Endless Tales of Corona - 7

Chapte 7 - Better have it than not need it

- Puviarasan S

Stephi stopped Matthew and said, “It would be foolish to approach the group of tribes now, there is no way we can fight them all”.

"What should we do then?", asked Matthew

"Come with me. I have a plan." replied Stephi

Stephi started to sketch a plan to get Nikhil out of those tribes.

She continued, “let’s go get a lonely and weak tribal and tie him and threaten him with a knife on his neck and negotiate or force them to release Matthew. That’s the plan."

 Matthew replied instantly "Listen Stephi, I may look to be in good shape, but it doesn’t mean I know how to fight."

"Who asked you to fight Matthew? "

"I’m the only man here, If I’m not fighting, then who else?" remarked alarmingly.

Stephi smiled.

Stephi, was born in Kerala and moved to USA to pursue her higher studies. Once, during a confrontation with a group of men on the streets of New York, in the middle of night, she surprised them with a set of fighting skills. None of them would have expected her to bring them all down with just the wave of a knife. Only a few of her friends knew that she has been practicing an Indian martial art called Kalaripayattu all her life. 

Kalariyapattu - art by Tijo Thomas

She surveyed the whole area to shortlist potential candidates who could be brought down easily. They both identified a male in his mid-20s who walked back into the forest alone and they noticed a dagger in his hand. Stephi asked Matthew to prepare some ropes from the small hanging branches while she pursued the lone male. Stephi was all set for this one-on-one encounter. However, she did not underestimate him. After all, tribals are known for their physical agility and hunting skills.

In one of her Kalari lessons, she learned that there are two kinds of people who enter a deadly conflict: those who kill to live, and those who live to kill. If the killer type begins to lose the fight, their reason for fighting gradually fades. But if the survivor type begins to lose the fight, their reason for fighting flares up fiercer than ever. She knows she falls under the second category. After all, it is question of life or death.

Stephi’s reason to fight had become stronger because she was the survivor type fighter and she desperately wanted to live. She had great confidence to handle three men, but nothing more than that. She wanted this fight to be an unprovoked surprise attack. Stephi was never used to carrying a knife, until her outdoor enthusiast boyfriend advised her that 'it’s better to have a weapon and not need it'. He had used this line quite often. Her knife was a sharpened spike of metal about as thick as a man’s finger and little longer than her palm.

She slowly approached the tribe member like a hungry leopard walking to catch its prey. When she confronted him, he didn’t expect her to be armed, but they both, in their separate ways, expected it to be a fight to death. He wanted to kill her, and she had to kill him just to survive. After all, she was the survivor type killer.

Stephi quickly noticed that he made two mistakes. The first was to fight on the back foot. In a surprise move at first, he rushed at her with two slashes of the dagger and succeeded at cutting her across her forearm. He should have pressed on to finish it, but he stepped back instead and waved the dagger in little circles. This gave a clear message to Stephi that this kid had just taken his lessons in fighting. His amateur move gave confidence to Stephi. She thought he was just toying with her. Whatever the reason, he lost the advantage and he lost the fight in that first backward step.

Stephi with a sarcastic smile said, “You’ve made a clear mistake, kid”.

He gave her time to drag her knife from her back and quickly got into position to box him. She noticed a surprise in his eyes, and it was her cue to counterattack.

His second mistake was that he held his dagger as it was a sword like in a fencing match. A real fighter uses his underhand grip when he expects a fight with dagger, like a gun, to do the fighting for him. But a dagger isn’t a gun, of course. The winning grip is a dagger hold, with the blade downward and the fist that holds it still free to punch. That grip gives the fighter maximum power in the downward thrust and an extra weapon in a closed fist.

She knew very well that she will win this fight. She then advanced with this new-found confidence. He ripped the blade at her twice and then jumped forward. Her quick movements helped her to sidestep and throw a three-punch combination, right-left-right. One of the them was a lucky punch. His nose broke, and his eyes watered. He lunged again and tried to bring the dagger from the side. This time, she grabbed his wrist with her left hand, stepped into the space between his legs, and stabbed him in the chest.  She was aiming for the mouth and lung but managed to crack only one section of his mouth. He could not scream much. She waited for a few seconds for Mathew to reach the spot with rope, but she went on to grab her belt from her pants and tied him to a small tree.

While she was examining her wounds, Mathew returned and was astonished to see the tribes-man smashed face and body tied up to a tree. Mathew also noticed Stephi cleaning her knife.

Mathew said “Thank God you had a knife. It saved us”.

Stephi looked up to Mathew and said “The knife was just there to help finish the fight. In a fight with a dagger or a knife, it isn’t the weapon that does the fighting; it’s the body and mind”.

 - To be continued -

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About the writer - Puviarasan is an adventure-junkie who loves to be out there on field and explore anything and everything. He believes in collective wisdom shared through active volunteerism results in development. He, along with his friends, is also offering exploratory activities to all; even during lockdown period. Check out this Facebook page for more...
Endless Tales of Corona - 7 Endless Tales of Corona - 7 Reviewed by Gowthama Rajavelu on 14:37 Rating: 5

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