[WP] You live in a martial art anime universe where the characters announce their moves before executing them. As a deaf character, you announce with sign language, which leads to resentment among your defeated opponents of your “underhanded sneak attacks”.
I’m no stranger to the scowls…to the angry eyes, to the visible yells..But it doesn’t make it any easier. Is this what success is supposed to feel like? I thought winning was a feeling your body celebrated, but this doesn’t feel like celebration. It feels like everytime I win, I sink a little lower into a hole labelled with my initials, a hole I realised I was born in when I figured out that the silence I experienced perpetually was exclusive to me in my family of 10.
My mother, for her part, never made me feel any different. She’d started training me as soon as I was old enough to crawl (she said). Our system of education was unique. We were educated not in Maths or Science as the rest of the World was, but in the form of Kudo. Kudo was the martial arts technique handed down to us by generations of Japanese warriors before us. Our ancestors prided themselves on the art of “lightness”. The best Kudo practitioners were those who knocked down their opponents with the simplest of moves and with seemingly, no contact at all – for example, an expert Kudo move would be a light, but rapid sweep of the foot an inch away from the opponent and the net effect on an amateur opponent would be the equivalent of a blast of wind to the torso blowing him away. Such masters of the technique were awarded the Jupiter belt. But my world of silence helped me concentrate and when I was practicing Kudo, I was in a zone of complete focus. Consequently, at age 7, I was the youngest recipient of the Jupiter Belt.
I shook out of my reverie and looked around at the near-empty, dilapidated dojo. It had been 3 years since the award ceremony to today – the day of the tournament. A giant board hung limply at a corner, but the LED lights declared the next and final round in a bright and bold fashion – “Sushima vs Tenma”.
The road so far had not been easy. Not from a fighting perspective of course; I was better than most of the fighters here, but it always seemed like I was skirting a line – a line that all that stood between “Winner” and “Disqualified”. It didn’t help that my opponents in most of the prior matches kept declaring that they couldn’t understand the moves I was signalling to them – and what else could I do? I could try speaking it out and they Still wouldn’t understand it any better because of my ineptitude in the vocal department! And it wasn’t as if they were being fair to me! I was interpreting their voiced pre-actions via lip movements! That put me at a disadvantage as well! Didn’t they ever consider that? Of course not. “The hubris of the defeated”. They couldn’t come to terms that a 10 year old was beating them and by a margin. Of course they would blame my way of signalling.
[To be continued…]