under the historical backdrop of the domination of the Satsuma feudal lords. It is believed to have developed in a unique way. The major characteristic is that it was transmitted orally, using no written training manuals. An exception to this is the “Bubishi” of the Naha style, but that is really believed to be the transmission of the White Crane kata of Chinese Kempo.

A major difference between Okinawan karate and karate practiced on the mainland is that because it was prohibited by law, Okinawan karate was practiced in secret, and passed down orally. On the mainland, while there were some schools, which adhered to the principle of “Mongai fushutsu”, or keeping the knowledge within the school, for the most part, many styles were given names and transmitted openly.

Characteristics of martial arts of the mainland are:

1) Since katas are practiced with two people, the roles of defense and offense are clearly defined so the use of the techniques is easy to understand.

2) There are instructional manuals. (Techniques are clear)

3) There is a system for advancement in rank.

4) The styles have names. (The lineage of instructors is clear.)

5) For the most part they have been handed down by masters who were part of the samurai class.

Okinawan karate, on the other hand, differs from other martial arts in that it was not taught in dojos, it did not give names to its styles, and it was taught in secret. The following are its characteristics:

1) It was passed down through katas performed individually.

2) There were no written texts.

3) The method of advancement was unclear.

4) There were no styles.

5) For the most part it was practiced by the samurai class, but because it was practiced in secret, there was no system, which clearly defined one person as the founder of the school.

In the end, the only thing we are left with in Okinawan karate is the katas. Thus, in order to know the meaning of karate, it is necessary to know the meaning of the katas, which have been passed down. In other words, we must clarify the katas, which have been left for us in order to know what the true nature of the original karate was.

Until now, most of the study of kata has been concerned with such literary issues as to which Chinese character to use or superficial things such as how each movement differs from style to style. There has been no written discussion, however, of the technical meaning of the actual techniques involved. I believe that it has not been possible due to various factors, such as problems within the different styles, or organizations, or between teachers and students.

The primary purpose of kata was to provide a record of offensive and defensive techniques. Of course the person who created a kata knew the meaning of its movements. There was a possibility, though, that future generations would not know the meaning of the movements by just looking at them, so there was a need to orally pass down the meanings of the techniques, so they could be could be recreated. As I stated earlier, if one understands the bunkai, or meaning of a kata, the external differences need not be such a problem.

Section 3 Okinawan Karate.

Because karate was practiced in secret, it is not known for sure when it first began. References to karate were seen in print around the middle of the Meiji period (Meiji period: 1868~1921) after the passing of Masters Anko Itosu of Shuri style and Kanryo Higaonna of Naha style. Before that, because it was passed down orally, there were no written records.

Also, according to oral legends, there are many stories of various masters being taught by Chinese emissaries, or having gone to China to learn first hand. Thus, it is believed that Okinawan karate was influenced considerably by Chinese kempo. Since the history of this period is covered elsewhere, it is beyond the scope of this work. I will only introduce an outline after the Meiji period.

After the Meiji Restoration (1868) the interest in martial arts fell into decline. Around the time of the Seinan no Eki (Coup d’etat) in 1877 the study of kendo and judo gained popularity under the government’s plan to “enrich the nation and build strong a defense”. In 1876 a bare handed means of self defense was recognized under the government’s proclamation against the use of the sword.

In 1879 Master Anko Itosu opened the first karate dojo in Okinawa and began teaching his first students openly. Only his students received attention for being awarded the rank Koushu (High rank) in the military conscription examination. They went on to return home as decorated heroes after the Japan-China war of 1894, and Japan-Russia war of 1904.

In 1901 karate became part of the public school curriculum. At that time Okinawan karate was practiced individually, and there were no style names, rather, it was referred to as “someone or some place’s hand”. In 1904 Master Itosu created the Heian katas as a tool for teaching in the public junior high schools. That same year karate was first introduced in the mass media.

An article written by Master Gichin Funakoshi in which he interviewed Master Anko Asato appeared in the Ryukyu Newspaper. Karate gained interest, not only as a method of self-defense, but also for physical education, and there was a concerted effort, including the use of public demonstrations, to introduce it to the general public.

In his “Ten Principles of Okinawan Karate” (1908), Master Anko Itosu wrote “One should know the meaning and application of a kata before practicing it.” From this we know for a fact that the meaning (application) for katas existed at that time.

Section 4  Introduction of Karate to the Mainland.

The two public demonstrations by Master Gichin Funakoshi in 1916 at the Butokuden in Kyoto, and the other at the Tokyo Physical Education Exposition in 1922 were the first to introduce Okinawan karate to the mainland. For some reason 1922 is given as the date of the introduction of karate to the mainland in written documents.

In that year Master Funakoshi was invited by Dr. Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, to teach karate for several months at the Kodokan. So, if we are talking about the spread of karate rather than the introduction, then the year 1922 can be credited as the beginning. Master Funakoshi never returned to Okinawa, concentrating instead on spreading karate throughout the mainland, primarily in the universities.

There were, however, certain difficulties in having karate recognized, compared to judo and kendo.

1) Judo and kendo already had national organizations.
2) Dr. Jigoro Kano had endeavored to unified judo.
3) Okinawa did not have equal status on the mainland.
4) Katas were practiced individually, so it was difficult to access karate’s true ability.

In 1924 Master Funakoshi promoted his first student to first-degree black belt.

In 1929 Master Chojun Miyagi created the first “style” of karate.

In the year 1931 Okinawan karate was recognized as a part of judo by the Ministry of Education. The Chinese characters were changed from “Chinese hand” to “empty hand” around this time.

Master Kenwa Mabuni established Shito Ryu in 1934.

Likewise, Shotokan Ryu, which took until 1935 to formulate and develop its curriculum, established its full time dojo, Shotokan in Soshigaya, Tokyo in 1939. Although Master Funakoshi did not give his style a name, other styles and schools such as Goju ryu and Shito ryu began to appear. Unlike judo and kendo, which unified jujutsu and kenjutsu respectively, karate became further divided into separate styles.

I would like to summarize these trends. Judo and Kendo moved toward unification.

1) After the Meiji Restoration, there was a move to unify these systems, while maintaining the old styles.

2) Competitions were established according to unified rules enabling a clear method of evaluating ability.

3) A standardized system of awarding belts was employed.

4) Katas were unified and recreated.

Karate moved in a factional direction.

1) In the Showa period styles were established, and further divided into numerous branches and sub styles.

2) There many different rules for competition.

3) Promotions for rank were held by the Japan Karate Federation, but each style recognizes their own ranks.

4) Katas were not unified.

The war ended and the Federation of all Japan Karate Do was established. The different styles joined, and “non-contact” rules were unified for kumite, and the first tournament was held in 1957. The problem of how to unify katas, however, was left up to each style, and remained unsolved.

A system to teach beginners comprised of basics, moving basics, and one-, two- or three-step sparring was established. To this day, however, there has evolved no teaching methodology for intermediate and advanced students. This is especially true since only fairly basic katas have been introduced openly, and many practitioners are not satisfied with the bunkai, or application, which has been introduced.

Section 5 Karate as a Sport.

The original meaning of karate as an art of self-defense has become lost with the development of karate on the mainland. Also the trend for it to become a competitive sport has become stronger. Especially after the war, martial arts have become known primarily as a sport. Martial arts had been once considered an important part of a military education. After the war, with the introduction of democracy, there was a trend to change the name from a “martial art” to a “sport”.

The introduction of judo as an Olympic sport in the Tokyo Olympics in 1959 spurred this trend. Thus begun the great epoch where, while there was kumite before the war, rules were established and kumite developed into an official event.

Just as judo and kendo were spread with competition at its core, with the use of mats and protective gear, making competition possible, karate followed along the same path. As the number of tournaments increased, the purpose changed from defending one’s self to winning in competition, and more and more practice was spent on kumite competition and kata as well.

In competition rules, unlike in self-defense, certain dangerous techniques are forbidden, so only those techniques, which are applicable to the competition, are emphasized, and that is what makes a sport. As a side note, it has been said that the reason kata competition takes place before kumite competition was to determine whether or not the competitors have sufficient ability to compete in kumite.

Problems Facing Karate

Section 1 Unusable Katas.

The greatest problem facing modern karate is the gap between kumite and kata. In other martial arts, almost all katas are practiced with two people, so it is possible to learn the bunkai, or application from the beginning. In judo, for instance, the throwing kata for a Seoinage is the same as an Ippon Seoinage. Therefore it is impossible in judo not to know the application of the Seoinage.

In contrast, the chasm between the movements of kumite and the movements of kata is large, and there is no explanation for how to get from one to the other. Furthermore, bunkai or application of katas is not clear, or the explanations that exist are not practical. This is the unfortunately situation for many karate practitioners.

So, the fact that only strikes and kicks can be used is a simple problem that most karate practitioners face at some time.
It is possible to come up with two major reasons why katas cannot be used.

1) They are unusable due to insufficient practice.
2) The explanation itself is incorrect.

Let’s look at both of these possibilities.

Part 1 Katas are Unusable Due to Insufficient Practice.

Accordingly, unless one practices a certaintechnique a specified amount of time, they will not be able “own” that technique, so the notion that a “technique cannot be used without sufficient practice is valid.

Also, since there are some techniques, which are prohibited in kumite competition, it is possible that they will not be practiced.

It is often said that “unless one practices for 20 -30 years, one will not be able to actually use it.” Is that really true, though? It has been over 80 years since karate was introduced to the mainland. There are many karate practitioners who have been training for over 20 – 30 years primarily using katas, but there are perhaps only a small percentage who able to apply them practically.

Furthermore, if it takes 20 to 30 years of practice to be able to use a technique, it can hardly be considered practical.

In the case of other martial arts on the mainland, historically there are many instances where it is possible to attain a master ranking after training for five to six years. Of course polishing one’s techniques takes a lifetime, but if it takes too long to learn the techniques of a particular style, then the very existence of that style may be in danger.

In the days when the life expectancy was fifty years, if it took thirty years to master the techniques of one’s style, then they would die before they would be able to pass it on and the style would die out in one generation.

Thus we see that the idea that insufficient practice is responsible for kata being unusable is not applicable here.

Part 2 Explanations for the Katas are Incorrect to Begin With.

Currently there more than a few instances where the bunkai, (application) for katas which one has learned is not practical. This may not be a problem for beginners, but after one has trained for a while, or if they have trained in other martial arts many may have questions about whether certain bunkai are really applicable or not.

Even if one learns from a great master, if the bunkai is not applicable, what they have learned is merely a dance, and has no meaning as a martial art.

So, why are there techniques, which cannot be used? I believe we have to accept the possibility that the bunkai itself is incorrect. If one accepts that fact, then even if one practices for twenty to thirty years, it makes sense that they will still be unusable. This would the same if one were to practice a Chinese character beautifully, but incorrectly for many years, one would not be able to communicate the correct meaning to someone else.

Practicing incorrect characters is the same as practicing incorrect techniques. One will not be able to overtake one’s opponent. If an instructor teaches incorrect techniques, the people who have learned from will have wasted a lot of time and energy. In the case of incorrect explanations, we can assume the following:

1) One hasn’t been taught.
2) One has been taught incorrectly.

One Hasn’t Been Taught:

Actually there are many instances where one knows the movements of a kata, but doesn’t know the bunkai. It is also possible to pass a black belt examination by only performing a kata by itself. As a result, there are many instructors who do not know the bunkai for katas, and those instructors produce instructors like themselves again and again.There some who say that even if one hasn’t been taught bunkai, if they practice long enough they will be able to figure it out on their own naturally. In fact, though, as I previously mentioned, even if one practices a kata for a long time, if it is incorrect, they will not be able to use it.

One is taught the Bunkai incorrectly:

In olden times, one would be at a disadvantage if their techniques were seen by others. Perhaps the same was true when karate was introduced to the mainland and the Okinawan karate masters decided to only teach the most basic katas. In other words, they were influenced by the so-called traditional Japanese practice of Mongai Fushutu or Isshi Soden (Not letting the body of knowledge to be known outside the school, or passing on the body of knowledge only to one’s own child.)

Okinawan karate was no exception from other martial arts in that only those who were deemed of sufficient character were allowed to begin training. Other than a teacher putting himself in a disadvantageous position, there were two reasons for that. First, since they were teaching potentially killing techniques, it was necessary to determine whether or not the student would act violently. Second, it was necessary to judge a person’s character in order to prevent that master’s teachings from being leaked to the outside.

When Okinawan karate, which became strictly disciplined in such a manner, was taught in schools after the Meiji period, there were bound to be problems with teaching such dangerous techniques to the general public. Thus there was a need to protect the core teachings while opening it up to the public. There arose a need to make a distinction between “regular students” and “technically advanced students”.

Martial arts on the mainland developed a system of beginning level, intermediate level, and advanced level, so that the regular student could continue learning techniques, while not showing the advanced or hidden techniques to the general public.

Compared to that, Okinawan karate had no such system. It is believed that the masters changed the techniques or changed the explanation in order not to openly teach to beginners or regular students.

Until now, it has been written in karate articles that certain movements were changed or abbreviated on purpose. This may account for unusable katas.

Part 3 Is it Possible to Block to the Front and Back Simultaneously?

One of the most difficult techniques in karate is the yama kamae or manji kamae. The bunkai explanation for it is that it is a defense against multiple attackers (to the front and to the back). It is not as if we are a super hero, so why does such an explanation exist? I believe it is because either they are confusing movie action with reality, or they have never seen the original bunkai for this technique. It is hard enough to defend against an attacker from the front, I don’t believe it is possible to defend against an opponent to the rear who you can’t even see.

If you try to defend against two opponents simultaneously, you will see that you would have to train as if you were a stunt actor. If, let’s say one could defend against attacks from the front and the rear, and even manage to counter against the opponent in the front, the rear opponent is not going to wait for that attack to finish.

Also, even if one is attacked from the front and rear, one can avoid both attacks by moving. There is no need to increase the risk factor when one is already in a dangerous situation. Even beginners can understand this if given a rational explanation.

Part 4 Original Form and Application.

The people who originally created katas, in order to teach certain techniques to future generations, made them based on a set pattern of movements against an imaginary opponent. At that time they were probably practicing with a partner, or if one did not have a partner, one could practice against a pretend partner, like shadow boxing.

That was how the original katas came about. That is also where the original application exists. Depending on the movement, however, a technique could have different applications, so when a master taught his students the kata he would also teach them the different applications. This was a cause for confusion.

In martial arts on the mainland katas are practiced with a partner, and there are teaching materials, so the original techniques are passed down. Also, the application is taught separately within the framework of the curriculum of that particular style, reducing the confusion between katas and application.

In the case of karate, however, where katas are practiced individually, when numerous versions of bunkai are taught, from the point of view of the learner, the original kata, the application, and the bunkai are all the same.

In that case, depending on the whim of the instructor, the importance of the kata and the application may be reversed, and through the creation of new applications of the application itself, it is possible that it may end up quite different than the original form. If that is the case then the movements of the kata themselves may be influenced by the new application and undergo change.

This explanation is believed to be the reason for so many different variations of the same kata. The only way to know which of those is the original would be to go back in a time machine and ask the person who made it. I do believe, though, that we can recreate something close to the original by reenacting the most rational bunkai.

Section 2 Why do We Practice Unusable Katas?

Why do we practice katas, which are unusable? One can think of several reasons for that. I would like to categorize them as follows.

Part 1 Katas as Tradition.

The techniques, which have been passed down from the past are important to traditional martial arts and traditional arts, and they must be preserved. That is because the wisdom of generations are built into them. Even in modern judo and kendo it is understandable that kata remains as the theoretical aspect of those martial arts.

Also in certain martial arts, there are those katas, which are important since they express the identity and theory of that particular style. Through the practice of those katas, which have been created by the founder of the style, it is considered ideal to become as close to the founder as possible. Likewise in the case of karate, it is thought to be important to learn techniques though the correct practice of traditional katas, which have been passed down.

Part 2 Preventing the Deterioration of Techniques.

An often heard reason for practicing katas is to avoid the deterioration of techniques. In other words, if one doesn’t practice basics and kata, and only practices free sparring, their techniques will deteriorate and they will need to fix them through the practice of kata. At the basis of this idea is the notion that “basics are important”. This is a common theme central to all knowledge, not just martial arts.

Let’s look at an example from judo. To learn the application of seoinage, one starts to learn by “uchikomi” practice, where they learn the basics, such as “kuzushi”, “tsukuri”, and “kake”, leading up to the actual technique. Then they actually perform the technique in “randori”, or free style with the opponent resisting the throw.

So, unlike uchikomi practice, one isn’t always able to able to execute the throw using proper form. If one only practices free style or “randori” their form will deteriorate so they have to practice “uchikomi” to correct their form. To be sure, there is no real difference between the form and free style practice, so there is no problem with this method of teaching.

In karate, however, where the katas have been stylized, this method may not be appropriate. This is because the purpose of the stylization is, apart from the real meaning, to strive for beauty when performing them. It is important to consider this and think about exactly what the basics are.

Part 3 Feudal Student Teacher Relationship.

Vestiges of the feudal system still remain in Japanese martial arts. And, even up until recently, it was considered taboo to question one’s teacher.

A unique system of progression has arisen throughout the long history of Japanese traditional learning. Under this system the order of advancement is specified in a detailed manner, from beginning, intermediate, and inner knowledge, to secret hidden knowledge.

Since one could not advance until they mastered the problems given to them by their instructors, it was until recently considered proper to obey their instructor, and it would be taken as rude for one to ask questions of one’s teacher. It was not uncommon for students to be chastised by their instructors if they asked questions by saying that it is 10 years too early!

Moreover, it was said that “it takes 3 years to master one kata”. The notion that the core of practice should be the diligent practice of kata for more than three years has had a large influence on many instructors who have been taught this way.

Part 4 The Organization of Karate.

Whereas, originally there was no system of styles in Okinawa karate, the different styles arose around the beginning of the Showa Era (1926). With the setting up of styles, there arose the need to differentiate each from the other and form each style’s own identity. That difference essentially meant a difference in katas. Thus it was necessary to rearrange the katas, establishing their own set of katas. Even within the same styles there were differences between the katas taught to the early students and those, which were taught later.

An example that represents this is the Heian katas created by Master Anko Itosu. Introduced less than 100 years ago, there are already numerous variations by the time karate was introduced to the mainland. Master Itosu, himself was responsible for this. Depending on when he taught the katas, the movements differed. Even the same katas taught under Master Itosu were different, resulting in their existence as different styles.

If, at the time the bunkai had been clearly specified, this problem would have been minor, but since it wasn’t, the differences in movements were passed on, and led to different styles’ katas.

Part 5 Competition.

It cannot be denied that one’s interest in training is heightened and the level of perfecting katas is raised, thus contributing to the preservation of katas when competition is the goal.

Essentially, this is a good thing, but recently it has led to a trend to rearrange katas. An often quoted example of this is the kata Chatanyara Kushanku. The competition version of this kata is quite different from the original. If this is so, then it would appear that competition also caused some damage to katas.

Also, because it is difficult to win in competition unless they perform high-level katas, beginning students skip the basic katas, and only practice advanced katas. Furthermore, as katas of other styles are performed in tournaments, students are required to perform those katas as well. So the strange reality arises where, not only must one practice one’s own bassai, but the bassai katas of other styles in order to compete in tournaments.

The biggest problem with this phenomenon is that in tournaments competitors are not asked whether or not they can use the kata, so they brazenly perform katas for which they do not know the bunkai.

Thus we can see that are many reasons to practice katas, which are unusable. By understanding the bunkai, though, we can lessen this problem.

Team kata is a part of kata competition. It is difficult to understand the reason for several people to move in a synchronized manner from a martial arts point of view. Recently, however with the change in the WKF rules, it is necessary to perform the bunkai in the finals, sparking an interest in bunkai. This is basically a good trend, I believe.

Section 3 What is Meant by “Styles”?

“Style” denotes a group arising from technical differences. In kenjutsu different styles, such as Shinkage Ryu, Nen Ryu, and Itto Ryu, have arisen due to philosophical differences among the founders. Therefore, unless there is no change in the body of technical knowledge that style should bear the same name as it is passed down through each generation.

To the continuation of the body of technical knowledge, the founder or grand master will approve those instructors who have mastered the body of technical knowledge. The founder or grand master will be the guide for that school.

In large schools, not only the founder or grand master, but other masters are granted the right to certify students, and in some cases, practitioners have come to Edo (Tokyo) to receive their master certification, and returned to their homeland to teach, giving rise to new schools. Unless there is a change in the technical knowledge, though, the style should be the same. They should be thought of as factions within the same style. Thus, the emergence of certain factions (ha) within the same style (ryu) will arise.

In karate, one can observe the peculiar phenomenon whereby two students of the same master may profess to belonging to different styles. This can be attributed to several reasons. Since there is no standard for the qualification of instructors in karate, and also, because the curriculum is unclear, it is understandable that instructors may develop individual interpretations of the technical knowledge. In fact the main reason that karate, unlike judo and kendo, which are moving toward a consensus, is moving toward a splintering is the confusing trend toward the emergence of different factions within the same style.

Also the different factions within karate are not moving apart so much from technical differences as differences in competition rules. The major differences are “non-contact rules”, “protective gear rules”, “full contact rules”, and “glove rules”. The basis for this problem lies in the fact that the rules for karate competition were not clearly defined.

It is clearly known that judo is the creation of Dr. Jigoro Kano, and that its roots are in Jujutsu. There is a vast difference between judo, a martial art that was developed by one person, and karate, which was developed by many persons. With this in mind, I believe it is necessary to redefine what karate is.

Section 4 Consideration of the Changes on the Mainland.

Since the teaching of the bunkai for katas was not complete when it is was introduced to the mainland, it was necessary to fill in the gaps, since “necessity is the mother of invention.” As a result, karate developed in its own fashion on the mainland, and the gap between kata and kumite widened. I would like to organize the factors responsible for this.

Part 1 The Explanations for Katas Were Not Understood.

All of the problems can be solved if one rectifies the causes. Moreover, they are the result of the overlapping of various factors. Those causes are:

1) The explanations were lost in Okinawa.

2) The explanations weren’t passed down in Okinawa.

3) The explanations were passed on only to certain persons.

4) The explanations were passed on to certain persons, but they did not pass them on.

Part 2 The Ideological Difference in the Practice of Karate in Okinawa and the Mainland.

I believe there is a significant difference in the attitude toward the practice of kata in Okinawa and on the mainland. Martial arts on the mainland were practiced mainly by two persons paired against each other. Even Iaido is practiced with two people at the advanced level, even though one generally imagines that it is practiced by oneself, as in basic kendo.

In Okinawa, on the other hand, the thinking is the opposite, as characterized by the quote of Sensei Hiroshi Kinjo, that “Kata is a stylization, not the actual technique” in Gekkan Karate Do, and that of Sensei Kiyoshi Arakaki that “there is no value in applying the techniques of katas to kumite or real fighting situations.” excerpted from “Karate Sangokushi” Gekkan Karate Do.

They believed that through the individual practice of kata one would be able to temper and understand their body movements, and become able to use the katas and apply them to kumite.

It is possible that the masters who introduced karate to the mainland did not understand this difference in ideology, and that difference may actually have contributed to the fact that karate developed in a unique manner on the mainland. Free sparring, may have begun as an adaptation of bunkai kumite on the mainland.

Part 3 Characteristic Differences Between Judo and Karate.

In the history of the development of judo, one notes that there were confrontations with traditional jujutsu around the beginning of the Meiji period (1968~), with boxing around the Taisho period, and with wrestling around the Showa period (1926~). Also, Kodokan was engaged in a rivalry with the Butokukai of Kyoto, so they established the Traditional Martial Arts Study Association, and encouraged the senior students to study Aikido and Jojutsu.

The martial art, judo that Dr. Jigoro Kano envisioned was a modern martial art which included overall free sparring practice which included kicks and punches.

Master Gichin Funakoshi’s demonstrations in 1916 in Kyoto, and in 1922 in Tokyo were held during this time, so I am sure that they were of great interest. Dr. Kano invited Master Funakoshi to come to the Kodokan and teach karate to his senior students for several months.

Then he went to Okinawa the following year, where he publicized karate, and encouraged Masters Kenwa Mabuni and Chojun Miyagi to go the mainland.

It appears that Dr. Kano considered making karate a part of judo. In 1931 he submitted a report to the ministry of culture entitled “Karate as a Part of Judo”.

On the other hand, the major karate masters had hoped to establish karate as one of the three major martial arts along with judo and kendo. Accordingly, they elected to accentuate its uniqueness in order to keep it independent of judo. It seems that, even though Okinawan karate contained throws and joint techniques, the decision was made to emphasize kicks and punches, in order to distinguish it from judo and traditional jujutsu.

Part 4 Understanding Karate.

It is said that Master Funakoshi began the practice of yakusoku kumite (practicing with a partner) around 1929.

Apparently, until then everyone only practiced katas or punches against a makiwara. Master Funakoshi had been teaching at the Tokyo University Karate Club since 1926, but they became dissatisfied with his instruction, and they began they own tournaments using protective gear.

In 1930 Mr. Jisaburo Miki of the Tokyo University Karate Club published a book entitled An Outline of Kempo. He wrote that book as an antithesis to Master Funakoshi’s method of only teaching kata. Seeking the real thing, Mr. Miki traveled to Okinawa, and studied under the top masters. He was, however, unable to solve his questions. In one chapter, he questions the notion that karate does not include grabs, throws, and holds.

Part 5  Simplification Through Free Kumite.

What will happen if we introduce free kumite without any holds, and throws, only punches, strikes, and kicks? Obviously what will develop will be completely different from the original.

The original purpose of free kumite and kumite matches was to test the techniques that one had learned. One can easily imagine that once the idea of competition enters the picture, the notion of “testing” will change to “winning”.

In to prevent this from happening, sensei Jigoro Kano explained that one must compete in free practice and competition with the “presumption of losing”. For if one only concentrates on winning, one will not improve their techniques.

This is because at first, one will not be proficient and they will lose often, but if one avoids losing then there will be few chances to test one’s techniques and their progress will be impeded as a result.

Furthermore, since advanced techniques are more difficult to use, they will likely be exchanged for simpler techniques, which are easier to use, and the more they are used in competition, the more they are likely to degenerate.

Sensei Kubota commented that “no matter how much I teach certain techniques, if they are not applicable to competition, no one is interested in learning them.” I hear similar stories from other schools and styles that if the students cannot use techniques in competition, they show no interest in learning them.

Part 6 The Abundance of Tournaments.

There are tournaments, which decide the winner in overtime for kumite. It is human nature to want to win, as long as one has entered the tournament. One competes within rules, which are in place to guarantee safety. From a judging standpoint difficult or more complex techniques are given more value.

Long ago, people did not learn karate to compete, rather most people learned in order to become stronger. Also since there were so few competitions, only the very best students were chosen to compete. More and more, in order to win, competitors have begun to utilize their practice time efficiently by practicing only techniques, which are allowed under the rules. As a result, with the number of tournaments increasing, this trend is increasing.

Part 7  The Prevalence of Various Rules.

After the war, karate became a competitive sport, influenced by judo and kendo. At that time non-contact and rules using protective equipment became prevalent. Also, the experiment of wearing gloves already existed by 1955. In 1965 the karate world would experience Full Contact Karate.

For all of the different types of competition, the goal was to maintain safety while coming as close as possible to real fighting. Each of these sets of rules, however, had their own advantages and disadvantages.

Recently it appears that there has been even further minute differentiation of these rules. Since each these different types of rules are based on principle of competing safely, many techniques, which are found in kata, have been eliminated. Conversely new techniques, which are effective under certain types of rules, have been developed.

Section 5: Are Practice Methods Effective?

Part 1: Outside Block as an Example.

From my limited experience, it seems that there are many questions about the manner in which karate is taught and practiced, especially compared to judo or kendo.

It seems as though the more we contemplate such questions as “what is the correct bunkai for kata?” or “What are the correct stances or postures?” or What is the relationship between basics and kumite?” the more of a confusing maze we seem to find ourselves in.

When confused, the proper strategy is to return to beginning. Judo and kendo were preceded by jujitsu and kenjutsu. There are many articles and artifacts, which allow us to research their original basics.

In the case of karate, though, there are no written records, and it is not certain whether or not it has been handed down completely, therefore it is difficult to get an idea of its original form.

As I was watching a program on TV about the Athens Olympics, I learned that there are many scientific approaches to training in order to establish new records. In particular, the swimming head coach earned his position essentially based on his analytical skill, and the gymnastics team produced wonderful results with the implementation of organizational measures over the last 20 years.

Judo, under a plan proposed 20 years ago by Coach Yamashita sent children to compete abroad to gain international experience. Those children achieved exceptional results at this Olympics. Already, we can see that it is extremely difficult to set a world record at the Olympics solely through individual based efforts.

Recently, many books have been published which relate the shintai sousa of traditional martial arts to sports. In one of these that dealt with namba running (the traditional style of running in Japan whereby the same arm and leg are used together) it was written that, due to an error in translation, the Japanese were taught to run incorrectly. Upon reading this I strongly felt the need to research such issues as they relate to karate.

In comparison, it is true that there is not as much activity in the field of karate. When we think of a scientific approach in karate we usually come up with tests to measure the force of a punch or kick.

I am sure that are other sports oriented theories, but if we take a diversified approach to the technical aspects and instruction methods, then it may be possible for karate to flourish again. As karate advances with the Olympics in its field of vision, varied scientific research is bound to take place.

Is the manner in which karate is practiced efficient?

Let us return to the topic. I have doubts whether the training methods, which were created after karate was introduced to the mainland, are effective.

In the case of kata bunkai, if we look at each bunkai, it is possible to come up with something completely different, even if it is for the same kata.

The training method consisting of basics, moving basics, kata, one-step sparring,and free sparring, was said to have been created by Master Kentsu Yabu, and established after the introduction of karate to the mainland.

Compared to other martial arts, karate has a relatively short history and it perhaps has not stood the test of critical analysis.

I would like to take a careful look at one example. Of the basic techniques; punches, strikes, kicks and blocks, it is true while punches, strikes, and kicks are used effectively in competitive kumite, when it comes to blocks, it is not possible to say that the movements that we learn in basics and kata are not effectively utilized.

In particular, let’s take a look at soto uke (Shotokan terminology). As an exercise, let’s look at various hypotheses’, which would explain why a soto uke cannot be used in kumite.

Premise:

1) The unusable technique was passed down incorrectly.
2) Insufficient practice
3) Incorrect usage

Proof:

1) The unusable technique was passed down incorrectly.

Since the same technique is found in many other styles, including Okinawan styles, the possibility of soto uke itself being incorrectly passed down is not likely.

Next, one may imagine that the technique was incorrectly named, and that soto uke is not really a block. It is easy to imagine that the real purpose of a soto uke is to take out an opponent’s elbow joint.

In maser Choki Motobu’s “Kumite Technical Manual” soto uke is paired with a reverse punch, thus we can assume that soto uke is indeed a block.

2) Insufficient Practice

In practice, soto uke is primarily used in yakusoku kumite, and it is difficult to use in free sparring. Whether or not the amount of practice is insufficient, or whether the technique itself is so difficult that one tends not to practice it, is like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg. The result, though, has been influenced by both.

If, on the one hand, one increases the amount of practice and the movement in its basic form does not afford a difference in ability, then it is essentially unusable. Thus, I believe that it is not just a simple matter of practice time.

3) Incorrect Usage

In shotokan’s 20 principles, there is an article, which states that “kata should be correct, and actual fighting is a different thing.” If one takes that literally in actual fighting it is okay not to use the exact technique in its basic form.

Moreover, since it is true that kata is a stylization of kata, in actual kumite one can use it (soto uke) if it is used as a parry with the bottom of the fist to the inside. Therefore, one can see that there is no problem if it is used as a basic movement. I believe this is satisfactory to most people.

Is That Really True?

Why don’t we, however, take it a step further and examine whether this is really acceptable. Let’s approach it from a different angle, looking at the differences between kata and kumite.

The major differences are:
In kata, soto uke is performed moving forward.
In kumite, soto uke is performed moving backwards.

Thus, the difference is in the forward and backward movement. Unlike kata, it is impractical to move forward when blocking in yakusoku kumite. This is because, since the attacker is moving forward so if the defender moved forward, as well, the distance would be too short and the technique could not be executed, therefore, in order to maintain the correct distance in yakusoku kumite, the defender needs to take a step backwards when performing a soto uke.

If one blocks while stepping back, though, the attacker will not be taken off balance, so they will be able to attack again. As an example, if an opponent attacks with only a straight punch, then it is just like three step or five step sparring.

Furthermore, if the opponent throws a one-two combination attack, then the possibility of the second punch being faster than the defender’s block and counter punch is high. If that is the case then why do we even practice it?

From the above, we see that whether retreating or advancing, the soto uke is not effective. The question is “what can one do to use it effectively?” Let’s look at the following experiments in an attempt to solve this problem.

1) Perform a Soto Uke Stepping Forward as in the Kata.

Try to do this by doubling the starting distance, and both the attacker and defender step in and block. In this experiment, we found that he opponent is thrown off balance. It is not realistic, however, for both to step forward. This is because the attacker would not initiate a straight punch that would not reach, and a defender would not purposely step in t block a punch that would not reach.

2) Add a Switch Step.

A switch step has been added to maintain a realistic distance. With a switch step, if one steps in half a step, and steps back half a step, from a visual perspective, it creates the situation as stepping in. Also, the entire body weight can be applied to the block, making the block stronger. If one blocks in such a manner, the opponent’s posture will be thrown off balance, and they will not be able to deliver a one-two attack, and the defender can counter with a reverse punch.

3) Why is the Opponent’s Posture Thrown off Balance?

A fist in karate is typically made by clenching the first and second fingers with the thumb tightly around them. In this state it is easy to move the opponent’s arm along the plane in the picturestures.

In other words, when an opponent attacks with a left straight punch, it will be easy to take the attack off balance when moving backwards diagonally to the right. Therefore to defend against this attack, the defender should perform a soto uke while stepping backwards diagonally to the right. In this case, the opponent will be thrown off balance.

From the above experiments, we can see that in yakusoku kumite if a soto uke is performed while stepping back, the opponent will not be thrown off balance. Therefore, if an opponent uses a one-two attack, stepping back and performing a soto uke and counter reverse punch is not realistic.

4) When the One-two Attack is a Feint.

What would happen if the one-two attack is a feint? In that instance, if one performs a junzuki (kizami zuki) with the front hand after performing a soto uke, there is a likely possibility of it getting in before the opponent’s reverse punch. Sensei Choki Motobu said that “blocks must also be attacks” It is possible to recreate this.

5) Examination of Written Records.

In support of the above hypothesis sensei Choki Motobu said that ” In true Okinawan karate combination punches are not possible.”

That is because in true Okinawan karate, if a block is performed properly, the opponent would not be able to initiate another punch.

In photographs of kumite left by sensei Motobu we can see numerous instances where he is using a soto uke. In all of these photographs they are using a half step forward.

6) Sensei Kubota’s Kumite.

Sensei Kubota’s kumite can perhaps be characterized by many techniques, which attempt to move around to the back one’s opponent.

When asked in what manner one could move around to one’s opponents back, sensei replied, “You must bump in to them” .

This conversation seems like a Zen riddle, but if we keep it in mind, we can understand the explanation that “if one blocks while moving forward, they will unbalance their opponent, and then turn them around so one can attack their back.

7) The Results of Testing the Premise.

According to the above tests, the result is that the movement of the block is not incorrect. Rather, the movement of the feet is incorrect.

Since these tests have not been applied to all situations, they are nothing more than test results of one hypothesis. These results do not necessarily prove that the method of practicing yakusoku kumite is incorrect.

It is quite obvious, though, that there is a need to evaluate it from various angles. Here, I have introduced one notion based on an idea from sensei Nagata’s concepts. From this time forward, many old techniques are sure to be reevaluated and modernized by many people.

Part 2: The Divergence of Free Kumite and Kata.

In his book entitled “Koubou Kempo Karatedo Nyumon”, Master Kenwa Mabuni explained the relationship between kata and kumite by saying that the purpose of kumite is for the practical application of kata.

Currently, though, kata and kumite have developed into separate entities. In Master Gichin Funakoshi’s 20 principles, it says that “kata should be performed correctly and that actual fighting was different”.

I believe that this has been misconstrued by some to mean that kata and actual fighting are completely different.His real intent was that kata should not be used in its actual form, but rather, it should be adapted to fit the situation in actual fighting.

Because the application of kata is not clear, problems arise where the techniques of kata cannot be used in kumite. Thus kata and kumite have developed in separate directions.

In judo, dangerous techniques such as punches, kicks and reverse techniques are not allowed in competition, but are practiced in kata. In karate, however, punches, and kicks, which are considered dangerous in judo, are the mainstay of karate, so they must be used in competition, making it difficult to differentiate between competition and kata.

Judo: kata = dangerous techniques
Karate: kata = ?

From the above we see that the guidelines for kata are not clearly defined. Furthermore, since the application of kata is unclear, the trend has leaned toward stylized esthetics, and very solid stances in an effort to show strength. Kumite, on the other hand has seen the need to adopt a different means of footwork in order to win.

Kata: solid stances
Kumite: light / quick footwork

One can see at a glance that the methods of practice will conflict. Because of this there are many kumite competitors who do not practice kata at all. This will obviously cause more and more confusion in the karate world.

Part 3: Karate and Okinawan Kobudo.

In Okinawa, Ryukyu Kobudo has been passed down in the same manner as Okinawan karate. On the mainland karate was introduced as a superior empty-handed method of fighting. It developed primarily within the framework of kumite and kata competition after WWII.

Ryukyu Kobudo, on the other hand has not gained popularity in dojos in Japan. Of those practicing it, Sensei Shinken Taira of the Ryukyu Kobudo preservation association is the foremost instructor.

This trend has come about after the Showa period. Originally, it is said that bo and sai were used by the samurai class and the tonfa and kama (sickle) were practiced by the common people.

It appears that Ryukyu Kobudo is commonly taught in dojos abroad. Whether this is because American servicemen, who served on bases in Okinawa, could learn directly from Okinawan masters, or whether there was more of an interest in the self-defense aspect, the interest level for weapons was high.

Since both disciplines were developed simultaneously, it is best to learn both. Recently it has become possible to make special weapons using polyurethane, or rubber tubing together with lightweight protective gear enabling the possibility of weapons competition like some kind of samurai sport.

Section 6: Is Karate Incomplete?

From what we have examined thus far, while it is only a hypothesis, we can see that as a school of martial arts, karate was passed down incompletely.

Compared to other martial arts of the mainland:

1) It has been passed down unclearly.
2) The application of kata is unclear.
3) The system for advancement is unclear.

Part 1 Bunkai Has Been Passed Down Incompletely.

It is not clear who created many of the katas in karate. Oral tradition states that many katas were taught by Chinese teachers. The names have been passed down orally, but there remain few written records. The pronunciation indicates that they are essentially Chinese. The manner in which, and to what degree martial arts were taught by Chinese and to what degree they changed in Okinawa is absolutely unclear.

Even the relatively new Heian katas, made by master Itosu in the Meiji period, are though to be based on a kata called Channan taught to him by a Chinese by the same name.

Furthermore, it was common to learn different katas from different teachers who specialized in particular katas, such as Naihanchi from one sensei, and Passai from a different sensei. Okinawan karate was more of an individualized discipline. I look forward to further study in this area.

Part 2 The Application of Kata is Unclear.

Previously I have touched on the fact that the application of kata is unclear. It is inconceivable, though in other martial arts that the method of application could be unclear. The whole purpose of learning a martial art is to learn how to apply its techniques in a real situation.

We know that the use of kata as a method of practice came from Chinese martial arts. Merely studying kata, however, is not the same as studying martial arts. It is only when one studies the application of techniques that one can say that they have begun to learn.

Certainly other methods of practice, as well as methods involving weapons are necessary. The departure point for martial arts, though, is the study of the application of the techniques. If one is not taught application, the techniques will not function as a martial art. What can one hope to gain from ineffective study year after year?

Master Anko Itosu, the creator of the Heian katas, wrote in his 10 principles in 1908 that “one should learn each movement in a kata, making sure of their application before practicing that kata.” From this statement, we know that the application did exist in Itosu’s time, and it is unacceptable that the application of katas is unclear today.

Part 3 Method of Advancement is Unclear.

In the Shuri style of Okinawan karate, before the creation of the Heian katas it was common to learn Naihanchi and then Passai or Kushanku. There was no specific order after Naihanchi, and as previously stated, it was customary to study under different teachers, so the system of advancement through novice, intermediate, and advanced levels as in other schools of martial arts on the mainland was unclear.

Since the system of advancement was unclear, there was also no certification system, nor was there a clearly defined teaching curriculum. Under these conditions it is very difficult to get a full picture of the technical body of knowledge.

In those styles which have a historical background, one can see attempts to establish a system of advancement in ranking, since there was a need to establish a successor.

In Chinese martial arts, which were there forerunners to Okinawan karate, there existed training methodology. The creation of the Heian katas by Itosu was an attempt to introduce a system of advancement. From Heian 1 to Heian 5, they progress in order of difficulty.

In his 10 principles, Itosu stated that “one should be able to advance to an advanced level in 2 to 3 years, so we know that there was a method for practice at that time. Unfortunately, though, since the methodology is unclear, it is difficult to measure the results.

Oral Instruction of Bunkai For Kata

Karate’s katas cannot be used just as they are. The reason for this is two-fold, one is to insure secrecy to outsiders, and the other is to maintain a progression of advancement from beginner to advanced level.

Katas have also become stylized for the purpose of presentation in competition, further confusing the line between usable and unusable katas. In order to unlock the information encoded katas, oral instruction in bunkai is necessary.

It may be possible to recreate the original meanings of katas through repeated practice of the movements, but it will involve much time. Books on bunkai published in foreign countries have taken that approach, and while they are still lacking, they should be valued for their efforts in that direction.

Just as Master Anko Itosu wrote in his “10 Principles of Okinawan Karate”, in 1908 “There are many oral instructions.”, the accompanying oral instruction is necessary to understand the bunkai for katas.

The following key phrases were taught to me directly by Sensei Kubota:

In order to understand bunkai, it is necessary to understand certain combat principles of karate. These can be broken down into countering the first contact and measures taken after that. Some of these techniques will overlap with those presented in the next section, so I will cover only a few of these here.

Combat Techniques Of Karate

Section 1 There is no First Strike in Karate.

This is the second of “Master Funakoshi’s 20 Principles of Karate”. This is commonly taken as a moralistic statement meaning that “Those who practice karate should not act in a violent way.”

From a technical point of view, however, I believe this aptly characterizes an important combative principle of karate. One is able to maintain a safe position when countering an opponent’s attack. Using that countering method, one is able to deliver an effective attack.

Section 2 Think of Your Hands and Feet as Swords.

The 15th of the “20 Principles of Karate”, “think of your hands and feet as swords” was a continuation of Master Anko Asato’s philosophy. It is said by some that the model for karate is Jigen Ryu Kenjutsu. Whether this is true or not aside, it was certainly thought of as a means of self-defense.

Weapons existed throughout the history of combat. Empty handed fighting is actually the exception. It was not possible to block an armed attack with one’s body alone. In such an attack, it was likely that one would have carried a weapon, so Master Asato felt that it was important to practice as if one’ were carrying one. In other words, in order to truly protect oneself, one should practice as though “One’s hands and feet are swords.”

Section 3 Counter Methods.

The most common combative technique in karate is a counter.

A counter is where an attack is blocked and an attack is executed. In Master Choki Motobu’s teachings there is an interesting concept. He said that “the blocking hand must immediately become the attacking hand. It is not a true martial technique to block with one hand and counter with another. As one progresses, the block and counter attack will be simultaneous, and that is the true martial technique.
This is why “there cannot be multiple attacks against true Okinawan karate, because if an attack is countered properly, there can be no further attack.”

Section 4 Immobilize The Opponent Before Striking.

According to Sensei Kubota, Master Funakoshi often said “Immobilize your opponent before striking.”

What this means is to render your opponent into such a state that he cannot attack again, or even move, before executing a strike or a kick.

As one progresses in their understanding of bunkai, this concept becomes clearer. Just about whenever I practiced bunkai with Sensei Kubota, I was rendered into an immobilized state.

Section 5 The Names of Movements have Been Disguised.

Originally there were no names for movements. Names were given when karate was introduced to the mainland.

Since Okinawan karate was taught on an individual basis, an instructor could show a movement directly to his student, there was no need to give them names. On the mainland, though, karate was taught primarily at universities, it was necessary to establish set terminology and create textbooks. It wasn’t until about 1935 that Shotokan established its terminology and method of instruction (warming up, basics, moving basics, kata, and kumite).

There is a problem with this terminology, though, and the real meaning of the techniques was hidden. In the bunkai, which Sensei taught me, many techniques that were called blocks were really attacks. It is not possible to understand the bunkai for katas if one is fooled by the terminology.

Section 6 Kick Low While Grabbing The Opponent.

There is a saying that goes “Kicks are meant to be delivered below the belt.”

Also, if we take a look at most of the bunkai for katas, they are executed while grabbing the opponent.

In that manner, one can avoid the unstable situation of “standing on one leg”. Moreover, by grabbing one’s opponent and knocking them off balance, the opponent will not be able to execute a counter attack.

In close fighting where one can grab an opponent, the field of vision is limited, so it is difficult to defend against a low kick. In the Book Kempo Karate, written in the late 1920’s, most of the kicks it showed were described as groin kicks. Also in the kumite matches that used protective gear at the University of Tokyo’s karate club, point were awarded for front kicks, which hit the groin cover.

Section 7 The Development of Power.

Techniques essential to the development of power are also hidden in katas.

For beginners it is sufficient to grab an opponent and punch while pulling them in to you. But how is one to develop the power required to execute a “killing blow”, which is the catch phrase of karate?

The answer is in proper posture and movement. A hint is hidden in Heian Shodan’s first movement, down block, straight punch. The method of moving in karate is walking, not a connected gait. For purposes of practice, the simpler the better, so the Heian katas and Taikyoku katas were designed for that purpose.

Section 8 Throws and Reverse Techniques.

The common perception is that karate consists of kicks and punches, and Mr. Jisaburo Miki, in his book Karate Kempo Gaisetsu, defined karate as having no throws or reverse techniques. If one carefully examines kata bunkai, though, they will find that there are many throws, reverse techniques, and countermeasures against weapons.

Master Funakoshi, in his early writings introduced many of these techniques along with photographs. Also in 1956, in a 35 mm film produced by the Nihon Karate Kyokai many throwing techniques were recorded. In Karate Kempo and Karate-do Kyohan published in the late 1920’s, “disarming a short sword” and “disarming a wide sword” were introduced. Also in his book, Master Kenwa Mabuni wrote, “karate is not only kicks and punches.”

Even though the masters who introduced karate to the mainland clearly stated that Okinawan karate contained throws and reverse techniques, there was a discrepancy in the understanding of the students who learned from them.

Section 9 Parts of the Body That are Used.

In karate, many various parts of the body are used for attacks. Techniques such as nakadaka ippon ken, nukite, shuto, kentsui, and hiraken can be used effectively. There is a possibility, though, that they will be forgotten along with the bunkai for katas. Also grabs will be forgotten unless they are practiced.

Section 10 Weapons.

Karate is basically an empty handed martial art, but if an opponent attacks with a weapon, it is not necessary to defend oneself empty handed.

In karate there is a saying that goes, “weapon for a weapon”. It sounds like “an eye for an eye”.

No one goes into war without their weapons. Taking weapons into war is a fundamental principle of combat. In times of peace though, we can’t carry weapons.

In Okinawa, the governmental ban on weapons, created the environment where the practice of weapons developed secretly. An added value of practicing weapons is the weight of the weapons themselves, which aides in the training of the body.

When karate was introduced to the mainland, the use of hands was emphasized, so the practice of weapons was not common, but it is a good idea to practice Okinawan weapons and karate together.

Questions Facing Karate

Section 1 The Reason That Katas are Unusable

Reviewing the issues which we have looked at up to this point, we come up with these three points:

1) The bunkai for katas is not understood.

2) Bunkai cannot be used within the rules of competition. (in Japan)

3) It is possible to win using only simple techniques.

Part 1 The Bunkai for Katas is Not Understood.

This is because it was not possible to introduce Okinawan karate in its original form to the mainland.

It appears that until now no specialized research has been carried out concerning the fact that kata bunkai is unclear. “An Instructional Text for Karate”, published by the Japan Karate Federation is the only book about the bunkai for the Heian katas. It states in its preface, however, that “this training manual is not about the original combat aspects of karate, rather it maintains the educational standpoint of competitive sports based on the rule of mutual respect.”

Since that publication, no other works dealing with the martial aspect of bunkai has been published.

Recently WKF competition rules require the study of bunkai. I believe that, as the study of bunkai advances, the interest in using different techniques will increase.

Part 2 Bunkai Cannot be Used in Competition.

Karate was introduced to the mainland primarily as a martial art consisting of kicking, punching, and striking.

According to “Explaining Kempo”, published by the Todai Karate research Society, “There is nothing else in karate except kicks, punches, and strikes.” Accordingly, many competition rules prohibit grabbing. World Karate Federation rules, however, permit grabs under a few seconds and throws are used aggressively. There appears to be an overall trend to return to the basics.

Part 3 It is Possible to Win Using Only Simple Techniques.

Currently, since most kumite competitions are won mainly by kicks and punches, emphasis is put on perfecting fairly easy techniques. It is a fact that it is better to practice fewer simple techniques, which are easy to use in tournaments. One can also not deny the trend to practice techniques, which are rewarded higher points according to WKF rules. Consequently, as the number of tournaments increases the tendency to practice only techniques for use in competition will become stronger. Indeed, if one doesn’t, it will become more and more difficult to win.

Section 2 How to be Able to Use Kata?

Part 1 The Definition of Bunkai.

Because Okinawan karate was taught in secret to a small number of disciples, there is nothing similar to a textbook explaining the movements of katas. Currently, it is common practice to practice katas without knowing the meaning behind the movements.

Learning a martial art involves learning the techniques, which have been passed down through that particular martial art. In the case of karate, though, bunkai for katas (the body of traditional techniques) is mysteriously unclear. To practice katas individually after one has learned the application of the techniques is meaningful, but merely the individual practice of a kata without knowing the application, is like performing a dance or gymnastics.

On one hand it has been sated that “katas should not be changed.” In fact, though, katas had already undergone changes before Okinawan karate was introduced to the mainland.

The fact that a person’s name has been attached to a different katas, such as such and such a bassai, or such and such a Kushanku, itself proves that katas had undergone change from their original form.

If katas changed from their original forms, then it follows that their bunkai changed too. Thus, we see that the problem lies not in the changes of simple movements, but in changes in the techniques themselves.

Recently one hears stories where people imitate winning katas, which have been arranged (changed) in order to win. If that is true, then katas will continue to change more and more. Since the standard for winning in tournaments is whether or not the kata is strong and beautiful, not whether or not it is applicable, this phenomenon will increase.

In the case of other martial arts on the mainland, katas are traditionally practiced by two people, and there are written texts, which contain the techniques being practiced, so even though there may be differences in the outward appearance, there are no major differences.

Therefore I believe that it is impossible to correctly teach kata unless it is taught together with bunkai, working with two people. Consequently, I believe that kata texts should not just describe the sequence of moves, but should include and explanation of the bunkai of the kata.

Part 2 The Need for a System of Advancement in Rank.

In addition to learning bunkai, it is also necessary to introduce into karate a systematic method of advancement with regard to the mastering of techniques and advancing in rank.

In schools of martial arts on the mainland, there is a framework within which the transmission of techniques occurs. This system begins with “shoden” novice, to “chuden” intermediate, and to “okuden” advanced.

This system was developed in the Edo period when it was customary to pass on the set of skills to one child. It was not possible to guarantee, though, that a suitable successor would be born into one’s family, so the head of the family would choose a successor and teach him the body of knowledge.

Recently there are many books and videos about body mechanics. Some of them relate the style of movement of top Olympic athletes to the body mechanics of traditional martial arts. One gets a sense of the systematic method that Dr. Kano had in mind when he decided to introduce the basic technique of breaking the opponent’s balance as the first technique to learn in the syllabus of judo.

In traditional Japanese arts the curriculum advances in a prescribed way. Karate, on the other hand has not established the same unified system for advancement, and there are many questions, which arise, such as: How can one use the katas, which are the accumulation of the technical knowledge? Where does the practice of kata fit in to the overall curriculum? What is the relationship between basics, kata and kumite?

The order that was proposed by sensei Kentsu Yabu; basics, moving basics, one step sparring, kata, and kumite is sufficient for general purposes, but I do not believe it is sufficient for the advancement of higher level students.

Part 3 The Need For Logical Rules For Technical Advancement.

Because of the need to practice specifically for tournaments, there is a trend toward not practicing or studying those techniques, which cannot be used in tournaments. In martial arts, it is necessary to test one’s strength against another. Apart from that, there is a need to have rules, which evaluate the degree to which one has mastered the techniques, which they have learned. In karate, as well, it is necessary to create a situation where one must use specified techniques in order to win. If the rules require the use of bunkai for katas, then the need to practice bunkai will arise.

If, for example, one must master certain work skills in order to make a living, they would desperately learn that skill. If one purposely creates the condition where a technique must be used, then the techniques, which are appropriate to that situation, will be practiced and improved upon.

In an article in the magazine Gekkan Karatedo about free sparing in Goju Ryu, the system whereby one’s ability is urged by how well they use the techniques, which are in the Goju Ryu’s katas. I believe this is an extremely good system. If the method in this example is used more often, then the connection between kumite and kata will be strengthened, and the level of karate will be raised.

Section 3 Karate as a Means of Self Defense.

I believe that more research is necessary in this area, since karate was originally developed as a means of self-defense.

One can also imagine that the interest in self-defense among the general public is heightened these days due to the recent worsening of public safety. I believe it is also one of the duties of martial arts is to respond to the needs of such people. For the purposes of self-defense, it is necessary to teach the technical ability to fight off on attacker when the need arises.

The need to fight an attacker must be available now, not in 10 to 20 years. In other words, the content must be such that one can use those techniques which they have been taught, or to the extent to which they have practiced them.

In that sense, if ones one kata, and they practice it so that they will be able to use it, they should be able it to a self-defense situation.

Of course there is a world of difference between knowing a technique and being able to use it. Let’s take the example of the over the back throw of judo. Much practice is required to use it effectively. Even though one trains every day with a partner and then does free style practice, it will be quite some time before one can actually throw an opponent. With this in mind, one can understand the fact that master of old did not learn a great number of katas.

Heian Shodan, for example, is made up of 5 different combinations of techniques; gedan barai (down block), oizuki (straight punch) as a defense against a chudan zuki (mid section punch) and mae geri (front kick), kentsui (hammer fist), and oizuki, as an escape from a hold, a jodan age uke (upper block) as a defense against a jodan (face) attack, and a shuto uke (knife hand block) as a defense against a chudan attack and throw.

If one were able to learn these techniques alone and be able to apply them, they should be able to defend themselves using those techniques. Additionally if one studies the use of weapons, one will learn how to defend oneself using objects close at hand.

Hidden Karate.

Sensei Kubota was purported to have been one of the last of master Funakoshi’s top students to whom he entrusted his final words.

Articles about Sensei Kubota appeared in “Karate and Martial Arts” in 1985 in the February, April, May, June, and July issues, and in “Modern Karate” in 1986 in its February issue.

April 1935, Sensei Kubota entered Tokyo Shoka University (Currently Hitotsubashi University) and began training under master Funakoshi.

1941, He was awarded 3rd degree black belt by Master Funakoshi upon graduation. (At that time were only 5 levels of black belt.)

1944, As an infantry Second lieutenant of army he demonstrated to Master Funakoshi the results of his instruction of martial arts to his subordinates and was awarded a fourth degree black belt.

1947 – 1950, Taught at karate clubs at Chuo University and Senshu University. During that time, he restored the karate club to his alma mater, Hitotsubashi University to Shotokan style. For the ten years after 1947 he concentrated on “tournament training”. He met Sensei Zenya Kunii of the Kashima Shin Ryu style of kendo, and was asked by him to succeed him as the Grand master of that style, but he declined.

1951, He moved to Osaka. He received a fifth degree black belt from Master Mabuni Kenwa.

1952, Taught karate to officers from the US Air Force physical education department as a representative of karate instructors organization, of which Master Funakoshi was head.Participated in the foundation of the Japan Karate Association.

1954, He held the first red/white match at the Tokyo Gymnasium.

1957, He moved to Nagoya. He instructed at Nagoya Kogyo University and Aichi Gakuin University.

1961, He was invited to take the post of technical advisor to the Japan Karate Federation. He declined, however, due to a conflict with his own karate values.

1962, He was tournament advisor for the World Karate Tournament held at the Nippon Budokan.

1965, He became the instructor for the Hitotsubashi University karate club, and taught martial arts karate to alumni of the same club, “Ikukai”. President of same club.

1972, Resigned as president of “Ikukai”. Supreme instructor for junior students.

1976, Sensei Kubota passes away.

Section 2 Katas Can be Used.

When I first met Sensei Kubota, he showed me Heian Shodan. I knew that he was a karate instructor, but I could not recognize the kata that he performed as Heian Shodan. It looked liked some kind of Tai Chi kata. Thus was my first encounter with him.

Sensei Kubota believed that the Heian katas contained the essence of karate in a very concise form. In particular, he believed that Heian Shodan was central among them.

In fact, the first move (gedan barai), and second move (chudan oizuki) contain important hints to explain katas, but in reality it is often looked upon lightly as a kata for beginners.

Section 3 The Secret Pact.

Before meeting Sensei Kubota, I myself, believed that one could not use kata for kumite. According to Sensei Kubota, katas were altered on purpose when they were exported to the mainland.

The following is what I was told by Sensei Kubota:

When Master Gichin Funakoshi introduced Okinawan karate to the mainland, there was a “secret pact” made among the practitioners of Okinawan karate. Karate was primarily spread at universities, and the explanation, which Sensei Kubota learned, was about the same as today.

It was, however, completely different than what he was taught at night by Master Funakoshi at his house. When asked “Why did he teach something different than in the day time?”
His answer was that ” Master Funakoshi was actually not supposed to teach it.”

In other words, because of a “secret pact”, whereby he was not to teach the “yamatonchu” (The slang for Japanese mainlanders) or to teach them katas which they cannot use.

When he taught his ordinary students he taught them katas, which they would not be able to use.

Sensei Kubota also learned from Master Kenwa Mabuni. Master Mabuni who also divided his teaching into “the original form” and ” the other form”. Sensei Kubota learned Naihanchi when Master Mabuni offered to teach him the original form of Naihanchi. In return, he said that he taught Master Mabuni the Shotokan side kick and it’s defense.

There is a well known saying in karate that goes; “Even if you teach the kata, don’t teach the actual techniques.” I believe this phrase expresses well the contents of the “secret pact.”

According to Sensei Kubota, in order to unravel the kata, it is necessary to know the oral instruction, which will restore the bunkai to its original form.

When I myself learned the bunkai for the first movement of Heian Nidan, I felt that it was handed down incorrectly, but rather it was clear that it had been changed deliberately. This is true also of the Shuri style katas, which seemed to have been changed to make the movements of the katas as far from the original bunkai as possible.

Section 4 A Consideration of the Secret Pact.

Was there an organized movement in the karate world at that time?

The “Okinawan Karate Kenkyu Kai” was established in 1918 with Master Kenwa Mabuni in charge. The members included Masters Kentsu Yabu, Chomo Hanashiro, Gichin Funakoshi, Choshin Chibana, Anbun Tokuda, Shinpan Shiroma, Chozo Oshiro, Masasumi Tokumura, Takayuki Ishikawa, and Chojun Miyagi.

Is there any evidence that Master Funakoshi was in contact with Okinawa with regard to teaching Okinawan karate on the mainland?

In the book Karate, my Way of Life by Funakoshi, he states that in 1922 he sent letters to both sensei’s, consulting with them about teaching Okinawan karate on the mainland. It is believed that the content of those letters was deliberated upon by the “Okinawan Karate Kenkyu Kai”.

Was there a necessity for Master Funakoshi to consult with Okinawa?

Master Funakoshi did not originally go the mainland to teach, rather, he went to demonstrate Okinawan karate. Therefore, I believe it was only natural for him to consult with his fellow colleagues, as well as the “Okinawan Karate Kenkyu Kai” about teaching on the mainland. This is because he had planned to eventually return to Okinawa. Life in the countryside is the same everywhere. The consensus of the community is very important. There was the possibility, that not only he himself, but also his family as well, could not ignore it for fear of losing their support. Moreover, with his family still in Okinawa, and he planning to return to Okinawa, one can surmise that he was not in a position to ignore the opinions of his colleagues and the “Okinawan Karate Kai”.

What actions did the central figures of Okinawan Karate take after that?

If we look at the fact that the 12 katas which were established by the Okinawan Karate Shinko Kyokai (consisting basically of the same members as the Okinawan Karate Kenkyu Kai) were similar to the katas, which Taikyoku organized for beginners, we can that the leading figures in Okinawan karate at that time were considering how to disseminate Okinawan Karate. In other words they had already begun to differentiate katas between those for the general spread of karate, and those for their own style.

Have the proper body mechanics and kata bunkai?
Unfortunately, even for such basics katas as the Heian katas, there is no acceptable bunkai today for these katas.

Section 5 Discrimination Against Okinawa at that Time.

One can find assertions by both Masters Gichin Funakoshi and Kenwa Mabuni in their writings that “Okinawan’s are Japanese” and that “Okinawan karate is a martial art”. It may seem strange to us in this day and age, but I believe those claims were necessary amid the social backdrop of discrimination that existed against Okinawa. The following historical event sheds light on the social mood of the day.

The Human Museum Incident

In 1903, from March to July, the government held its 5th Industrial Exhibition at the Osaka’s Tennoji. At the same time, unrelated to the exhibition, various for profit side show booth sprang up around there. One of those was a thatched hut called “Academic Human Museum.” Listed as its academic research credentials, it had North Koreans, Hokkaido Ainu, Taiwanese Mountain Villagers, Indians, Javanese, Turks, Africans, and Okinawa’s on display.

Needless to say, the “Academic Human Museum” became embroiled in sharp criticism and protests from Okinawa. In addition to that, in a journal kept by Master Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Goju Ryu, referred to discrimination, which he encountered.

It is easy to imagine the ideological background in which, with respect to the exportation of Okinawan karate to the mainland, the Okinawa’s were anxious to actively progress toward assimilation into Japan in order to improve their social standing. At the same time one can imagine that they felt some antipathy toward the Japanese who had dominated them.

It is not curious in the least that there would have been a conscious effort toward “not teaching the essence of Okinawan karate to the mainland Japanese.”

Section 6 If You Teach Karate, Do Not Teach the Real Techniques.

Part 1 Katas Really Can Be Taught.

There is a saying in karate that “Even if you teach the kata, do not teach the hidden techniques.” I believe that the techniques they are referring to are bunkai and proper body mechanics.

Also, since another way of saying “Do not teach the hidden techniques.” is “hidden techniques can be taught.” In other words they can be taught, but they should not be taught.

In traditional martial arts on the mainland, one cannot learn the intermediate techniques while they are beginners. In the case of karate, though there is no clear delineation of technical levels, so what has happened is that the movements of the katas have been taught, but the bunkai hasn’t. The result is that only the superficial techniques like kicks and punches are taught, while the other techniques are kept under cover.

Part 2 Choose Who You Teach To.

Because karate is a martial art containing potentially deadly techniques, the masters of old could not teach it to just anyone.

That is also part of the idea that they should not teach the hidden techniques when they taught katas. Consequently it was necessary to judge one’s character before teaching them. Thus the saying “karate is a virtuous man’s martial art”. This does not mean that one will become virtuous through the practice, rather that unless one were virtuous, they would not be taught.

Accordingly, it was common to only teach the basics until the teacher would ascertain whether or not the student was of sufficient character to teach the hidden techniques.

Part 3 To Whom Could They Teach?

In the case of martial arts on the mainland, the rank of menkyo-kaiden (master rank) meant that they were allowed to be taught the secret techniques.

In the case of karate, though, because it was practiced in secret, there was no system of certification. Until one was told that they were ready to be taught, they could not be sure of their own level.

Also, there was some confusion due the fact that it was the practice to learn different katas from different instructors.
Accordingly it was difficult for the karate teachers to objectively judge the students’ level.

Section 7 Oral Instruction Is The Key To Unlock Katas.

Originally oral instruction explaining the meaning and application of katas existed. Sensei Kubota, passed down this oral instruction for the bunkai of katas.

It is similar to the “Principles of Kaisai” in Goju Ryu. Once one learns the oral instruction, katas become full of a sense of reality. For example it is said that the front hand is for offense and the back hand is for defence. If this oral instruction is applied to the first move of Heian Nidan, it will look like the picture is from the book Karate do Kyohan written by Master Funakoshi. His opponent is Master Otsuka, the founder of Wado Ryu.

Heian Nidan was the first kata that I learned, and I was fond of it, but I had some questions about the normal bunkai. The bunkai shown is the first bunkai that I learned from Sensei Kubota. It most certainly characterizes the phrase ” to strike straight from one’s eyesight”.

The normal bunkai for this is a left inside block of the opponent’s right upper punch. With this method, the following attack would be a second count. On the other hand, Master Funakoshi’s bunkai indicates a left upper block and a right upper cut. In this case the block and the attack are executed in a single count. In other words, the method of countering an attack according to the common explanation is the opposite of the true bunkai. Since this is true for other styles, as well, it cannot be attributed to mistakes or changes. Rather, it is clear that a conscious effort was made to make it the exact opposite.

Section 8 Demonstration Katas Versus Actual Combat Katas.

Sensei Kubota divided katas into “katas for demonstration” and “katas for combat”. Katas for demonstration are for show, so the movements have been stylized and in order not to be revealed, the techniques that are executed in one count are broken down into two counts.

It is safe to say that most katas which one sees are this type. Just performing these kinds of katas, which are used in tournaments and demonstrations, they will not be able to actually use them. Katas for combat are those, which show the bunkai, and can actually be used. Generally speaking, they are almost unknown. They are devised so that they can be used directly for bunkai kumite.

Katas should be practiced together with oral instruction in order to be able to use them. There are various ways to practice these katas; breaking them up into blocks, performing them quickly, or slowly. One should not however practice them in the same manner as those for demonstration.

There is a similar method of practice in Shinkage Ryu Heiho (kenjutsu), which I studied. In Shinkage Ryu, One technique is broken down into to two steps for the purpose of teaching. For beginners a technique is practiced in two counts or movements. The same technique is practiced in one count or movement by advanced students. Therefore if someone only practices a technique as a beginner using two counts for many years, they will not be able to use it effectively. It is necessary to graduate and practice it at the next level.

Section 9 Sensei Kubota’s Teaching Method.

Sensei Kubota, as with most old fashioned martial artists, would not easily teach the bunkai of katas. Instead of teaching me, he would constantly ask me, “What is the meaning of that move?” When I couldn’t answer, he would just laugh and say that it’s your homework, and leave.

The next time I saw him, I would show him the results of my research and have him critique it. He would continue to give me the same problem until I was able to solve it.

If I was having a hard time figuring out a move, he would say to me “Come at me.”

Then we begin kumite. Sensei Kubota, however, would ask “how would you attack from here?” But would be twice my normal distance, and I did not know what techniques he would use, so I was so fearful that I could not get close to him.

Itosu’s Ten Precepts of Okinawan Karate

Chapter 1 The Origin Of Karate.

Modern karate began with Master Anko Itosu (1831~1915). Not only did Master Itosu bring karate out from the veil of secrecy, he organized traditional katas in a unified manner, and created new katas. Moreover, he established a foundation whereby Karate could extend beyond Okinawa to mainland Japan and to the world, by teaching it to many students, and introducing it into the school system itself. I believe these meritorious contributions are comparable to those of Dr. Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo.

In this chapter I will look at the starting point of karate based on Itosu’s Ten Precepts (The Ten Principles Karate), which he wrote in 1908.

Section 1 A Brief History of Master Anko Itosu.

Master Anko Itosu studied Shuri-Te (Shuri style Karate) under Sokon Matsumura (1809~1899), Naha-Te (Naha style Karate) from Master Nagahama, and Tomari-Te (Tomari style Karate) from Master Kosaku Matsumora (1829~1898), and was very famous for his powerful breaking ability. Also, as a secretary for the Kingdom Of Ryukyu, his calligraphy was excellent.

After Okinawa was annexed to Japan in 1879, Master Itosu continued to work as a secretary and taught karate to regular students at his home.

He received attention from the prefectural government due to the fact that all of those who passed with a high physical classification for the conscription examination were students of Master Itosu.

After that, the tide turned toward the introduction of karate into the school curriculum.

In 1901, Shuri Elementary School adopted karate as a part of its physical education program.

Master Itosu introduced the Heian katas in 1904.

In 1905, Master Itosu became an instructor of karate at the Prefectural Dai Ichi Junior High School, and the Instructors School.

In 1908, Master Itosu announced the Ten Precepts (The Ten Principles of Karate)

Master Itosu passed away in 1915.

Chapter 2 A Consideration of Itosu’s Ten Precepts. The Original Text and a Modern Translation

I would like to consider the true nature of karate by examining Master Itosu’s so-called “Ten Precepts”.

Master Itosu submitted what he called “The Ten Principles of Okinawa karate” to the Okinawan prefectural office in response to questions concerning the nature of karate.

I will refer to the explanation provided by Sensei Hiroshi Kinjo, who has carried out extensive research concerning Itosu’s Ten Precepts.

I first cite the original text, but since it contains obsolete characters, I have provided a modern translation.

Preface:
Karate did not develop from Buddhism or Confucianism. In the past the Shorin school and the Shorei school were brought to Okinawa from China. Both of these schools contain certain characteristics that I will delineate now so they may be preserved without too many changes.

1) Karate should not merely be practiced for one’s own physical benefit, rather it should be used to protect one’s family or lord.It should not be used against a single assailant (for personal fights), and if at all possible one should attempt to redirect the confrontation when attacked by a villain or ruffian. In no case should one use punches and kicks to injure someone.

2) The purpose of karate is to make the muscles and bones hard as rock and train the hands and legs so that they will become like spears, thereby becoming naturally courageous. If children were to begin training in karate while in elementary school, they would be well suited for military service and other martial arts. Remember the words of the Duke of Wellington after he defeated Napoleon “The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of our schools.” I believe this quote is truly apt.

3) Karate cannot be learned quickly. Like a slow moving bull, that eventually travels a thousand miles, if one trains diligently everyday for one to two hours, in three to four years their body structure will become different from that of an ordinary person and in many cases they will be able to master the advanced aspects of karate.

4) The training of punches and kicks is important in karate. So training with a makiwara is important. To do this, one should lower their shoulders, open their lungs, taking (out) their strength, grip the floor with one’s feet and lower one’s energy to their abdomen (tanden). Practice in this manner using each arm one to two hundred times.

5) In karate it is important to practice the stances with a straight back, shoulders lowered, taking (out) one’s strength, putting one’s strength in their legs, lowering one’s energy to their abdomen (tanden). It is important to maintain proper balance between the strength of the upper and lower body.

6) Practice katas often, learning the meanings and when to use them before practicing them. There are many oral instructions for the strikes, blocks, escapes, and grappling techniques.

7) Before practicing kata, decide whether you are training for physical development or for learning the technical application.

8) When you train you should train as if on the battlefield. Make your eyes glare, lower your shoulders and harden your body. If you train with the same intensity and spirit as though you are striking and blocking against an actual opponent, you will naturally develop the same attitude as on a battlefield.

9) When training, be careful not to use an inappropriate amount of power for your body. If you do, your energy will rise to your upper body and your eyes and face will become red, which is dangerous for the body.

10) From the past there have been many karate masters who have enjoyed long lives. The reason for this is that it develops the bones and muscles and aids in digestion and circulation. If karate were introduced as a foundation for physical education in public schools, and widely practiced, we would be able to produce many students who have mastered it enough to be able to defeat ten assailants.

Prologue:
In keeping with the above ten precepts, I believe that by having the students of the teacher’s school practice it and, upon graduation, after receiving detailed instruction, they would be able to teach it at various elementary schools. If taught correctly, within ten years it will have spread not only throughout Okinawa, but through the entire country of Japan. I believe it will be of tremendous benefit to our nation and military. It is my hope that you will give this serious consideration.

Anko Itosu October 1908

 

 

Kata Specifications in Karate

Kata Specifications in Karate I (first part)
by Kenji Tokitsu Sensei

As you know, for a long time Karate was practiced and transmitted only in esoteric circles. Until the end of the 19th century, people always avoided being seen when they practiced Karate. They used to train at night, in the master’s garden or in solitary places, such as a lonely beach or cemetery. It was not strange for karatekas to keep their practice secret even from the members of their own family.
A master had only a very few trainees. Some even refused to take on pupils, with the result that their art disappeared when they did.

Since this is the way that Karate was practiced, it is clear that no thought was given to others. There was a total absence of concern for spectacular technical stances. A show or performance mainly strives for visual communication with an audience, but in this system, the presence of outsiders was strictly forbidden.

Techniques were practiced to make them effective, but the effectiveness sought was very different from the image created as a result of modern-day Karate. In many cases, the vision of contemporary karatekas has been deformed by prejudices heavily influenced by films, TV series and demonstration performances such as the ones seen on “Martial Arts Night”.

All of this is done for the sake of connecting with outsiders, to render effectiveness visible to them, as is the rule of show business. But the consequence is that a false view is spread of the reality of combat and its skills. The show has its strong points, but we have to know how to distinguish between performance and martial art. To my mind, the effectiveness of Karate, and of all martial arts, is based on elements that are scarcely, if at all visible. I will develop this point later.

To better understand Karate, we could explore certain questions about it during the period when it was defined solely as a martial art. If I do so, it is not merely to delve into the past, but because I feel that in order to develop a Karate that is suited to our way of life, we must base it on what went before so that it can be carried forward.

Ancient Karate was developed and transmitted within an esoteric system, whereas modern Karate is practiced and conveyed within an open system that seeks to show it off. In the course of this development – going from one system of transmission to its opposite -, wouldn’t there have been a loss of technical know-how? And if there was, what exactly was lost and how important was it?

In the ancestral system, Karate training focused on repetition of the kata. Practitioners trained with very few kata – one, two, or maybe three. A karateka’s skill was judged according to the degree of integration of a kata. His knowledge of many kata was of no importance. If someone had said, “I know twenty kata”, another would have thought to himself scornfully, “That’s because you don’t know any of them well. As a karateka you have no value”.

Karate experts had to put a great deal of energy into a single kata, showing through it the skills they had acquired. A kata was learned and repeated from many different angles. It was not thought of as a unique, authentic form. A kata needed to include technical variants that enabled one to respond to the multiple situations of combat. Kata had the pragmatic, very complete role of teaching and honing truly valid skills. It was a true technical support.

For example the Jion kata included a number of Age-uke and Gyaku-tsuki passages. In the normal repetition of the kata, these passages were executed, like today, in the simplest fashion, linking them with the preceding and following movements. But these passages, like all the others, also had to be worked on independently as basic techniques.

In doing so, instead of practicing them as in the kata, moving forward in a straight line and without any break in rhythm, a karateka would execute them in different ways. For example, the Age-uke block would be practiced with subtle oblique shifts of the body in order to be able to respond to an adversary’s attack from different angles.

Clearly, there are many ways of changing the angle of the body. This is why, in the kata, these multiple shifts are expressly omitted and only the gestural skeleton is shown. It is as though only a central path were traced out, whereas in reality there are many possible paths: to the right, left, on an angle, turning, etc.

For true technical training, you obviously have to study all these possibilities because this is the only way for technique to become thoroughly operational – i.e., capable of varying according to the situation.

A kata was important for a trainee because it enabled him to learn these hidden technical variants. A single gesture contained within itself dozens of variations. To know a kata meant learning and mastering this complexity, and this is why a single kata was sufficient.

It was not by practicing in a single fixed way that the trainee found a kata interesting. As a student improved and progressed, the master would open his eyes to underlying techniques. He might say, “In the kata, the forms executed are at their most condensed and simplified. You must now execute each one of the passages in different ways. You have to find the subtlety with which to alter the angle of your body. That’s the essential thing for combat. But you don’t need to experience it in executing the kata. The kata is a bone, which you flesh out with knowledge. Nourish your flesh well, without showing it to others.”

This way of learning a kata was only possible within a system of personal transmission which, however, could involve more than one student. It became impossible in an institutionalized system which accords official status to only one form of execution.

In this regard, I like to quote T. NAKANO, one of my karateka friends:
“Human beings are strange. Many tend to feel anxious, unsure and insecure when faced with a veritable treasure that will open the doors to freedom and innumerable possibilities. On the other hand, they feel safe and secure with poverty and mediocrity, simply because they have the garland of “official” authority, which releases them from the need to think about other possibilities. There is a little of this in the strength of the organisations. They represent an authority based on assigning value to a single form of each kata, to training models, to rules, to ranks. In the old system of Karate, none of these allures existed, simply because they were not necessary for martial arts. Today what is required by sports, but not by martial art, is what dominates in the world of the latter. Isn’t this a sad state of affairs?”

When someone says, “The kata are important, essential even for Karate”, the statement is based on the ancestral system, whether the speaker knows it or not. In other times, the kata were regarded with respect according to their content. But as we have seen, the “ancestral” kata of today are not the same in practice as in teaching. A kata cannot have as many meanings in the modern system of Karate where each style or school refers to a fixed model regarded as the only legitimate one. To see this you only need to examine the kata that you practice.

Karate developed within a system of communication that was closed to the public. Today, dominated as we are by the show system, how can we fully access that knowledge? Surmounting such a problem is not easy. Just revise the kata that you know and try to apply their passages to see the totality of the kata.

Are you able to explain the meaning and purpose of each technical move in a satisfactory manner? Don’t you perform the technical moves simply because that’s how you’ve been taught? If you can’t fully feel the meaning and purpose of a technique, I think that it will serve for very little as a combat technique.

In any case, when I felt stuck about twenty years ago, I asked myself all these questions. I felt overwhelmed by a sensation of emptiness and wondered, “What have I been doing until now? How, in the modern system, can I access all the riches developed in a closed system?” With these questions in mind, I began my search into the history of Karate.

Kenji Tokitsu

Kata Specifications in Karate I (second part)
by Kenji Tokitsu Sensei

The three categories of kata:

One of the problems in practicing the kata comes from the ambiguity of their meaning. In order to delve further into the subject, we should distinguish three types of kata, which are generally confused with each other, namely the rintô-gata (combat kata), hyôen-gata (demonstration or performance kata) and rentan-gata (energy or strength building kata).

The rintô-gata are the original kata. In other times they formed the contents of what was taught in esoteric transmission. The other two categories were developed to facilitate access to the original kata. That is, they were developed to enable the trainee to attain the skill necessary for executing the rintô-gata. Almost all the kata that we know today belong to these last two categories, while the rintô-gata have practically been forgotten, and form part of the ancestral modes of esoteric transmission.

You can say that you know the kata whose bunkai (analysis or application) is clear, but this is not the quality that determines the rintô-gata. Let me explain this further.

The Sanchin kata, for example, is a typical rentan-gata like the Naihanchi (Tekki) or Sesan (Hangetsu) kata. However, most kata include, in varying proportions, elements of hyôen-gata and rentan-gata. Under this classification, the rentan-gata, which are the energy kata in the broadest sense of the term, include a number of formalised Qi Gong exercises.

Combat techniques are characterised by their complex mobility. The hyôen-gata present the movements in simplified, partial form, accentuating the standard positions to make them more accessible, thus frequently giving them a ceremonial appearance. This appearance is accentuated in the kata that are executed in performances. They are the ones that we see most frequently in Karate tournaments and matches.

In modern kata, the three categories are more or less mixed, and elements of rintô-gata are found only at the bottom of these kata.

It is usually said that a kata’s bunkai is done or not, but most bunkais are series of techniques well coordinated with a view to the exercises. The most real forms of combat techniques are not shown except in the rintô-gata (combat kata), which are more flexible and dynamic that the kata of the other two categories, since they arise from an effective form of combat.

Even after a new revision, most of the movements of the rentan-gata and hyôen-gata are not truly satisfactory techniques from the point of view of the timing of velocity and body position in combat. “Satisfactory techniques” is an apt expression, because we can justify any technique if our partner agrees.

Just look at how many harmful techniques flourish with the kata under the pretext of application or bunkai. The possibility of bunkai is not sufficient proof to rate as a rintô-gata. A bunkai is nothing more than an intermediate exercise prior to engaging in real combat. One who knows the bunkai well is not necessarily able to fight effectively. Just look at how the kata are practiced today.

The bunkai of the sêpai kata, for example, is very clear and each move can constitute an interesting technical repertoire, but as you well know, you do not fight according to the kata. They are sequences of gestures that are useful for executing techniques, but not rintô-gata techniques.

Because this is a true reference for combat and each technique includes possibilities for change depending on the adversary’s response. I think that the following examples will help us to understand the rintô-gata and to see how they are lacking in today’s Karate.

Rintô-gata : the original kata

In the years following the war, the late Master Yasugi Kuroda of the Kaïshin-Ryû school fought against four Yakuza armed with short swords. It was an aggression and Master Kuroda prevailed armed only with a fan. After this experience he said, “There was no difference between the kata that I practice every day and the combat I engaged in. The actual fight was neither pleasant nor interesting.”

What Kuroda is talking about here is the rintô-gata. It wasn’t a question of applying such and such a technique against such another one, but instead of something spontaneous like the teaching of its kata. Do you know this side of the kata in Karate? Personally, I do not. You can say perhaps that I, or some other master, is capable of combat executed like a kata, but then I would say we are not speaking of the same thing. To help us understand what combat is, especially with a knife or sword, let me give an example.

Master K. Kurosaki is the first karateka to have had a public match against a Thai boxer, thereby contributing to the creation of kick boxing in Japan. At the age of sixty, today he has a reputation of being a realistic fighter, which he unquestionably is, having engaged in a great number of matches with no rules. Here is what he says on combat against an armed adversary in his video tape entitled “The Training of a Demon Fighter”.

“If you are faced with an adversary armed with a knife, what should you do? The answer is easy. You should have a weapon that is longer than his. Otherwise, you’d better turn around and run. There are some people who are so ingenuous that they dare to demonstrate unarmed combat against an armed adversary, thinking that they can win as though they were the hero of a comic strip, never realising the danger entailed by the sharp blade of a knife. A blind man is not afraid of a serpent. This, at least, is what I have learned from experience.”

With these two examples we can see the difference in level between the two masters. We can imagine the level of Master Y. Kuroda’s art and also the existence of the technical support of sword art underlying the form of the kata in his school.

Some of these highly rigorous kata have been transmitted selectively. I can confirm this dimension of the kata after having studied the art of the sword according to this school.

But I do not encounter this dimension in the Karate kata of today. This is not, however, from lack of knowledge. If that were the case, I would count myself lucky, for the possibility would exist of learning it one day. But I do not believe in that possibility because karate has developed by giving foremost status to the rentan-gata and hyôen-gata, which are much more accessible than the rintô-gata. The latter have been shoved to the bottom of the kata since the beginning of the twentieth century.

Let us recall again the fact that karate was an extremely selective pursuit. If it has become accessible to everyone, it is not because the doors have been opened but because major qualitative changes have been introduced in content and mode of transmission.

I think that a karateka in search of the greatest value within Karate should broaden the scope of his search to include the rintô-gata, the kata of extreme rigour which in themselves comprise the most complex method of Karate. I repeat that it is because of the difficulty entailed by this rigour that the rentan-gata and the hyôen-gata were developed, thereby helping to popularise Karate.

How to gain access to the rintô-gata.

I can see only one way to judge whether a kata is rintô-gata, or to recreate a rintô-gata based on the reformed kata of today.

You have to study as many versions as possible of a given kata. This will enable you to make detailed comparisons of its overall technical structure.

For example the Gojûshiho kata, taught today in Shôtokan, in Shitô-Ryû and in Shorin-Ryû, has variants in each of these schools. I have compiled about ten Gojûshiho. You can enumerate the number of technical sequences comprising this kata. In a general comparison, you can break each of the sequences down into the position of the adversaries, the quality of their attacks and strategy, while at the same time studying your own technical possibilities, the strategy that you use, the bodily and mental stance to be adopted, etc.

You can construct the combat situation based on all these assumptions and actually carry out the combat to experience this situation. The idea is to find all the possibilities and all the difficulties. A great number of the latter are going to appear. So you must devise a way for overcoming each one. You must work until all these problems are resolved in a satisfactory way for carrying out the combat in the most authentic way possible.

For each sequence, it is necessary to find the technical mode that will, at the same time, help to hone the technical skill you are using. The rintô-gata is known as a highly pragmatic method. If true effectiveness for combat is missing, a kata cannot be a rintô-gata. Otherwise, how could the karatekas of old, who had no time to waste, train as thoroughly as necessary, and why did they hide their art from everyone else? Because they had true wealth and found it in a single kata.

It is with this outlook that I am now engaged in my research on the rintô-gata.

Reconstructing the rintô-gata .

I’ll take as an example for analysis the first sequence of the Gojûshiho kata. The technical objective here is to get close enough to the adversary to attack him with an ura uchi punch.
In these sequences there are two main requirements.

Advance rapidly without receiving an attack from the adversary. That is, advance rapidly keeping your guard up. You must not expose yourself to attack from your adversary.
The moment you execute the ura uchi, you should not be vulnerable.

The gestural sequences of the kata should provide you with a means of properly acquiring these technical abilities. It must give you an efficient repertory of skills while at the same time teaching you a way of moving that will enable you to develop the qualities necessary for executing this technique. The movements must be realistic and instructive at the same time. It is only under these conditions that you can internalise technique by respecting a kata.

If you examine kata you know from this perspective, you will find many detrimental movements. For example, you distance yourself from the timing of combat, you leave your face open to attack from the adversary, you stiffen your body and let your technique become rigid, instead of making them mobile. By respecting this kind of kata, you will never attain a “budô body”, a body able to execute efficient techniques, with good regulation of energy in the body’s vital areas.

I have studied about ten variants of Gojûshiho. All of them have the same overall structure, but the technical details are different. Through this study, and with the help of oral transmissions, I have made a comparison and analysis to discover the technical objective of each sequence and the main requirements for executing it.

The variants of a kata correspond to different technical interpretations and also to the greater or lesser deformation of its form and strategic content over time. The value of a kata is quite different depending on the variant you are examining.
At any rate, we can say that if the Gojûshiho kata of a school enables you in this first sequence to develop and master the skill of advancing rapidly towards your adversary without exposing your vulnerable spots, then this kata is good. If not, the kata is not worth doing.

A kata is a practical tool. Its value depends on its capacity to meet the technical objective for which it was designed. Whatever the authenticity label of a kata, it must be considered faulty if it is impossible to discover the means by which it will train you and meet its original objectives.

Kenji Tokitsu

Kata Specifications in Karate II
by Kenji Tokitsu Sensei

We began by raising questions about the future of contemporary Karate, examining the potential of the kata and its situation at present.

If this article proves difficult to follow, it would be a good idea to (re)read the previous ones first.

Under the ancestral system, karate practice was practically the same thing as kata training. By practicing the kata, practitioners increased their strength. The role of the kata was more important than it is today, because learning came through the complex technical ramifications of each of the techniques being taught.

Let us go back to the first question we posed: spectacular technique vs. barely visible technique. To address this question, let me first ask the following one: how and under what conditions can a combat technique be effective?

Perhaps you’ll say through strength, speed, timing,…

But then you would be forgetting something crucial: combat technique is effective when it can’t be seen.

The effectiveness of any technique is raised to the maximum if it is employed in such a way that the adversary can’t see it. One of the roles of speed is to decrease the visibility of a blow. Otherwise, if the adversary manages to see it coming, its effectiveness will be diminished.

Obviously, therefore, when we think about a single technique, we overlook the need to understand the phenomena of combat and transmission.

In the times when martial arts were effective enough to play an important social role, skilled fighters honed their technique in this way. That is, they worked to make their techniques as little apparent as possible, to make them truly invisible. The main concern in training was to find a way to make this or that technical move without allowing the adversary to see it.

The techniques developed with this idea in mind were handed down secretly, because it was necessary to keep them hidden from possible adversaries. It was necessary to avoid making known the specificity of one’s school. Allowing others to watch training was out of the question.

Let us stress again that insofar as technical quality and the system of transmission were concerned, classical Karate was based on a hidden, esoteric system, whereas today it is based on the opposite system, a system of performance and exhibition.

In classical Karate, demonstration in public did not make sense. If occasionally a festival or exceptional event was held, what was shown were “the flowers” of Karate techniques, but “the fruit” was kept hidden.

The noble karatekas of the Shuri castle valued the sober, efficient techniques that called for a minimum of gesture, and disdained “spectacular” movements. These they called “peasant techniques”.

Their eyes sought to find, during the execution of a kata, the instants when techniques were truly “cutting” and the skill with which they were disguised by apparently ineffective movements. Skilled fighters cared only about the opinion of their peers. Aware that some might be in an audience, a karateka would never put on a demonstration to please the crowd.

The disappearance of this mindset spelled the beginning of change for Karate in Okinawa. I have heard a Karate master from Okinawa say: “In the karate dojos located near tourist areas, techniques changed frequently. The demonstrations held grew increasingly spectacular, with the result that teaching was transformed.”

Bruce Lee contributed to the development of Chinese martial arts and popularised Karate. His talent as an acrobatic actor is undeniable. What he shows in his films are “the flowers” we were talking about. “The fruit” is generally impossible to convey in a film.

Regrettably, many would-be specialists in martial arts do not know how to make this primary distinction.

The same is true of the late Toshiro Mifune, who died at the end of 1997 and played so well his roles as a master sword fighter. He was not skilled in sword combat, but was an excellent actor in sword scenes – an important difference. In Japan, when combat scenes are filmed, they are directed by action specialists. Such scenes are called “tateshi”. The specialists are masters of combat performances. They have more or less experience in martial arts, but they cannot be confused with masters of the art of combat.

What is invisible is not conveyable by a visual system. The transmission of ancient Karate consisted of directly communicating to one’s pupil, through practice, the technical subtleties that are invisible to the ordinary eye.

To become a skilled fighter meant learning how to see to the bottom of things. When what is essential lies hidden under a layer on which a show has been painted, the skilled karateka is one whose eye is capable of penetrating that layer. Isn’t that the specific quality of an expert? In an art worthy of the name, it takes the skilled eye of an expert to appreciate quality. The same thing applies to karate. However, most of today’s Karate has become a show that does not require a skilled eye to be appreciated.

Martial arts shows are made for audiences who are generally not practitioners, and even the details of the movements can be seen. Here, techniques should be visible, highly and totally visible in fact, in order to be appreciated.

As we have seen, the most efficient technique is the one the adversary is incapable of seeing. How could a technique that is invisible even to the eye of a trained adversary be visible for inexpert spectators?

Isn’t it time to acknowledge and publicise the fundamental difference between the spectacle of the martial arts and true martial arts?

One of the problems of modern-day martial arts consists of the confusion between these two entirely different phenomena – i.e., martial arts and martial shows. The latter are a sort of parasite of the former. To be credible, they feed off the martial arts and then relegate them to the realm of myths.

To keep from denaturalising the martial arts, it is necessary to distinguish between true martial art and martial shows, and to attribute to each its relative value. It’s not a question of rejecting the existence of martial shows, but of practitioners’ freeing themselves of the suffocating idea of performing, convincing themselves instead that they can build mastery and a way of practice open to the view of true experts.

As for the show facet, there is no ambiguity in circus art, which goes to the limits of the visible. There, non-specialist spectators see a degree of daring and applaud accordingly. Circus specialists could stage a much better martial arts show than any karateka could.

It is sufficient to distinguish performance mastery from bodily discipline. The one tends toward the visible, and the other toward the invisible.

How did this distinction come about?

Karate reform in the early 20th century.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Karate began to emerge from the classical period. Karatekas sought to affirm themselves in modern Japanese society, on which the island of Okinawa depended.

In 1905 Karate was adopted as a new physical education discipline for school children in Okinawa. This marked the beginning of the expansion of Karate into the public domain.
If esoteric martial art suddenly became popularised, it is not because the doors were simply opened. There was also a reform of Karate. This should be understood today. But what kind of a reform was it?

Here I will mention briefly only the two most important reforms that took place:

1. The teaching and training model
2. Combat technique

The reform of the teaching and training model.

First, in order for Karate to be accepted as a school discipline, it was necessary to convince national education experts of its educational value.

Also, parents of the children had to approve it. Consequently a reform of classical Karate was necessary to make its values comprehensible to the eyes of non-practitioners. The inspectors had to be convinced that Karate was as effective a discipline as the physical education reference models of the period, namely, the Western model of military training.

It was for these social reasons that Karate was transformed into a disciplined means of training groups of people. Before, karate instruction took place individually or at most in groups of two or three students. Consequently, there was no ritual of discipline: line-up, formal bow, calling off “one”, “two”, “three”, ?, turn, back, stop. Thus the collective salute to the master under the orders of the highest ranking student parallels the military salute under the flag.

Let me stress that all these features which are considered to be a Japanese tradition are in fact a replica of Western discipline. In Japan in the times of the Samurai and on Okinawa during the classical Karate period, discipline was very different from that of contemporary Japanese martial arts. I will explore this point further in other articles.

Reform of combat technique.

The way that the teaching of Karate was organised influenced its content. A large number of technical reforms were made in the years between 1905-1915. We will discuss this in a forthcoming article.

Kenji Tokitsu

 

“Messages from Within”

The following email excerpts, and/or articles of information, are documented here as they may contain important historical and/or technical data that may be used for reference……Bud Morgan

( One )

Dear CD Members, Over the last three weeks there have had many posts concerning the Hakutsuru methods being propagated outside of Okinawa by many that do not seem to have a solid, verifiable background in the crane methods. I have spent a considerable amount of time researching the origins of the Hakutsuru methods on Okinawa and how they have come to be of such great importance to some proponents outside of Okinawa. IMHO you can break down the modern day influence of the crane methods on Okinawa to two sources: 1) Go Kenki and 2) Hohan Soken.

The Go Kenki influence can be traced to Matayoshi Shinko and Matayoshi Shinpo along with Kyoda Juhatsu. It appears that only the Kingai Ryu of Matayoshi and To’oon Ryu of Kyoda Juhatsu have kept kata that are credited to Go Kenki either through transmission or creation from his influence. The influences of Go Kenki in these methods are documented and have a long history of crediting the crane influence on their training methods. The Hohan Soken influence on the crane methods practiced today is unclear of where the methods came from. Some sources indicate that Soken learned these methods from a “Nabe” Matsumura or perhaps while he was in Argentina. A third possibility is that Soken learned some crane methods from Go Kenki before his departure to Argentina. The crane methods of Soken are not well documented and the crane kata methods do not appear to have a long history with Soken.

There are conflicts of the validity with both sources: Go Kenki, with certainty, a historical figure that lived on Okinawa and had appreciated Chinese crane methods left little in the way of a following outside of what we see in To’oon Ryu or Kingai Ryu. The Hakucho of Matayoshi and the Happoren and Nipaipo kata of To’oon Ryu are credited to Go Kenki but other than these two sources no one else is documented to having relationships with Go Kenki that have survived after the war. One of the mysteries of Go Kenki is why did he come to Okinawa other than to sell tea and what were the circumstances behind his premature death. Go Kenki has been reported to have been a Chinese agent, which was his purpose of being on Okinawa, and he was killed by the Japanese military in 1939 when the Japanese army occupied Okinawa for the purpose of prosecuting the war through Indochina. How close are these methods of those of Go Kenki’s white crane methods? How much were they influenced by the Kingai Ryu methods learned by Matayoshi Shinko while in China or by Kyoda Juhatsu’s training with Higaonna Kanryo. We have no way of knowing but it would appear that only one generation has passed from the transmission of these methods so the probability is great that the methods are close to what Go Kenki transmitted. Hohan Soken’s crane methods on the other hand cause some concern as to their validity due to several reasons:

1. The Hakutsuru methods that are claimed to have come from Matsumura Soken prompts the question why did the other senior students of Matsumura Soken not receive these methods or at least have some reference to them?

2. Hohan Soken did not study with Matsumura Soken but an unknown figure that is only referred to as “Nabe” Matsumura. “Nabe” as is widely known, means uncle or older relation. The problem is making a claim of gaining transmission of the Hakutsuru methods through someone that no one has been able to document through their full name, where they lived, etc, etc causes concern over the validity of the claims. There are no records of a Matsumura Soken relative that carried on his teaching. While Soken may have received significant instruction from someone in the Matsumura lineage before leaving for Argentina there has been no documentation of who that person was other than “Nabe” Matsumura.

3. Soken received the crane methods while in Argentina. If this were so it would seem that he would have given credit to his teacher and had a full system of crane methods to propagate upon his return to Okinawa versus the one kata that is demonstrated on video.

Over the last few weeks the discussions have led to trying to identify the promoters and backgrounds of the crane methods on Okinawa. Other than the identified sources above there appear to be no other crane influences known today. I have asked several times for contact information that I can follow up with during my April visit to Okinawa but as yet have not had any input. Please contact me at _seibukan@karate-do.org_ (mailto:seibukan@karate-do.org) if you have any contact information or source information that I can research.

I have tried to look at these sources objectively without the influence of my relationships with various teachers on Okinawa but it appears to me that there is no evidence that would lead me to believe that there is a credible source on Okinawa connecting Shorin Ryu to the White Crane Methods.

Gambatte Dan Smith

( Two )

Dear CD Members, Pat’s suggestion that I visit Kuda (deceased) and Nishihara is appreciated. I visited Kuda sensei several times over many years to observe his training and agree with recent post that he did not have a Hakutsuru kata.

I have seen Nishihara’s karate over the years and only in the last few years has he been pushing the crane kata theme along with Yabiku. It appears to me that they also developed their crane theme sometime after a Patrick McCarthy visit to Okinawa. Perhaps this was coincidental but either they had their interest piqued by Mr. McCarthy or perhaps there was another precursor that caused their sudden dissemination of the crane methods.

I am not in any way trying to come across as having seen all methods on Okinawa but I think after living on Okinawa for several years and having visited Okinawa, arguably, as much or more than any other foriegner over the last 38 years (I recently had to get a new passport as it was 10 years old and as I was going through the old one I counted that I had made 17 trips to Okinawa in the last 10 years) I would have seen the crane methods that are on this small island.

I can say without question that the only crane methods I have observed before the last few years were those demonstrated by Matayoshi Shinpo, who I studied Kobudo and a small amount of Kingai Ryu, the Happoken and Nipaipo of the Goju Ryu lineage of Juhatsu Kyoda and in the last few years that of Fuse Kise (I observed Kise’s karate for more than 30 years before there was any crane methods included).

The point I am making is that after watching many island wide demonstrations at various events I have yet to see any of the crane methods demonstrated to the Okinawan karate public. It would appear to me that as all the karate elements come together several times a year that someone would demonstrate these crane methods. Someone will counter this and say that these methods are kept secret, etc but if that is true why are there so many present video and demonstrations of crane methods and organizations in the US that are centered around crane methods.

My question remains. I request that the crane method people in the US provide me the names and addresses of where I can find the crane teachers on Okinawa and I will visit them in April and provide documentation to what I find to the CD.

As some of you may recall I made a similar offer several years ago about the lineage of Seki Toma and Mr. Roy Hobbs. I went with my teacher to visit Mr. Toma to find out exactly what the relationship was and then reported to the CD.

Another time we were discussing a certain teacher on Okinawa and his methods so I was able to go and train with him. He did not take foriegn students. On the second day of training he looked at me and one of my students and said, “the only reason you are here is how could I refuse a request from Shimabukkuro sensei.” He then specifically requested that I not share with anyone back in the US that we trained with him for reasons that he explained.

Again, the point is that not only myself but others who go to Okinawa regularly can follow up on subjects raised on the CD and share what we find. Why continue with discussions based on second hand information and claims by people who have little or no connections with Okinawa?

On a last note. A recent post by one of Kuda sensei’s students mentioned that Kuda sensei had stated that Hakutsuru was found in all the Shorin Ryu kata. I agree with this statement if in fact the Shorin Ryu kata have the principle of “whipping action” but one element does not mean that you have to find a crane method in every movement. Obviously, some methods of Shorin Ryu were influenced by methods from China but Okinawan karate became a distinct method within it’s self.

Gambatte, Dan Smith

( Three )

 

Kuden no Uke Waza

1) Uke waza, like keri waza and tsuki waza, are impacting waza by nature. However the design of uke waza was meant to be used along with body change waza as a method of removing yourself from the line of attack, while at the same time aligning yourself for the counter attack, from a position of advantage.

2) Of primary importance is understanding that unlike keri waza and tsuki waza, the uke waza do not remain static as they appear in kata. Kicks, punches, and strikes symbolize “final” ending positions, while uke waza does not imply that at all. The position you see in kata reflect the “interim” position, or intermediate movement of uke waza only.

3) To not understand that uke waza allow you to lead the opponent to the application of torite waza, would be a shortcoming in fighting strategy.We have all heard the maxum, “There are no blocks in Karate”, but this does not imply that they must only be strikes.

4) Also in this light, keep in mind the “movement analysis” (Bunkai) of all uke waza include the motion of the head, body, shoulders, upper arms, and elbows, waist and legs….not just the forearm and fist area of the blocking appendages.

5) Gedan Barai (as a waza) is descriptive of a “movement” (lower level sweeping). This movement once analyzed, plays many important roles, the least being a “blocking” tool (as viewed from the end of the fist/hand). IMHO far too much emphasis is placed on looking at the “end placement” of the hand/fist, and not on the action of the arm itself.

6) Its usefulness in karate should be observed as an “interim movement” that is continued into another waza, ie. lifting, sweeping, grabbing, pulling, throwing, and striking. From this perspective the Gedan Barai becomes a waza of prime importance, one that has a multitude of possibilities, and that is the reason that it is was always taught as one of the first techniques learned. It is really that important, and it is somewhat a shame that it has been relegated to such a lowly status in many modern styles.

7) The basic premise of receiving the attack includes body movement/shifting, which may or may not be the first action, as the controlling factor is/was/will be the speed/velocity of the attack itself, coupled to the surprise factor, and your individual readiness and capability to respond to it.

8) The uke/blocking/parrying action may actually come at the same time, or in front of, or behind the body shift. This will be determined by your response time, and therefore your actual ability at perceiving the threat in real time.

9) This is why I like to block with the whole arm vs just the wrist or hand, and I for one am a mawashi-uke style receiver when/if my attacker allows me to be. This is a blocking and/or receiving method that has great flexibilty, and can be used at all levels and with several directions.

10) What happens next is what determines the outcome of most attacks. Are you able to utilize your response as a bridge to allow you to control the situation further to it’s conclusion?

humbly,
Bud Morgan, Shotoshinkai Karate Dojo

( Four )

Karate Combat with “Kiseme” by Kenji Tokitsu Sensei

It is necessary to acquire an enhanced sense of the space we occupy during combat in order to tell what the adversary’s intentions are. We often express this through an image: turn your upper limbs into a radar scanning the field of combat. In order for the body to obtain this heightened sense, you first need to be able to sense the body itself in its entirety, and then extend sensation of the body to surrounding space. There are exercises that cultivate and develop these internal and external skills, and which also serve to strengthen the body from the inside. Examples include certain currents of Chinese Qi Gong and Japanese introspective breathing exercises.

“Modern” karate is almost entirely lacking in these exercises, however, since for the most part, its practice is structured round competition and is often basically incompatible with these principles.

In any case, when facing an adversary, you sense the movement of his will through his gestures and the energy that emanates around him. When he is about to launch a tsuki against you, you sense his intention to do so before he executes the move. If you succeed in reacting against this mental movement, your action will precede his. You are ready to respond as soon as the adversary decides to attack. As for him, if he’s able to sense your potential response, he’ll withhold his attack because he’ll realise that it’s already been rendered useless. If he’s not able to sense your reaction, he’ll follow through with his attack and will receive your response, which most likely will be successful because it is guided by a perception that precedes that of the adversary.

If both one and the other are at a sufficiently advanced level, and if each is capable of perceiving and sensing the adversary’s intentions, the match will unfold implicitly before each attack is executed. In order for this type of combat to take place, both combatants must be open to perception. If it is blocked in one of them, such a match cannot occur.

( Five )

The Kyoshi Dan Smith Letter’s

LETTER 1. – Kata & bunkai

In response to some of the post on bogus bunkai and some Okinawan instructors and dojo not having bunkai that seem to be anything but block/punch.

I would agree that there are dojo on Okinawa that fall into the above category. Please remember that we are discussing human beings and the frailties and shortcomings are the same whether you live in Okinawa, Japan or the USA.

I believe that Goshiki (sp) is right in relating other’s observations to him that their is a lack of bunkai understanding in Okinawa. But there is some very good reasons behind the lack of the focus on bunkai training.

I believe the most important factor was the dissemination of karate to Japan. The entire method of training was changed to cater to the teaching karate as physical exercise in the public schools.

The next factor was the rapid development of karate styles in Japan. It is hard to imagine that from 1922 to 1937 there was no less than a dozen different styles developed by Japanese on the mainland. So, in 15 years you had this many people move up to the position of leading their own school. Why there are countless of us in the USA and Okinawa that have been with the same teachers for thirty years and if we started our own group we would be soundly criticized.

How did this effect the bunkai of the kata ? They did not stay with the Okinawans long enough to learn and the karate that was taught in the beginning was kihon only.

The Japanese had a strong desire to use what they were learning and they developed the jiyu kumite as a supplement for not knowing the bunkai. The sparring matches became their method of measuring their karate skills whereas the Okinawans had only used the measurement of being able to defend themselves and live long lives.

The Okinawans became victim to this same thought process after the war. Why? Because only a handful of the older teachers were left and many of the teachers who began teaching after the war were trained in school karate where the emphasis was on body and spirit development.

The method of training on Okinawa followed the Japanese for many years with the emphasis on bogu jiyu kumite. The training methods were changed or adapted in many dojo to improve the ability to free spar vs. actual combat.

I am not saying that all Okinawan schools followed this way but many of them did. I believe most of all the senior teachers had the knowledge of what karate had been but due to the changing times they designed their instruction to meet the perceived needs of the day.

I have observed over the last nine years in Okinawa a resurgence of traditional Okinawan karate. A symposium was held in August of 1990 after the Uchinanchu demonstrations to establish the direction of Okinawan karate. I was fortunate to attend this symposium and witnessed the senior teachers calling for a return to traditional Okinawan karate and kobudo.

Since that time much effort and expense has been expended to put the emphasis on re-establishing Okinawan karate as it should be. I have been to Okinawa 14 times in the last nine years and have seen a dramatic change on the emphasis being placed on training methods.

In the late 60’s when I lived on Okinawa more emphasis was put on kihon, kata and jiyu kumite. One of the reasons was that is what Americans liked and enjoyed. Many of the Okinawan teachers made their livings teaching servicemen. Most of these men were only on Okinawa for 18 months so the training was geared to having them experience the Okinawan karate and enjoy their time on Okinawa.

Yes, I know that most of the servicemen who were there on Okinawa during this time will say that they learned more than just kihon, kata and jiyu kumite and perhaps some did but those that will be honest with themselves should answer just as the Japanese should have from what they learned from the Okinawans and that is they did not even hear the word bunkai from the Okinawans.

The word bunkai is not even Unchinanguchi. The Okinawans that I trained with used the term ti chi ki, which I was told meant showing what the hand is doing.

I have rambled on enough about all of this so please forgive me. The point is that the Okinawans knew and still know the bunkai of the kata. They were just emphasizing something different.

I have an acquaintenance that I have known for about thirty years. He is an 8th dan now and several years ago I had the opportunity to train in his dojo frequently over a period of a year while on business trips. He would ask me questions concerning bunkai of kata and I would give him answers thinking all along that he was just pulling my leg when he would say he had never seen the explanations of the kata like that.

He asked me how did I get this information. I told him that my teacher’s father would show me during our morning classes. After a couple of months had gone by he said he thought that I must be making these applications up. He said they made sense but he knew that if his sensei (different than mine and very highly thought of on Okinawa) knew these applications he would have taught him.

Sometime after this he and I went to Okinawa together and he asked his teacher in front of me some kata bunkai questions. His teacher readily gave him similar answers that I had provided even though we are from a different school. He said why haven’t you taught me this before ? The reply was that you never asked me and I thought you were satisfied with what you were getting.

I believe the point to this story is that the Okinawans were giving the Japanese and Americans what they thought they wanted. Surely this must have been easy to think because neither the Japanese or Americans ever went back to Okinawa for much training after their initial introduction to Okinawan karate.

How many Japanese that created these various schools ever went to Okinawa and trained for any length of time? What do most of the students who come into your dojo want? What are you giving them? How many times have we as teacher’s wanted our students to want more, and we were willing to give it to them, but they demonstrated by their actions that they were satisfied with kick/punch.

I will close for now and hope that I have not dragged this out to much. One thing I did not discuss was the thought put forth by some that there are no blocks in karate bunkai. I would like to discuss this at a later date if anyone has an interest. Thanks for reading all of this if you did and I apologize if I took to much bandwidth. Oh, a question for the members who attended the Okinawan Rengokai seminars. Did you see any bunkai applications of the kata ?

Gumbatte, Dan Smith



LETTER 2. – Kata & bunkai

I certainly did not mean in my post to give the indication that all Okinawan schools did not continue to practice bunkai as an integral part of their training.

I wrote that there are schools in Okinawa just as any other place in the world that do not have the full curriculum that other schools have. I certainly would not mention those that I think do or don’t. I know Iha Sensei’s background as well as his teachers are and were well grounded on bunkai of the kata.

My comment was one of a general nature only depicting that there are bogus people all over the world. No one country or race has a monopoly on ignorance or charlatism. It just appears that the USA has more than our fair share.

Concerning the Japanese not understanding the bunkai from the Okinawans. I think I can fairly state that bunkai from the Okinawans perception was not part of their curriculum. They took the parts of the Okinawan karate that they wanted for their purposes and developed that part to a high degree.

You cannot deny that the gymnastic, athletic movements of the Japanese styles is not better developed than the Okinawans. Someone mentioned in a post yesterday that the way the Japanese had changed karate or taken the Okinawans “school” karate and spread it world wide and would we rather have karate spread out for everyone to enjoy or have kept it like the Okinawans developed it.

My response is that I would rather have the “school” karate spread through out the world if that is what it takes to build the karate-do spirit and body for so many people to have gotten benefit from.

Perhaps Itosu sensei knew that the real Okinawan karate was just for the few and school karate was for the populace. I am teaching school karate to the all of the young people that come into my schools with hopes that they will develop the body they need to grow to an adult and then began learning karate.

I hopefully will retire from my business career in a couple of more years and then I would like to teach in the middle and high schools along with the colleges in my area. I have been thinking for sometime what I would teach given the opportunity to teach hundreds of people in that environment.

I keep coming up with the same concept that Itosu used. Modern karate as developed by the Japanese with a kick start from Itosu and Funakoshi is for the masses and there has been and continues to be a great benefit from this training.

The traditional Okinawan karate is not for the masses and it was never intended to be that way. I had the opportunity when I lived on Okinawa to train in both methods at the same time and in the same school.

I trained in the morning with Zenryo Shimabukuro sensei and at night with Zenpo Shimabukuro sensei. The morning class was dramatically different. Zenryo sensei never had us line up to begin a class. The people who attended this morning class came at various times. Began training on their own in whatever part of the dojo they could find to practice by themselves. Zenryo sensei would observe us practicing kata, give corrections, instructions on how to perform the movements and demonstrate to us individually what the kata movements where.

The night time training was heavily geared toward kihon practice, kata and sparring. We did weight training and ippon kumites, which were extracted bunkai movements from the kata, and we ran. The training was geared to developing the body and the tools of karate.

After training at night many seniors would stay late and practice the kata bunkai that Zenryo sensei was teaching in the morning.

I share the above with you about my own training to show you how someone could have come only to the night training and developed only the kihon because they were training in large group classes. They did not make themselves available for the in depth training. This happens in our classes today all over the world.

Just as I mentioned yesterday the people get what they want from the training. The teacher may have much more to give but the student is satisfied with less. Sometimes because that is all they want or do not realize their is more. I hope that this clarifies that on Okinawa there is much to learn and you have to put the time in to enable the learning process.

Many Japanese and Americans stopped short due to time constraints and being satisfied with what they had so they did not learn the in depth meanings of the kata.

Gumbatte, Dan Smith

LETTER 3. – Are there blocks in Okinawan kata?

I remember when this no block question in karate began in the mid 1980’s. As I recall it came about when people started being exposed to the Okinawan kata bunkai and finding out that not all blocks were for just blocking.

It is my belief that this line of thinking got completely out of control as people started trying to understand each movement of the kata and making it some exotic explanation to further their position in the world of how much they knew about the kata. Many of these people following this line of thinking were those that stated that the Okinawans were hiding all the deadly techniques from westerners and even the Japanese.

Some even went as far as saying that the Okinawan senior teachers got together after World War Two and decided not to teach the deadly art of Uchinandi again.

Are there blocks in Okinawan karate kata ? Certainly and the number of blocking techniques that are used for protecting you against attack are far greater than those that are used for release from a grab. The basic teaching of all Okinawa kata is the same regardless of style. The following three principles are taught in the same order by each teacher and is developed through the understanding of the kata. The words that I use to describe these three principles may not be the same but the actions are.

1. Get out of the way – tai sabaki. This is accomplished in varying ways depending on the teacher but it is all the same. If someone attacks you the first thing you want to do is get out of the way. (This helps disrupt the kuzushi of the opponent)

2. Protect your vital areas as you move out of the way of the attack. You do this with blocking. You may not actually block (whatever that is) the attack but you certainly want to protect your vital areas while you are getting out of the way. Addtionally by making contact with the opponents attack with a block (no matter what type of block it is) you give the opponent the feedback that they are looking for. They have made contact. (This helps disrupt the kuzushi of the opponent)

3. Attack the opponents vital areas that have been exposed by their attack, your evasion and blocking. The Okinawan concept is to do this as one movementif possible (ikkyo).

If you use these three principles in concert you should accomplish ikken hisatsu. The Okinawans spend many hours developing the blocking movements so that they can apply them as I have outlined above. It is just as important to learn how to move and block as it does to attack and is more vital to your safety. What happens when the scenario above does not work is where in the kata the techniques of escaping a grasp or your own counter attack being blocked is where the confusion can come from understanding whether a technique was a block as described above or not.

In my opinion I have answered several questions posed on the CD over the last few days.

What is kuzushi ?
How is Kuzushi applied from the kata ?
Are their blocks in Okinawan kata ?
Is there just bunkai from Okinawa that has onlyblock/punch applications ?
Is there use of blocking and striking simultaneous in Okinawa karate ?

IMHO all of these questions are answered in the three principles. Of coursethere is much more to be found in the section of what techniques are used when these three principles cannot be applied. I believe that most people want to find this answer before understanding the first three principles. Once you can apply the above principles it makes understanding the ti techniques that are woven into the kata, understandable.

I hope that this was helpful to those that are asking the questions and I hope it will interject thinking about the kata from a different perspective.Everything starts with the footwork.

Gumbatte, Dan Smith

LETTER 4. – About Hakutsuru kata.

Michael, you are right about Matayoshi teaching a Hakutsuru kata. The name is Kakuken. Even though he reserved the kata for some of his senior kobudo students in that he did not teach karate at all in his dojo.

His comments still stand, ” the crane is for your health and not for killing like Okinawan karate “. Whenever you and Rand come down to Atlanta for a visit I will get the taped interview out and show it to you and let you make your own interpretations as to what he is meaning. Since I have known Matayoshi for many years I think I know when he is serious and joking. He was not joking.

Second, the reason for my question to him about the Kakuken was that I knew that he had not taught it to many people and that the popularity of the “crane” was growing in the USA. I asked him why so many people were now coming out with crane kata. He said ” everyone trying to be somebody. If crane was so good for fighting then Okinawans would have kept. Not made Uchinandi.” He then proceeded to demonstrate on the tape the crane movements and the bunkai that I asked him about.

Third, I did not learn the Kakuken from Matayoshi sensei. I learned this kata in 1969 from a gentleman by the name of Tomagusku. He had no students and practiced on his own. He lived in the same village that I did and knew that I
was a serious karate person. He knew my teacher and respected him. After watching me for sometime without my knowledge while I practiced at home on my makiwara he volunteered to teach me his kata. He informed me that the kata came from Go Ken Ki and that he had studied it before the war. I learned the kata and kept it all these years.

I left Okinawa in 1971 and returned in 1975 and could not find Tomagusku or his niece who had been our maid. They had
moved from the area and with my limited language skills at the time I could not find them.

Over the ensuing years I have demonstrated this kata to many Okinawans and have gotten no response from them as to it’s authenticity until I demonstrated to Matayoshi sensei. He proclaimed to me that the kata came from Go Ken Ki. Until many years after I learned the kata I had no idea who Go Ken Ki was. After Matayoshi sensei verified that the kata was bonafied I then began in earnest to research the history.

I found that Go Ken Ki only had one kata. I also found out that if Matsumura had a white crane kata it would have been similar to the one Go Ken Ki had. I also found that Go Ken Ki taught at the Okinawan Kenkyu and that he did not teach the entire kata but the concepts of the kata.

Many Okinawans that trained at that time on a limited basis picked up bits and pieces and apparently have created many forms with a crane flavor. Yes, some of the Shorin Ryu kata have a crane flavor to them such as; Passai, Gojushiho and Kusanku but they do not have the crane power. The Okinawans developed their own power for these kata.

Personally I find the crane power contradictory to the Okinawans method of making power. I find just as Matayoshi sensei said, “crane is for health and Okinawan karate is for killing.”

Sorry for the long winded response. I never thought thirty years ago that any of this would have any value. I kept the kata because it makes me feel good and is good to warm up with. I am amazed at the interest in something that the Okinawans do not consider important. Maybe we have missed something. I am glad I kept the kata.

Dan

LETTER 5. – About kata practice.

It is hard to disagree with most of what has been written about this subject but I have a few comments that I hope will be helpful.

I agree with Shogiki’s comment about having “faith” in practicing the kata. Faith is defined as hope in what is not seen. All of us that practice the kata without knowing the complete meaning of kata are practicing faithfully with the hope that what we are practicing will produce the results that we have predisposed in our mind.

I think that this will satisfy as a definition of kata. There are so many levels of understanding kata that you cannot limit yourself to one meaning or one by product of your effort.

Again that faith word is important. All of us who have trained for some time without having to actually use some of the movements that we envision that will work are going forward on faith that the techniques will be there to provide us safety, health and well being not only form physical attack but from ourselves.

Perhaps this is what kata was designed to do. The concept of kata is an enigma as to it’s origin and original purpose. Many followers of the practice of kata have continually preached it’s importance but only have faith that the kata practice produces what we are looking for.

So why was kata created ? The preservation of techniques, a method of teaching techniques in an orderly fashion, a method to develop the body equally or a method of teaching the body to move instinctively ?

I think it is all of these but the latter is the end result. Based on 39 years of kata training, which over half of that was on faith alone, I have found that the purpose for me is training the body to move instinctively. To achieve this instinctive movement does not necessarily require that you have the understanding of the bunkai or principles of movement, but the more you mentally become aware of the purpose and methods the more effective the results are.

Does a beginner need to know the bunkai and principles of movement ? I have taught both ways. At first when I returned from Okinawa in 1971 I was so full of all the bunkai knowledge that is all I wanted to share with my students due to when I trained before going to Okinawa I had no clue of what bunkai was. After some months of trying to insure that “the” bunkai was taught as the kata was learned I found that the students would alter the movements of the kata to cause the effect of the bunkai and that is when I remembered my teacher stressing that there were many bunkai and not to change the kata movement to accommodate the bunkai movement.

Each kata movement has a purpose outside of the obvious and these movements are what teach the instinctiveness. If you have one bunkai in mind and do not concentrate on the perfection of movement then you will not develop the instinctive mind. The focus should be on the perfection of the movement and the applications flow from the movement and creativity of the mind or the spontaneity of the situation. “Faith without works is dead”.

Gumbatte Kudasai, Dan

LETTER 6. – About Tegumi.

I think that many people are off on a tangent concerning grappling, Te Gumi, Toride, etc., etc. etc. when analyzing Okinawa karate. I understand the need some people have when they consider having to grapple with someone and the Okinawan kata takes provides for this but not in the way that is being represented. Okinawan karate focuses on the basic understanding of:

1) get out of the way of an attack. Even if you are grasped you use movement to escape not grappling.

2) Parry the attack as you move to give yourself the added protection from the attack and to create an opening to counter attack.

3)Attack the vulnerable points on the body as the openings are created through movement.

Yes, there are a few techniques in Okinawa kata that teach you how to block and grab as you apply a strike to the opponent. There are techniques in the kata that teach you how to react if your attack has been blocked and grabbed and techniques that teach you how to react when seized by the opponent but these are minimal when considering the vast number of techniques that are describe in 1 to 3 above.

My teacher on Okinawa taught four techniques against being grabbed. He stated that he only thought he would be grabbed in four ways. I thought about the many ways someone could grab you but the teacher said he only needed four because he believed that he would prepare himself to be only grabbed in the four methods that he could not guard against. Go through the kata and list how many ways someone can seize you. It is not many than four. You only have an arm, upper front body, upper back body and shoulders to defend. If someone tries to tackle you, the kata of Okinawa gives you two choices or three if you count the one move in Uechi Ryu out of Seisan.

My point is that much is being made about a small number of techniques. It is true what someone said on the CD, if you are someone who practices atemi waza then kensetsu waza is something special and if you practice grappling then atemi waza is special. IMHO the Okinawans specialized on 1 to 3 above. And while I am espousing stuff that probably causes concern. Ikken hisatsu is not an Okinawan concept. It comes straight from kenjutsu. The Okinawans simply say fight until there is no fight.

Gumbatte, Dan Smith

LETTER 7. – Sente no kata.

The context IMHO that Funakoshi was using the term “sente no kata” means that there is no first attack in the kata. Kata is ubiquitous for karate, the term we all know that has become synonymous with Uchinandi.

Can you or should you use the intermediary movements of “karate” to stop a potential attack at the moment you anticipate it ? IMHO that is up to the person. Is there a moral question as to whether you should attack the potential attacker first ? Again it is up to the individual and the circumstance.

Unless you are a mind reader how can you know someone will really attack you ? Sente no kata again IMHO is the fighting strategy of Uchinandi. In Okinawa there is two basic scenarios that a fight will take. One, a surprise attack,and two, a situation that escalates into a physical encounter. The kata fighting postures (kamae) and intermediary movements are designed for these two scenarios. These two scenarios are driven by the fact that Uchinandi is a self-defense based solution and works best when the opponent makes the first movement of attack and Uchinandi can be used in a counter movement.

In the escalation scenario the kata and two man drills are used to prepare you to defend yourself. Again the defense is seen as the best way to take advantage of the opponent. In Japan, for reasons that have been well documented by others, the Butokukai required that there be a measurement of skill of the new martial art, “karate”, so therefore the ippon shobo kumite was devised. With this innovation karate introduced a new scenario to a potential fighting situation, mutual agreed upon combat.

With the addition of the mutually agreed upon combat scenario the techniques of the kata did not produce the skills needed and the kata began to change along with the kihon of “karate”. Mutually agreed upon combat is not consistent with the dojo kun or the philosophy of Uchinandi so the process of change began in the kata and techniques of karate.

The purpose of the kata was changed. This change has brought on a vast misunderstanding of Uchinandi that is evidenced by numerous articles and opinions in karate magazines and internet discussions venues that discuss the relative ineffectiveness of the old ways vs. the new modern ways.

In a recent article in Black Belt Magazine a prominent personality in the world of “karate” was featured showing how the old techniques of Tang Soo Do do not work in the ring. Well I guess they should not work since they were not designed for mutually agreed upon combat and scoring points. Also in the same issue of the magazine was a gentlemen that was showing the differences of the old blocks of karate and how they had been misrepresented and now hewas showing how they really should be used. All of his demonstrations were designed against an opponent that was not attacking by surprise or and escalation of a physical situation.

I might add this article was written by someone representing themselves as an Okinawan stylist). IMHO the above has led the gross population of people practicing “karate” to misunderstand the techniques and therefore not have confidence in them.

This loss of confidence has led people to change the techniques for what they think will serve them best. The Japanese did it and the rest of the world has followed.

Sente No kata is a descriptive term of Uchinandi. It is a key that leads to the understanding of the kata.

The terms that were mentioned in some post; sen no sen, go no sen, and sensen no sen are as most of you know from Kendo. The origin of these terms are from the strategy of fighting with a sword.

Combat in Japan took the form of all three scenarios and therefore these strategies work and work well but they are not from an Okinawan perspective part of Uchinandi.

All three concepts violate Uchinandi except for go no sen, which is the moment after the initiative. Please remember the word kata was Japanese and was introduced into Okinawan karate by the Japanese. Prior to the word kata being used the Okinawans simply applied the term “di” after the name; for example “Seisan di”. Just my opinion because there are no facts.

Gumbatte, Dan Smith

( Six )

Following are twenty oral transmissions (Kuden) for the understanding of kata as taught by Kubota Shozan (a student of Gichin Funakoshi), from his student, Higaki Gennosuke:

1. Countering: Motobu Choki commented that the blocking hand must immediately become the attacking hand. It is not a true martial technique to block with one hand and counter with another. When the block and counter-attack are simultaneous that is true martial technique. “There cannot be multiple attacks against true Okinawan karate, because if an attack is countered properly, there can be no further attack.”
2. Immobilize the Opponent before Striking: The opponent must be rendered into such a state s/he cannot attack again, or even move, before executing a strike or kick.
3. The Names of Movements have been Disguised: Originally there were no names for the movements. It wasn’t until about 1935 that Shotokan established the terminology to teach large groups. However the terminology hid the meaning of the techniques. Many “blocks” were actually attacks.
4. There are no Techniques that End with a Block: There is no combative movement that ends with a block; there is always a counteroffensive movement. Moves that are called blocks are really attacks.
5. Block with Both Hands: In reality it is difficult to block an attack with one hand. When the hands cross across the chest, it hides a double block, which holds the true meaning. This is based on the fact that it is a natural movement to raise both hands when something comes suddenly at you.
6. Grabbing Hand and Pulling Hand: You pull your hand to your hip because that pulls the opponent into position for attack. The opponent will be pulled off-balance, you double the speed and power and the grabbing and pulling can be used for the beginning of throws and joint techniques.
7. The Front Hand is the Attacking Hand: By attacking with the front hand you attack from the closest possible
distance. (The back hand is the blocking hand).
8. Perform a Movement that Consists of Two Counts in One Count: Many movements in kata that are shown as two count are really one-count techniques, which can be explained by a switch step.
9. Switch Step (Fumi kae): Most of the movements in kata use a walking gait. To correctly use the movements, it is
necessary to change to a switch step. When this is understood, the meaning of kata will deepen. More power can be
applied to the punch when the feet slide and the distance can be adjusted between you and the opponent as well.
10. Kicks are Performed Low While Grabbing the Opponent: “Kicks are meant to be delivered below the belt.” In most of kata bunkai, kicks are executed when grabbing the opponent. This helps stabilize a person when “standing on one
leg.” Also, in close fighting where one can grab an opponent, the field of vision is limited, so it is difficult to defend
against a low kick.
11. There is One Opponent to the Front: Do not be fooled by the embusen (performance line). As a rule, there is only one opponent to the front. S/he is actually being dragged to the front and rear and to the left and right in a
Copernican (the method of tori maintaining the center) change.
12. Hang the Opponent to Sky: This is the same as a forearm twist (yuki chigai) in Aikido. It is represented in between techniques in kata.
13. Re-block and Re-grip: This refers to controlling the opponent by shutting down the attack by using both hands. The first three blocks of Heian Sandan cross the opponent’s arms (fushu in Chinese; juji garami in Aikido).
14. Take the Opponent’s Back: This is the most difficult position for an opponent to counter attack from.
15. Crossed Leg Stance: Signifies Body Rotation or a Joint Kick
16. Jumps and Body Shifts: Represent Throws
17. Break the Balance: in a triangle whose Base is the Base of the Opponent’s Feet, and the third point being the Head, the center of balance can be manipulated accordingly.
18. Me-oto-te (The Use of Both Hands Together): An example would be morote uke. The supporting hand (against the elbow) is the grabbing and pulling hand. The “blocking” hand makes the attack.
19. Cut the Forearm: Try to use a technique similar to kendo in which the forearm is “Chopped” leaving damage to the tendons.
20. The Kamae is an Invitation: When you know where the attack will occur, it is easier to defend against it.

 

How The Masters Got their Rank

Origins of the Karate Rank System

Throughout the course of our karatedo training, we take for granted the grading system that awards our belt ranking and titles. Sometimes this system is manifestly personal, with the headmaster–and only he–bestowing each promotion directly, according to his own standards. Often, the testing for and awarding of rank is a more bureaucratic affair, with a committee exercising a perfunctory duty in a formally standardized and even routine mannerless ceremony, yet somehow more officious.

The recent writings of Hanshi Richard Kim of the Butoku-kai (Dojo Fall 1993) taught how the dan/kyu (degree) system was adopted by modem budo systems, promulgated by the Butoku-kai, and codified in its final form for Japanese karatedo by the Federation of All Japan Karatedo Organizations (FAJKO). To truly understand this ranking system, it is important to gain a clearer insight into how the various masters obtained their ranking, since that forms the basis for your rank.

This much we know for certain: On April 12, 1924, Gichin Funakoshi, the “Father of Modern Karate,” awarded karate’s first black belt dan upon seven men. The recipients included Hironori Ohtsuka, founder of wado-ryu karatedo, Shinken Gima, later of gima-ha shoto-ryu, and Ante Tokuda, Gima’s cousin, who received a nidan (second degree) black belt. Like Gima, Tokuda had trained extensively in Okinawa before coming to Japan proper. The others were Kasuya, Akiba, Shimizu and Hirose.

This beginning was a highly personal, yet formal ceremony in which Funakoshi is said to have handed out lengths of black belting to his pupils. Still there is no evidence that Funakoshi himself had ranking in any budo under the dan/kyu system.

Actually, Funakoshi was greatly influenced by Jigoro Kano, aristocratic founder of judo, and originator of the dan/kyu system. Kano was a highly respected individual, and Funakoshi prided himself on being an educated and “proper” man who rightly believed that he was acting correctly.

Kano’s system was not only being applied to judo, but to other budo as well under the aegis of the Butoku-kai and the Japanese Ministry of Education. Funakoshi, then, just adopted the order of the day: a ranking system officially sanctioned by Japan’s greatest martial arts entities.

Funakoshi’s own rank was of no consequence, since it seems that belt ranking was really just something for the students, not for headmasters.

For its part, the Butoku-kai issued instructor’s licenses: the titles renshi (the lowest), kyoshi, and hanshi (the highest). It would be a while before the dan/kyu system became universal in karate.

By the end of the 1930s, each karate group was called upon to register with the butoku-kai for official sanctioning, and in 1938, a meeting of the Butoku-kai’s official karatedo leaders was held in Tokyo. Its purpose was to discuss the standards for awarding rank within their art. Attending, among others, were Hironori Ohtsuka of wado-ryu, Kenwa Mabuni of shito-ryu, Kensei Kinjo (Kaneshiro) and Sannosuke Ueshima of kushin-ryu, Tatsuo Yamada of Nippon kempo, Koyu Konishi of shindo-jinen-ryu, and a young Gogen Yamaguchi of goju-ryu.

Most of these men were founders of their own styles, and as such automatically became the highest rank that their agreed-on respective standards allowed. Yamaguchi assumed leadership of goju-ryu because, we are told, goju-ryu’s founder, Chojun Miyagi, personally asked him to take the leadership of the style in Japan. About then, Funakoshi also finalized the grading standards for use at his Shotokan dojo.

Of course, the Butoku-kai continued to sanction head teachers directly. This was not without controversy, however, since Konishi sat on the board that awarded Funakoshi his renshi and Konishi had been Funakoshi’s student. Of course, Konishi had inside ties to the Butoku-kai by virtue of birth, something the Okinawan Funakoshi could not have.

Back on Okinawa, the dan/kyu system did not become universal until after World War II. It was not unknown there, however, and some individual teachers did utilize the black belt. Judo had been practiced on Okinawa at least since the 1920s. In fact, it was at a Judo Black Belt Association (Yudanshakai) meeting on Okinawa that Miyagi and shito-ryu’s Kenwa Mabuni demonstrated karate kata (forms) for Jigoro Kano garnering praises from the judo founder.

Miyagi, it should be noted, became the first karate expert given the title of kyoshi (master) from the butoku-kai in 1937. Miyagi was then appointed chief of its Okinawan branch.

After the ravages of war in the Pacific, the surviving karate leaders had to begin anew. With the Butoku-kai administration shut down for years to come, each karate group was on its own. The acknowledged leaders of each faction, as well as individual dojo chiefs, gave out dan ranks based upon all original sanctioning by the Butoku-kai or mandates inherited directly from the ryu’s founder.

Rushing in to fill the vacuum left by the Butoku-kai, various dojo coalesced to perpetuate the art and legitimize its members’ ranks. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, each new association, including the Gojukai, Shito-kai, Chito-kai, Shotokai and Japan Karate associations codified their rules and issued rank accordingly.

Generally, several instructors created a board of directors or council to govern the association. Some officer, be it the chief instructor, president, director or chairman would have signature authority on menjo (rank certificates). In this way, the senior-most members would attain their rank by being acknowledged and “signed off” by the board or committee.

Other times, a senior member of one faction would attain high enough rank from the faction-head to then go out and form his own style or organization. Supposedly, the famous Masutatsu Oyama received his eighth dan from Goju-kai head Gogen Yamaguchi. Oyama later formed his own style that was not completely a type of goju-ryu.

Usually in a legalistic and officious way these groups would simply adopt or adhere to some even higher authority or granting agency to further legitimize their actions. Recognition by the Japanese Ministry of Education was the ultimate sanction for individuals and groups in these times. Also new associations — both in Japan proper and in Okinawa — appeared. These became the grantor ranking authority, much in the way the Butoku-kai had acted previously. These new organizations were to set the pattern and be the original source for today’s ranking.

As with the single-style clubs, the head instructors often assumed the rank for which they were qualified, based on criteria they wrote themselves.

One of the first was the All Japan Karatedo Federation, which seems to have started shortly after World War II as a confederation of headmasters such as Funakoshi, Chitose, Mabuni, Yamaguchi and Toyama.

They regularized the dan/kyu system to some extent, and with this group the modern Japanese karate ranking system became the norm. This unity did not last however. For example, the ranking was not consistent from group to group in the upper levels. The shotokan associations such as the JKA and the Shotokai only used up to godan (fifth rank) at this time. As a result, some groups had ceased to participate by the early 1950s.

Even more reminiscent of the Butoku-kai was the International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF), known as the Kokusai Budoin. Originally named the National Japan Health Association, IMAF was launched in 1952 by powerful martial artists from several disciplines.

From judo there was Kyuzo Mifune, Kazuo Ito and Shizuo Sato. From kendo came Hakudo Nakayama and Hiromasa Takano, and from karatedo there was Hironori Ohtsuka. Its first chairman was Prince Tsunenori Kaya.

From the start, IMAF was set up by senior martial artists to preserve and promote various budo to create a mutually supportive network. A ranking system consisting of first through tenth dan, as well as the title system of renshi, kyoshi and hanshi, was adopted. Now highly respected and skilled instructors could have a direct avenue for promotion themselves. Several karateka including Gogen Yamaguchi, Hironori Ohtsuka (I and II), and more recently, Hirokazu Kanazawa of shotokan, received their highest grades through IMAF.

For Okinawa, the dan/kyu system did not really take hold until 1956, with the formation of the Okinawa Karate Association (OKF). Chosin Chibana, first to name his system shorin-ryu, was the first president.

According to the historical data of the Shudokan (a Japanese group started by Kanken Toyama in Tokyo), Chibana and Toyama were officially recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Education to grant any rank in the art of karate, regardless of style. Chibana helped organize the OKF, and it was then that the mainstream Okinawan groups, on a widespread basis, began differentiating their black belt ranks as other than simple teacher and student demarcations.

A talented and, some say, colorful character, Toyama gave several certifications as largess to dojo heads in Okinawa and Japan proper. These were usually shibucho (“superintendent,” from the feudal area commander title) diplomas. These certifications set up the individuals so named as head of their own branch of the All Japan Karatedo Federation and, by extension, of their own groups.

Eizo Shimabuku, founder of the shobayashi-ryu/shorin-ryu faction (a Kyan-type tomarite/shurite shorin-ryu blend), traces his own tenth dan to a Toyama certification.

Shimabuku’s assumption of the tenth dan, and his wearing of a red belt, was not without dispute, and it was controversies of this type that led most Okinawan leaders to eschew the red belt altogether.

The AJKF did not last as a unified group of different styles in Japan proper. Toyama’s foray back to Okinawa did lead later to the formation of the AJKF-Okinawa Branch with the organizing help of Isamu Tamotsu.

Tamotsu became a student of Okinawa’s Zenryo Shimabuku (of Kyan-type shorinryu) and would become known as the soke (style head) of the Japanese faction of Shorinji-ryu.

In 1960, the Okinawan branch of the AJKF organized with Zenryo Shimabuku as president. A constituent group of this AJKF was the Okinawa Kempo League headed up by Shigeru Nakamura and Zenryo Shimabuku as a loose confederation of various technique sharing dojo.

Like other associations, the AJKF Okinawa Branch provided for the ranking of its member instructors. It operated as a rival to the Okinawa Karate Federation. However, it did not last long either and its member schools drifted away and formed other alliances. Its emblem did not die, however. The same patch is still used by Tsuyoshi Chitose’s Chito-kai.

The senior karate leaders continued on their own or became part of other groups, using authority inherited mostly from members of one of the original Okinawan organizations, the most significant is the All Okinawa Karate and Kobudo Rengokai. Formed by Seitoku Higa as a successor to the Okinawa Federation in 1967, the Okinawa detail of the emblem was used to distinguish each member group. Seiyu Oyata can be seen wearing this patch in Dojo, Fall 1993, page 13.

Chitose was a founding member of the original Japanese AJKF, but his tenth dan was issued in 1958, according to the Chitokai, by the All Okinawa Karate Kobudo Rengokai. His hanshi title was issued by the same group in 1962. This is confusing however, since the AOKK-Rengokai was not formed until 1967.

It grew out of an earlier group: the Okinawa Kobudo Federation that was organized in 1961. This later group was organized by Seitoku Higa (of various lineages related to shorin-ryu) and Seikichi Uehara (molobu-ryu). Higa had been ranked by Toyama while living in Japan and may have been connected with the original AJKF.

As we learned from Richard Kim, the most significant event in the use of the dan/kyu system in karate was the formation of the FAJKO in 1964. All the major groups and factions of Japanese karatedo were brought under FAJKO’s umbrella. By 1971, a ranking structure was adopted that standardized all the systems. High rank was issued to FAJKO member instructors by the organization’s board. In this way, heads of constituent organizations could be upgraded, much as in earlier attempts at confederacy. An earlier, but smaller, confederacy of schools with rank-sanctioning authority was the Japan Karatedo Rengokai, which still exists and is a member of FAJKO.

After the birth of FAJKO, the JKA upgraded its own ranking requirements to conform. Sixth and eighth dans were awarded in the JKA back in the mid-1960s, and Hidetaka Nishiyama in Los Angeles was one of those upgraded at that time. Though not all groups participate in FAJKO these days, most still are tied to that organization in terms of rank structure and sanction. Others, not so tied, have conformed to the FAJKO criteria and standards nonetheless.

Shortly after FAJKO was launched, the Okinawans formed the All Okinawa Karatedo Federation as a successor to the old OKF. Members of both the OKF and AJKF-Okinawa Branch became part of the new association. Some of Okinawa’s most mainstream karate leaders formed the AOKF board. These included Nagamine, Zenryo Shimabuku, Meitoku Yagi of gojuryu, Kanei Uechi of uechi-ryu and Yuchoku Higa of shorin-ryu. They adopted a dan/kyu and renshi, kyoshi, hanshi (plus a hanshisei) system almost identical to FAJKOs.

Other karate leaders continued on their own or became part of other groups, using authority inherited mostly from members of one of the original Okinawan organizations. Probably the most significant is the All Okinawa Karate and Kobudo Rengokai. Formed by Seitku Higa as a successor to the Okinawa Kobudo Federation in 1967, the Okinawa Rengokai also adopted very similar standards to the AOKF. Higa’s organizations had certified as hanshi–and hence supreme instructor–several who were style or group heads in their own right. These included Shinsuke Kaneshima of Tozan-ryu from shurite, Hohan Soken of matsumura shorin-ryu, Shinpo Matayoshi of matayoshi kobudo Kenko Nakaima of ryuei-ryu, Shian Toma of shorin-ryu (Kyan type) and motobu-ryu, Tatsuo Shimabuku of isshin-ryu, Shosei Kina of uhuchiku kobudo, and Zenryo Shimabuku of shorin-ryu.

It is clear that karate ranks sprang from several original sources — a relatively modem construct on an old martial art. It was issued by individuals and institutions with set standards that were recognized by other prestigious groups and individuals.

And this is the crux of the matter: For rank to be recognized, the bestower must be recognized within karate’s mainstream community. It must be based in tradition, and linked to a body or sanctioned individual who is perceived as beyond reproach.

The standards by which rank is achieved and given must be recognizable, and conform to already existing norms in the Okinawan/Japanese martial arts hierarchy. Anyone can print up or write a fancy certificate, but absent of any governmental or legal guidelines, it is the recognition and acceptance by existing groups and institutions that give each ranking group or individual its legitimacy.

The development of the ranking system is a typically human development, with rivalries and contradictions, and our own masters received their rank in different ways. The highest-ranked of the old masters did not-could not-receive the tenth dan from their “style.” They were invariably ranked by someone else and applied this grade to their own group. This is still true.

As in a medieval European knighting, originally any knight could dub another, then regal institutions took over. However, it is the skill and knowledge that gains the rank, not vice versa. The quest for rank, per se, misses the point.

 

Shaolin Five Animals in Okinawan Karate:

by Dr. William Durbin and edited by Bud Morgan

In the development of Okinawan Karate there have been three main influences. First of all is the unique Okinawan aspect which can be symbolized by the term Te. Te which is usually simply translated hand has a secondary meaning of skill, which the martial artists of Okinawa strove to develop in an abundant fashion in regard to their fighting ability. At least one Okinawan historian claims that it was by martial arts skills and strategy, that the kings of Okinawa held their post, until the occupation by the Satsuma in 1609. Those belonging to the royal families developed special skills which included certain ‘secrets’ which were passed on only to family members. These royal martial artists protected their skills and maintained a level of secrecy that existed until modern times.

A second influence came from certain members of the Minamoto family of Japan, who after the Hogen Incident, used Okinawa as a staging area, in preparation of a return engagement against the Taira. It is believed that while the Minamoto trained in their arts, they also shared their skills with the Okinawan royalty. There are several reasons why they might have done this.

First of all, some of the leaders and Samurai married Okinawans during this stay on the island, thus to share the art with them was simply to share the art with family members.

Second, in case of an attack by the Taira, who were too busy taking care of business in Japan proper to care about the group on Okinawa, the Minamoto wanted their Okinawan allies capable of fighting effectively by their sides.

Finally it is believed that the Minamoto thought of their martial arts as a very special treasure, which they shared with the Okinawan royalty for giving them sanctuary.

The third influence, which has been greatly emphasized in the past, is the Chugoku Kempo influence. Chugoku Kempo, Chinese martial arts, were believed first brought to Okinawa from monks spreading the Buddhist religion. The original date of when Chugoku Kempo first entered Okinawa is unknown, but it is believed that the ancient fist art of Shaolin entered Okinawa early and contributed to the primary use of the fist as an Okinawan weapon. Prior to the sixteenth century, Shaolin Chuanfa was mainly a palm and fist art.

In the sixteenth century Chueh Yuan expanded the Shaolin Chuanfa, along with Li Cheng and Pai Yu Feng, into the 170 movements and the five animals which are famous today.

In order to understand how the five animal form of Shaolin Chuanfa, pronounced Shorin Kempo in Japanese, became such a great influence in Okinawan Karate it is necessary to look at three of the great Okinawan masters of the past and see their training and emphasis in teaching. These three masters are; Sakugawa, Chojun Miyagi, and Zenryo Shimabuku.

Sakugawa is credited with opening the first Dojo in Okinawa. His training began with Te under the old warrior turned monk Takahara. It is believed this art was a combination of ancient Okinawan martial arts and Minamoto martial arts. During this time the Okinawans were very interested in the martial arts skills of the Chinese who were living on their island and trading with them from the main land. Sakugawa began training under a Chinese man by the name of Kushanku.

There are many disagreements as to what Kushanku was, some say a business man, others a military attaché, and still others a monk. Regardless of whom he was and what he did, nearly everyone agrees that he taught a version of Shaolin Chuanfa, most generally thought to be of the Hung Chuan variety.

It is said that Sakugawa merged Te and Kempo creating what was then called Tode or Karate, meaning Tang hand.

On his death bed, Takahara called Sakugawa to his side and instructed his student to open a public school, so that anyone wanting to learn the martial arts, could have the opportunity to do so. It is believed that until that time, only if your parents were royalty and knew martial arts, or if you were fortunate enough to convince a monk or visiting Chinese martial artist to train you, or the least of the methods, convincing one of the sailors who had picked up some martial arts skills during trade voyages to teach you, could you learn martial arts.

It is said that Takahara, having once kept skills secret as a warrior, saw the real value in the arts for all people during the time he was a monk, and thus instructed his top disciple, Sakugawa, to open a public school.

This is why Sakugawa found it necessary to set forth the Dojo Kun, a code of conduct for a school.Having trained in the Hung style of Shaolin martial arts, Sakugawa would have been greatly influenced by the Hung family’s attitudes, which included the idea that the white crane skills were of the highest level of martial arts.

That is why today you can find Shorin Ryu styles that teach the white crane as their ‘inner secret’. Interestingly enough, other Shorin Ryu styles promote the dragon as the highest level of skills, which is reflected in northern Shaolin Chuanfa systems.

This points to the fact that at some time northern Shaolin Chuanfa also entered Okinawa, and not just the southern Shaolin styles, of which Hung Chuan is a branch.

Many styles of Shorin Ryu especially point to the fact that the white crane skills included grappling which have been hidden in the modern Karate Kata that are a part of modern Okinawan development.

It should be noted that while the Okinawans adopted many skills from the Chinese influence, they did not accept any forms directly from the Chinese source, but rather, in modern times created their own Kata.

The second master to greatly increase the use of Shaolin five animal skills in Okinawan Karate is Chojun Miyagi. Miyagi studied under Kanryo Higashionna who had studied Hung Chuan under a Chinese master known as Ryu Ryu Ko.

Miyagi, while a young man, decided to travel to China to study under Ryu Ryu Ko, as his master had done, but upon visiting there, could no longer find him. However during that one year visit he did train in Hsing I, Pa Kua, Tai Chi, and a composite art known as I Chuan. It is believed that he also trained under a man by the name of Gokenki, who was also a Hung Chuan master who especially emphasized the white crane aspect of the art.

When Miyagi created the Kata for his style of Goju Ryu, he emphasized the soft movements he had learned in the internal systems he had studied in China with the white crane movements of the Hung Chuan. He also developed the grappling exercise of Kakie from the white crane grappling techniques and his study of the Okinawan grappling skills from Choyu Motobu.

The other notable Okinawan master who added much to Okinawan Karate from the Shaolin martial arts is Zenryo Shimabuku. His main teacher had been Chotoku Kyan, who many consider the actual founder of Shorin Ryu. Kyan was very famous as a great kicker and fighter in spite of the fact that he was a very small man. It is said that Shimabuku also loved to kick and sought to constantly improve his kicking skills.

Finally, having been told of the great influence of Chinese Chuanfa on Okinawan Karate, he traveled to China where he studied northern Shaolin Chuanfa. The kicking techniques of the white crane, dragon, and snake, were especially influential in Shimabuku’s training. Upon returning to Okinawa he joined in forming the Okinawan Kempo Association with Shigeru Nakamura, and was very influential is having kicking skills improved and expanded in many Karate curriculums.

Looking at the five animals, it is possible to see the actual influence which the Shaolin Chuanfa had upon Okinawan Karate. It is important as well to realize that Okinawan martial arts were already highly developed before the Chinese influence and that it was the variety of hand techniques, kicks, and finesse that drew the Okinawans into an in-depth study of the Chinese martial arts.

Each of the five animals has something specific which the Okinawans absorbed into their art. However, one particular point needs to be acknowledged, even as the Okinawans absorbed elements of other countries martial arts into their own, they did so with their own particular flavor.

No Okinawan art is merely the transplanted martial art of another country; rather the Okinawan arts are the techniques adapted from other martial arts systems into the skills of the Okinawan warriors and martial artists.

It is accurate to say that the ancient art of Bushi Te, the warrior art, was adapted from Aikijujutsu of the Minamoto clan, yet it is distinctly it’s own creation, based on the genius of the Okinawan Bushi. Ancient Karate, the Tang hand, is very much adapted from Chinese Kempo, and yet it is not simply the Chinese art relocated, but revamped into a truly Okinawan creation.

We may see some of the Chinese influence by looking at the typical movements of the animals, and how they were changed by the Okinawans for their own use.

Let us begin with the Leopard. Since the leopard is the most fists oriented of the five animals, it was already in harmony with the fist art of Okinawa, which was influenced by the ancient Shaolin Chuanfa, Shorin Kempo. In a typical example of the leopard punch, the arms from the wide position are swung close to the body and then out in the delivery of the strike.

The Okinawans refined this, bringing the fists to load at the hips, and torqueing the body in the execution of the punch. It is easy to see how the Okinawans refined their punch from the Chinese movement. Primarily this is the contribution the Okinawans made to the martial arts, whether the techniques came from Japan or China, the Okinawan masters sought the most efficient and direct method of delivery.

The inside forearm block of Okinawan Karate is also derived from a leopard technique. But where the Chinese tend to extend the arm a little more at the elbow, the Okinawans kept the arm bent tighter at the elbow, preferring not to extend it past a 90 degree angle; this was then whipped into the attackers arm for a more punishing strike. The inside forearm block also was used as a soft parry when the Okinawan martial artist wanted to blend into a softer technique.

In an example of the white crane, the Chinese martial artist might once again begin with the arms spread like wings, and then shift to a block and counted attack with the heel of the hand. The Okinawan would more likely keep a tighter defense and as the block is executed, load the striking hand onto his/her hip, and then strike from there.

In kicking the arms might once again be ‘wing’ like in a Chinese variation, but the Okinawans choose to keep the hands in close, in order to protect the body. Many say that Okinawan styles of Karate do not kick above the waist; however, this is erroneous in that many Okinawans were famous for their kicks. Such masters as Chotoku Kyan, Zenryo Shimabuku, and Bushi Takemura, have gone down in history as incredible kickers.

The actual Okinawan attitude is for each practitioner to develop all the general skills associated with Okinawan martial arts, and then for the individual to excel in whatever their forte might be, such as kicking, or throwing, or punching. However, the rule was always being good at everything.

In many of the tiger strikes, the Chinese tend towards both hands striking simultaneously, while the Okinawans are more inclined to strike with one hand so that the entire power of the body could be generated in the strike.

One of the misconceptions currently being stated today by some martial artists is that the retracting hand of Okinawan Karate was nothing more than a mistake or a method used to teach beginners that had no validity in real combat. This is very far from the truth. The returning hand along with the torque of the body that should accompany it is in fact an excellent way of generating power in actual combat. Many have missed the timing and rhythm necessary to make the actual use of this skill possible and so deride it. However, before anyone ever discards such excellent techniques, they need to train hard in their use and discover the validity for themselves and not allow others to make the decisions for them.

The snake is another technique which the Okinawans refined down to a smaller movement. Most snake strikes in Karate have taken on the aspect of Nukite, penetrating hand, strikes. But due to the fact that they are generally aimed at vital points rather than power hits, body rotation is not as important for striking, unless the martial artist is trying to increase the distance of the strike.

Snake strikes are generally done with the two fingers, one finger, or whole hand. In Okinawan Karate these are generally called, Nihon Nukite, Ippon Nukite, and simply, Nukite, respectively. One change that might be noted, though this is more a matter of individual taste rather than a stylistic difference, is that the hand not doing the strike, instead of being extended as in a Chinese method, is kept close to the body as a guard.

The final animal is the dragon, and in some of the Karate systems, this is the style of grappling. Kept as a secret in some styles, the claw of the dragon is the griping hand for jointlocks and throws. It is the contention of some, that the dragon of Okinawa was merged with the Minamoto skills to hide the grappling techniques from other practitioners.

Others feel that the Chinna, Chinese grappling, of Shaolin Chuanfa were added to the previous skills. In any case many sophisticated throwing maneuvers are a part of the dragon techniques. The dragon was also the art of ground fighting, this included delivering strikes from the ground with both legs and hands, sacrifice techniques, which use the fall to the ground to throw, or simply being laying on the ground and using a jointlock or body throw.

Dragon techniques also include leaping and flying methods, including hand strikes and kicks. This is where the beautiful flying side kicks and other aerial kicks of Okinawan Karate originated.

Okinawan masters of the martial arts were unique and fiercely independent human beings, who saw the value of many nations martial skills, and yet who had a genius all their own.

As the Okinawan warriors and martial artists began to research and absorb Minamoto Bujutsu and the five animal fists of Shaolin Chuanfa, they applied their own unique principle of strength management to them, heightening them and adapting them to their own physiology and psychology.

In particular, the five animal fists of Chugoku Kempo, contributed many skills, techniques, and strategies, to the Okinawan martial arts. Yet it must be remembered that in the Okinawan arts of Bushi Te, Karate, and Kempo, is seen the peerless and unequaled genius of the Okinawan masters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trippin’ Daisy’s Nautical Kook Book

Trippin’ Daisy’s Nautical Kook Book

Daisy Shellcrosslee, Head Chef @ Slip #5 Restaurant & Private Bar

Full Admiral,  m/v  “trippin’ daisy”

Home Berth: Pleasure Island, North Carolina

The following recipe’s represent just what really is capable and possible while living on a boat. Of course nothing says you can not do it at home, or in the back yard for that matter. The Sea is a wonderful resource, one that should be enjoyed and protected. It’s what made this book possible.

This Book includes the following Recipes straight from our Galley:

1) Bahama Mama’s Fried Fish

2) Daisy’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken

3) Daisy’s Jamaican Jerk Swordfish with Orange Mango Salsa

4) Frying Pan Shoals Spiny Lobster Delight

5) Daisy’s Jamaican Pepper Prawns

6) Daisy’s Jamaican Pepperpot Soup

7) Daisy’s Shrimp Cancun en Papillote

8) Daisy’s Shrimp Curry Trinidad

9) Pleasure Island Shrimp Salad

10) Daisy’s Stuffed Crab Creole

11) Alex’s Sheep Island “Trout Alexander”

12) Hard Fightin’ Fish Tacos

13) Steel Time’s Stuffed Sea Bass

14) Captain Ryan’s Crab-Stuffed Beeliner’s (Carolina Vermillion Snapper)

15) Island Pirate’s Steamed Mullet

16) QB’s Shark Kabobs

17) Bud’s Beer Battered Hotrod Blue Fish

18) Daisy’s Grilled Ginger Swordfish w/ Fruit Salsa & Grilled Asparagus

19) Really Rockin’ Oyster’s Rockafella (for Andrea)

20) TT’s Tomato Basil Mahi Mahi

21) Ziggy Marley’s Maple Basted Broiled Bluefish

22) Cat’s Cay Coconut Curry

23) Daisy’s Dawg House Fritterswith Wasabi Garlic Sauce

24) Daisy’s “Waz Up” Wasabi Garlic Sauce

25) Captain Mervin’s King Mackerel Cakes

26) Daisy’s Marinated Tuna R & R

27) Daisy’s Bayou Meto BBQ Shrimp (Straight from the Bayou)

28) Daisy’s Oak Island Steam Pot

29) Daisy’s High Octane Seafood Special (Scallops/Chicken/Shrimp)

30) Daisy’s Key-Lime Chicken Sandwich

31) Daisy’s Wafi Wangs

32)Daisy’s Lockwood Folley River Clam Sketti

33) Rhiannon’s Island-Style Vegetarian Voodoo Chili

34) Trex’s Low Country Gumbo

35) Everitt’s Ultra-Classic Carolina Pork Butt

36) Marge’s Bug Buster Bean Dip

37) Captain Bud’s Famous Brunswick Stew

38) Hotrod’s Cancun Chowder

39) Frenchy’s Southport Style Ratatouille

40) Daisy’s Carolina Style Shrimp Marinara

41) Magic Man Chum Burger’s…..Now You See Em’….Now You Don’t

42) Carolina Style Simple Seafood Chowder

43) Daisy’s Frogmore Stew

44) Big Tony’s Crock Pot Crab Dip

 

 

#1…Bahama Mama’s Fried Fish

Yield: 4 servings

3 lb fresh fish fillets (any fresh caught), lemon pepper, garlic salt, 1 cup pancake mix, 1 cup Japanese Panko bread crumbs, 1/4 cup water, 1 egg, use beaten peanut oil.

Preheat electric skillet to 350 degrees.

Cut fish in bite-sized pieces.

Lightly sprinkle with lemon pepper and garlic salt.

Combine pancake mix and bread crumbs in a paper bag.

Dip fish in water and egg mixture.

Shake fish in bag to coat with crumbs.

Fry in oil for 7 minutes, or until golden brown, turning once.

Serve immediately.

 

 

#2…Daisy’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken  

Yield: 4 Servings

4 lg chicken breasts, jerk marinade.

Prepare breasts and remove skin if desired.

Marinade chicken for 2 to 3 hours in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 275F. Place chicken on shallow pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven and place immediately on hot grill.

Grill for 5 minutes on each side, or until the skin is crispy.

 

 

#3…Jerk Marinade

Yield: 1 Cup

1 onion, minced 1/2 cup scallion, chopped 2 ts thyme, fresh 1 ts salt, 2 ts sugar, 1 ts allspice, 1/2 ts nutmeg, 1/2 ts cinnamon, 1 hot pepper, finely ground 1 ts black pepper, 3 tb Soy Sauce, 1 tb vegetable oil, 1 tb white vinegar.

Combine all ingredients in workbowl with steel blade. Process until finely chopped. Store excess marinade in the refrigerator for about 1 month.

 

 

#4…Daisy’s Jamaican Jerk Swordfish with Orange Mango Salsa

 1/4 cup onion diced, 2 tablespoons thyme, 1/4 cup green onion, sliced thin 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced. 1 teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper.

2 tablespoons Jamaican Jerk Spice (recipe below), 2 (6-ounce) swordfish steaks, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Oil for grilling 3 oranges, juiced 2 ripe mangoes, diced 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped Salt and pepper. 1/2 bunch arugula, cleaned.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl or in a food processor.

Season swordfish with jerk spice and drizzle with oil.

Place on grill for 3 minutes. Spoon 1/4 of rub on each fish and flip to other side. Spoon the rest of the rub on each fish and cook 1 minute.

Remove and serve over salsa.

For the salsa, heat orange juice in pan over the grill until warm. Add mangoes, cilantro and salt and pepper and let cook for 3 minutes without boiling. Spoon onto plate and over arugula. Place swordfish over salsa.

JAMAICAN JERK SPICE: 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground 1 teaspoon nutmeg, ground 1 teaspoon allspice, ground 2 teaspoons chives, dried. 2 teaspoons thyme, dried. 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon dried minced onion, 1 tablespoon salt.

Combine spices in a bowl by hand or in food processor. Store in an airtight container.

 

 

#5…Frying Pan Shoals Spiny Lobster Delight

4 fresh caught lobsters, boiled

1 chopped onion, 1 clove garlic, finely chopped. 2 Teaspoons chopped parsley, 2 ounces brandy, few drops of Tabasco, 4 Cups white sauce, 1 Cup sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire sauce.

Halve the lobsters. Remove the meat and dice.

Wash the shells and retain.

In a saucepan, melt some butter, add the onions and garlic, saute until golden brown.

Add the lobster meat and flambe with the brandy.

Add the mushrooms and simmer for a few minutes, and stir in the mustard, Tabasco and Worcestershire, and cook over low flame a few more minutes.

Mix in the white sauce, remove from fire and add the parsley.

Season with salt and pepper, and fill the shells with the mixture, then sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and place under the broiler for a few minutes to glaze.

White Sauce: In a saucepan, melt equal parts of butter and flour (over low heat), whisk them together(do not let the mixture get brown) until you obtain a homogeneous paste. Let it cool for a few minutes then gradually add some hot fish stock, whisk continuously to prevent lumps. Bring the mixture slowly to boil and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

 

 

#6…Daisy’s Jamaican Pepper Prawns

5 pounds large black tiger prawns, head off and cleaned

1 cup salad oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 whole scotch bonnet peppers

2 Tablespoons vinegar

1 whole carrot, Julienned

1 medium onion, sliced into rings

1 stalk celery or 1/4 chayote, julienned

Place a heavy Dutch oven on stove and preheat at medium for 5 to

10 minutes.  Add the oil and coat pan, add the garlic, peppers,

carrot, onion and celery/chayote and stir to mix.  Fry until the

vegetables are cooked and starting to brown. Add shrimp and stir

fry for 5 minutes. Add vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

In Jamaica they sometimes serve a fresh water

crawfish.  These are cooked with the heads on and served as finger

food.  I try and find the extra large black tiger prawns at the

local fish store.

Hint: You can cook the same dish in 5 pints of water instead of

the oil.  Boil everything except the shrimp for 10 minutes.  Add

shrimp and cook anther 10 minutes.

CAUTION: These peppers are incredibly hot.  Handle them as little

as possible and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.  Try the

recipe with one first.  If you like it hotter use two.  If you like

it really hot, dice the peppers but watch out!

 

 

#7…Daisy’s Jamaican Pepperpot Soup

2 lbs spinach, washed and chopped fine, or Calaloo

gallon of broth

1/2 lb okra, cut into 1/2 slices

2 onions, diced

6 green onions, diced

10 cloves garlic, mashed

1 bunch fresh thyme, or 1 TBS dried leaves

8 allspice berries or 1/2 tsp ground

1 whole, green scotch bonnet pepper, or 1 tsp hot sauce

2 med potatoes, sweet potatoes (Boniato) or 1/2 lb Jamaican Yellow Yam, diced

1/3 cup canned coconut milk

1/2 lb fresh shrimp, head-on and un-shelled, preferably (optional)

1 fresh blue crab (optional but delicious!)

Salt and Pepper

In a large stock-pot, add the broth, chopped spinach, the Allspice,

(we call it Pimento), and all the other spices and seasonings, and

return to simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are

cooked.

Add the potatoes, and yams, coconut milk and the diced okra, and

simmer until the potatoes are cooked.  We also add some “spinners”,

which are simply flour and water and salt, kneaded to a tight dough,

broken into little pieces and rolled between the palms of both

hands into a chunky-cigarette shape, and dropped into the soup.

When the soup is cooked, it should be slightly thickened by the

okra.  At this point, just before serving, add the shrimp, and the

crab, simmer until the shellfish have turned pink, and are cooked.

Your soup is now ready to be served with slices of hearty Jamaican

hard-dough, or a Sour-dough bread.

 

 

Daisy’s Shrimp Cancun en Papillote

(2 Servings)

10 ounces unpeeled medium-size fresh shrimp

Vegetable Cooking Spray

3/4 cup chunky salsa, divided

1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

3 whole ripe olives, sliced

Peel shrimp, and devein, if desired. Cut two 15×12-inch pieces of

parchment paper or aluminum foil; fold in half lengthwise. Trim

each into a heart shape. Place hearts on baking sheet. Coat one

side of each with cooking spray.

Divide shrimp equally, and place on sides of hearts coated with

cooking spray. Top each with 1/4 cup salsa.

Fold over remaining half of paper or foil. Pleat and crimp edges

together to seal. Twist end slightly to seal.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until parchment is

puffed and lightly browned. Cut an X on top of paper, and top each

with cheese and olives. Bake 1 minute or until cheese melts.  Serve

with 1/4 cup salsa.

 

 

Daisy’s Shrimp Curry Trinidad

Serves 6.

1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric

1 1/2 teaspoons coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seed

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon hot red dried peppers

3 tablespoons each oil and butter

2 pounds large, raw shrimp, shelled

2 large onions, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon chopped lime pickle (optional)

Cooked white rice

Grind the turmeric, coriander, cumin, and mustard seeds with the

bay leaves, peppercorns, and dried hot peppers in a mortar.  Set

aside.  Heat 1 tablespoon each of the oil and butter in a skillet

and cook the shrimp until they are pink all over, about 5 minutes.

Remove the shrimp and keep warm.

Add the remaining oil and butter to the skillet and saute the onion

until tender and lightly browned.  Add the garlic and the ground

spices, and cook, stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes longer.  Add the

tomatoes, lime juice, sugar, salt, and the chopped lime pickle, if

desired.  Cover and cook for 1/2 hour over very low heat, adding

a little stock or water if necessary.  The sauce should be quite

thick.  Add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes longer at barely

a simmer.  Serve surrounded by plain white rice.

 

 

Pleasure Island Shrimp Salad

1 cup cooked rice

2 tablespoons French salad dressing

1 pound shrimp, cooked

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

3/4 cup finely chopped cauliflower

1 tablespoon chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon salt

Combine rice and salad dressing in a large bowl. Stir well.  Peel

and devein shrimp. Chop into bite-size pieces. Add to bowl.  Add

celery, cauliflower, onion, and bell pepper to bowl. Stir well.

Add lemon juice, mayonnaise, and salt to bowl. Stir well. Cover;

chill until serving time.

A few nice crackers will work nicely.

VARIATION: For a tasty tropical twist, add a small can of pineapple

chunks, drained.

 

 

Daisy’s Stuffed Crab Creole

6 small crabs

Bread crumbs

3 canned pimientos, chopped fine

pinch of mace

1 hot red pepper, chopped, or cayenne pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped chervil

1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons sherry

freshly ground pepper to taste

3 cloves garlic, crushed

butter

Remove the crab meat from the shells and chop fine.  Scrub the

empty shells and reserve.  Mash 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs into the

crab eat until the mixture is smooth.  Add all the other ingredients

except the butter, mixing thoroughly.  Stuff the reserved crab

shells with the mixture.  Sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs, dot

with butter, and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 1/2 hour, or

until browned.  Serves 6 as an appetizer or 2-3 as a luncheon

entree.

 

 

Alex’s Sheep Island “Trout Alexander”

3-pounds of speckled trout, cleaned, skinned, and boned (see LJ if you need help)

milk

water

salt

3 bay leaves

3/4 pound sliced mushrooms

1 stick butter

1 clove garlic, minced

4 whole shallots (green onions), chopped

1/4 pound cooked shrimp

1/4 pound cooked lobster

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1 cup cream

Salt and pepper to taste

2 ounces sherry

4 sprigs parsley, chopped

Lay pieces of trout side by side in a shallow buttered saucepan.

Add enough milk to half cover fish, and about half as much water

as milk. Sprinkle lightly with salt, add bay leaves, and cover pan.

Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer slowly about 15

minutes, or until fish flakes readily. Remove fish and set aside

to keep warm. Reduce broth to 1/2 cup and reserve for use in sauce.

Saute mushrooms in butter 5 minutes. Add garlic and shallots and

simmer 5 minutes until tender. Add shrimp and lobster and heat

thoroughly. Sprinkle flour over all and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Gradually add milk, cream, and reduced fish broth and bring to a

boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes,

stirring occasionally. Season to taste, add sherry and parsley,

pour over fish on a platter, and serve at once.  Serves 4.

 

 

Hard Fightin’ Fish Tacos

(makes 6 servings)

12 of your favorite Carolina Filets. Spanish Mackeral, Flounder, Black Sea Bass etc. (1-1/2 oz ea.)

12 Tortillas, corn, as thick/fresh as possible

BEER BATTER:

1 cup Flour

1 cup Jimmy Buffet’s Land Shark Beer

Garlic powder, fresh ground peppercorn to taste

WHITE SAUCE:

1/2 cup Mayonaise/Miracle Whip

1/2 cup Yogurt

SALSA:

1 Garlic clove, peeled and minced

6 Tomatoes, ripe, peeled, seeded and diced

1/2 Onion, minced

2 tbs Cilantro leaves, chopped, stems removed

2 Jalapeno chiles, seeded and chopped

1 1/2 ts Sea Salt

1/4 ts Pepper, again grind it fresh

Oil for deep frying

GARNISH:

1 Head cabbage, green, shredded

1 Lime, cut into wedges

Mix flour with favorite spices such as garlic powder, red or black ground pepper. Stir the flour mixture into the beer and mix until well blended. Wash fish by dipping in cold, lightly salted water or water with a little bit of lemon juice added. Be sure fish is completely dry before dipping into batter.

Prepare salsa and set her to the side.

Put the vegetable oil into a deep skillet and bring to 375F. Place fish in a single layer, do not let em touch each other. Cook fish until batter is crispy and golden brown.

Heat corn tortillas lightly in a skillet or Mexican comal until they are soft and hot.

To assemble, on each tortilla layer the fish fillet, white sauce, salsa and cabbage. Top it off with a squeeze of lime. Fold tortilla over to serve.

Start the song, “Wasted Away in Margaritaville”, and fix you one or two of those to wash em down with.

 

 

Steel Time’s Stuffed Sea Bass

1 can crab meat

1 can baby shrimp

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1/2 stick butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 lbs sea bass fillets

Italian bread crumbs

salt

pepper

paprika

Open cans of crab and shrimp, drain and mix together with Old bay

seasoning.  Add bread crumbs until mix has body to stick together.

Take filet and lay in bottom of baking dish.  Pack stuffing on top

of fillet and cover with second fillet.  Continue until dish is

full.

Take small frying pan and add butter, olive oil and chopped garlic.

Saute garlic for 5 minutes.  Cool, pour over fillets, sprinkle with

paprika.  Place in oven at 350 until bottom fillet is cooked.  Salt

and papper to taste.

 

 

Captain Ryan’s Crab-Stuffed Beeliner’s

(Carolina Vermillion Snapper)

1/3 cup minced onion

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 pound crab meat

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon lemon thyme

4-6 pound and a half/ two pound sized vermillion snapper, dressed for stuffing

salt and pepper

1/3 cup dry white wine mixed with 1/3 cup melted butter

Saute onion in butter until golden.

Remove from heat and mix in the crab meat, bread crumbs, parsley, heavy cream, and lemon thyme.

Sprinkle cavity of fish lightly with salt and pepper.

Stuff the fish and skewer edges securely.

Place fish in a greased baking pan, and pour wine-butter mixture over fish.

Bake in 400 degree oven, uncovered for 30 minutes or just until the flesh is opaque,

basting frequently with wine sauce.

Serves 4 to 6.

 

 

Island Pirate’s Steamed Mullet

2 pounds mullet, cleaned and scaled

coarse salt

2 inch piece ginger root, shredded

1 piece chung choi (salted mustard cabbage), rinsed and chopped

1 tablespoon sake or white wine

2 stalks green onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon peanut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

chinese parsley, for garnish

Sprinkle the mullet with Hawaiian salt and rub a little into the

stomach cavity.  Place fish on a steaming rack.  Put half of the

ginger and chung choi into stomach cavity.  Place steaming rack

over boiling water and top fish with remaining ginger, chung choi,

sake and green onions.  Cover and steam for 18 to 20 minutes or

until fish tests done.  In a small saucepan, heat oil and saute

garlic until lightly browned.  Stir in soy sauce and pour mixture

over fish.  Garnish with Chinese parsley.

 

 

QB’s Shark Kabobs

1 lb black tip shark (or tuna steak, swordfish, mako, marlin)

2 lg carrots, unpeeled

pineapple slices, halved

1/2 c. orange juice

1/4 c. melted butter or margarine

3 tbsp soy sauce

Cut carrots into 1/2 in chunks, and blanch until barely tender.

Alternate fish, carrots, and pineapple on skewers til you have 4

chunks of fish on each one.  Again, how much of the other stuff

depends on you.  You should have 2-3 skewers full per person.

For marinade, mix the juice, butter and soy together.

Suspend skewers over a 13×9 pan lined with foil and spoon marinade

over kabobs.  Broil for 4 minutes, then turn and broil for another

4-5 minutes, spooning marinade over them periodically.

Serve over hot cooked rice.

 

 

Bud’s Beer Battered Hotrod Blue Fish

1 1/2 to 2 pounds bluefish

1 1/2 cups flour

3 tblespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon lemon-pepper

10 oz beer

3 eggs beaten

Two bottles of Texas Pete

Fillet and skin bluefish.

Cut dark streak out of fish.

Cut into serving size pieces.

Put in a gallon baggie with the two bottles of Texas Pete and wait at least an hour, two’s best.

Mix in bowl flour,baking powder, salt, and lemon-pepper.  Add beer and eggs to mixture, stir.

Put fish in batter and let set for about 20 mintues.

Deep fry fish until golden brown.

Dang it, them’s sure good.

 

 

Daisy’s Grilled Ginger Swordfish

w/ Fruit Salsa & Grilled Asparagus

1/2 cup olive oil

3 Tbsp soy sauce

3 Tbsp dry sherry

2 tsp fresh ginger root

2 lg. cloves garlic, minced

1-2 lbs. swordfish steaks (1″ thick)

1/4 cup fresh baby spinach greens per serving

Mix first 5 ingredients and place in plastic zipper bag with fish

steaks.  Marinade 2 or more hours.

3/4 cup fresh pineapple, chopped small

1 med. banana, sliced and chopped

1/2 cup Fresh Mango, chopped small

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice (fresh or bottled)

1 tsp fresh ginger root

1 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 – 1 tsp fresh cilantro, minced (optional)

Mix all and chill.

Preheat grill.  Turn down flames on grill!  Remove steaks from

marinade and place on grill.  When getting ready to turn your fish

steaks, add a grilling basket of oil brushed asparagus to the grill

(remember to turn it once sometime in cooking).  Remember to brush

your fish with the remaining marinade from time to time to add more

flavor.

When removed from heat, serve steaks on a bed of fresh spinach

greens with plenty of salsa over the top and asparagus on the side.

Serves 2-4

 

 

Really Rockin’ Oyster’s Rockafella (for Andrea)

Five Dozen fresh, unopened oysters

Two Bottles of Jimmy Buffet’s Landshark beer

Three big cloves of garlic

season with Sea Salt to taste

About five to ten cranks on the peppercorn grinder

1/2 cup butter

1 onion chopped

One Crushed (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

8 ounces fontina cheese, shredded 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons Japanese Panko bread crumbs

Clean oysters, and place in a large stockpot. Pour in beer and enough water to cover oysters; add 2 cloves garlic, Sea Salt, and peppercorn grinds. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, drain, and cool.

Once oysters are cooled, break off and discard the top shell. Arrange the oysters on a baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

Cook onion and one clove smashed garlic in butter until soft.

Reduce heat to low, and stir in spinach, Monterey Jack, Fontina, and Mozzarella.

Cook until cheese melts, stirring frequently, and then stir in the milk.

Spoon sauce over each oyster, just filling the shell. Sprinkle with Panko bread crumbs.

Bake until golden and bubbly, approximately 8 to 10 minutes, but keep your eyes on em.

 

 

TT’s Tomato Basil Mahi Mahi

Serves 2 – 4

16 oz Mahi Mahi fillets

2 1/2 cups tomatoes.  diced

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/3 cup red shallots, sliced

1/4 cup onion, diced

1/4 cup garlic, chopped (approx. 5 cloves)

2/3 cup chicken stock

2 Tbs tomato paste

2 Tbs fish sauce (or substitute soy sauce)

1 Tbs vinegar or lemon juice

1 Tbs sugar

Coat pan with cooking oil and pan fry Mahi Mahi fillets until golden

brown. To prepare sauce, saute garlic and shallots in pan. Add

onion, tomato paste, fish sauce, vinegar or lemon juice and sugar.

Stir in chicken stock and simmer until sauce thickens.  Remove from

heat and add basil. To Serve, top Mahi Mahi fillets with generous

helping of tomato basil sauce.

Vegetarian option: Substitute Mahi Mahi fillets with deep fried

tofu and use vegetable stock in the sauce.

You can substitute any mild white flesh fish instead of Mahi if

you can’t get it in your area.

 

 

 

Ziggy Marley’s Maple Basted Broiled Bluefish

Serves 8

1/5 cup maple syrup

8 bluefish fillets (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)

Allspice

2 Tbsp corn oil

Salt and fresh ground Black Pepper

Pour maple syrup in a shallow bowl.  Add bluefish fillets and turn

to coat thoroughly.  Sprinkle with spices.  Set aside to marinade.

Lightly grease broiling rack or grill with corn oil.  Broil or

grill bluefish about 6 inches form heat for 2-4 min. on each side.

Baste fish with syrup one or twice until fish flakes and the outside

is lightly caramelized.

 

 

Cat’s Cay Coconut Curry

Serves 4

3 tbs sunflower oil

4-5 shallots, sliced

4 garlic cloves,chopped

1 tbs mustard seeds

1 1/2 lb firm white fish boned and cubed (shark, dogfish, monkfish, swordfish)

flour for dusting

1 tspn whole fenugreek

1 inch piece of cinnamon or cassia

1 tspn tamarind pulp

1 tbs turmeric

5 oz grated creamed coconut

Heat the oil and fry the shallots, garlic and mustard seeds for

1-2 mins. Dust the fish with flour and briefly seal both sides in

the hot oil.  Add the rest of the spices and tamarind pulp, dissolved

in enough water to cover the fish.  Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes,

then stir in the grated coconut until almalgamated into the sauce. Serve

over hot rice.

 

 

Daisy’s Dawg House Fritters

with Wasabi Garlic Sauce, Serves 8 -12

3 lbs. cleaned Lockwood Folly Clams

milk

100g / 4 oz plain flour

1 tsp salt

200 ml / 7 fl oz milk

2 Tbsp ouzo or brandy

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander

lemon wedges

fresh coriander sprigs

Wash and clean the clams. Cube/dice/slice the clams as you see fit. Place in shallow dish, and cover with

milk. Leave to soak another 2 hours.

Make batter as follows:- Sift flour and salt in big bowl.  Make a well in

center. Gradually beat in milk, ouzo, or brandy and egg to make

smooth pouring batter. Stir in coriander and set aside 30 minutes.

Heat oil in heavy based pan. Dust the clams with flour. Drop in the batter and mix, and then scoop up a fritter size spoonfull

and drop it in the oil. Deep fry 4 – 5 minutes until golden brown.

Drain on kitchen paper.

Wasabi Garlic Sauce……next page

 

 

Daisy’s “Waz Up” Wasabi Garlic Sauce

2 – 3 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed.

4 Tbsp water

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 Tbsp lemon juice

Pinch of cayenne pepper

6 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp Wasabi paste – Mild

Vegetable oil for deep frying.

4 Tbsp flour

Pour water over bread and soak 5 minutes. Squeeze out water.  Place

bread, Wasabi Paste, garlic lemon juice and cayenne in a blender

and blend to make thick paste.  Gradually add in oil little by

little to form thick sauce thinning with 2 – 3 Tbsp boiling water

if too thick.  Put into a bowl and set aside.

 

 

Captain Mervin’s King Mackerel Cakes

5 pounds fresh king mackerel fillets without skin

2 small chopped onion

3 level tablespoon salt

3 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3 small boiled potato

Cut the fillets in smaller pieces, and blend all in a food processor.

Make patties and cover with Panko Japanese bread crumbs.

Fry over moderate heat in a teflon frying pan.

Serve with boiled red potatoes and carrots, and a green salad or cucumber salad made from

thinly sliced cucumber in slightly diluted, sweetened vinegar with

a pinch of salt and black ground pepper.

Serves a sh__load according to Merv.

 

 

Daisy’s  Marinated Tuna R & R

6 servings

6 tuna steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 small shallot, minced

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced cilantro

1/4 teaspoon minced ginger

1/4 teaspoon minced jalapeno

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Wash tuna steaks and pat dry. Place in a shallow, non-aluminum pan

large enough to hold them in one layer.

In a bowl, combine olive oil, sherry vinegar, soy sauce, rice

vinegar, minced shallot, garlic, cilantro, ginger, jalapeno and

sesame oil. Stir well. This soy-sherry vinaigrette can be used as

a sauce or salad dressing as well as a marinade.

Pour  1/2 cup vinaigrette over tuna steaks. Marinate about 2 hours,

turning steaks every 30 minutes.

Remove tuna from marinade, pat dry and grill until cooked rare,

about 4 minutes a side. Serve and pass remaining soy-sherry

vinaigrette as a sauce.

 

 

Daisy’s Bayou Meto BBQ Shrimp (Straight from the Bayou)

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup chicken broth (canned is fine)

4 t finely minced garlic

5 whole bay leaves, torn into pieces

4 t dried rosemary, crushed

1 t dried sweet basil

1 t greek oregano

1 t dried thyme

1/2 t salt

1/2 t (or more) cayenne pepper

4 t paprika

1 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

1 T fresh lemon juice

2 lb whole fresh shrimp in the shell (with heads if possible)

In a heavy saute pan or saucepan melt the margarine, then add the

oil and mix well.  Add all the other ingredients except the shrimp

and broth, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until

the sauce begins to boil.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring

frequently, then remove the pan from the heat and let it stand,

uncovered, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.  Add the

shrimp to the sauce, mix thoroughly, and put the pan back on the

burner.  Cook over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or just until

the shrimp turn pink.  Add the broth, shaking the pan back and

forth to mix.  Preferably, place the pan into a preheated 450 deg

F oven and bake for 10 minutes.  OR simmer loosely covered on the

stovetop for about 5 or 10 minutes.  Serve equal portions of shrimp

with about 1/2 c of the sauce ladled over each one.

You will need bibs and lots of fresh oven baked bread to sop up the sauce.

 

 

Daisy’s Oak Island Steam Pot

4 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds

3 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 tablespoons whole allspice

2 tablespoons dill seeds

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

8 bay leaves

Salt and cayenne pepper (or liquid hot sauce) to taste

Combine all dry ingredients thoroughly. Place in a square of muslin

or cheesecloth and tie securely with string, like a large sachet

d’ipices. Add salt and cayenne or hot sauce to taste.  When water

for seafood is boiling, add the bag and boil for several minutes,

until the boiling liquid is tinted and seasoned.

Add your potatoes, corn, onions, and sausage and cook till almost done, then add shellfish

and cook until done, depending on what you’re using.

Yield: Enough crab boil seasoning for 5 pounds of seafood, sausages

and vegetables (corn on the 1/2 cob, red potatoes and whole small

onions). You can add whatever you like, the potatoes are the best.

Zatarain’s Crab Boil is the best ready-mixed seasoning. Just add

whatever seafood, meat and vegetables you like.

 

 

Daisy’s High Octane Seafood Special (Scallops/Chicken/Shrimp)

6 slices bacon

vegetable oil

1/4 cup hot pepper sauce

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

or 2/3 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined

or 2/3 pound scallops

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp basil

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp black pepper

Saute bacon until crisp.  Set bacon aside.  Combine bacon fat and

vegetable oil to make 1/3 cup. Heat oil/fat mixture, brown chicken.

Combine red pepper sauce and spices and add to chicken.  Mix well

and add bacon.  Simmer until chicken/scallops/shrimp is just done.

Serve over hot white rice.

Can make lighter by using only bacon grease.  Can make less “hot”

by reducing red pepper sauce but make up the difference to 1/4 cup

by adding water.  Can also reduce Dijon mustard and chili to “cool

off”.

 

 

Daisy’s Key-Lime Chicken Sandwich

Makes 4 servings.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup fresh key lime juice

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper

Mix together soy sauce, key lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic

and mustard.  Place chicken in bowl and pour sauce over all.  Cover

and marinate in refrigerator 30 min.  Remove chicken from marinade

and sprinkle with pepper.  Spray nonstick frying pan with butter

flavored cooking spray and heat over medium temperature.  Add

chicken and cook about 6 minutes on each side or until fork can be

inserted with ease.

Using your favorite choice of breads and condiments, serve them up with a nice chip.

Note:  Chicken may also be grilled.  It is also delicious served cold, or hot.

 

 

Daisy’s Wafi Wangs

20 trimmed and separated wings

1 cup bottled Italian dressing

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1/4 cup hot sauce

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon dark chile powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine the wings with the Italian dressing.

Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours. Drain, discarding the

excess marinade.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, hot sauce,

barbecue sauce, chile powder, and cayenne. Mix well. Add the wings,

coating them thoroughly.

Transfer the wings with tongs to a buttered 2 inch deep baking dish

and bake for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally, until glazed and

cooked through.  To achieve more crispness, carefully drain the

excess liquid from the pan and place the wings under the broiler

for 5 minutes.

Transfer to a platter, and serve with blue cheese dip and celery

sticks.

 

 

Daisy’s Lockwood Folley River Clam Sketti

36 littleneck clams (the smaller the better)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves

1 oz. thinly sliced Canadian bacon or smoked ham

1/4 tsp. hot pepper flakes

1/2 cup dry white vermouth or dry white wine

1 cup bottled clam broth or fish stock

1 baking potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice

8 oz. spaghetti, spaghettini, or linguini

1/2 chopped flat-leaf parsley

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot for cooking pasta.

Scrub the clam shells under cold water with a stiff bristle brush.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the garlic and

cook over a medium heat until fragrant but not brown, about 1

minute. Stir in the bacon and pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.

Add vermouth and bring to a boil. Add the clam broth, and bring to

a boil. Stir in the potatoes and clams, tightly cover the pan, and

cook until the shells open and the potatoes are tender, about 8

minutes.

Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente, about 8

minutes.  Drain the pasta in a colander. Stir it into the sauce

and cook until thoroughly heated and coated with sauce, about 2

minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve at once.

 

 

Rhiannon’s Island-Style Vegetarian Voodoo Chili

1 tablespoon salad oil

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 small zucchini, diced

1 long eggplant, diced

1 can (4 oz) chopped olives

1 can (14 1/2 oz) whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped

1/2 block (10 oz size) firm tofu, cubed

1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, undrained

1 can (14 1/2 oz) vegetable broth

2 cans (8 oz size) tomato sauce

2 tablespoons hoi sin (Chinese soybean sauce)

1 teaspoon ko choo jung (Korean hot sauce)

veg Worcestershire sauce

hot pepper sauce

garlic salt

lemon pepper

In a saucepot, heat oil. Saute garlic, onion, and celery. Stir in

zucchini, eggplant, and chopped olives; cook for 1 minute. Add the

tomatoes, tofu, beans, broth, tomato sauce, hoi sin, ko choo jung,

and seasonings. Cover, bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for

about 45 minutes. Makes 12 servings.

 

 

Trex’s Low Country Gumbo

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup oil

3 cup water

12 oz fully cooked smoked sausage links, sliced and quartered

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1 lb cleaned and deveined local shrimp

2 cups sliced okra or one 10-oz package frozen whole okra, sliced 1/2 inch thick

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Hot cooked rice

For roux, in a heavy 2-quart saucepan stir together flour and oil

till smooth. Cook over medium-high heat 5 minutes, stirring

constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir constantly about

15 minutes more or till a dark, reddish brown roux forms.  Cool.

In a crockery cooker place water.  Stir in roux. Add sausage, shrimp, chicken, okra, onion, green pepper, celery,

garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Cover; cook on low-heat

setting for 10-12 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 1/2 to 5

hours. Skim off fat, and serve over rice.  Makes 6 servings. So good, it’s probably against the law.

 

 

Everitt’s Ultra-Classic Carolina Pork Butt

2 onions, quartered

2 tablespons brown sugar

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

l (4-6 pound) boneless pork butt

3/4 cup vinegar

4 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Hamburger buns

cole slaw (optional)

Place onions in Crock-Pot. Combine brown sugar, paprika, salt, and

pepper. Rub over roast. Place roast over onions.  Combine vinegar,

worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic

salt, and cayenne; stir to mix well. Drizzle about 1/3 of vinegar

mixture over roast; cover and refrigerate remaining vinegar mixture.

Cover; cook on low 8 to 10 hours (high 4 to 6) Drizzle about 1/3

of reserved vinegar mixture over roast during last 1/2 hour of

cooking. If you like it on the grill, then smoke it on a pig cooker, or a smoker.

Remove meat and onions and drain if needed. Chop or shred meat and chop onions.

Serve meat and onions on buns. If desired, top sandwich with

coleslaw.  Pass remaining vinegar mixture to drizzle over sandwiches.

Makes about 12 servings.

 

 

Marge’s Bug Buster Bean Dip

16 oz can refried beans, drained and mashed

1/2 pound lean ground beef

3 tablespoons bacon fat

1 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed

One half pint of Daisy’s Homemade Jalapeno Salsa (good luck getting a jar of that, it’s priceless)

1 tablespoon taco spice

Garlic salt

In skillet, brown beans and ground beef will in bacon fat. Add to

Crock-Pot.  Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on High

setting until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Turn to Low setting

until ready to serve, up to 6 hours. Serve with warm tortilla chips.

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

 

 

Captain Bud’s Famous Brunswick Stew

1 chicken 2 1/2-3 1/2 lbs.

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (round or sirloin)

3/4 lbs. ground pork

1 can (28 oz) tomatoes, diced, chopped or crushed

1 can (14.75 oz) creamed corn

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 stick butter

1 tsp black pepper

3/4 tsp red pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 can baby lima beans, optional, really

Tabasco, optional, but not really

Remove skin and excess fat from chicken.  Cut up chicken and place

in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat

and simmer until meat falls off the bones. Drain the broth.  After

the chicken has  cooled, pick the meat from the bones, shredding

into small pieces. In a large skillet, cook the beef and pork

together, stirring often and breaking into small pieces, until the

meat is just gray. Drain fat. Put meat and chicken into a crockpot

or large pot.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Cook over low heat

for 3 hours, stirring from the bottom of the pot often, or if using

a crockpot cook for 5-6 hours at a low setting.

If desired, put in the refrigerator overnight and remove grease

the next day.

 

 

Hotrod’s Cancun Chowder 

2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken

2 1/2 cups fresh caught LJ Local shrimp

1 can whole kernel corn with sweet peppers, drained

1 can condensed cream of potato soup

1 can diced green chiles, undrained

2 Tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro

1 envelope taco seasoning mix

3 cups chicken broth

1 {8 oz.} carton sour cream

1/2 of an 8 oz. pkg. of cheese spread with jalapeno peppers

In a crockpot, combine chicken, corn, soup, undrained chiles,

cilantro, and taco seasoning mix. Stir in chicken broth.  Cover;

cook on LOW setting for 8 to 10 hours, or on HIGH setting for 4 to

5 hours. Stir about 1 cup of hot soup into sour cream, and then drop in the

shrimp and wait five minutes. Stir sour cream mixture and cheese into the

mixture in crockpot; cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Serves a mess of folks.

 

 

Frenchy’s Southport Style Ratatouille

Yield: 4 servings

2 lg onions, sliced

1 lg eggplant, sliced

4 sm zucchini, sliced

2 garlic clove, minced

2 bell pepper, green, seeded & cut in thin strips

6 lg tomato, cut in 1/2″ wedges

1 ts basil

2 ts salt

1/4 ts pepper

2 T  parsley, chopped

1/4 c  olive oil

Layer half the vegetables in the crock pot in the following order:

onion, eggplant, zucchini, garlic, green peppers, tomatoes.  Repeat.

Sprinkle basil, salt, pepper, and parsley over top.  Drizzle with

olive oil. Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours.  Cool and chop coarsely.

 

 

Daisy’s Carolina Style Shrimp Marinara

1 can peeled tomatoes, cut up

2 tbs. minced parsley

1 clove garlic minced

1/2 teaspoon dried basal

salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper one teaspoon dried oregano

6 ounce can tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 pound cooked shelled shrimp

grated Parmesan cheese

cooked spaghetti or pasta of your own choosing

In slow cooking pot, combine tomatoes with parsley, garlic, basal,

salts, pepper, oregano, and tomato paste. Cover and cook on low

for 6–7 hours. Turn control to high. Stir in shrimp; cover and

cook on high for 10 — 15 minutes. Serve, topped with Parmesan

cheese, over cooked pasta.

 

 

Magic Man Chum Burger’s…..Now You See Em’….Now You Don’t

2 tablespoons shortening

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup catsup

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup water

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 can (3oz) tomato paste

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

Brown ground beef in hot shortening in a skillet, discard excess

fat. Put all ingredients in slow cooker, stir thoroghly. Cover and

cook on low 6-8 hours (or high 3-4 hours). Spoon into split, warmed

hamburger buns, or brown and serve rolls.

 

 

Carolina Style Simple Seafood Chowder

Yields: 1 big pot

3 cans potato soup

2 cans New England clam chowder soup

1/2 cup butter

1 sm onion, diced

1 pint half and half

Two Dozen local clams, chopped

1 lb fresh local shrimp

Mix all and simmer in crock pot for 1-2 hours.

 

 

Daisy’s Frogmore Stew

6 quarts water

3/4 cup Old Bay Seasoning……or heck put in a couple, if not three of dem bags in there too

2 pounds new red potatoes……split em if you want too….if they good and small, just leave em whole

2 pounds hot smoked sausage links, cut into 2 inch pieces

12 ears corn – husked, cleaned and quartered

4 pounds large fresh shrimp, unpeeled

Bring water and Old Bay Seasoning to boil in a large stockpot.

Add potatoes and cook for 15 minutes.

Add sausage and cook for 5 minutes more.

Add corn and cook for another 5 minutes.

Stir in the shrimp and cook until shrimp are pink, about 5 minutes.

Drain immediately and serve.

 

 

Big Tony’s Crock Pot Crab Dip

3 pkgs (8 oz. each) cream cheese, cut up and softened

1/4 to 1/2 cup milk

2 6-1/2 oz. cans crabmeat, drained, flaked and cartilage removed

1/2 chopped green onions with tops

1 tsp prepared horseradish

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in lightly greased  crock-pot. Cover and

cook on High setting until cheese begins to melt (about 30 min.)

stirring occasionally.

Cover and continue to cook on High setting until mixture  is smooth

and cheese melted.  Add more milk if needed for dipping consistency;

then turn to Low setting for 3 to 4 hrs.

If you got the time to do it right, use Janet’s crab traps, and catch about

30 or so crabs, boilem’, pick em’, and use em’. You won’t regret it.

Serve it up in a bread bowl if you can, if not just dip in the bread.

 

 

Carolina Crab Caserole

 Two dozen nice Carolina Blue Crabs

2 Tbl butter or margarine

2 Tbl flour

1C milk

1 tsp Tabasco sauce

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cracked pepper

1/8 tsp paprika

1 C grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1/4 C fresh bread crumbs

1 Tbl butter

Gently pick through crab to remove all shell; set aside.

Melt 2 Tbl butter or margarine over low heat; stir in flour and allow to bubble over low heat for 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly add milk; cook over low heat until sauce thickens. Add next five ingredients; stir well. Add cheese and stir until cheese is completely melted. Remove from heat and gently add crab.

Pour into well buttered 1 1/2 quart casserole. Top with bread crumbs and dot with butter. Bake in pre-heated 350-degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until mixture bubbles. Do not over bake!

Note: Make this one day ahead. Do not add crumbs until ready to bake.

Serves 4 generously.

 

 

Lockwood Folly Sunrise

1/4 cup tequila

1 Tbsp lime juice

1 Tbsp curacao

1 tsp creme de cassis

1 cup club soda

lime slice to garnish

Into a cocktail shaker, pour tequila, lime juice, curacao, creme

de cassis, and plenty of crushed ice. Shake until well combined.

Get a tall cocktail glass and fill it halfway with ice. Strain

drink into the glass. Pour some soda on top. Stir and garnish with

the slice of lime.

 

 

Bloody R & R

Makes about 3/4 gallon

Juice of 4 limes

60 oz Clamato Juice

20 oz of the potato vodka

2 tsp Tabasco

big dash of celery salt

some cajun seasoning

any more questions…ask Janet at the trippin’ daisy

Pour it all into a one gallon milk jug, mix well, and refrigerate overnight.

Cause we’re surely gonna need it !

Fiddler’s Green

Fiddler’s Green

by James Lee Morgan

Chapter One

The April moon was full, and showing itself brightly through the small framed window of my Granny’s little four room house. As I stared out my bedroom window, I knew it was near time to go. Within minutes I heard a slight rustle outside, and the short but distinct whistle of my best friend Bobby Wayne. It was the sound of the whippoorwill. That meant it was all clear, so I rolled out of the window with my rucksack in tow.

We looked at each other, straight in the eyes like we always done.

“You ready,” asked Bobby Wayne.

“Yep, I’m ready,” I said.

Bobby Wayne turned and headed out the drive and down the street without another word. I hitched up my pack, and without looking back took off on his heels. I wasn’t scared one lick.

It took us less than ten minutes to get down to the marina. It took even less to make our way past the small shack that served as the marina office and down to the docks to where our prize vessel patiently awaited us. She’d been waiting for years actually. Her owners long since had given up on her, and to the best of our knowledge no one had been to see her in over two years now.

We knew this for a fact, because we had been sneaking into her for over a year now, and we had seen no signs of anyone else having been there. As of yesterday, Bobby Wayne and I had made a blood oath, and a real blood oath mind you, that this boat now belonged to us and nobody else.

We quickly boarded the little sailing vessel, and Bobby untied the last of her lines and we began to drift away from the dock. There wasn’t much tidal action this far in on the bay, but the wind was blowing just enough to keep us moving. It was an eerie feeling we both felt, yet one of great excitement.

“Pirates we Arrrrgh….and Pirates we’ll be,” we both growled in unison. Then we danced around the cockpit of our little jewel in the mist of the night, eyes wide with excitement, yet determined to see our plan through.

“Help me put the motor in,” said Bobby Wayne, and he ducked below into the smallish cabin to retrieve the heart and lungs of our little vessel. It was ten horsepower four-stroke Honda outboard engine. Big enough to make this boat tremble, she would easily drive her beyond the little boats natural hull speed. We could not have been more excited.

I lifted the motor well hatch on the stern, and Bobby Wayne dropped the motor down on the shelf and began to tighten her down. When she was secured properly in the hatch we hooked up the small red six gallon fuel tank, and Bobby Wayne quickly yanked the rope starter. The little motor coughed to life on the second pull, and we were off. We stood gallantly as Bobby Wayne guided our way through the shoals and towards the open water of the Pamlico Sound.

There was never a question in our minds that it would not work as we planned. We had taken the little motor off the boat and hid it in my Granny’s shed many a night, cleaning and getting her ready for our great adventure. We would sit her in a five gallon bucket of water next to the work bench, and with the sound of my lawn mower running for cover, we would fire her up in the early morning, just hoping no one would know.

Yes, I guess you could say that we planned this out as best as two young boys could ever do. The little cabin was full with our stores and supplies. Canned food seemed the way to go, and we had plenty of it. Soups, beans, tuna fish, and all kinds of mess. Enough to last us a couple of months we figured. Blankets, pillows, our sleeping bags, and even our tooth brushes and tooth paste. And of course our fishing poles and tackle boxes. We even brought a gaff and two cast nets for good measure.

As we made our way out in to the deeper water, with Bobby Wayne staring ahead intensely through the night’s waning darkness, I pondered on our decision to leave our quaint little village, it’s hard-working coastal resident’s, and especially our families. What there was of them anyway?

You see me and Bobby Wayne had a lot in common. So much so it was scary. Me and my momma lived with my Granny ever since my Daddy got killed three years ago. That was over in Albemarle, back when I was ten. He’d been drinking as usual down at one of the local bars, and got in a fight with some stranger who didn’t take kindly to being ruffed up in front of his woman. I’d heard the man simply pulled out a knife and in short order my Daddy was laying in the floor, a dead man. We buried him, and left Albemarle the same day. Never been back since, and I reckon we never will.

Bobby Wayne’s story was a bit different. His daddy was a fisherman, like all his family before him. He died out in the Sound when his boat caught fire and blew up. Bobby Wayne’s daddy was a good man, and well respected. Not much like his mother’s new husband. He was a horse’s butt according to Bobby Wayne, and they just never did hit it off. There was plenty of hitting going on though, especially when Bobby Wayne’s momma wasn’t around. Like me, he was thirteen, but his knowledge of the waters in and around Pamlico Sound matched that of any grown man. It was in his blood, like all the men in his family.

When we moved onto Upper Neck Road at my Granny’s, I met Bobby Wayne the same day. He lived three houses down from us, and about a hundred yards from the old and tired Great Sound Marina where we met our lovely lady. Fiddler’s Green was her name. It meant something about a pirate’s heaven, according to Bobby Wayne, which suited us just fine. She was a Cape Dory 25, and full keeled, but shallow. She only drafted three feet and would go through some skinny water, yet she had the ability to cross the ocean if she needed to. And I believe she was going to need too, if all went as we planned.

As the light of the dawn became apparent on the horizon, Bobby Wayne looked at me and said, “All righty now, big water ahead Ian, if you can grab the charts off the bunk, it’s time to start navigatin’.”

I ducked through the companionway with an “Aye, Aye, Sir,” and as I flew into the cabin I thought, that’s me. First-Mate Ian Forrester, of the s/v Fiddler’s Green. And darned proud of it, too. We decided long ago that Bobby Wayne was the one with the knowledge, and therefore he was to be the Captain. But I was smart too, and had spent over a year now studying these charts just so I’d know where we were at all times.

We might be only thirteen years old, but we were both deadly serious about what we were doing, and in the back of our minds we both knew that the sea had taken many a good man. That much we knew for sure. We’d brought along a small, portable Garmin GPS MAP72 that had been Bobby Wayne’s Daddy’s back up unit. It had been at the house the day of the fire, and hadn’t been lost. It was just about the most important thing Bobby Wayne owned, and he had surprised me greatly when he handed it to me and said, “You’ll be the Navigator, but protect it with your life.” I was pretty sure he meant it when he said it.

And so our adventure began. It was only April, and it was still quite cold on the water, and yet we had prepared for that as well. Foul weather gear that had been stored in a shed at the marina somehow found its way on to our little gem, and we were both sporting it now as we headed out. We set our course for Ocracoke Island, with plans to sail through the Oregon Inlet and then head south to Cape Lookout Bight. We would stay there for a day or two before heading offshore.

About now you might be thinking we were crazy. But you see, Bobby Wayne and I had done both seen crazy, and what we were doing was just plain simple to us. Many a man had taken to the sea for the first time knowing not where he was headed. This was what explorer’s did. Been doing it for thousands of years, too. Some of them made it, and some didn’t. We were both well aware of that and ok with it too.

Chapter Two

We did all the right things, and by leaving early in the morning our little boat had plenty of speed to make the thirty plus mile trip with plenty of time to anchor up before dark. What we did not plan on was the winds kicking up in the sound.

When we left that morning, the winds were near nothing and the seas at about one foot. By ten that morning, with us just a quarter of the way, the winds went to blowing. Best we could figure they were gusting twenty or so, and the seas were at five to six feet, and putting a real beating on us. The little boat kept her nose to the grinder, and like all good boats, they’ll take a lot more punishment than those that are riding in them.

Bobby Wayne was looking a little green, but said he wasn’t sick at all. I didn’t believe him a bit, and spent the whole afternoon hugging the rail. Bobby Wayne would laugh out loud and say, “Who’s this Ralph guy, ain’t nobody on the boat but you and me.”

It was a rough eight hours, and when we finally hit the shallows, we shut her down in a nice little spot that seemed to be protected from the worse of the wind. It was definitely a day to remember. We settled in early that night, with a belly full of food, and a cool night’s breeze. I never stirred till Bobby Wayne jumped me up the next morning.

“Let’s get ready, the fishing boats are heading out the inlet and we can follow them out. My Daddy always said, man in front of you makes it through it must be a safe path,” Bobby Wayne fired the trusty ten up and we hauled the anchor and set off for the inlet. When I looked at that Inlet for the first time in my life, I have to say I was scared. Scared badly too, but I didn’t want to show it. I looked over at Bobby Wayne who was gritting his teeth and staring straight ahead. He was doing his best to follow the path of the fishing boats that kept zooming past us, leaving us in their wake. It was fast and furious, but it was over in a few minutes and the seas calmed down to a gentle roll.

We looked at each other and slapped a high-five, “Pirates we Arrrrgh….and Pirates we’ll be,” we again said in unison. This time by God we meant it.

We headed out about a mile and I went below to get my charts in order and set my course for the Cape Lookout Bight. The trip went without event and we soon found ourselves anchored just lightly offshore of the beach, and wondering how it was that the water could look so pure and refreshing. The water in our hometown was bay water and brown most of the time. But this water was richly hued in a magnificent blue clear that held my gaze for minutes at a time.

Once we were secure that we were solidly anchored to the bottom, Bobby Wayne threw out the rear anchor toward the beach where the wind was pushing us. “That ought to hold us fine,” he said with a big smile as he shucked his outers, and then off the back of the boat he went.

I jumped in after him and we raced towards the beach a mere forty yards away, and I almost caught him too. I was a really good swimmer, but Bobby Wayne was even better, and as we reached the beach we turned in circles taking in the majestic views of the Island and the Lighthouse just a few yards away. I was somewhat surprised that there were no other boats there, as the locals always come here for their week-end partying, and boats traveling up or down the coast also consider this spot to be like the Caribbean of the Carolina’s. But again it was early in the season, and we thought nothing more of it.

The skies clouded up, and the wind was picking up again, so once we were back onboard Bobby Wayne began tending the anchors to make sure they were secure. Once he was satisfied we both went inside and prepared ourselves a meager but tasty dinner out of the stuff we had brought. A can of vienna sausages each and we split a can of creamed corn. Not a chef’s meal by a great margin, but for us it was all we wanted or needed. We were on the adventure of a lifetime, and it felt good. Within the hour we were both sawing logs, and although a bit bouncy on the little boat, we slept like babies in a rocker.

We were up at the crack of dawn, and the wind was howling, and the wires were singing. Bobby Wayne tossed me a couple of Razzberry oatmeal bars, and a Mountain Dew.

“Lets eat and get dressed, don’t look like it’s going to be too nice to us today, but a boat fares better moving through the water than tied down on top of it,” he said without looking up.

I wondered if he was scared, or just being truthful when he looked up and said, “It’s gonna be ugly, but we’ll be just fine. Go ahead and grab our harnesses and clip lines. Better safe than sorry.” And out the little hatch he went.

I gathered up all of our stuff from under the port side berth, which was a main storage locker. I also took the little GPS and plotted our compass heading southward to Masonboro Inlet which was about eighty miles from our present location and well within reach of a days travel. I then went outside and secured the hatch boards, loosed the forward anchor line, and as Bobby Wayne fired up the trusty Honda, I began retrieving the rear anchor first. When we were both ready I moved forward to the bow and Bobby Wayne moved us slowly forward towards the anchor point, as I pulled rope and then chain.

“Hold her there,” I hollered back, and went to pulling until the anchor broke free. I drug up the last bit of chain till I had the anchor within four feet and began dunking and pulling it the way Bobby Wayne showed me. This would remove any mud, sand, or other debris so that when she came on board it would be clean and ready to store in the forward locker. Once my chore was finished I headed back to the cockpit with Bobby Wayne, and he turned the little boat toward the open water.

As we moved passed the Hook, we harnessed up, and as I secured our leashes to the cleats at the back of the boat, Bobby Wayne began setting the sails. He could easily reach the main mast and took the crank handle out of its pocket and began raising the Main sail. I was on the tiller steering the boat on course, and within minutes Bobby Wayne was back in the cockpit working the running rigging that led forward to the roller furling, and our self tending, rather smallish Jib sail.

With a loud puff we were off like a rocket and Bobby Wayne cut the Honda off, and the little boat leaned her way over to the water as all full keeled boats tend to do and began marking time. This was nothing like sailing in the bay and I was quite terrified as I held the tiller and kept her on course.

“Don’t fight her,” shouted Bobby Wayne. “Let her run a mile or two, and then cut back across your line of navigation. Then run a mile or so that way, then do it all over again,” he said. Then he just sat back and waited.

I guess over the next half hour or so I could begin to sense the methods he was teaching me, as it became easier and I began to relax. It was tough going, as the seas were kicking up four to six feet, but true to his word, the little Cape Dory could handle her own, and Bobby Wayne and I sat there smiling, salt spray in our faces and all.

We kept our noses in the wind and fought her hard for the next five or six hours, and as we were approaching the area known as Onslow Bay, the sky began to darken somewhat quickly. Bobby Wayne informed me that it looked like a squall ahead, and that we had better tighten up the ship and get ready.

“Can’t we head closer to shore,” I asked my voice clearly concerned. Looking at what I was looking at, I could not remember anything in my young life that had me scared as much as I was right at this very minute. As I looked towards Bobby Wayne I could see a face of grim determination. Nothing more.

“Nope, can’t go in there that’s restricted area. Military water, with lots of unexploded missles and crap they been shooting in there for years.” Bobby Wayne kept staring ahead, then suddenly said “Ian get me the binoculars quick.”

Bobby Wayne grabbed the tiller as I scrambled through the hatch and secured the instrument and passed them to him even before I was all the way back out of the door way. Bobby Wayne then stared through the glasses without saying a word. It seemed like an eternity before he said anything, all the while I was getting more and more nervous. I really didn’t want to show it, but I just never had experienced anything like this in my short life, and I was far more scared than I let on. I re-took control and held the tiller secure and kept my course, as that was my duty.

Bobby Wayne spoke as he kept the glasses to his face. He never turned but kept looking directly forward at the exact same spot he had been looking at now for at least five minutes. When he spoke his words took me from scared, to terrorized in one sentence.

“I ain’t never seen nothing like that what we’re heading into. Looks like a fog bank of some kind, I just don’t know. I say we heave-to, secure the sails and coast through her. It’s about five or so miles out, but we ain’t gonna get around it. When we get a little closer we’ll go inside and button her down and just ride it out. Shouldn’t take long, really.” Then he put the glasses back to his eyes and continued to stare intently forward.

It did not appear to be moving which seemed strange as I could now start to see the shape of the little storm with the naked eye. I went to the mainsail winch and began dropping and securing the main while Bobby Wayne stared on. Once done with the main I furled the head sail from the cockpit, and we began to drift and bounce in the unruly seas.

“Oh God,” said Bobby Wayne in a voice that seemed a million miles away. “Ian it’s a giant water spout, a tornado,” he screamed at me with a momentary glance sideways.

All of a sudden out of nowhere fish started jumping out of the water. Everywhere I looked they were leaping out of the water. Big fish, small fish,  it didn’t matter. They were all swimming directly toward the storm which was quickly becoming a montrous black funnel rising into the sky. Thats when I realized it wasn’t coming down from the sky it was going up into the sky.  Then it just blended with the extreme blackness of the storm itself.

“What is that Bobby Wayne?” I yelled at the top of my lungs. The sound was rising to a pitch where we could not hear anything but a suction of air. Like a jet airplane was all I could think of. The fish were still jumping and racing towards the storm and it was becoming clearly obvious to both Bobby Wayne and I that our little boat was picking up speed and quickly being sucked into the blackness.

He looked at me and for the first time since I had known Bobby Wayne, I could see the fear in his face. “Get below now,” he yelled and we both made our way down inside the cabin of our little vessel, and secured the hatchway with the slide locks.

We hooked our safety lines to each other, and then we held each other and started praying. Quietly at first, and then came the first huge lurch of the little boat. It seemed to come out of the water and crashed back down so hard it threw both Bobby Wayne and I off the side berth and into the floor in a tangled heap. We no more than sat up and the whole boat seemed to spin on it’s tail, slinging us into the walls with it’s sheer force. The outside world was screaming like a mortally wounded animal.

The boat began spinning so fast it sucked our eyes back into our heads and left us helplessly thrashing about. I tried to scream but nothing would come out. My body seemed to be paralyzed, my mind slipping toward insanity. In seconds we were both unconcious, and totally unaware of the events taking place. Had we been awake it would not have mattered. The power was simply unexplainable, and our young minds would never have comprehended it anyway.

Chapter 3

When I woke up, Bobby Wayne was straddled on top of me. As I started to move he too began to stir. Within a few moments we were both sitting up in the floor of the boat looking at each other.

Bobby Wayne looked at me and winked and said with a weak smile, “Told ya she could hold her own. We ain’t swimming are we?”

We could tell all was calm, as the boat rocked gently and you could hear the lapping of small waves upon her hull. We dislodged our gear and harnessess, and made our way through the mess that was the interior of the little boat. Nothing remained where it had been originallly stored. It was a total wreck inside.

As we opened the hatch the cool night air rushed in, and we could began to see the carnage on the outside of the boat as well. The mast had been toppled, yet the wire shrouds had held fast. The sails were still furled and bound and appeared to be in decent shape. Although it was dark outside there was a lot of ambient light from the sky.

That’s when Bobby Wayne looked up and quietly said, “Oh my God, look at that Ian,” he said pointing upward towards the stars.

As I turned to follow his gaze I gasped as I looked up and saw what he was talking about. Clear as a bell, and without any doubts what so ever, we were both looking into the most stunningly beautiful starlit sky. I had never seen anything like it in my life. Especially the three Moons that lit up the night sky like lamps in my Granny’s house.

“Bobby Wayne,” was all I dared to say.

“I don’t know Ian, I just don’t know,” was all he said, his head slowly shaking a soft but distinct motion of ‘No’, which clearly told a tale of confusion and a lack of understanding.

The light coming from the three Moon’s was bright. Not like on Earth. Bobby Wayne and I were only thirteen, and no one had ever accused either of us as being rocket scientist. But we knew without saying we were not at home. Nope. Something had happened, and now we were somewhere strange. We didn’t even talk about it. We were both that sure.

We sat about trying to stow the mast and shrouds in a more presentful way, and to clean up the mess the boat was in as quickly as possible. For that reason we never saw the approaching watercraft that glided silently accross the water toward us as we worked. I guess for some reason we had assumed we we alone. Within minutes it was obvious we were not.

The five single outrigger canoes were moving swiftly towards us, and were about a hundred yards out when Bobby Wayne said, “Ian we got visitors.”

As I looked up I could see that each boat had four men rowing and one sitting in some kind of sling seat contraption, that appeared to be some type of archers perch or something. The ones in the seats were all armed with cross bows of some sorts, and they were all definitely aimed directly at the two of us. Within seconds they were upon us as silently as anything I had ever witnessed. The easily formed a circle around us without any effort. They controlled their craft with the expertise of born watermen, and the ones in the chair slings had their cross bows pointed directly at us. They said nothing.

After a moment or two, Bobby Wayne spoke aloud. He may have been scared, but right now he didn’t act like it. He looked around slowly as he held his hands open to show he was unarmed. “My name is Bobby Wayne Miller. I am the Captain of this boat. I don’t know where I am, but we mean you no harm,” he said slowly as I realized that we neither knew where we were or if these people even understood our language.

When the first one spoke, we realized it was a girl. Certainly older than either of us, yet she appeared to be a teen-ager herself. “I am Meena, and we mean you no harm either. You came through the Tube, like all of our people who were not born here. We must leave now before the rise of the Sun, or you risk being taken by the Others.”

She began giving orders and then two of the other boats began securing themselves to the sides of our boat, with one tying off at the front and moving forward. As the paddlers began rowing, as a group we began slowly moving forward, with the three of them acting as a tow boat of sorts, while the other two, including Meena dropping back as if if to guard us from the rear. With nothing better to do we silently stood in the cockpit as we headed out across the calm waters towards an unknown destination.

In less than twenty minutes or so I could see the outline of what looked like a very large mountain. I quietly nudged Bobby Wayne, and he nodded confimation. He too could see the looming giant as we drew closer. No one from the other boats spoke a word, and the sparkling black moonlit water took on an eery silence of its own. The closer we got it was apparent to both Bobby Wayne and myself that this must be our destination, and the mountain seemed to rise into the sky as we closed the distance. It was only when we were about fifty yards out that you could begin to see a large crack running up the side of the moutain where it met the black water. The two boats on each side of us quickly untied and paddled to the front of the group and formed up forward of the front boat. It was like a three engine train pulling a loaded train car.

We eased through the narrow crack in the mountain, with the shimmering walls on either side of us barely ten feet away, but onward we went, and silently at that. Deeper and deeper we penetrated the inside of the mountain, and continued for another ten minutes or so before the walls began to widen out, and I could tell we were inside of a huge cavern or something. Much bigger than a cave, it just kept getting bigger as we went. Bobby Wayne leaned in to me and pointed out to our right, and I could begin to see some form of light ahead.

by James Lee Morgan

Chapter One

So, how do I begin this story.

My name is Atticus Attwater. Three weeks ago I moved to a small little town called Hope Mills, in North Carolina. I am three hundred and seventy two years old. Yes, that’s right. I was born on the third day of the New Year, in the Year of our Lord, 1637.

In and during all these years I have been many things. A hunter, a gatherer, a warrior, an explorer, as well as a son, a brother, a husband, a father, and a grandfather. I have been taught by the best, and have tried to teach in a manner consistent with my training.

You might say I am not from this world, but that would be a huge mistake.

My people are not from this world, but this world is of my people. We have been here for eternity, since the beginning. The technological advances this world has seemingly developed, came from the technology of my people, or others like me. This world develops slowly, and although infused with many decent, caring, and loving people, it is a world full of confusion, deceit, and hate.

It is a strange world indeed.

I am now, by mostly our standards, an old man. On this earth, my appearance may be that of a forty year old, yet my body is near the end, and it is near time for me to go home. For those of you that do not believe in life on other planets or in other solar systems, you are wrong. There is a huge amount of life out there. Much like here, there is both good, and evil.

In the last fifty years or so, there has been an ongoing Multi-Governmental effort to prepare you for that knowledge. Movies, books, cartoons, and continued media coverage dedicated to the sole purpose of initiating, and introducing the public to the realization of life on other planet’s. The use of media stimulation has been ongoing, and for a desired purpose. Here in the United States, our government quietly calls it the Public Acclimation Project.

On one hand they try to acclimate you to the knowledge, while on the other hand hiding from you the truth that currently exists. For many years now, this has been the normal, excepted behavior on both sides. But then times are quickly changing.

You see, the world we know and love is becoming very dangerous to itself. We are now truly killing the planet almost as fast as we are killing each other. As we speak, the levels of violence around the globe, coupled with the weapons technology of the groups involved outright demand immediate intervention. We can no longer allow our world to be driven forward to it’s death, and so…….this has forced the issue of survival into the hands of those who can manage it, and more importantly, sustain it.

The decision to save this planet, has now been made. Unfortunately, none of the government’s here on Earth have a clue.

Yet.

My mission is clear, my orders precise. I will lead this Nation on an uprising. That I will do so from the South, is a simple matter of using the imagination, and stimulating the pride of the local population to rise up and challenge the existing authorities. This will only be the beginning. The United States of America is the only nation in the world with the capability of completing such a task, and as such is a necessary component to the entirety of our planned strategy. therefore I will not fail.

Some will say I am the Messiah. This is not true.

Some will say I am a madman, or the Anti-Christ. This is not true.

Many will think the goals I will introduce, can not be accomplished. This is also not true.

Many in our Nation will be confused and scared. This is understandable. Many of our richest and most powerful companies will fight against us to their death. This is also understandable. They run the world and will not relinquish power so easily. Their power base, as the world will soon see, is not as it would seem to be, and I assure you this is a time of great danger.

An unbelievable danger. But they will not be able to stop our action. We are simply a far superior fighting force, and no Country on Earth will be able to even begin to stop us, once it all begins.

So, as I sit out on my small sandbar on the Rockfish Creek, I weigh all that is about to happen. It is a heavy burden, and a monumental task. Yet, I, Atticus Attwater, am prepared to go forward. Like I said, my orders are precise. Our world here depends on my success. My other world also depends on my success. You see, it is not about the oil. Nor is it about the precious minerals that abound on Earth. Those are things we have been freely taking since the beginning.

It is about the water. The water that sustains life. All life. Here and there.

You see, it is inevitable that this world will poison it’s most precious resource. And for all this time, my world has drawn water from yours. I mean from ours. And when it comes down to it, it is ours. We cultivated it, we grew it, and it is ours. We have cultivated life here for centuries upon centuries. And now, we must protect our most precious investment.

Surely, you must all understand that.

Chapter Two

When you decide to both physically, and psychologically take over a country, a nation, or even a planet, you have but two real choices. You can take it over from the political arena, or you can simply use force. The will of the people in both cases will be the cause of victory, or defeat, for all sides. That will, the will of the people, will be severely tested in this operation. Much change will occur worldwide. Many will die. It is as it must be, and the decision is not mine. Among all other things, I am but a soldier.

The following Sunday, at exactly 8:58 AM, Atticus Attwater walked into the Shady Grove Baptist Church, less than three miles from his new home. It was only the third time he had sat foot in a church, in all his three hundred and seventy two years. The church’s double doors were ten feet tall. Atticus almost felt the need to stoop as he entered.

You see, Atticus Attwater was tall. Really tall. In fact he was the tallest man most of the church’s members had ever seen.

Atticus was fully seven feet, six inches tall, and weighed a scant two hundred and eighty pounds. His long white hair was neatly secured in a single pony tail that caused it to drape down the center of his back. His eyes were a piercing blue-grey, and his whole demeanor left one thinking of Nordic, or Viking heritage.

Pastor Ron Waters was already at the pulpit, and prepared to start his sermon within minutes, when Atticus walked in. The whole of the congregation, all thirty nine people, watched as Atticus walked up to the front pew and quietly took a seat.

Pastor Waters welcomed him as he sat, “Welcome to the Lord’s House, neighbor.” He then addressed the group as a whole. “Let us continue our plan to look at the Book of Genesis, from Chapter 1, if we may,” he said. Pastor Waters began his sermon and as he approached the passages of Verse 6 he looked over at Atticus, his face clearly showing the uneasy feeling he felt, yet he carried on with his sermon just the same.

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown,” said Pastor Waters compassionately, yet his voice was wavering. He unconsciously wiped the sweat away from his forehead. The sweat that had begun to flow freely and uncontrollably.

Pastor Waters began to trimble ever so slightly, then all of a sudden appeared overcome with emotion. He reached for his glass of water, and drank heartily, but it somehow did not quench his thirst. His hand trembled visibly for all to see. He sat it back down carefully and deliberately. Before him in the front row the stranger rose to the fullness of his height, and stepped toward the pulpit. Reaching out, he placed his huge right hand on the Pastor’s forehead. In front of all there to bear witness, Pastor Waters leaned forward and succumbed to the desires of the stranger before him.

As Pastor Waters leaned forward, the stranger placed his left hand behind the Pastor’s head, he simply lifted the man up off the floor, his feet dangling.

Pastor Waters began to shake uncontrollably, yet the stranger held him in his grips. His Bible fell from his hands as he went limp, his body finally relaxing from the throes of the massive convulsion.

The small crowd groaned, and there were several whispers of “Lord God”, and “Jesus”. The stranger then simply and actually quite gently, sat the Pastor down and he seemed to recover almost instantly. Atticus Attwater turned and faced the small congregation, his voice strong and yet gentle at the same time. Pastor Waters sitting down in his chair was seemingly stunned, but with a simple yet strange smile on his face. He had a look on his face that suggested that he had just came to an understanding of something, or that he had been pondering in deep thought.

Looking at the crowd before him Atticus began with a softness in his voice that a man his size might seem uncapable of. “We are still here among you, and we are still here to serve you. We are the children of the God’s of which you speak,” he said, looking back at Pastor Waters.

The crowd was instantly taken aback, and the silence was broken with a gasp from many mouths. Pastor Ron Waters however jumped from his chair, dropping to his knees, and began to pray out loud, his right hand rising above him. That he was certain he had just not only witnessed, but experienced first hand, a true miracle of the cloth, left him in total and complete jubilance.

Atticus stood before them all, and placed his hand on the Pastor’s head, and then pointed to the heaven’s with both his hands and eyes. The congregation, sensing some kind of miracle, slowly but surely came and knelt at his feet. One by one they came forward and knelt.

In a booming voice Atticus told them, “Rise up, do not bow before me. I am not your Lord, but his servant. Rise up, and stand with me on this day.”

Ben Abrams was ten feet away from Atticus when he asked, “What was that you done to Brother Waters,” as he stared wide eyed at the giant before him.

Pastor Waters exclaimed quickly, “It was the light. The Love of our Lord.”

Ben Abrams was having none of it. “Who are you and what do you want from us,” he stated rather gruffly, though plainly he was trembling in fear for all to see.

“My name is Atticus Attwater and I am here to lead you. To protect you. Both you and our planet,” said Atticus calmly.

At least a half dozen people quickly ran out of the church. Not simply out of fear, but out of sheer amazement, and not knowing what else to do. This was nothing short of the strangest thing they had ever seen in their lives, and most of the little Church’s members could not quickly, nor easily come to grips with what seemed to be happening right before their eyes.

One of those who ran out was Ben Williams. His younger brother was one of the local Deputy Sheriff’s in Cumberland County. Grabbing his cell phone out of the front seat of his car, he quickly called his brother David and told him what had happened, and that they might ought to send a Deputy out to the Church. Within fourteen minutes there was a Deputy on the scene. But when he arrived and entered the church, the only thing that he saw was what appeared to be a normal church sermon in progress.

Pastor Waters smiled as he entered, and walked down the aisle towards the entrance where the young Deputy stood. Once there, he assured him that although the tall stranger was in fact unknown to them, it was obvious he was a man of God, and that he was quite welcome. The few who had ran, now huddled close to the young Deputy, as if in fear of the strange man who had come into their Church, and ultimately into their lives.

Atticus could see the young Deputy was unsure of himself, and so he spoke out.

“Deputy Billings,” spoke Atticus in his deep rumbling voice.

“Deputy Michael Allen Billings, date of birth September 27th, 1963, Social Security Number 243-56-8989. Please do come in. Welcome to the house of Our Lord,” Atticus added.

The small crowd was in awe of Atticus and his seemingly sophisticted knowledge. How could he know these things, they thought. For the last ten minutes he had recited verbatim, what seemed like half of the book of Genesis.

The young deputy stood his ground, somewhat uncertain as to what was happening. That he was nervous, was an obvious understatement. His heart pounded in his chest, and he wondered if he were going to die in the next few seconds.

“Please come in, our most respected public servant, and hear the Lord’s word with us,” plead Atticus.

Atticus stared intently and his piercing glare was maintained as his voice boomed on. “You who have faithfully served our community for nine hundred and fifty three days of your young life. You who serve diligently while your young bride Melissa, and your young son Adam wait patiently for your safe return each day. Won’t you join us,” said Atticus, to the drum of Amen’s throughout the congregation.

The young officer was taken in as much as any person in the room. They were all in witness of a Holy Miracle. Of this they were sure. Each and every one of them.

Over the next twenty minutes or so Atticus Attwater shared with them the strategy of his coming. They had been chosen to help introduce Atticus to the rest of the Country, and ultimately to the rest of the World. They had been chosen, and they would fulfill the needs of the Prophecy.

This was their destiny he told them, and they believed him. Oh yes they did.

And to the parishioners of this small country Church, if he said he was three hundred and seventy two years old, then until someone proved otherwise, they were quite willing to go along with that. His demonstration of power and knowledge was far to deep for them to comprehend on the surface. For whatever reason, the Lord had chosen them on this day, and they would all just have to rely on their faith. That and what they had witnessed with their own eyes and ears.

Atticus asked Pastor Waters and each member of the small church if they would allow him to preach to them at the evening service later that day. They were all truly excited, with many of the ladies actually crying amongst themselves, blessing Atticus for finding them. The remainder of the congregation just continued nodding affirmatively, and reciting the ‘Amen’s’ and ‘Yes, Lord’s’ that are common among folks in these parts.

In fact they were quite reluctant to leave his presence. Yet Atticus assured them everything was fine, that they must carry on with their normal activities for the day. They decided then to meet back at the church at 6:00 PM that evening, as was normal.

They stood and watched as Atticus took off down the road on foot, having refused a multitude of offers for a ride back to town. As soon as he was out of sight , they all scrambled to their cars and headed out to their own destinations.

Atticus was nowhere to be seen. It was as if he just vanished.

But phones were ringing, and the word was spreading.

Just as Atticus Attwater knew it would.

Deputy Billings headed quickly back towards his Headquarters, his superiors waiting for his arrival, and his explanation of the last hour’s events.

Chapter 3

Back out on my little sandbar,  I contemplated deeply on this impact I had created, and on the reaction that would surely come; as I closed my eyes my thoughts raced madly within my own head.

I am now committed to my destiny, and as the day goes on will find myself on a path of no return. Even as I contemplate on this thought, I realize it is no different than any other day. Each day of our lives, our actions and words carry us on our journey forward.

I know what I am about to do will cause many reactions. With most certainty, I will be in grave danger, yet I will not be able to hide.

In order for me to be successful, I must maintain an open and constant presence. My enemies will make themselves known immediately, which is what I intend.

My adversaries will be threefold.

First, those who are of this earth, but without knowledge. The offspring of our creation. Mankind. The ones we left behind, with a hope.

Second, those who are of this earth, but with the knowledge. Those who are like me. And yes, there are many of us here. Then there are those who are not like me. Enemies to Mankind, yet invisible to all but the most elite. Enemies to me as well.

Lastly, those who are not of this earth.

In the last group, are those who have traveled here from afar. Many different species have come and gone in the time frame of Earth’s lifespan. Currently I know that there are four different species which are operating within the sub-overt level, or living and working on Earth with the knowledge of certain governments.

It is always difficult to be certain of those who may be here covertly, but knowing what I know, I must assume there are others.

Although we, those of us in the group with the knowledge, have not always seen eye to eye with our fellow groups from afar, our peoples long ago agreed that this planet would remain a neutral resource for all. That unfortunately seems to be changing now at a time when change can not be tolerated. Not that kind of change, anyway.

Those who are not of this earth, are the ones who are absolutely the most concerned.

Those who are of this earth without knowledge, can be purposefully educated to the realities of their earth’s existence, and it’s true history by either of the other two. Really, they have no choice.

Those who are from earth with the knowledge, are the ones who are now tasked with saving our earth and it’s resources. I, Atticus Attwater, am one of those. It is our group who threatens the co-existence with the others. It is us, the ones who have stayed since the beginning, that wish to take our rightful place in history. The true aliens, those who are not from here, feel we have no rights of claim for this planet. They are continuously pushing towards the depletion of Earth’s resources, in order to replenish their own.

Yet the fact remains that I was born here, in America, and have lived here all my life. All three hundred and seventy-two years.

This fact alone will stand as a pillar of stone against my enemies, both foreign and domestic. Many will cry out that I am not from this world. They will call me an alien, and attempt to make me into something I am not. They will cry out loudly of a world takeover, and they will attempt to bring together the human race against me.

Which is exactly what I want them to do. At this point, it is time for the human race to come together, to acknowledge their true identity, and take responsibility for the world we live in.

There is an old saying…….the truth will set you free……

So, we shall see.

My first priority then is to share the knowledge. Beginning with man. Or better yet, the origin of man as we know it. I am talking about us, the ones with the knowledge. First and foremost, there is no missing link in the evolution of mankind. For those of you who cling to this misguided way of somehow describing your own existence, you can let go now.

It’s ok. Those of us who know, actually passionately understand your inability to release these thoughts. Just the same, let it go.

Mankind is the genetic engineering miracle brought to this world from the heavens. Or more correctly…..the Haven’s. The Haven’s were and are nothing more than the homesteads, or home planet’s of the visitors. Yet they are special. Indeed, they are very special.

As you will see in the near future I will shed light on many things. But first you must succumb to the reality that nothing, and I mean nothing was accidental about the creation of mankind in the image of our God.

I’m not talking about the beginning of time, but the beginning of life on Earth which manifested itself with Mankind.

The truth of this time is recorded in the most ancient of texts and tablets. There is a great amount of truth in those artifacts written by the Sumerian people. Their history is our history. It was written for you, that you might one day understand your own heritage. Most scholars, scientist, and senior officials of most all governments on Earth are already aware of this. It is the masses of ordinary people worldwide who are mainly unaware, or are skeptical.

I am talking about the history of all Mankind during the time of the changes. It is all there, hiding right in front of you.

These ancient documents tell us of the Triad, or the first of the gods that came from heaven. The god Anu, or An in Sumerian, was regarded as the father of all gods who came down to live on earth. The god Bel, called Enlil in Sumerian, was the god of Earth. The god Ea, or Enki, was the god of the waters, who’s symbol was the fish. It is he, Enki, who later sent his son to our Earth, as our Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Anunnaki were a discovery group of six hundred lesser gods and explorers who came down from Heaven to Earth. These gods were volunteers, who had left their Haven’s and agreed to till the soils of the newly discovered planet Earth in order to grow food for themselves and to provide labor as needed for all, and to foster the beginnings of the new world. These were the god’s spoken of in the Book of Genesis, the ones who would later take wives from the daughters of Man.

All of the original gods came from a planet that is called Nibiru. The name of my family’s city is called Ki Wan. It consumes ninety-eight percent of the planet, and is home to over forty million people. In many ways it was like Earth. Every man and woman after twenty years of primary education goes to work. Some are educated higher, others go straight to their specific first assignment for further training. We never stop learning, teaching or sharing information. Ever. Why would or should you. Each assignment can range from ten years, to an entire lifetime. Yet every ten years we attain a new status level, and choose to move on to another assignment or to stay on where we are. It is our Freedom.

Here people talk about Freedom, yet I don’t think they quite understand it fully. Some do I guess, but it differs here in that aspect.

The ancient history of our people tells us the Anunnaki soon grew tired of the physical work, and refused to continue in this harsh toiling of the dirt on this new planet. But the value of Earth’s minerals and it’s vast supply of life sustaining water was simply too good to abandon. With the lesser gods refusing to work, the leaders of my world decided to have Enki genetically create human mortals by infusing DNA from themselves into the ancient man known as Homo-Erectus. These they would use to do the work which was undesirable for the others. It has been said, and is true, that these genetic experiments were not just the making of Adam and Eve, but of many experiments prior.

They, Adam and Eve were the final results of the great effort. There were many other, lesser quality results as well. Many hybrid creatures were created. There were also other humanoid species on earth at this time. The type of people we now call Neanderthal’s. These were not part of this genetic experiment, and they do not contain the DNA of mankind, nor of the gods from my planet, yet they too were hybrids from an an earlier time.

From the time of this action, some thirty-five thousand years ago, mankind became known as Homo Sapien. It was in this time that the man beast of Earth, was fused with a genetically evolved spiritual entity, and a day that changed us forever.

Man was forever then to be the highest form of life on Earth.

Or so they thought. Truth being told, this had already been done many times in the past. When Earth was found it was uninhabited. Or so we thought.

Genesis 2:7 says: “The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

It was also the day that each and every living human to be born, was born a hybrid of a special…..yes, a very special nature.

I know people will fight this idea, yet it is so simple. We are the results of a Divine Intervention. We are the children of our father. We are the children of our God, and nothing less. We were born then and there, and each successive generation since, from the seed of an earthling, and a seed from the Gods of Heaven. Our God and our most revered Grandfather, was not from this Earth, and we, as his servants, as his sons and daughters, must carry this truth forward for all time.

Missing Link…..there is no missing link. The only thing missing here is knowledge.

Some will say this is not true, but the truth of our ancestors time on Earth is clear. The ancient Sumerians and others have left us with an undeniable level of documented evidence. Evidence that can not be denied, no matter who tries to deny it. I know this to be fact. Truth be told, it was our people who prepared the tablets for you, and left them hidden in the Sumerian lands.

The evidence is clear, and without reproach. How odd that those on earth today so easily pretend not to see the truth before them. Each day we live our lives upon the support of evidence. Our laws are written in a way that requires a submission of evidence in all cases. Science is based on the discovery of evidence, through trial and research.

Yet we easily deny, that which we wish not to be.

You do not have to educate or enlighten yourselves against your own wishes, yet that alone will not change the truth, it merely hides it in the open.

As I said earlier, this is a strange world indeed. Keep in mind I know how old I am, and I know others like me. Even if you wish to not believe, you can not explain away my existence.

The Bible speaks of these things. The Earth has also been cleansed many times in it’s past. The question is by whom, and why.

Our government knows the answers to many of these secrets already. They know the answers to many other questions as well. They cover up the truth because they think the public will panic.

I know a little secret, too.

They’re right.

Chapter 4

And so, sitting on the bank of his little creek, Atticus opens up the small container he has both carried and protected with his life for the last seventy-seven years. It is a simple yet highly empowered device. It has just one function.

Knowing full well the results of his next action, Atticus fully depresses the single, activating switch. He held it down for just a second or two longer than necessary as his mind filtered forward through the next stage of events.

As this signal streamed skyward Atticus lay back in the grass and crossed his hands behind his head. He knew within mere seconds, that this signal was being relayed outward at a speed those living on Earth are simply unaware of.

Well, most everyone.

Within minutes the launch would occur and tens of thousands of attack vehicles would begin their short journey across four Galaxy’s cradled in the bellies of their mother ships. Before the dawn of the next day they would be here. There was nothing anyone could do to stop it. No other species of extraterrestial origin on Earth at this time was within such close proximity as Nibiru.

There was much for Atticus to do, and so he stood and began to gather his things for his forray to the Church and into the fray called Evolution. No one would be able to discern his presence with the eventual arrival of his people’s Forces. But they would know soon. That he thought…..they would know soon enough.

As Atticus appeared on the long straight road leading to the small Church, he immediately noted the obvious activity surrounding them. The original three dozen or so members were now represented by no less than two hundred cars and trucks. And vans. And bigger trucks with equipment, and lights, and ladders.

He emitted only a slight tremor of realization as he moved forward and within the sight of several of those who had gathered at the Church.

They began pointing at first.

Then yelling out his name. And pointing.

Then many were running towards him as he made his way into their ranks. They reached out and touched him, praising him in the name of their Lord, all the while beckoning Atticus forward towards the entrance.

The crowd thickened and roared out its praises and many were thanking Atticus for returning. The crowd parted before him as he made his way forward. Atticus could see the waiting party that had assembled before the Channel 14 News truck and its crew. There were several police officers securing a circle of seven others.

The Mayor of Hope Mills, Geraldine Dawson was there. Tom Bratton, the Chief of Police from the town of Hope Mills, as well as the County Sheriff Bull Taylor. The four others were a combination of local attorney’s and advisors for the others. Off to the side Atticus noted a small group of very professional looking individuals….obviously the Fed’s, thought Atticus.

Atticus locked eyes with Pastor Walters and smiled. Pastor Walters waved meekly as if unsure what to do.

As Atticus stepped forward he was intercepted by the Sheriff. It was a sight for all to see, as they say. Sheriff Bull Taylor was a huge man. Standing well over six feet and weighing a rock hard two hundred eighty pounds, most men found themselves intimidated by his size alone, and frequently at that.

Beside Atticus he looked almost smallish. So much so, even he was a slight bit uncomfortable. With the film crew rolling a tape feed for later usage and editing, the Sheriff took his final step and leaned close to Atticus.

“I’m gonna need to see some ID there buddy,” he said with a puff of authority. And then his eyes flashed. He knew right then he had just died. He could see in the huge mans eyes that he too knew as well. But his throat seemed clogged, and although he wanted to begin choking, he never even accomplished that. Then he fell forward, landing directly on the front of his face, shattering his nose, and his blood began to slightly trickle out from beneath him. Had the crowd been a quiet one, they would certainly have heard the splat. His heart had simply exploded in mid breath.

Atticus jumped backwards, and the Fed’s all pulled their weapons and jumped forward. The lead Agent was screaming at Atticus when the crowd attacked. The next twenty seconds was a pure hell’s massacre followed by an extremely eerie silence. All seven Federal Agents were dead. Beaten to a bloody mess was a much better description. Thirty three people were shot. Of those twenty six were already dead. The Mayor was on her knees puking while the Chief lay in front of her, his bloodied body riddled with holes from head to toe. Other than her and Atticus, not one person within five feet of them had survived, nor had the three person News crew.

People were crying and screaming for help that was at best several miles away.

There was a local Volunteer Fire Department within two miles who was surely on their way by now, but the hospital was over ten miles away and yet the continued flood of 911 calls went out and the response teams would be here soon.

All of a sudden the quiet became a reality. Atticus looked out and around at the people that gathered the closest to the carnage. He never spoke a word.

Everyone began dipping their hands in the blood of those who had been wounded or killed and then began smearing it all over their faces and arms. They covered themselves and their clothing in the blood and immediately erased any method of determining who was the guilty party or party’s. Every last adult member of the Church still standing, bathed themselves in the blood including Pastor Walters. Hesitation did not show its face on this day.

The Mayor was shaking violently, still on her hands and knees when Atticus grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and held her up before the now chanting crowd. The chant grew louder. “Atticus, Atticus, Atticus!” they chanted on and on until Atticus raised his right hand high for all to see.

The silence was instant. All three hundred twenty two living and breathing individuals hung to his very anticipated words. They clearly had no understanding whatsoever that they were being manipulated by Atticus and his will alone. Atticus had a power over people that made Jim and Tammy Faye Baker look like the rank amateurs they really were. His power dug into a mans core being. Effortlessly.

He tossed Mayor Geraldene Dawson into the pack and they devoured her body in seconds.

Atticus did not like doing that. He did it because he had to. Right now he had to. Atticus could not simply shrug it off, yet in order to move on, he must do just that. Atticus had been a soldier for a long time. He had killed many men in the act of war, and he pondered on that briefly. He knew that right now today he was fighting for the survival of his children and their children, and theirs after that. Atticus was fighting for the existence of his people. Period.

It was surely going to get much uglier. Much uglier indeed.

The local Fire and Rescue truck pulled in, and they quickly  began to gather and treat the wounded. Of the seven wounded somehow each one of them received arm or leg wounds only and were quickly treated in order of severity. Several other sirens wailed and rescue vehicles soon approached. Also coming in were two Sheriff’s cars, one which was Deputy Billings, whom upon arrival leapt from his car and approached Atticus. Atticus was so easy to spot in a crowd, and he found Pastor Waters with him as well. His gaze however was continually redirected upon his friends and fellow townspeople. They were drenched in blood yet they did not seem to be hurt. The death and carnage were everywhere around him. Those with family killed, of course were crying and being consoled by others.

He stood in silence and slowly took it all in. “Pardon me Pastor, but what the hell has happened here?”

“I just don’t know”, stated Pastor Waters. A tear streamed down his face as he too continued looking around at the death and stench that surrounded him. “Them Federal Agents there just started shooting, and everyone just attacked them.”

“Well who attacked the Agents?” asked Deputy Billings. He looked from Atticus and back to Pastor Waters, looking for some explanation, anything that might make some sense in a situation where it was obviou that none existed. Atticus just shook his head as if to say he did not know.

“I really couldn’t tell you, it just really happened so fast, I just really don’t know,” added the Pastor.

“Did anyone here see what happened?” Deputy Billings yelled out to the crowd and they just stood there and looked at him. Not a sole spoke a word. Many were shaking their heads no, but no one was coming forward with any information. The Deputy radioed his Headquarters for additional back up, and medical assistance, and the Coroner. He also advised Dispatch to call the Fayetteville Office of the FBI and have them get out here as well. Someone on the other end was yelling at him to confirm what they had just heard.

“Just get the hell out here. NOW.” Again, Deputy Billings turned in a slow but complete circle trying to gather a sense of what he was seeing. It did not work. He just really could not believe what lay before him. Everyone he could see as he scanned those before him was bathed in blood.

Several hours later the scene was about cleaned up. The FBI really could get no more information other than the Agents opened fire on the crowd, and the crowd attacked. No one seemed to know who did what. Or they weren’t saying. The charge Agent was a twenty year Veteran of the FBI and he smelled a cover up already, and required everyone present to identify themselves. Yet even Atticus escaped further questioning, and apologized and promised to call the Agent tommorrow and to provide his ID, as he had inadvertantly left it at home. You know in town. Right down the road. The same as twenty two other people there that day. The agent thought nothing more of it and moved on to interview others who might know a bit more.

Atticus knew nothing else mattered for now, and asked if he could go home. He was granted permission as was everyone else that did not know anything at all. Nothing at all…..yes that was the word of the day.

But Atticus knew something alright.

They were less than eight hours from an all out attack on the entire Earth, and the devastation and level of destruction people would be witnessing would leave them crippled with fear. All of them. Every last person on Earth would be trying to just survive and by noon tommorrow it would be over. The survivors would be happy just to be in the group that survived.

Atticus would then begin to build them back up and lead them forward. To build a new form of Earthly Government. A Government of the People, By the People, and For the People.

His People.

There were others here on Earth that must be taken out on the first attack. What people would witness and see on television tomorrow would be difficult for them. Atticus knew this. And it hurt him deeply. Must be the old age he thought quietly. It was the certainty of them seeing the deaths of many many thousands of people.  Then there was the others. By this time tomorrow the whole world would know that alien life forms were present on Earth. It was Atticus Attwater’s job to ensure that they could live with that knowledge.

Fear is a huge motivator, and Atticus knew that when he and his people finally saved the planet from the aliens, every single survivor would fall right in line and finally do their part. Then and only then would Earth be capable of sustaining itself forever.

Peacefully.

What a strange way to implement peace…….yet he pondered on the facts only. It would work. It had before, and it would again.

Like I said before, Atticus thought to himself. This is a strange place indeed.

Chapter 5

It was just a few minutes after 2:00 AM Eastern Time when every radar system in the world lit up like a Christmas tree.

In the United States, the Cheyenne Mountain Complex is the premier location for the Top Secret, National Defense Operations. It is located at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station (CMAFS), a short distance from NORAD and USNORTHCOM headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station falls under Air Force Space Command and hosts the activities of several tenant units. After today those tenant units will be decimated, and the world will see for itself what has been going on here for many years now. Area 51 is a joke compared to this facility.

At the very height of the Cold War in the late 1950’s, the idea of having a hardened command and control center was developed as a defense against long-range Soviet bombers. The Army Corps of Engineers supervised the excavation of Cheyenne Mountain and the construction of an operational center within the granite mountain.  The Cheyenne Mountain facility became fully operational as the NORAD Combat Operations Center on April 20, 1966.

Over the years, the installation came to house elements of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Air Force Space Command and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). Under what became known as the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center (CMOC), several centers supported the NORAD missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control and provided warning of ballistic missile or air attacks against North America. It also housed several races of other worldly beings who were working in conjunction with the United States Government and its closest allied forces, namely Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and Israel. Operation Night Star just was not shared beyond this small group, and even then only a handful of select individuals knew of its existence.

In less than three seconds after the initial alert began, a five square mile area of land simply disintegrated. Gone. All of it, and everyone in it.

All across the globe the same thing was happening. Every major military facility was struck in the same fashion. They were just gone. They no longer existed. Every last nuclear weapons site was destroyed as well. The Capitol cities were left alone, as there was nothing they could do anyway. There were no weapons left to control. There were no armies left to fight. The worlds leaders were able to contact each other and within minutes it was apparent to all, that the attacking force was not from Earth, and that they were in fact already defeated, and each was moving forward with all available survival measures.

In less than twenty minutes, thirty one thousand Attack Landing Craft were on the ground expelling the two hundred plus soldiers onto the soil of every capable country on Earth. These soldiers were fully armed and armored. They would not be brought down by any conventional weapons system here on Earth.

All media broadcasts were interupted and began spewing forth the instructions of those who had just arrived. Oh there was the occassional outcry and attack by native groups of patriotic citizens everywhere, and they too lasted mere seconds before the obviously superior forces.

The message was painfully simple. Fight and die, or sit down and wait for further instructions.

Within the hour the skies were filled with the mother ships. Thousands of them. They were almost ten miles in circumference, and landed wherever they wanted, crushing and burning there way down to the ground where they settled in. they were bigger than most small towns. Although they seemed alive, nothing or no one exited these gigantic craft. No one came and no one went. The militia and the attack craft buzzed through the wreckage and continued to seek out any resistance.

In the Northern Hemisphere it was still dark and several hours away from daylight. Across the globe many were in full daylight and could visually see the destructive nature of the attack, and for the most part if you were alive, you were already hiding.

The alien population was exterminated. Fully and completely. The New World Order was in place within weeks. Atticus Attwatter was named as the First President of New Earth. There was no election. The new laws were very simple, violate any “Ordinance of Peace” and you faced immediate disentegration. Fail to show up to your assigned placement of duty, and you would be demoted. Once. Fail again, and you were disentegrated.

Everyone worked, and everyone was on time. Everyone ate well, and their health was near perfect. Homes were redistributed by need. No one argued. Everyone was safe. Crime was non-existent. Law Enforcement meant just that. There were no need for arrests nor prisons. You complied or died. On the spot.

The official count was more than 200 million dead in less than forty eight hours. Those that remained alive, understood quickly the way to stay alive.

New Earth is a great place to raise a family. After fifty years, Atticus retired……..finally. Life here was great. The people could not remember the bad, and daily were reminded of the good.

Those that did test the will…….got crispy. Real crispy. And the others would clap and rejoice. They thought surely…..surely, this must be Heaven.

 

 

THE END

 

The Second Stone

Prologue:

The unconditional return of prisoners of war (POWs) from all the countries of Indochina was, in the words of Henry A. Kissinger, the Chief United States negotiator at Paris, “one of the premises on which the United States based its signature of the Vietnam agreement.”

Kissinger said he had received “categorical assurances” from the North Vietnamese delegation in Paris that United States POWs captured in Laos would be released in the same time frame as those from North Vietnam and South Vietnam, that is, by March 28, 1973.

Under the provisions of Chapter II, Article 5 of the Vientiane Agreement, the two sides were obligated to repatriate all persons held captive regardless of nationality within sixty days of the formation of the coalition government. When the cease-fire came, it was generally assumed that the Pathet Lao held a large number of United States citizens they or the North Vietnamese had captured in Laos, and the Department of Defense listed some 555 United States personnel as unaccounted for–either as POWs, missing in action (MIA) or killed in action/body not recovered.

The Pathet Lao had released a number of United States prisoners after the formation of the 1962 coalition. There was considerable uncertainty surrounding the POW/MIA question, however, because the Pathet Lao had neither provided lists of those who had fallen into their hands nor adhered to international conventions on treatment of POWs, in keeping with their contention that the United States was guilty of an aggressive, undeclared war against Laos. Conditions of detention in jungle prison camps were harsh in the extreme, as attested to by the few who managed to escape. Prisoners had no medicine, and they had to supplement their ration of rice, both meager and dirty, with beetles and rats.

Soth Petrasy, permanent representative of the Pathet Lao delegation in Vientiane, told Phone Chantaraj, editor of the Vientiane newspaper Xat Lao (The Lao Nation), five days prior to the signing of the Vientiane Agreement that the Pathet Lao leadership had a detailed accounting of United States prisoners and the locations where they were being held and that they would be released after the cease-fire. He added: “If they were captured in Laos, they will be returned in Laos.”

On the day the Vientiane Agreement was signed, the United States charge d’affaires obtained confirmation from Soth of his previous statements and requested further details. Although Soth proposed to send a message to Xam Nua asking for the number and names of United States citizens held captive, this information was not forthcoming.

The United States embassy began pressing for the release by March 28 of prisoners captured in Laos. The question was whether the Pathet Lao would consider themselves bound by the agreement with its implication that they followed the orders of the North Vietnamese. Resolution of the matter was further complicated by the fact that procedures for prisoner exchanges stipulated in the Vientiane Agreement had still to be negotiated by the two sides in Laos.

On March 26, Soth informed the United States that the Pathet Lao would release eight prisoners in Hanoi on March 28. These prisoners, whose names had previously been given to United States officials by the North Vietnamese in Paris, had been held in North Vietnam for some time. On March 27, the Pathet Lao delivered a note verbale to the United States embassy that stated this fulfilled their POW release obligations and demanded that the United States pressure the Vientiane government to negotiate “seriously” for implementing the political provisions of the agreement.

The Pathet Lao rejected subsequent United States requests to dissociate the question of United States POWs from other matters covered by the Vientiane Agreement. The North Vietnamese, for their part, did not respond to Kissinger’s requests for clarification of the discrepancy between the number of POWs and MIAs carried by the Department of Defense and the small number of POWs released.

The protocol giving effect to the Vientiane Agreement was signed on September 14, 1973. Paragraph 18 made the two-party Joint Central Commission to Implement the Agreement responsible for implementing provisions for exchanges of prisoners and information.

The names of personnel who had died in captivity were to be exchanged within fifteen to thirty days, and all prisoners were to be released within sixty days after formation of the coalition government. However, the only United States citizen released by the Pathet Lao in Laos in accordance with these provisions was a civilian pilot captured after the cease-fire.

For the next twenty years, representatives of the new regime would sit at a table and calmly inform visiting United States officials and families of POW/MIAs that they knew nothing about the fate of United States POWs and MIAs in Laos.

Unfortunately for those who maintained that line of reasoning, the United States government had no desire to covertly abstain from their efforts to recover those men we had lost and believed to be alive.

This is the story of those men who went in to save their brothers in arms. To say they were successful would undermine the truth. To say say they were unsuccessful would undermine their courage and determination. On July 29th of 1975, the United States sent in forty-five members of the 82nd Airborne’s 2nd Brigade. They were led by a small contingent of five former U.S. Army Pathfinders, who were now reporting directly to the CIA.  On August 3rd, eighteen men returned.

What the world will never know…..is that they brought back eighteen others. Was it a fair trade. We want to think so. That is what we do. We make sacrifices, then we cry, and then we go on.

To a man we all knew……it don’t mean nuthin’…….it’s just the nature of our business.

Chapter 1

The earth of the jungle stank with the underlying truth of it’s rotten state. Things lived here, and they died here. Mostly the stench was one of death. The men who lay here on this putred piece of earth barely noticed. They had lay in the filth of many places, so much to the point they did not notice. Their senses were keen to many things, and the stench of the earth was not one of them.

Former Staff Sergeant Lloyd Kilpatrick lay focused in the front of his five man team. As the point man it was his job to make sure nothing escaped his senses. Nothing. His life and the lives of all those behind him depended upon his success. He was very good at his task. After five tours in Vietnam in the Army as a Pathfinder, few men were his equal within the parameters he found himself within at this time. It was a comfort to many if not all of those who followed him in the quietness of the steamy jungle.

Fifty meters to his rear lay a young eighteen year old Paratrooper, who lay upon this terrain for the first time in his life. He was not a combat veteran, although he was a specially qualified individual in that his skill set was far beyond that of the normal soldier. So far beyond in fact, that he scared his fellow soldiers, yet they knew without a doubt it was their enemy who needed to be scared, not them. He was just gifted beyond the imagination of most. Somehow he had been gifted with the uncanny ability to sense danger far beyond what was normal. He could shoot a wide assortment of weapons far better than the average combat veteran, and could literally kill a man by a number of means not considered normal by any of his superiors.

Of the fourty five men sent forward on this assignment, he was one of only four that were not combat veterans. Most had a minimum of two tours, and several had three or more. This was a highly skilled and competent group of soldiers. The other three were pure God-given talented snipers whose skill far surpassed their inexperience in combat, much as his did.

From the moment they had landed on their LZ out of Thon Sa Nut, they had went to ground immediately. Their team Commander, Captain Ross Killen, could care less how long it took to infiltrate their target, as long as they did it without being detected. They were already ten miles inside Laos, and headed directly to a camp that was clearly identified as one holding American POW’s. They still had to make their way for more than ten miles to reach their objective. This was clearly a mission that would prove difficult and costly, and every member aboard was well aware of that fact. Especially now.

The young Private 1st Class, had collided coming out of the inbound C-123 with another jumper coming out of the other door. A mass entanglement insued, and from just over 1000 feet of Jump Altitude there had been little else to do except cut the young jumper away and hope for the best. Sergeant 1st Class Joseph Mann knew the kid had little chance to survive, but they were both streaming in, and there was just no sense in them both dying. So he cut static lines like a man possessed. Just as he freed himself and his chute puffed some air, he watched and grimaced as the kid streamered in to the jungle below. As quiet as it was he actually heard him splat.

Doc Watson had seen the shit going down and as soon as he landed he shrugged his chute and took off towards the area where the kid had landed. Jo Jo Mann did the same thing and they litereally converged on the spot, only to look down into the open eyes of the young Private, who was lying motionless on the jungle floor.

“What’s your name Troop”, asked Doc, as he began to look the kid over for obvious signs of injury. Weird, he thought, nothing looks broke and the kid ain’t even bleeding. Not on the outside anyway. He already knew the kids name but he wanted to know how fucked up he really was.

“Brinkman, Doc, PFC  Buck Brinkman,” said the kid with some difficulty. “Doc it feels like my fucking guts are on fire.”

“Sarge get his pants off easy, just to the knees. Let’s see what we got,” Doc said to Jo Jo. By now the team was assembling on the Rally Point and word was spreading that they had a streamer.

Captain Killen showed up and leaned over the small group, “Doc we gotta move, we can’t stay here. What do you got?”

Doc Watson was feeling all around the lower abdomen of the young trooper and looked back at the Captain and said, “Cappy I think he’s busted up inside. Can’t tell how bad, but he’s swollen heavy on the right side of his dick, and some on the left. I’d say he’s tore open his abdominal wall and his intestines are hanging down in that big flap of skin there.” He pointed to the obvious swelling about the size of a baseball.

“That’s it? Then stand his ass up and somebody grab his shit and let’s get the fuck outa here,” said the Captain as he looked around for his Pathfinders.

Corporal Stan Pace stepped up and grabbed his gear, all except his M-16 and said, “Just stay close to me and do the best you can dude, we got to Di Di out of this fucking place quick, and I mean Beaucoup quick you got it.”

“I’m okay,” said the kid. He knew for sure he was not okay, and he was hurting like all hell, but he knew they had to move, so he took off quietly following the Corporal.

Within ten steps he knew for sure he was fucked up, but he also knew that was just too bad. They did not have the luxury or the time to fuck with him right now, and he knew that. Time to grin and bear it, and soldier on. As he watched the back of his Fire Team Leader, he knew right then that Corporal “Stan The Man” Pace was one strong mother fucker. He was carrying the load of two men and it never altered his stride, not one bit. Every step he took hurt like hell, but the fact of where he was, and what he was doing, was beginning to overcome even the pain. Their asses were in some serious shit, and he had to keep his mind on the fucking terrain. This was No Man’s Land, and they all damn well knew it.

When they moved out they used the single file formation, spread out at about ten meters apart. This kept the noise level down to a minimum, and would allow for a fast and hasty retreat should that become necessary. Doc Watson slipped quietly up to the kid and handed him a couple of pills, and hand motioned for him to swallow them down. He took them without question as he knew he would soon need to numb the pain in order to keep up and keep quiet.  They moved as silently as the jungle would allow and every man maintained due diligence. They were in the belly of the beast, and they all knew it. They kept the pace up for the next two hours, covering roughly a third of their needed distance.

Captain Killen called a halt and a quick meeting with the Pathfinder Team and his other three team leaders. The breakdown was the Pathfinder team was the advance movement team on point. Four other ten man squad size elements that would provide cover and assault once they reached their objective. Each of the four squads had their specialty man or sniper for eliminating any security forces or towers in place.  It was time to break down into the five different groups and go to ground, and move the last six clicks or so to the camp’s location. They had to assume there were security patrols in the area, whether there were or not. Surely they would have OP/LP’s out if they had any sense at all.