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Tag Archives: Japan

The Lord of the Rings as an unnecessarily detailed metaphor for World War II

13 Sep

It’s only fair to begin this article with a disclaimer that the ideas listed below were thought up by a few Sherman Ave writers who decided to spend a Wednesday night drinking heavily and watching Lord of the Rings. We’re not sure if that’s more of a discredit to our ideas or merely ourselves, but it only feels proper to acknowledge that these ideas were the result of a long, loud, and quite inebriated conversation, which – regrettably – drowned out the cinematic masterpiece playing on the shitty 19″ television before us.  And for all you Tolkien fanatics out there, we’re well aware of the fact that he adamantly rebukes all claims that his books have allegory for the world wars.  But if high school English teachers get to make up symbolism and shove it down your throat, then by God, we’re going to as well.

Mordor or Germany? Bet you can’t even tell.

Mordor as Nazi Germany

This one should be fairly self-explanatory. Mordor is a highly industrialized powerhouse which seems to have turned evil under the lordship of one pretty huge taint. After having lost a previous war (the one in the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring, in which Sauron’s ring is taken by Isildur), Mordor is humiliated by their crushing defeat, and seeks not only to avenge their dignity but also to regain their status as a viable power in Middle-Earth. This means that Adolf Hitler is Sauron – a mindless and power-tripping despot who brings evil to the world. The Nazgul represent the S.S., being the ones who carry out Hitler’s bidding on more important tasks. That would probably make Heinrich Himmler represent the Witch-King of Angmar, which is obviously reasonable. Erwin Rommel is represented by Gothmog, the incredibly heinous-looking Orc general with the fucked up eye who leads the river crossing at Osgiliath. The Mouth of Sauron represents Joseph Goebbels and the Eye of Sauron represents Hitler’s mustache, seeing as it is Sauron’s most memorable feature.

“One does not simply cooperate with Patton’s Third Army.”

Gondor as Britain

Gondor is clearly one of Mordor’s primary targets, and Gondor knows that the rising power of Mordor means they will have to sustain vicious attacks, given their proximity. Gondor also is a storied Western monarchy that was once powerful but has since weakened, much like the British Empire. This means that Denethor is Neville Chamberlain, being a leader who once had potential but has become such a useless sack of shit that he needs to be replaced during the war. It must be, then, that Aragorn is Winston Churchill – the replacement for Denethor who comes to the rescue and rallies Gondor. (Side note: We’d go so far to say that Aragorn’s horse, Brego, represents whiskey, and that his sword, Narsil, represents cigars, seeing as those appear to be the two things that most aided Churchill in his life.) Continuing with Gondor as Britain, we’d say that Boromir is Field Marshal Montgomery, since he’s a pretty effective soldier who happens to be an asshole. Lastly, Faramir represents King George VI – a noble man who has lived his whole life in his older brother’s shadow. Lamentably, Faramir doesn’t have a debilitating speech impediment. By this model, Minas Tirith is London, the Siege of Minas Tirith is the Battle of Britain, and Osgiliath is Dunkirk.

Josef Stalin and Winston Churchill, preparing to ride horses into an army of Axis forces

Rohan as the Soviet Union

Of the forces fighting against Mordor, Rohan probably suffers the greatest losses. They are also initially hesitant to be involved in this epic war, thinking they can avoid it, just as the USSR maintained a Nonaggression Pact with Germany at the outset of the war. Eventually, though, Rohan comes to the aid of Gondor, and at the end of the day, one could certainly argue that Rohan was the most influential nation in Mordor’s demise. From this, we can assume that Grima Wormtongue represents Vyacheslav Molotov, the Soviet foreign minister who engineered a pact with the Nazi forces in the same way Wormtongue forged a similar alliance. King Theoden is Josef Stalin – a fairly disagreeable politician who seems to love power-tripping, but is ultimately instrumental in the war effort. This leads us to believe that Eomer is Georgi Zhukov, partially because Zhukov was a fantastic Soviet general, but mostly because we can’t really fit Eomer anywhere else. We would assume then that The Battle of Helm’s Deep is The Battle of Stalingrad, since it was a ruthless siege which occurred in unfavorable weather conditions but ultimately served as somewhat of a turning point in the war.

You’re a wizard, Benito!

Isengard as Italy

A militaristic nation ruled by a cult-of-personality dictator, Isengard initially seems to be quite a formidable power in the war, and its allegiance to Mordor a massive setback. However, they end up being knocked out of the war much earlier than any other power, and their leader killed in a very gruesome and public manner. Needless to say, this means Saruman is Benito Mussolini – a very dickish leader who serves mostly as Sauron’s/Hitler’s puppet.

“RRREEEETTTTRRRRREEEEAAAATTTTT!!!!!!”

Elves as France

The Elves seem perfectly content to observe complacently as their world is taken over by evil dickbags. Even though they have a “history of courageous militarism,” they are way too pussy to actually participate in the war. Only a small group of Elves (representing, of course, the French resistance movement) is actually willing to stand up to Mordor and fight alongside their allies. Presumably, this means Legolas is Charles de Gaulle, seeing as he is the most involved elf in the war. Accordingly, Elrond is Field Marshal Philippe Pétain, the leader of the elves whose passiveness facilitated the spread of evil to the point at which he’s basically a traitor.

THEY’RE DEFINITELY JAPANESE, OKAY?

Easterlings as Japan

First of all, since we’re all thinking it: They totally look Japanese with their eye make-up and all that. But besides that, the Easterlings are a people puppeted by Mordor to fight for his cause. They don’t appear to have any obvious connection with Mordor other than their manipulation by the forces of evil. That’s all we’ve got for Japan…

Hobbits as Jews

Constantly being hunted by Mordor, the Hobbits only want to live peacefully in society and avoid conflict. Throughout the story, it’s clear that “the halflings” are Sauron’s main priority. Assuming that all Hobbits are Jews, we could then claim that the four most important Hobbits are the four most important Jews. Frodo and Sam are Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer, carrying a very powerful weapon which Sauron wants (read: The Ring of Power is the Atomic Bomb).

“I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.”

This, of course, implies that Mount Doom is Hiroshima, the culmination of the omnipotent weapon which summarily ends the war. As long as Hobbits are Jews, we’ll go ahead and declare that Lembas bread is bagels. Since we need other important Jews to fill the roles of other important Hobbits, we’ll say that Pippin is Anne Frank (remember when he hid from the Orcs at the end of Fellowship of the Ring?) and Merry is Oskar Schindler (yes, he was Catholic, but he’s close enough). Thus, Kristallnacht is Weathertop, indicating Hitler’s first attack against the Jews. The Shire is Israel, since they’re both places that the Hobbits/Jews can only really dream of during the war. And lastly, The Tower of Cirith Ungol is Auschwitz and Shelob is a train to Auschwitz.

Anne Frank and Oskar Schindler observe the ruins of North Africa whilst on the back of Haile Selassie

Fangorn Forest as Africa

Leading up to the war, Saruman had been meddling malevolently in the Fangorn Forest, much like Italy dicked around in Ethiopia in the 1930s. Furthermore, it was a series of events in Fangorn Forest that led to the fall of Isengard, just as Operation Torch and ultimately the Battle of El Alamein lead to the Allies being positioned to invade Italy. We’re going to go ahead and assume that this means Ents are Ethiopians, meaning that Treebeard is Haile Selassie, serving as the leader who called out Saruman/Mussolini on his inappropriate actions.

Did you ever notice that he’s only pictured from the waist up?

The Army of the Dead as the United States of America

You’ve probably been waiting for the good ol’ U-S-of-A to get its honorable mention, and now you’re probably crestfallen by their seemingly sad counterpart. Well…sorry. The Army of the Dead originally had no intention of joining the war, but were eventually coaxed into it to honor an ancient but very strong allegiance. Aragorn, as Churchill, is obviously the only person who could have garnered their support. The Battle of Pelennor Fields, representing D-Day, probably could not have been won without the help of the Army of the Dead. (The King of the Dead is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, especially after April 1945.) Speaking of the Battle of Pelennor Fields, you know those catapults that the orcs load with heads and launch at Minas Tirith? V-2 ROCKETS.

George C. Scott is…SHADOWFAX

Gandalf as General Eisenhower

Gandalf is the only character in the story truly capable of uniting Elves, Men, Dead, and Gimli, just as Eisenhower effectively led French, British, American, and Canadian forces in Europe. This probably means that Shadowfax is General Patton. General Patton was an Olympic athlete in his younger days, so he was fit and fast like Shadowfax. Patton also responded to strangle whistles, and Shadowfax was reportedly killed in a car accident after the war. Honestly kind of an eerie connection. All this taken into consideration, it’s probably fair to say that The Battle at the Black Gate represents The Battle of the Bulge, as it was the last stand made by Mordor before being righteously defeated.

Yes, this is a picture of Dwight Eisenhower riding Harry Truman. No, you shouldn’t Google that.

The Eagles as President Harry Truman

Through the whole story, one can’t help but wonder – why the hell don’t they just use the Eagles to get to Mordor instead of putting Frodo and Sam on this painstakingly long journey? Similarly, looking back at World War II, one can’t help but wonder – why the hell couldn’t FDR die earlier so Truman could end the war sooner? Truman clearly knew how to end a damn war, because he had the cajones to mercilessly massacre 250,000 people. The Eagles swoop into save the day at the end in much the same way Truman swooped into end the war.

“Nobody toshesh a peripherally relevant bilingual democrashy!”

Gimli as Canada

Gimli maintains an odd subservience to Legolas and Aragorn, much in the same way that France is a large cultural influence in Canada and Britain is a moderate political influence. More importantly, though, we must acknowledge that Gimli and Canada were both really just involved in the war to provide comedic relief.

Oliphants as Bulgaria

The involvement of oliphants in the war certainly aided Mordor’s cause, but realistically, Mordor would have been perfectly fine without their help.

King Theoden, chuckling heartily at the misfortunes he caused the Ukrainians by his failed New Economic Policy

That Orc who says “We haven’t had anything but maggoty bread for three stinkin’ days!” as Ukraine

It would be wholly improper to write an article about World War II without making at least one joke about Ukraine producing most of the Soviet Union’s wheat but still starving because of Stalin’s unsuccessful implementation of a redistributive economic system.

Eleanor Roosevelt ponders her latent lesbianism. Or maybe the death of her father, Josef Stalin. Hmm.

Eowyn as Eleanor Roosevelt

Admittedly, this one doesn’t entirely work because Eowyn was in no way married to the King of the Dead. That being said, we would readily believe that Eleanor Roosevelt had a crush on Winston Churchill in the same way that Eowyn was tryna with Aragorn, and she probably would have gotten with King George VI the same way she got with Faramir.

Galadriel as Rosie the Riveter

Galadriel really only serves a symbolic role in the story, encouraging Frodo, Sam, and the others to continue their fight for good. If that’s the case, we suppose The Light of Elendil is Freedom, maybe? Too much? Too much of a stretch? This is almost done, we promise.

Gollum as Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin

Jeannette Rankin was the only congresswoman who voted against the American declaration of war in December 1941. Not only did she perpetrate one of the most pronounced bitchmoves in American history, but the real reason she voted against it is because she knew that the war would mean the use of the atomic bomb, and as a typical greed-driven female politician, she wanted the atomic bomb for herself. Hers. Her own. Her precious.

Congresswoman Rankin unceremoniously feasting upon a live fish from the reflecting pool.

Interestingly enough, she also loved beating live fish against rocks and eating them in a grotesque manner. She also wore a loincloth and had Split Personality disorder. She also bit off Albert Einstein’s ring finger in Hiroshima.

*Note: You may have noticed that we didn’t include Arwen. That’s because Arwen is a stupid bitch character who only gets mentioned twice in the books and deserves no fucking place in this vaunted story.

-Contributions from Brother Jürgen Taintsdorf, Commandant Leo Sextoi, and Sad Bones Malone

For more painfully unnecessary and exhaustive World War II metaphors and other things, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!  Then seek therapy immediately.

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20 People Who Accomplished More Than Me Before They Were 20

9 Nov

This cupcake symbolizes the defeat of teenage pregnancy

So this weekend I turned 20. The celebration was excellent, and the weekend was replete with friends, family, Lupe Fiasco, inexplicable football victories, a seemingly insurmountable stockpile of baked goods, and innumerable abuses of new Sherman Ave writers-to-be. But at some point during the frivolities, somewhere in between heinifying the Shakespeare Gardens and shouting Taylor Martinez-related obscenities on the El, I was struck by the realization that I had suddenly graduated from being merely a teenager into the vaunted world of the 20-something.

Now, I’d like to think that I fit into the 20-something club quite nicely. I publish self-indulgent blog posts, live in dire fear of missing a party, and am woefully unemployed. I vote Democrat and laugh at the word “clitoromegaly.” I buy records on vinyl, wear flannel, and spend an obscene proportion of my income at either BK or EV1, which suits me just fine. I fervently and irrationally believe that Steve Kerr was one of the most important guards in NBA history, and will be a drain on society in general for the next five years or so. Needless to say, I play a good deal of Sporcle and Civilization IV.

This 20-something is a Starbucks barista and staff writer for Thought Catalog

Besides being a great excuse to drink Andre and treat my friends as dutiful subjects to the Birthday Boy for a day, turning 20 is also a good milestone to size up the accomplishments and failures of my life. Even if I never played first base for the White Sox or fronted a touring rock n roll band, I’d like to think I’ve accomplished a fair deal, including roadtripping to LA and founding the most atrocious blog known to the greater Chicagoland area. But no matter what I’ve done, here are the 20 people who accomplished so much more than I could ever dream of before they were even able to legally drink in Japan.

1. Beyoncé’s Unborn Baby
That fetus was still only 5 months old when it garnered 8,868 tweets a minute at the MTV Music Video Awards. To be honest, the only time I can ever hope to gain that much recognition in social media is if Ross Packingham mentions me in one of his status updates. The progeny of Ms. Knowles and Mr. Z will almost certainly emerge from the womb with more talent, beauty, and hedge fund investments than five generations of Rees’ will be able to amass. If this kid doesn’t have a hit single by the time she’s 7, Amy Winehouse will turn over in her grave.

Jesus getting hammered, like a proper 20-something

2. Jesus
Although by the time he was 20 the God the Son incarnated hadn’t quite gotten around to teaching the word of God, performing miracles, or founding the Church, he was at least gainfully employed, which is much better than I can say for myself. You can rest assured that the Messiah was a really fucking good carpenter, as evidenced by his prominent position on Wikipedia’s “Notable Carpenters” list.

3. Harry Potter
Defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? Check. Graduate school? Check. Bang a butterface ginger? Check. The kid did it all, which is even more impressive considering that he never once succumbed to the distraction of working alongside Emma Watson.

I'm going to grow up to do WHAT???

4. Michael Jackson
Despite being born in the eternal hellhole of Gary, Indiana, MJ quickly rose to prominence. At the age of eight, a time when I was mostly concerned about training my Bulbasaur and watching The Bachelor when my Mom wasn’t home, the kid was opening for stripteases with the Jackson 5. If the vocal talent wasn’t enough, he also sported the greatest afro any prepubescent boy ever possessed.

5. Koko the Gorilla
It took me nearly two years to master elementary Spanish, but this adorable ape mastered American Sign Language and English in a few short years. She also had a kitten, and apparently assaulted more women than Herman Cain, both of which prove her superiority to me.

Morty as a child

6. Morton “Morty” Owen Schapiro
The man could grow a full grown beard in first grade in the same time it took me to read a page of Good Night Moon. But for a more complete examination of his exploits in the early years of this man’s life, I suggest you reference Chloe Woodhouse’s expose on the legend himself.

7. Macaulay Culkin
This kid was uglier than what I imagine Steve Buscemi to have looked like as a child, and yet he was still fucking boss. Not only did he single-handedly defeat Joe Pesci in the highest grossing comedy of all time, he also got to live the life of the richest boy in the world as the son of the founder of Rich Industries. The icing on the cake: Mila Kunis.

She also accomplished scaring the living shit out of me as a child

8. Matilda
So smart she could develop telekinetic abilities with the unused part of her brain, she was able to defeat Miss Trunchbull and form a happy, loving family with Miss Honey all before graduating elementary school. Although I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive her for the nightmares I suffered after watching the chokey scene.

9. Willow Smith
This video has over 64 million views. The most popular video I ever starred in was of me doing the “Single Ladies” dance in my senior year econ class. Either there’s something wrong with America, or I just got my ass handed to me by a 10-year-old. Or both.

He also managed to get arrested before me.

10. Bill Gates
By the end of sophomore year, the nerd had set a record for the fastest algorithm produced in his Harvard combinatorics class that stood for 30 years. Then he founded Microsoft. By the end of my sophomore year, I intend to have decided upon a concentration and get Sherman Ave to generate enough revenue to pay for beer.

11. Jane Austen
The woman had written most of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice before she turned 20. Not that I really care about the morals, scandals, and marriages of the early 19th Century landed gentry of England, but I’d just about die if Colin Firth ever portrayed one of my characters. Just saying, he’d make a great Sir Edward Twattingworth III.

12. Peter the Great
Dude was 10 when he became Tsar. During his reign he transformed Russia from a freezing, backward, and destitute rural society into a 5,000,000-square-mile freezing, backward, and destitute society. All while suffering from epilepsy.

Despite a lack of physical presence, he still dominated in the paint.

13. Air Bud
That golden retriever probably scored more points in one season than I did in my entire rec league basketball career. Second only to Michael Jordan’s role in Space Jam for convincing kids that they were better than basketball than they actually were, the only downside of Air Bud was the experience of overwhelming disappointment when you own dog couldn’t drain a three-pointer.

14. Lindsay Lohan
Herbie: Fully Loaded aside, The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, and Mean Girls are some of the greatest acting performances I’ve seen in my lifetime. I’m pretty sure most guys my age have harbored a life-long crush on her ever since she valiantly challenged herself to a fencing match.

15. Michelangelo
Probably one of the best artists in Florence by the age of 14. No big deal.

16. Eliàn Gonzàlez
Not only did Gonzàlez cross from Cuba into American waters in an aluminum boat with a faulty motor, he also survived a sea storm while floating on nothing more than an inner tube. He also accomplished more in politics than any MTV Rock the Vote campaign ever has, quite possibly costing Al Gore the 2000 presidential election.

17. Madeline
The girl got her appendix removed and acted like it was no big deal. She also survived a fall off a bridge into the Seine River and ran away to join a group of traveling gypsies before she learned long division. That’s all there is; there isn’t any more.

18. Beethoven
Sure, as a child his father made young Ludwig stand at they keyboard until he cried. But it all worked out, right? He was seven at the time of his first public performance, and was publishing original compositions before most kids his age had mastered the art of five-paragraph essays.

Adorable

19 and 20 (tie). Eng Seng Ng and Cheng Yen Ng
Eng Seng Ng is a 19-year-old grad student at Stanford. Most people that age are busy playing National Treasure drinking games and sleeping through 11:00 am discussion sections, not completing their master’s in mechanical engineering at the top school in the country. Ng’s sister Chenny is just as amazing. The renowned master of the Hoedown Throwdown, Chenny is also an internationally-acclaimed practitioner of all things heinous, not to mention the most adorable member of Sherman Ave.

Honorable Mentions:
Adele, Kain Colter, Sasha Obama, George Harrison, LeBron James, Achilles, and Charlie Young.

Badasses in History: Miyamoto Musashi

23 Oct

There are very few truths in this world. “Good” and “evil” are almost never that simple. “Money-back guarantees” are usually scams, and, let’s face it, “both fun and educational!” is just a hair away from being a bigger lie than Santa Clause.

Sorry about that. I should have said spoiler alert.

Anyway, my point is that there are very few universal statements. My favorite however is this: Samurais are awesome.

Find me an exception. I dare you. Tell me you have never seen a samurai movie and left wishing to every power you believe in (and some you don’t, just to cover your bases) that you could be even a fraction as badass as a samurai is without even trying.

Like Tom Cruise in "The Last Samurai," but less of a pansy.

That said, let’s meet this week’s Historical Badass.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Miyamoto Musashi.

Musashi was many things, but what he was, above all else, is the greatest swordsman the world has ever seen. That shit you saw in Kill Bill? He was better. The three hundred Spartans? He could have killed them blindfolded. Every trope applied to Samurai applied to this man, but more so. We tell children scary stories about Godzilla, vampires, and manbearpig. They tell their kids about Miyamoto Musashi.

But I should start at the beginning.

We don’t actually know a lot about Musashi’s youth. The best historians can say is that he was born in 1584 in the Mimasaka Province of Japan. His father was an accomplished martial artist and swordsman and his grandfather was the vassal of a feudal lord by the name of Shinmen.

Beyond that, we don’t know much.

What we do know however, is that Musashi was one precocious motherfucker. How so you ask? Well, he killed a man at age 13. In a duel.

“But Josh!” you say. “Surely it was a training accident against another student at his dojo or some shit! No way it was for serial.”

Actually I’m “super serial.” At age 13, when many of us were having Bar Mitzvah’s and worrying about acne, popularity, and pop quizzes, Musashi was fucking killed people. In fact, his opponent, Arima Kihei, was a grown man…and already a samurai.

He was also kind of a douche. Thing is, he had come to Musashi’s hometown and posted a notice that he wanted to duel someone…anyone. Just because. Dude, what an a-hole.

Musashi, being a badass, decided “screw this guy, I’ll fuck up his shit worse than Samuel L. Jackson in any movie ever.” So, teen Musashi went and wrote his name on the notice, and adding (according to reliable sources) several “Yo Mamma” jokes, just to be sure Kihei wouldn’t chicken out.

At this point, Kihei went and told Miyamoto’s uncle about it, pissed that some punk-kid had challenged him. Musashi’s uncle was equally surprised, especially because Musashi didn’t actually have much swordsmanship training under his belt (or gi or obi or whatever samurai call belts).

I’ll take a moment to laugh my ass off and hand the story over to William Scott Wilson, author of The Lone Samurai.

Kihei was adamant that the only way his honor could be cleared was if Musashi apologized to him when the duel was scheduled. So when the time set for the duel arrived, Dorin began apologizing for Musashi, who merely charged at Kihei with a six-foot quarterstaff, shouting a challenge to Kihei. Kihei attacked with a wakizashi, but Musashi threw Kihei on the floor, and while Kihei tried to get up, Musashi struck Arima between the eyes and then beat him to death.

To recap, in a fight of “Samurai vs. kid-who-barely-has-pubes-yet”, Musashi wins… by just running at the samurai with a giant staff. Against a guy with a sword. If nothing else, kid has mad balls.

In any case, Musashi did what any samurai would do in every samurai movie, he uttered some badass one-liner, took the guy’s sword, then wandered off into the sunset.

Four years and many duels later (of which he lost not a single one), Musashi found himself at the Battle of Sekigahara, which Wikipedia will fast inform you as being a seriously important battle in Japanese history, the equivalent of Gettysburg in the American Civil War or the Battle of Austerlitz in the Napoleonic Wars. Or that one episode of Batman where he has to take on the Joker, Penguin, and Two-Face all at once.

Musashi looking his absolute prettiest

That episode was awesome.

Anyway, seventeen-year-old Musashi reputedly killed an enormous number of opponents, escaping the battle without a single wound. Yeah. Seventeen-year-old vs. army? Musashi: 1, Army: 0.

Suck on that, whiny Spartans. A google search tells me that after the battle Musashi drew his sword and slashed it in mid-air, delivering a death-blow to a 450-years later Chuck Norris. Sure, after all I’ve heard, why not?

So, you ask again, how can one dude be this badass? Surely that’s all?

Hush, grasshopper. Bask in the glory that is Musashi.

In the following years, Musashi spent much of his time dueling (again, he never lost. Not once.), defeating nearly all of his opponents—usually masters of various swordsmanship schools—with a single blow.

It was also during this time that he developed what he would explain in his masterpiece, Go Rin No Sho (The Book of Five Rings), as his signature sword-style: Niten Ichi Ryu, which can either mean “two swords, one soul” or “School of two swords.”

I’ve decided however, that the clear, and accurate, translation is “two swords, much killing.” Unlike most samurai (fucking pansies!), who fought with only one sword, Musashi was able to simultaneously attack and defend thanks to his two-sword style.

To put this in perspective, let me explain how most duels worked at the time. Essentially, both combatants would draw their (lame) single sword and proceed to try and fuck each other up, both parrying (blocking, for those of you who don’t speak swordsman-ese) each other and making the whole thing go on for a long time. Like a commercial during your favorite show, it just wouldn’t end.

Musashi, however, could just block with his shorter sword, then tell the opponent a knock-knock joke before cutting the fool to pieces with his other blade.

It was under these circumstances that Musashi easily defeated Yoshioka Seijuro, head of the famous Yoshioka swordsmanship school. Yoshioka’s students, understandably bothered at seeing their Mister Miyagi cut down with all the effort it might take to eat a piece of pizza, all immediately charged Musashi.

There was only one of him, right?

Yeah, they didn’t stand a chance.

After slaughtering the rest of them—and raiding the liquor cabinet—Musashi went on to claim the lives of many, many other posers. Yet even this wasn’t what makes Musashi so god-damn badass.

That honor goes to his duel with legendary swordsman Sasaki Kojiro, known at the time as “The Demon of the Western Provinces.” Clearly, this was not a man most of us would be willing to fuck with. But Mushashi was no ordinary man.

Both men had never been defeated in a duel, but there were some big differences. Musashi was known for being drunk, dirty, disheveled, and really, really rude. Kojiro on the other hand came from a powerful samurai family and was well-regarded by the Japanese elite.

This is a nodachi

Musashi, reputedly, had heard of Kojiro’s skill with the nodachi, which is to say, Big Fucking Sword (BFS for short).

The blade is four feet long. That is taller than a midget. I say that with no disrespect to little people. It is also taller than many children. I am frightened merely by its picture.

Basically, it is a katana on steroids, but sharper and deadlier. I feel safe saying that there really is no deadlier non-firearm weapon out there.

Hell, even if I had a gun I wouldn’t feel that safe going up against one of those things.

But I digress. As mentioned earlier, Musashi challenged Kojiro to a duel. In his challenge, he specified that the duel be held at the island of Ganryu at sunrise. Quentin Tarantino, this is your bread and butter. Michael Bay, please shut up and learn something from this.

On one hand, we have an incredibly skilled, famous noble samurai. On the other, we have a homeless man with a really really sharp sword, who is equally skilled, but also known to be a total dick, and never really gets around to showering.

It’s like Dennis Rodman vs. Michael Jordan. They’re both good, but one dude has a lot more going for him.

In any case, as was his custom, Musashi showed up late—so as to mindfuck his opponent and make them angry or nervous. This time however, he threw in a free extra.

He didn’t come with a sword.

Instead, he showed up with…

Wait for it.

A wooden practice sword that he had carved out of a boat oar.

Yeah. This was worse than an insult. This was Musashi saying that Kojiro was unfit to have even his blood grace Musashi’s blade, the equivalent of…

Of…

I’m not even sure I can think of something insulting enough without resorting to racial slurs or profound queries as to whether a person’s mother maintains virtue and decorum at all times.

Dude could fuck your shit up seven different ways from Sunday

But despite appearances, Musashi had this all planned out. You see, the great advantage of the Niten Ichi Ryu sword style was an incredibly long reach, as well as simultaneous attack-and-defense capability. So when he was making the wooden blade, Musashi made sure it was a few inches longer than a typical nodachi.

Thus, when Kojiro charged in, Musashi immediately used his blade’s longer reach to bring his sword down on Kojiro’s head, smashing his skull and killing him instantly.

And that was it.

Musashi went on to win more than 60 duels in his life. But as he grew older he got tired of winning so much and never encountering a challenge. As such, he retired to isolation in the mountains of Japan, spending years writing about the true meaning of being a warrior.

The result was the book we know today as “The Book of Five Rings” or Go Rin No Sho, which is still studied even today by businessmen and military strategists.

Also, it’s fucking awesome. Among its many gems—I’m not lying when I say it is extremely profound—is a technique so awesome that I feel as if I had looked upon the face of God himself.

Or seen Scarlett Johansson naked. Yeah, I’ll go with that.

Oh, right. The technique. It’s called “Stabbing the Face”:
When you are even with an opponent, it is essential to keep thinking of stabbing him in the face with the tip of your sword in the intervals between the opponent’s sword blows and your own sword blows. When you have the intention of stabbing your opponent in the face, he will try to get both his face and body out of the way. In the midst of battle, as soon as an opponent tries to get out of the way, you have already won. Therefore it is imperative not to forget the technique of “stabbing the face.” This should be cultivated in the course of practicing martial arts.