The sixth episode of Deep of Muscle.
The following is a fan-translation of the Japanese content.
An exploration of the strength of the talented Jesse Maivia.
Here we have clear blue skies, bright sunshine, clean white sandy beaches, and green palm leaves that sway in a gentle breeze, just beside an endless emerald sea! Hawaii is a true paradise. It is a place of never-ending summer; there is a dizzying array of contrasting and beautiful colours, which greet every smiling visitor that steps foot onto its land. It is perhaps the most famous resort island on Earth.
In the Heisei Era (1989-2019), many people travel easily between Hawaii and Japan, but in the Showa Era (1926-1989) international travel was a luxury few could afford, and – in those days – Hawaii was the symbol of this unattainable dream. It seemed almost everyone dreamed of Hawaii.
Hawaii held a unique charm that was quite different from the United States, United Kingdom, or France. It was an island to which many held close to their heart, in part due to it being so intrinsically connected to the Chojin martial arts world. In fact, there are two legendary champions that have lived here for many years . . .
The first name to mention is ‘Prince Kamehame’. He was the first Hawaiian heavyweight champion, and – since the creation of said title – has defended his belt 999 times, right up until his 70th year, and thus this bright star is hailed as a god within the Hawaiian chojin world.
The second name is equally as unforgettable: Jesse Maivia. He is the new Hawaiian Chojin Heavyweight Champion, who finally claimed the title from the legendary Kamehame, and became the second person ever to hold both the belt and the title . . . it is his story that we are going to tell you.
After Maivia gained his title, he tried to appeal to the public by making the previous legendary champion – Kamehame – his personal assistant. This allowed him to showcase his power, while allowing for the generational shift in power. Not only this, but Maivia also defended his title 999 times; just like Kamehame. This defined him as an exceptional fighter. Still, while his predecessor kept to the sidelines, the fact remained Kamehame was still – and always would be – the ‘Great Champ’.
In his 1000th match, Maivia lost to Kinnikuman. He has almost completely disappeared from the global spotlight, and would later lose his regained Hawaiian title to Geronimo in a highly publicised fight, which has left him widely scorned by many of the future generations. . . .
The fact remains, however, even Kamehame – who was known as the ‘world’s greatest counter-attack expert’ – was able to lift his cap to Maivia. Maivia is by no means weak. If he really wanted to fight on a global platform, he could have easily held his own against the likes of Robin Mask and Terryman.
Now is the time to tell you the secrets only known to Jesse Maivia, who – most likely – could have become one of the greatest men of all time . . .
There is no one in Hawaii that is unfamiliar with this name. No, not just in Hawaii, but the entire world. If a person has even a passing interest in chojin martial arts, they will certainly know his name.
‘Who is the greatest chojin of all time?’
This sort of debate is best had alongside a glass of sake, especially for those chojin fighting enthusiasts, and there is one very obvious reason why people still discuss this in bars to his day: there is no clear answer. One could exchange opinions all day, without exhausting the topic, and reach no conclusion.
In the first place, how do we define the ‘strongest’? If you were to ask 100 different people, you would surely get 100 different answers . . . opinions vary from person to person. Think now about ‘power’, ‘intelligence’, ‘technique’, ‘experience’ or ‘courage’; which of these do you consider to be the most important?
We all place different weight on different things, which is why our opinions on the ‘strongest’ chojin will all be very different. If you want to put a definitive end to this endless debate, there is one card so powerful that it is hard for anyone to argue against: the joker.
You reply: ‘Easy, the answer is Prince Kamehame in his youth’.
It is true that Kamehame was a great champion. He was known as the strongest man in all of Hawaii, and also considered by all types of talented people to be the best chojin fighter of all the 20th Century worldwide. He left his home-planet of Coconuts to come to Earth, the Mecca of chojin martial arts, when he was a young man in his twenties. He followed this by winning the Hawaiian chojin heavyweight title, which had only just been created, and – growing so attached to his title – found a certain ‘reason for living’ in said title that he never once left Hawaii since that time. This is why he never won any global titles.
So the question becomes why a man with such a humble background, and a modest career, would be so feared across the globe? Well, it is because all of the world’s greatest fighters, who came to Hawaii to fight him, were all beaten badly by him and lost!
He has defended his title 999 times over the past 40 years, and what is even more surprising is that he never once lost his title in all this time. Rumours began to spread, and soon the legend of the unbeatable Hawaiian was the talk of the chojin world, and his story was told across the globe.
‘The strongest man in Hawaii is also the strongest man in the world!’
It's no exaggeration to say that Hawaii has become a kind of sacred and holy place, renowned as a truly special place in the chojin fighting world. Hawaii is one of the 50 states in the United States of America, and it is the historical chojin title that made it the most special of all states. This is why the theory that “Hawaii is the Strongest” is a theory that still dominates the chojin world, and is entirely built upon the accomplishments of one Kamehame. In other words, when we say “Hawaii is the strongest”, what we really mean is “Kamehame is the strongest”.
That’s why the Hawaiian title is such a big deal. The strongest chojin scattered across the globe, and the most perceptive chojin alive . . . they all see the value of the title itself, as opposed to the sacred nature of the belt, and aim to pay homage to the man who single-handedly elevated both title and belt to such great heights. There is no end of people who hear these legends and come to Hawaii just to greet him, and it is interesting to note that so many of those people – so awed by him – decline to challenge him.
Very few are willing to “desecrate holy ground”. It is as if the more powerful a person holds, that the more they here this basic rule being whispered into their soul . . . in contrast to this trend, the opposite phenomenon has also become increasingly apparent. The sad irony is that the only people who are willing to challenge the belt are those who have no real talent; they simply want to make a name for themselves without any real effort or talent.
‘It’s hard to win a world title, but a Hawaiian title -?’
There was an endless stream of naïve people who came to see Kamehame in person, and – because they lacked real skills and talent – they could never truly comprehend the true power and strength that lay behind his older and more fragile façade. As a result, they would fight for the glorious Hawaiian title in high spirits, only to lose the match in a rather graceless manner.
Kamehame said nothing about these events, but instead continued a rapid succession of defensive battles in an attempt to preserve his lifework . . . but what was he to do once he had defended his title for a record of 900 times? Over time, he was starting to get fed up with the current state of affairs in the Hawaiian chojin world.
He was now over 60-years old, and well on his way to old age. Doctor Bombe was his closest companion and a specialist in chojin medicine, and Kamehame had invited him to stay at his mansion. They were playing chess, as was their favourite pastime, when Kamehame rushed out in a stream:
“Hey, Bombe. Am I really doing the right thing?”
It was unusual to hear man – one hailed as a god – speak with undisguised reservation. Bombe was mildly surprised, but moved forward his pawn on the black-and-white board.
“What are you talking about?” Bombe said with total honesty: “You must think about what would happen here should you leave us now. Why is it that Hawaii is a sanctuary untouched by malicious figures and free from their ravages? The answer should be obvious. It is because you are here. If you were to quit fighting, everyone in Hawaii would lose their purpose for existence. This is what everyone here fears most. That is why you must continue to fight. Isn't it obvious?”
“Like you say, I’ve been defending the Hawaiian title for the betterment of the chojin world.” Kamehame bore a serious expression, before he made an offensive move with his bishop in a diagonal movement, and calmly continued to speak from the heart: “That is why the Hawaiian belt is considered to be one of the most valuable across the globe. That makes me happy, of course, but it also makes me think. To be frank, I wonder if I have a purpose here any longer . . .”
“What do you mean?”
“Take a look around you. It is because the Hawaiian belt is such an honour that random people from across the globe are gathering here, and most are just riffraff of doubtful origins, but here in Hawaii there are many greenhorns desperately trying to shoot up and that could grow to be great defenders of our realm, but my presence acts only as a means to stifle them and keep them down. I sometimes think that this is problem worldwide . . . I’m worried that this is a case of ‘gerontocracy’.”
“Oh, Kamehame,” said Bombe, as he moved his queen three squares to the left. “A gerontocracy refers to a state in which elders rule over the young, and it is often a problem as these are people that mere shells of their former selves, with his position of power a total waste on one like him. But as for you -?
“You’re still one of the global elite, and you are on par with the best and brightest on this planet. Your problem is that you are – for want of a better phrase – too strong. Most fighting chojin, like you, would have found a successor long ago, before they thought to retire. You're too strong. I think that’s the real issue, because you will never find an equal that can match you in strength.”
“Hmm. If I could just find someone capable of learning my 100 Killer Techniques, I could retire at last . . .”
“But you can’t,” said Bombe. “That is also why you can’t retire, because you still need to find someone talented enough to learn those techniques. The future generation needs your 100 Killer Techniques, because in the Hawaiian chojin world . . . no, in whole universe of Justice Chojin, needs that knowledge in order to create a bright future. You feel that too, don’t you, deep in your heart? That is why you fight.”
Kamehame felt as if he had been delivered an electric shock. He looked into the calm eyes of Bombe, who had been his dearest friend for forty years, and all the confusion in his heart suddenly felt neatly organised and put into clear perspective. This was a man that knew him better than he knew himself. It was not a particular deep exchange, and yet – with every breath – Kamehame felt the full meaning of Friendship Power, and his trust in Bombe was as powerful as ever. Bombe seemed to sense that Kamehame’s worries were finally dispelled, and added warmly:
“I can’t say if they are capable of becoming your successors, but there are many young men in Hawaii that are beginning to come into their own. Why don’t you go see these men? It could be a nice change of pace. You have plenty of spare time, so why not take a peek into some of the gymnasiums?”
Bombe flipped down a business card before Kamehame, upon which were written the name, address, and telephone number of a specific chojin gymnasium. He proceeded to pick up his cape in a jaunty manner, before leaving the room of the champion. As usual, the chess game was left unfinished.
Kamehame read aloud from the card: ‘Jesse’s Palace . . .’
Not long after finishing his daily chores, just before sunset, he left for the downtown area around Waikiki beach . . .
── To be continued
Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii. Waikiki lies within in its south-east district, and is famous for its beautiful beaches, but it is also well known as Oahu's premier downtown area. The boulevard overlooks one of the world's most famous beaches and is lined with duty free shops and glamorous shopping malls such as the Royal Hawaiian Centre. In the middle of this prime real-estate lies Jessie’s Palace. It's a state-of-the-art, mixed martial arts gymnasium with many modern amenities.
Kamehame hesitated at first, but eventually entered the huge building.
Normally, if a suspicious intruder is detected then the security guards, receptionists, and trainees would chastise the intruder as soon as they were detected, but today everyone was frozen to the spot and unable to move. It was understandable. The man that walked before them was a god of the Hawaiian chojin world, and they were too nervous to greet him, let alone to ask him to leave.
It was proof of how much respect Kamehame garnered in Hawaii, were he was revered as a living god among men, and yet – despite this – Kamehame felt suffocated by their special treatment and had grown to resent it . . . their reactions distracted him, until he found himself alone in a training room with a flamboyant man. The young man called out in a nervous voice:
“Aloha, Mr Kamehame! Welcome to my gymnasium.”
Jesse Maivia was the owner of this gymnasium. He wore a magnificent headpiece, while his fine cape billowed out behind him, and offered forth his hand for a handshake. Even with a mere glance, Kamehame knew this man was a cut above the rest of the trainees.
“I see,” said Kamehame. “You must be the man that Bombe told me about.”
“Bombe?” Jesse asked. “Ah, the doctor must have told you about me. It’s an honour that you’d come to visit me; I’ve been watching you ever since I was a young child, and I don’t think there’s anyone who could be as big a fan as me and seen as many matches!”
“Hahaha. The honour is mine.”
“And I kept thinking the whole time: ‘One day I’m going to be the greatest Hawaiian champion that ever lived . . . of course, that means I’d have to defeat you, Mr Kamehame!”
Immediately after he spoke, Maivia’s eyes shone with a strange sense of courage. He kept a dignified façade, while a smile broke across his beautiful cheeks and mouth, but his eyes shone with ambition and danger, like a beast that had locked eyes on its prey. He wasn’t joking. He was serious!
Hmm, this is one interesting man, thought Kamehame. He was far from offended by Maivia’s attitude, but instead he was rather amused, and – more than anything – he was happy that there was still a young man in Hawaii who was still willing to challenge him.
“Fufufu, how about it Maivia?” Kamehame asked. “Why not spar with me here and now?”
Kamehame wanted to use his body to accurately measure the qualities of this courageous young man, as well as his current level of ability, and – on hearing those words – Maivia’s face shone with the brightness of an innocent young boy and proclaimed:
“Oh! I know I’m not worthy to practise with you, but I’m so grateful, Great Champion!”
* * *
About 30 minutes later . . .
A crowd of students gathered around the training room, where they witnessed something truly terrifying on the ring. Kamehame stood imposing and unharmed in the middle of the ring, where he breathed heavily, but Jesse Maivia lay beaten and bruised, as he crawled along the mat. It was hard to think that the difference in their abilities had been so vast . . . Maivia stared with wide eyes, as if in total disbelief. Kamehame, meanwhile, bore a grim and serious expression beyond comprehension.
“You were good,” said Kamehame. “Still, it’s too soon to teach you my 100 Killing Techniques.”
The moment Maivia head those words, he opened his eyes even wider.
“Wait . . . what?” Maivia asked. “Kamehame, what did you just say?”
“Fufu, it’s embarrassing to admit, but I’m planning on retiring soon, and thus I’m looking for a greenhorn like you to take over once I’m gone.”
“I heard the 100 Killer Techniques of Kamehame consist of 48 killer moves and 52 submission holds, and each and every one is kept secret. So you’re searching for a successor to pass along you secrets? And you’re selecting me as a potential candidate?!”
Maivia’s eyes shone as he asked this question, but Kamehame replied firm:
“I'm sorry, but you can't do it. That’s my final judgement.”
“I’m just not sure you have it in you,” continued Kamehame. “You’re overwhelmingly talented and diverse in your skills; this means that you’re able to flawlessly bring together these skills without any mistakes. You’re clever, you have a good repertoire, you have good taste, and you have power . . . still, there is just one thing I want to ask you: as a martial arts fighter, what are you best at?”
It was true that he could do more than an ordinary person. He too full of himself, and too self-satisfied, that he was unable to make an immediate response. Kamehame said:
“That’s it. That is your greatest weakness. If I may be completely blunt, your blank expression now proves you to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. Your talents are too scattered and varied, which means you’re only able to invest so much time into them, leaving all half-mastered and incomplete. There is a phrase in ancient Chinese literature, which I would like to tell you: a wise man is ashamed to know too much . . .”
It was expected that one revered as a god would have an uncanny knack for seeing straight through people, but even though Maivia was a man that disliked confronting an issue head on, even he knew the truth that he was lacking what was needed to make him number one.
The problem is that people often become insufferable when told the truth about what matters to them, and this goes double for such a proud genius like Maivia . . . he was red with rage, as he shouted:
“You can talk to me in such a roundabout manner, but in the end it all means the same thing: I failed to meet your expectations in our sparring match today! It's true that I don't have much to offer in terms of my fighting style, but I don't need you to lecture me about it. I'm going to beat you one day in my own way! I’ll never forget the humiliation I endured today! You wait; you’ll get what’s coming to you!”
“I’m looking forward to that.”Kamehame smirked, as he turned hells and headed to the exit. He said over his shoulder: “I'll be waiting for you, and if – by some chance – you do manage to beat me, I promise to teach you my 100 Killer Techniques.”
“I won’t forget what you said!”
There is nothing more pathetic than an underdog trying to get the final word, but – even though Maivia knew this – his pride couldn’t help but show itself in the face of his humiliation . . .
* * *
Maivia dragged himself into the owner’s room, filled with self-hatred. He sat frustrated with his head in his hands, but – no sooner had he sat down alone – someone came to visit him. They said from outside:
“Maivia, I know you’re in here. Can I come in?”
The man did not wait for an answer. He simply opened the door and walked inside. He was a rather unpleasant looking man, with a bald head and a moustache, and Jesse Maivia recognised him with uneasy familiarity as his personal promoter: Duke Kamata.
“I’ve been watching you,” said Kamata. “Hahaha, that was pretty interesting.”
“Kamata . . . you son of a bitch, are you mocking me?”
“Don’t be ridiculous! I have high hopes for you. At any rate, it’s promising that Kamehame set his sights on you; if his visit is anything to go by, you have exceptional talent! I’m proud of you, hahaha!”
“Is that’s the case, I want you to set up a formal match with Kamehame! If we back down now, it’ll ruin the name of Hawaii’s rising star!”
Kamehame, the talented promoter, remained calm and said: “Well, don't be impatient. If we press for a match now, it’ll only be a repeat of today's sparring contest; you’ll be no different from the rest of the riffraff that challenge him. It’ll damage your reputation, and I won’t have that.”
“But, sir . . .!”
“Look, you know what you have to do. You know that Kamehame has a point!”
“So what am I supposed to do?” Maivia asked. “How can I beat Kamehame?”
“Well, if you want to set your sights on a goal . . . the world is your oyster. Why don’t you travel and specialise in a unique skill or style?”
“Sure, I mean, I can’t stay in Hawaii anymore. All right, I'll follow your advice and go wherever you want me to go, as you have connections all over the world, but my ultimate goal is to defeat Kamehame. Don’t you forget that, Kamata.”
“Understood,” said Kamata.
* * *
Maivia left Hawaii, and – on Kamata’s personal recommendation – went first to Brazil, which was a country known for its passion. It was still the late 1970’s.
“Kamata,” asked Maivia. “I came here because you said this place held the secret to defeating Kamehame, but what exactly am I looking for?”
“Tell me, have you heard of Brazilian Jiujutsu?”
“No, I can’t say that I have.”
“Haha,” laughed Duke Kamata. “It's still a minor sport, but soon the whole world will quiver with fear at the mere mention of it! By the way, if you were going to employ a counter-attack against Kamehame, what would be the most effective means to fight back against him?”
“I guess it’d be a submission hold.”
“Good answer, and Brazilian jiujutsu – which I'm about to show you – is a treasure trove of submissions: pinning techniques, choke-holds, and even locking techniques.”
Kamata looked Maivia in the eyes, before he quirked the right-side of his mouth in a grin.
── To be continued
Kamata offered a confident smile in response to Maivia’s sceptical expression, but continued to explain:
“Well, Kamehame’s fighting style is likely inspired by a form of martial arts named: Catch Wrestling. It’s a form of hand-to-hand combat develop in Lancashire, England. The idea is to grab wherever you can, hence it’s Japanese name: ‘catch-as-catch-can’. You need such precision in your offence and defence that it’s described as a form of ‘physical chess’, and it was this total freedom and precision that led to him developing his 48 Killer Techniques and 52 Submission Holds; it’s what makes him a major threat.
“Even if you learned from the same source, you’d soon be in trouble once you reached your limit. This is why I’m recommending Brazilian Jiujutsu. It’s a form of Japanese wrestling that boasts a history and sense of precision comparable to Catch Wrestling, but with a strong focus on submission holds. It’s became a great martial art in its own right. If I’m honest, it’s got by far the most superior submission holds, and is unbeatable if you have the right precision. If you can master these techniques that you’ve never seen before, and you can master how to counter them, you’ll be able to counter all of Kamehame’s 52 Submission Holds for sure . . . so, how about it?”
Maivia held a stoic face at this unexpected suggestion; he stared in disbelief, but soon broke into a broad smile, and patted Kamehame on the shoulder. He burst out into laughter, and said:
“Hahahahaha! Kamata, you're still the best promoter and advisor I’ve ever had! Better than that, you're familiar with martial arts around the world . . . what a relief!”
“Fufu, well, you seem happy, but I am just a promoter. It’s my job to look after my cash-cow.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine,” said Jesse. “I can trust your businesslike manner; I might be in your debt now, but I’ll pay you back tenfold later on. Just you wait; I’ll be a real up-and-comer.”
“Yes, sir,” replied Kamata.
This is how Maivia found himself training in the strange land of Brazil, where he studied a martial art that he had never studied before. He may have run a gym, but he was hungry to learn, and soaked up knowledge like a sponge soaks up water.
* * *
A few weeks have passed since.
It was morning when Kamata spotted Maivia very early in the ring, where he was practising some of his new submission holds, and Kamata called out to him: “You’re up early today; working hard, I see!”
“Kamata?” Maivia replied. “Good morning!”
“You’re in a good mood today, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, it’s been fun learning new techniques! Since I came here, I’ve come to realise that I was ignorant of reality; like the saying goes, I was a frog in a well, sure he was in the ocean. A few weeks ago, I thought there could never be anyone better than Kamehame, but now I know . . . thanks to you. I’m forever in your debt.”
Maivia had been more animated in his expressions since coming to Brazil, and it was a far cry from his façade of elegance and arrogance that was ever present in Hawaii. It is true that young people grow little by little, all as their world begins to expand.
“By the way, Maivia,” said Kamata. “Do you have any concrete counter-techniques against Kamehame? Can you show me even a little of what you’ve learned?”
It was as if Maivia had been waiting for Kamata’s question, and at once he began to report on his current circumstances with a twinkle in his eyes: “I haven’t learned a little, but a lot. I wouldn't say I've mastered the art of Brazilian Jiujutsu submission holds just yet, as I've only been learning for a few weeks, but I've got a good understanding of the fundamental attitude and philosophy, and I understand the overall system. That alone is massive progress.”
“Yeah, it’s true . . . for example; every martial artist knows that submission holds are basically the art of using leverage, so as to twist the opponent's joints out of their range of movement, but . . . sparring with experts in the field makes you realise that’s just a superficial understanding, because what makes them so good isn’t just their skill in the performing the technique itself.
“They’re so good because they’re always thinking about how to get you in the right position to perform the technique, and what makes them terrifying is that – long before the technique is even executed – they’re already working towards its play in the match. They are constantly paving the way to the intended technique; it’s this interplaying sequence of events that truly makes their skill a work of art.”
It may have only been a few weeks of training, but he was showing his true level of intelligence by coming to such a detailed analysis all by himself. This was the biggest reason why Kamata kept his eye on Maivia. Maivia spoke with such excitement, that it was clear by his words that he finally understood the significance of their stay in Brazil.
“One day I realised something,” continued Maivia. “I realised that although they have very different fighting backgrounds, that the fighting styles and philosophies here are very similar to Kamehame’s ‘physical chess’ . . . well, that’s it, I guess.”
Kamata, who has always been known for his calm and collected answers, reacted with a rare outburst: “Haha! To come up with such an answer in such a short period of time . . . Mavia, you're a fearsome man, indeed.”
Kamehame had mastered a hundred matches, and continued to reign supreme even at his time of life and in his weakened state, but his old age was perhaps his greatest weapon. He was highly intelligent, with enough skills and precision that he was still known to be a formidable opponent in a match. Kamata wanted Maivia to study, so that he would know learn this lesson – not just in his mind, but – in his entire being.
“So,” said Kamata. “How do you intend to go forward against a master such as Kamehame?”
“Um, well, there’s one thing I’d like to try,” replied Maivia. “After I’ve learned some expert submission holds here, I’d like to go to Japan . . . do you have any good contacts there?”
“In Japan? Don’t make me laugh! You know that I’m a Japanese-American, right? Alright; if you want the best training available, I’ll pave the way to introduce you to the best!”
“Oh, then we’ll leave two weeks from now. Please do your best.”
It was the end of an era; Maivia returned to his training with a smile on his face, and Kamata had a hunch that this would lead to a great commotion back in Hawaii.
Two weeks later, just as planned, Maivia stood in a white dogi in a judo hall. The judo hall was located in the capital of Japan: Tokyo.
“I’m surprised,” said Kamata. “You’re even interested in Japanese Jiujutsu, which is the originator of the Brazilian Jiujutsu . . .”
“My instructor in Brazil told me something so surprising that it stayed in my memory: ‘willows are weak, but they bind other wood’. Does this make sense to you, Kamata, as a man of Japanese descent?”
“Hahaha. If you live in America for too long, you’ll inevitably forget some Japanese.”
Maivia continued, as if Kamata hadn’t spoken: “Well, anyway, the secret to defeating Kamehame is to not to try and overcome his calculated strategy, but to break up the flow of his fight at certain points . . . kind of like what we learned in Brazil.
“I learned it’s not easy to break the pace of an experienced fighter, though, and it’s impossible for even a strong man to try and succeed with brute force. It’s like stepping into the flowing waters of a river, only to be swept away by the underlying current.
“I’ve seen it happen over and over again in Hawaii, and I always think about that. How could such power be hidden in such a frail old body? That question has plagued me for some time.”
“In other words, you learned the answer is ‘the weak willow may bind the strong wood’?”
“Don’t you understand?” Maivia lifted his palms on hearing Kamata’s reply. “They were right; if you have the perfect defensive stance, you can absorb your opponent’s power and channel it into your offensive manoeuvres. If that’s truly the source of Kamehame’s power, breaking his pace will be difficult.”
“They call that a ‘catch twenty-two’.”
“Ah, there’s nothing I can do about it,” continued Maivia. “I’ve given it some thought, and I figured maybe it’s better not to attack him at all . . .”
“It’s like they say: ‘be immovable like the mountain’. Huh, not bad. It’s a strategy that means you won’t make any direct moves, but instead wait and see what he does, turning it into an endurance battle.”
“Hey, I didn’t expect such phrases to come out of the mouth of someone who’s forgotten their Japanese. Cut it out!”
“Hahaha, in any case, you’re still a fair distance away from the ‘mountain’, if that’s what’s bothering you, Maivia!”
Was he joking or offering serious advice? There was something about him that was always hard to get a read on . . .
“Ah, so it’s ‘immovable like the mountain’? I like that phrase. I’ll accept that.”
“That’s good, as the first step is to maintain a ‘mountain-like’ composure,” said Kamata. “But, let me tell you now, the Japanese warlord – Takeda Shingen – left behind some important words after his victory during the Sengoku period in Japan. Those words were: ‘fu rin ka zan’. It means roughly: ‘to be as fast as the wind, as quiet as the forest, as daring as fire, and as immovable as the mountain’. In short, if you don’t move then you’ll never win, but you already knew that, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, I know,” replied Maivia in a confident tone. “That’s why I decided to travel the globe. Do you want to know why I was drawn to the phrase ‘willows are weak, but they bind other wood’? It wasn’t just because of Kamehame. The main reason that I was attracted to that phrase is because it has the potential to revolutionise my fighting style, which he mocked as being a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’, and it gives me the spirit to keep getting stronger!”
“Hmm . . . so you’ve finally settled on focusing on a single skill?”
“Do you think I’m like the kind of pitiful man that accepts defeat?” Maivia bore a calm expression, but held out his palms and shook his head. “I’m an almighty genius, and a generalist that can do more than most! I’ll never give that up! It’s like he said, by not mastering a single skill then I never amount to much in each of them individually, but . . . while he might think a jack-of-all-trades is worthless, I want to prove to him that a jack-of-all-trades can be a formidable thing. That’s why, this time, I’m going to say with real confidence: ‘just you wait, Kamehame, you’ll get what’s coming to you’. Hahaha!”
* * *
From that day on, for about three months, Maivia spent every waking moment practising judo and aikido, but the specifics of his training were never revealed to the outside world, partly due to Kamata's secretive nature. Finally, the time had come, and the time of the decisive battle was nigh.
Kamata was the one to finally make the decision, and this allowed him to showcase his skills as a promoter. Kamehame had defended his title 999 times in Hawaii, and he was looking for a worthy adversary for his 1000th battle, and so Kamata wrote him a letter that read: ‘There is a young man from Hawaii who is currently training in Japan. I'd like you to come and check him out. The young man's name is Jesse Maivia, and he was once known as Hawaii's rising star . . . ’
Kamehame was getting fed up by this common type of correspondence, but he recognised the young man’s name at the end of this letter and deemed him worthy, and thus departed for Japan.
It was approximately six months after Maivia first left Hawaii.
── To be continued
That was how the Hawaiian star, Prince Kamehame, arrived at Japan.
This was a big deal as far as the chojin fighting world was concerned, and for good reason; it’s not every day where a living legend, who has never left the land of Hawaii, to go visit one particular young man. In fact, when Kamehame arrived at the dojo during the allotted time, there was already a large crowd of reporters ready to interview him from all kinds of places. The cameras flashed at a merciless rate, and many microphones were pointed in his direction. They asked in a rapid succession:
“Hey, you’re the Hawaiian champ. What is it that brings you to Japan?”
“The rumours are you’re about to name your successor!”
“Is it true that you’re thinking of retiring?!”
Kamehame walked deep inside the dojo, without letting his expression give anything away during the endless flashes and questions. He walked slowly forward, as the reality dawned on him about this unusual situation: ‘He set me up, that sly old fox.’
If it were a mere few reporters with good instincts, there would not have been such chaos, but – for it to have gone this far – it was clear that someone had leaked Kamehame’s travel plans to the press. There was only one person that would do that, and he could think of no one else except Kamata. It was easy to guess what was about to happen next. A young man in a martial arts uniform burst forward, and he interrupted the interviewers with a loud:
“Aloha, Mr Kamehame! Long time, no see!”
It was Maivia. He looked just a confident as the day they first met at Jessie’s palace, which was almost six months ago now, and his prideful appearance bore no trace of lingering humiliation at his defeat. Did Maivia smile solely as a show for the cameras . . .? Kamehame immediately dismissed that idea.
No, that wasn’t it. He really seemed to have gained some genuine confidence, which was the only thing that made coming to Japan worthwhile. Maivia soon gave his scripted self-introduction, exactly as planned by Kamata as part of their publicity stunt, as he spoke about the upcoming episode with Kamehame. He read out his challenge in peculiarly high spirits:
“'Ladies and gentlemen of the press, and fans of chojin martial arts across the globe, I am here today to issue a challenge to the great Kamehame! I may be a young man from Hawaii, but I’m asking you to allow me the right to challenge you for your Hawaiian title in your 1000th match! It’s time to change Hawaiian history!”
It read almost like a campaign speech; Maivia had the stunning looks and good speaking manner, which made him almost perfect for a TV star. The press cheered him on, and he had the air of an actor in the making. He tacked on an ad-libbed condition, as he got carried away in the moment:
“How about one more exciting condition? If this match goes ahead . . . the loser must become the winner’s personal assistant!”
A series of cheers erupted out on hearing this bombshell. It was less a direct request and more a provocation, but there was no stopping him now that he was on a roll, and the microphones were all turned to Kamehame now, as they awaited his reply. He spoke with few words.
“Okay,” said Kamehame.
The press and onlookers erupted in excitement, as this concluded the negotiations. Kamata grinned at the publicity and interest he had created. The fight would take place in a week’s time at the Nippon Budokan. Later, back in the dojo waiting room, Kamata could not be in a better mood. Maivia, on the other hand, was not so happy.
“Hahaha,” laughed Kamata. “Maivia, you really put on a show!”
“Let me play the fool,” replied Maivia. “We went to a lot of trouble to get Kamehame over here for the match, but do you think it was worth it?”
“Well, to be honest, at your current level, Kamehame would have agreed to the fight anyway, in all likelihood, but the value of this fight went through the roof at the box office from these methods, as opposed to more legitimate channels. . It's good for me, but it's also good for you. Of course, you have to win!”
“I won’t lose, but I don’t want this to overshadow my abilities . . .”
“No, you’ve all the abilities you need. You didn’t add that rule because you got carried away, did you?”
“Don’t say that! But . . . well . . . to be the assistant of a Hawaiian superstar? That would suck.”
“Yes, it would. Now concentrate on the match. If you lose, you’ll be his assistant.”
“I – I know! I told you I won’t lose!”
“I’m counting on you . . . hahahahaha!”
* * *
The Budokan was bursting at its seams on the day of the match.
Kamehame had already taken his place in the red corner, and Maivia and Kamata had already taken their place in the blue corner.
“Maivia,” whispered Kamata. “Do you remember your secret strategies against Kamehame?”
“Of coure, Kamata,” said Maivia. “Today I’ll make Hawaiian history. You should get ready for all the cash coming our way!”
Kamehame started to tread lightly onto the ring, and the audience stopped all their commotion, as silence fell instantly upon them . . .
Ding! The fateful gong rang out!
The two men stood centre of the ring and stared each other down.
It was Kamehame who made the first move! Kamehame made a takedown with a quick and unexpected tackle, before grabbing Maivia’s arm into a lightning-fast side-lock. This was the expertise of a fighter that came only from experience! Maivia, however, adroitly turned his body and pulled out his arm to escape! Kamehame still had plans. He quickly moved the still unsteady Maivia head-on, but – this time – Maivia side-stepped and countered with an overhead throw, which sent Kamehame flying back.
Kamehame suddenly looked gloomy; these two moves made it clear to him that Maivia had practised hard. Kamehame tested that theory by going in for a third body-slam. At that precise moment, just when Kamehame raised his arm to go in for the clutch, Maivia leapt into the air and jumped just above him, and launched his planned counter-attack.
It was a dangerous manoeuvre, as he took Kamehame into an ankle-hold and crushed his leg, and Kamehame moved his power in an attempt to resist the flow of power, and successfully got himself out of a pinch by freeing his leg. He moved out of and returned to the position he maintained just before the bell, as he glared hard at Maivia!
There was no longer at any doubt. Maivia had two specific goals in mind: to counter his opponent by using their strength against them, and to break their stance and transition immediately into a submission hold. This was the exact kind of “defensive strategy” that Kamehame employed lately, wasn’t it? Not only that, but they had both developed their skills to an expert level. The problem is that when two men fight with the same tactics, it is distinct disadvantage to make the first move. This led to neither of them moving at all!
1 minute passed, then 2 minutes, but still neither of them moved.
3 minutes passed . . . then 5 . . . still, neither moved.
This was fast becoming a test of patience.
Kamehameha continued to think while keeping up his guard. In regards to the second part of Maivia’s goal, he still takes time to execute his submission hold and that gave time to act upon him. The issue, however, lay with the first part of his goals and not knowing what submission hold would be used.
Normally, everyone has a weakness. The trouble was that Kamehame moved first, that Maivia was a chojin whose gimmick was his versatility and ingenious nature, and so he it would be difficult to form an accurate counter-attack against him. Maivia may not have had any strengths, but he also had no weaknesses. No matter what the situation, he can always come up with a good counter-attack. It was a catch twenty-two . . . whoever moved first would be at a disadvantage.
It was inevitable this would lead to a battle of endurance, but both the old Kamehame and young Maivia were physically fit and matched in strength and so – to continue – would result in a stalemate.
There are just two ways to break out of such a critical situation. The first is to throw all of one’s power into an attack so powerful that it would be impossible to launch a counter-attack, but this would be impossible for someone like Kamehame without that level of physical strength. If he could do that, he wouldn't have taken such a passive strategy in the first place.
The second strategy is to master a technique to perfect precision, leaving no chance of an opening for a counter-attack, but this is not appropriate for submission holds, which take time and have tells before they can be implemented. The best success is with a bold move in a break-or-make match. Kamehame thought: ‘If I can’t use the 52 submission holds, I’ll need to use one of my 48 killer techniques!’
It was a thought that he believed in, deep inside, but he still felt a little uncertain. This is because the 48 Killer Techniques required not just precision, but a certain level of physical strength from the fighter, and that’s why – in recent fights – he used them less and less due to his weakening state. He was uncertain whether he had the physical strength to do them now, but . . . it was the only way! If he was going to do it, it had to be now before he tired himself out more!
Six minutes after the stalemate, the announcer’s loud voice echoed out, and the quiet venue came to life, as he said: “Ah! Kamehame has made his move!”
“Let’s go, Maivia,” cried Kamehame. “It’s one of my 48 Killer Techniques: Fu Rin Ka Zan!”
‘Be as fast as the wind!’
He raised his arm and took the speed of a gale, as he unleashed a mighty arm-whip!
‘Be as quiet as the forest!’
He performed the Rolling Cradle perfectly and hurtled upward!
‘Be as daring as fire!’
Just as he was about to shift gears into a pile-driver, there was a delay to his arm movement and he struggled to endure the extra step in his technique! Worst yet, there was a momentary hesitation!”
“How disappointing,” shouted Maivia. “It’s all over for you, Kamehame!”
Maivia broke the clutch, and tuned his body upside-down into a reverse Tombstone Pile-Driver!
‘Be as daring as fire!’
The tremendous shock shook the Budokan!
Kamehame’s head was above the ring just like a tombstone, and – without any power – he collapsed down onto his back on the canvas.
“Uwaaaah!” Maiva cried out. “Now I’m the one as immovable as the mountain!”
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!
Just as Maivia lifted his fist to the air and cheered loud, the gong ran over and over. At last . . . finally . . . the Hawaiian chojin heavyweight belt, which had been defended for over 40 years, had a new owner! The big change in Hawaii, which Kamata predicted, had finally happened!
── To be continued
It had been almost three years since that event.
Kamehame left behind all of his previous glory, and – as promised – became Maivia’s assistant. The world is a cruel place, and even one of the greatest champions can soon be forgotten when a new hero makes an appearance. Nowadays, the only job left for him as a martial arts fighter was to weed out the challengers for Maivia, as a fighter in the preliminary matches, and it was a very lonely duty . . .
“Kamehame,” said Maivia. “Take my ring costume to the locker-room.”
The former champion nodded and obeyed Maivia’s orders. He was carrying Maivia’s belongings, when the 20th Chojin Olympics Champion – Kinnikuman – passed him by . . . this was a potential contender against Maivia. Kamehame said: “Oh, Kinnikuman! Let’s have a fair fight today.”
Kamehame greeted him with a smile, knowing he was to be tested as a potential opponent of Maivia, and kept a calm façade, while continuing with his duties as an assistant. He lived in such an undignified state that even many of his old followers had pitied him and turned their backs on him. So why would a man as great as Kamehame willingly make a fool of himself? Well, it all started with his fated defeat at the hands of Maivia . . .
There were two main reasons why Kamehame lost to Maivia. The first was that Maivia had accumulated so many counter-techniques against Kamehame that there was just no way to fight back. The second reason was that Kamehame was now just too old. But a defeat is a defeat, and Kamehame commented to teach Maivia his 100 Killer Techniques as promised.
Maivia certainly had a great deal of strength. He was intelligent, sensible, and worked hard. He was able to overcome any obstacle with his dexterity. But at the same time, Kamehame couldn't shake the following negative impression: ‘The raw essence isn’t bad, but there’s something Maivia is missing!’
He was still dissatisfied that there was no worthier heir in sight. He had to keep his promise to his Hawaiian superstar, and there was no other choice than to make Maivia his successor, but when he proposed this to Maivia, he received the following unbelievable response:
“Oi, Oi! I’m the one who beat you. I don’t care if you call it ‘Catch Wrestling’ or ‘Kamehame’s 100 Killer Techniques’, but it’s useless to me now. I’ve zero interest in underdogs! It’s my turn to create the “100 Techniques of Maivia”, so I can leave something behind for future generations. Let me say it again: your glory days are behind you. You can live out the rest of your days peacefully as my assistant. Ah, you don’t need to worry about food or board, as I’ll pay you handsomely, hahahaha!”
Maivia was completely carried away. It was a shame; with such arrogance, the pure and raw talent would gradually wither and waste. Kamehame knew that he had a responsibility to make this man grow up, so that he could achieve his best. That is why he took it upon himself to sift through all the challengers that flocked to Maivia; he knew that they would not make him an appropriate competitor, but among all the unknown challengers there was bound to be one diamond in the rough. If he could polish up such a diamond, they may be able to deliver Maivia a rude awakening.
The problem was, as always, the challengers for the Hawaiian title were an inferior lot, and there was still no one that could come close to defeating Maivia. If he sifted through them properly, he would win every match, and it would mean no one would face against Maivia; as such, he sometimes let corners and allowed the odd one to slip past him. It was during one of these desperate days that Kamehame met Kinnikuman . . .
That night went the same as usual; Kamehame went to his match against Kinnikuman, where he stepped as he normally did into the ring at the mountain auditorium. As the Superhuman Olympic Champion, you'd think that he'd be a little different from the usual suspects, but to be honest, he looked like a complete novice. If Kamehame were honest, he didn’t expect much.
The gong finally rung to start the match, and Kinnikuman would either win the right to challenge the champion or not. It was barely a second into the match when he tried to grapple Kinnikuman, and – on impact – an unexpected rush like lightning shot through his entire body! He thought to himself: ‘W-What’s with this man? What kind of terrifying power lies dormant in his body?’
It was two seconds into the match, and Kamehame was so terrified that he reflexively caught Kinnikuman in the Back Phillip position. He thought again: ‘Throw! Throw him! I you don’t settle the match soon, he’ll kill you!’
Three seconds after the start of the game, he was already in a fall position, and in the fourth second, Kinnikuman's shoulders touched the mat! The referee started his count on the fifth second!
1, 2, 3!
Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding!
The gong rang and the match was over. Kinnikuman lost to Kamehame in just seven seconds. Everyone at the ringside – including Maivia, Kamata, and even Kinnikuman (his opponent) – looked on in disbelief, but it was Kamehame who looked the most terrified, even though he had won his match . . . Kamehame pulled himself out of the ring. He looked over at Kinnikuman, who was cursing up a storm on the ring. Kamehame trembled all over, as he cried out in a congratulatory tone:
“He really is a diamond in the rough! He’s not at all like Maivia! Finally . . . I’ve found it! I’ve found a successor to whom I can teach my 100 Killer Techniques!”
It was dusk, just a few days later, and Kinnikuman had absolutely no idea how to proceed against Maivia. He spotted Kamehame on the beach, and stopped him by calling out: “Kamehame, you’re Maivia’s assistant! Why . . . Why did you come here?”
“Fufu . . . you’re much stronger than Jesse Maivia, the Hawaiian champion.”
Kamehame turned to Kinnikuman and fixed him with a serious stare. He proceeded to tell Kinnikuman all about why he was acting as Maivia’s assistant, and begged him to fulfil one request!
“Kinnikuman,” continued Kamehame. “Train under me! I’ll make your body as hard as steel! That’s not all; I’ll even teach you my 48 Killer Techniques that no other chojin knows!! You will be reborn as a true champion!”
Kinnikuman saw the passion behind Kamehame’s mind, and decided in that instant:
“Okay, let me carry the torch and fulfil your dreams . . . teach me your 48 Killer Techniques!!”
In just one week of special training, Kinnikuman had mastered Kamehame's 48 Killer techniques. The hellish special training also trained his body, and gained him beautiful muscles that gleamed just like a steel sword. It left him looking different than before.
‘I will fulfil Kamehame’s dream!’
When a man makes a promise, he keeps that promise no matter how difficult. This was the great charm of Kinnikuman: he was a man with a strong sense of duty and compassion.
* * *
The following fight between Kinnikuman and Maivia went down in history.
Kinnikuman defeated Maivia with his finishing move: Fu Rin Ka Zan. It was one of the 48 Killer Techniques, and – coincidentally – the same move Kamehame failed to use on Maivia.
‘Be as fast as the wind!’
He rushed with the speed of the wind; with tremendous momentum, he unleashed an arm whip!
‘Be as quiet as the forest!’
Hs perfectly caught the rolling cradle and sent him hurtling upwards! So far, it was exactly the same as the Kamehame-Maivia match, and maybe that’s why Maivia looked so sure of himself. A suspicious twinkle caught at Maivia’s eyes, as Kinnikuman prepared a pile-driver as the third-part of his plan. Maivia was confident that he could counter what was to come with his signature technique.
Just as planned, Kinnikuman shifted his arm-clutches from a rolling cradle into a pile-driver. At that moment, Maivia broke into a huge panic! Where was the opening that he expected?!
“Impossible,” cried Maivia. “Wasn’t this technique a total failure?!”
‘Be as daring as fire!’
Kinnikuman increased the speed of his pile-driver and fell with a vengeance! Boom! Maivia’s head pierced the canvas, but – despite that – the attack was far from over.
‘Be as immovable as the mountain!’
With that final phrase, the fourth stage of the Romero Special was perfectly executed. Maivia vomited blood, and – as he looked up at the man before him – he saw not Kinnikuman, but a young version of Kamehame . . . Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!
The gong rang out and signalled Kinnikuman had beaten Maivia. Strangely enough, this was also Maivia’s 1000th time defending his title, and this match would have determined whether or not he could surpass Kamehame’s record . . .
* * *
It was the night after the match.
Kamehame returned to the special ring at Kapiolani Park, where there was very little audience left. The ring had since been removed, leaving only the lights left standing, but there – looking up at the sky – was Maivia. He seemed to feel Kamehame approaching, and said:
“Hey, Kamehame . . . are you happy now? I was an awful man, who stole your treasured belt and humiliated you in defeat, and I used you as my personal assistant . . . today, I had my glorious Hawaiian title taken by your very successor. You must feel pretty good, huh?”
“Ah, I feel great, yes,” replied Kamehame. “I feel great, especially now that the Hawaii championship belt that I've been protecting for many years has come back to me. It’s up to me what to do with it, and I know exactly what I’ll do with it. Fofofofo!”
Kamehame slowly held up the belt once in one hand, before gently approaching Maivia and wrapping it around his waist.
"Kamehame,” cried Maivia. “You . . . what are you doing!"
“After taking the belt from you, Kinnikuman entrusted it to me, and now I've decided to entrust it to the person who deserves the most Hawaiian title.”
“But why?! Didn’t you hate me so much that you sent Kinnikuman on me in revenge?”
“Revenge? If I wanted revenge, it was solely to rid you of your self-conceit; after all, you took my title when you defeated me. That is why it bothered me to retire at the time.”
Maivia looked to the skies in an attempt to hold back tears, as he whispered:
“Oh, Kamehame . . . ever since I was a child, you’ve been my hero. I wanted to be a champion that everyone respects, just like you . . . I wished for nothing else, and I even went every day to watch your fights. What happened to me? It’s like the moment that I won the title, I became stagnant, and now I've lost my glorious Hawaiian title in the process. It’s all gone. It wasn’t until I lost everything that I realised how stupid I’d been. Kamehame, do you think we could start over?”
“There are two things important to me,” said Kamehame. “They are almost as important as my life itself. These are my 100 Killer Techniques, which I gifted to Kinnikuman, and the other was the Hawaiian championship belt. I believe in you with all my heart. I want to give this to you . . .”
“Kamehame, I’m really sorry . . .”
This was how Maivia came to make peace with Kamehame. It is said that – due to their co-operation – the Hawaiian chojin world continued to be a Mecca for the chojin world for many years to come.
── The End