California is just about the perfect place to be young. Between hundreds of miles of beachfront and easy access to high-quality herbal remedies, California is a surf punk dream come true. Being a young man in his early-twenties, John could frequently be found in the company of a small groups of friends, gathered around a bonfire by the ocean, singing along to his buddy's guitar and passing around bottles of cheap liquor.
On the weekend of the Ultimate Fighting Christian, John was at the beach with his close friends Eddie (the guitar player), Dave (the singer), and a few hangers-on. The most notable sometimes-friend was Bruce. His friends called him Kenpo Bruce, because Bruce had an irritating tendency to discuss at length his black-belt qualifications, and how he was going to study advanced martial arts techniques so that he could teach his considerable talents to the hungry masses. You know, give something back.
As the group enjoyed music, booze and the glories of the California shoreline (which frequently counted among its many virtues loose women in scant clothing), a friendly but large fellow wandered over and asked if he could join the easy-going gathering. He was welcomed with the glowing warmth one tends to find around people who have been inhaling hallucinogens for a while, and introduced himself as Chuck.
Chuck was a carpenter from up the coast. He was on vacation, and spent his downtime wandering the beaches and meeting people in casual conversations. While it was entirely possible that Chuck's 'vacation' might also have been confused with 'unemployment', and his 'wandering journeys' might have been mistaken for 'homelessness,' he was nonetheless a friendly guy, though by the time he approached John's campfire, he was very, very drunk. Chuck stated, in no uncertain terms, that he was a Christian, and that he was delighted to find a like-minded group of holy brothers. Chuck obviously did not know John and his friends very well.
The conversation eventually came around to Oriental fighting arts, with Kenpo Bruce talking at length about his martial arts training, and how he was potentially the most dangerous man alive. This intrigued Chuck, who announced that he was also a practitioner of the noble art of karate. He jumped to his feet and gave an impromptu demonstration, which resembled a paraplegic receiving electric shock therapy, and made John and his friends laugh out loud.
Chuck was not amused. In his inebriated state, he was pretty certain he was a karate genius. He declared loudly that Kenpo Bruce must stand up and spar with him, right there in the sand. Bruce waved him off, but Chuck insisted. Finally, when Chuck told Bruce that his father must be embarrassed to have raised such a pathetic child, Bruce decided that he should teach this drunken lout a lesson.
A quick aside might be in order here, so that we can enjoy a brief discussion of martial arts. You see, there's a considerable difference between knowing what one should do in a fight, and actually knowing how to fight. In the one case, the student of martial arts may believe himself to be a powerhouse of violence, but in the other case, the actual brawler has been hit in the face enough times to know that simply memorizing a few Chinese fighting stances and Japanese words for 'pants' means absolutely nothing when a near-homicidal drunk decides to beat you to fine paste.
The fight began humorously enough, with Kenpo Bruce dancing around the beach, throwing fistfuls of sand at Chuck and shouting, 'Kenpo! The art of fighting without fighting!', which was both nonsensical and comical. Chuck continued to berate Bruce, calling him all manner of unmanly names, until Bruce finally worked up enough nerve to punch him.
Even though he was a complete pansy who had never been in a fight, that black belt in Kenpo had at least taught Bruce how to ball up a fist and plant it in a man's face. The solid smack was enough to make John wince - but it barely fazed Chuck. So Bruce kicked him in the stomach, but again, Chuck didn't even seem to notice. Instead, Chuck jumped at Bruce, brought him to the ground, and began to throw Hail Mary punches at this face.
Two factors saved Bruce. First, he was a wiry five-foot-ten, and he whipped his head around so fast that Chuck couldn't land a blow. Second, Chuck was severely impaired by his inebriated state, and while he probably thought he was delivering killer blows, his main accomplishment was to churn up the sand.
Bruce realized immediately that he was hopelessly outclassed. Kenpo taught him how to fight on his feet; it left him completely unprepared for a situation in which he found himself pinned underneath a huge drunk who threw punches like a bull elephant. He screamed to John and his friends, 'ASSISTANCE! I REQUIRE ASSISTANCE!'
Those were his actual words. I did not make that up.
While the farcical scene was enough to make the rest of the gathering howl with laughter, John and Dave quickly realized that unchecked, this situation could result in police activity. So they ran over and told Chuck that he had won, Bruce had been soundly trounced, and the fight should come to an end. Chuck, in his advanced state of alcoholic delusion, ignored them and continued to punch the sand with enough power to cause earthquakes in Saigon.
Seeing that words would not have an effect, Dave began to pummel Chuck about the face and back. But Chuck was in a zone, unable to acknowledge outside influences, and maintained his current undertaking of beating the sand around Bruce's head into submission. So John entered the melee and immediately resorted to extreme measures - he cracked Chuck over the head with a mostly-full bottle of cheap vodka.
Another aside is in order. At this point, we should examine the sturdiness of the modern glass bottle. In the movies, glass bottles tend to break if a skinny woman sits too close to them, and they always break on impact with a man's head. However, in real life, liquor bottles are surprisingly sturdy, and skulls are remarkably soft, all things considered.
John's bottle did not break. There was a dull thud, but no crashing glass, and John turned in amazement to Dave, who shrugged. Chuck, meanwhile, ignored the blow to his cranium and still refused to give up on beating the stuffing out of Bruce. So John took a step back, leapt into the air, and brought that bottle down with both hands on the back of Chuck's head.
This time the bottle did break. Grain alcohol, glass shards and drops of blood sprayed everywhere. And at that point, John and Dave realized another important fallacy - not everybody who is conked on the head passes out cold. In fact, Chuck rose to his feet, a wounded expression on his face, and asked John, 'Whadja do that for?'
John was more than a little nervous now. Chuck had withstood a near inhuman level of punishment, and seemed to be little more than irritated. The big drunk advanced on John, who explained quickly that Chuck would be ill-advised to continue this course of action. John had been in fights, and knew what to do with the jagged chunk of glass in his hand. Chuck kept coming, so John cut him.
The broken bottle bit deep into Chuck's side, tearing through his t-shirt and a fair amount of flesh. Blood began to stain the shirt immediately, but still Chuck refused to fall. John was panicked - if a bottle to the head and a stab in the belly couldn't stop this monster, what would?
In a moment of inspiration, John found his voice.
"Chuck! You're a Christian, right? Would Jesus want you to do this?"
As if struck by lightning, Chuck dropped to his knees. Tears mingled with blood and vodka as he cried out, 'I'm so sorry, brother! I'm so sorry!' Completely surprised by the sudden change of attitude, John graciously accepted the apology, after which Chuck rose to his feet and stumbled away, mumbling and crying to himself as he teetered off into the sunset.
John never saw Chuck or Kenpo Bruce again, but he did learn some valuable life lessons that night. He learned that there's a big difference between knowing karate and knowing how to fight. He also learned that glass bottles are quite a bit sturdier than Hollywood would have us believe. And he learned that, while there are remarkably few problems that cannot be solved with an appropriate application of violence, sometimes the right words can stop a man better than a painful beating.