When I was 12 I'd sort of grown out of my toys, cast aside like SWORD rejects. It was 1973 and Enter The Dragon hit the big screen. I wore platform shoes and smoked my only ciggy to get into see it with my mates. It was an X. I had discovered Kung Fu and the rest is chop suey! Smitten, I delved into it's Eastern mysteries like only a geeky teenager can. By the end of 1973 I had my own Dojo in my parent's cellar! Only a few snaps survive of this secret ninja hangout and the above is one of them! Kung Fu really didn't fit my gangly goofy bespectacled self but I didn't care. It was new and interesting and full of strange new words like Wing Chun and Pa Kua. For me it was Geek Fu pure and simple!
I was hooked and as far as I could tell so were thousands like me. We all wanted to be Bruce Lee or Kwai Chang Kane. I can remember putting the Dojo together and building all the chinese weapons as if were yesterday. They were indeed glorious days filled with teenage Zen and loose tea Cha No Yu. I miss the Dojo and my Kung Fu friends Masey, Cookie and Nick Rowe. With typical adolescent nerdiness we had our badge, grading system and legendary sparring sessions. The 'zenith' of our obsession had to be recreating a samurai battle in my back garden!
We wore armour cut from carpets, chicken-mesh helmets with visors and brandished swords made from metal carpet strips. My mum even made me a Hakama, the Japanese dress-pants worn by Kendoka or swordsmen. Her Grattan catalogue supplied a cheap copy katana too so I felt like a Lord! The spike and chain of the Ninja, the Kusarigama, were made from toilet chains with the rubber handles popular at the time and the 'field' was bristling with tonfa, nunchaks and sai!
The most daring point of the battle was a bow and arrow shot the full length of the garden aimed straight at my mate Masey's wire helmeted head! In true Kyujutsu fashion the bow was huge and the arrow was long and tipped with a tennis ball - the closest [and safest] thing we could find to copy the screaming whistle we'd seen attached in an old book! It was a classic skirmish worthy of the nobles of old Edo! I only wish we'd had it filmed on Super 8! We knew how to play in those days!
What were your teenage crazes?