2007-03-15: Jedi Master Hero Of Kidney Punching

Starring:

Luke_icon.gif Mitch_icon.gif

Summary: Meet two new faces: the retired army man trying to figure out his future, and the entertainment journalist just living her life.

Date It Happened: March 15, 2007

Jedi Master Hero of Kidney Punching


Gym in Midtown, New York

Gym in midtown. Not the worst gym in the world, definitely not one of those upscale trendy gym chains with blowdried slick trainers and people pretending to work out. But no dirty walls either. Luke has changed into workout clothes - an Army PT tshirt and Adidas workout shorts, worn Reebocks. He has an iPod on his hip and earbuds in, running steadily on a treadmill. He's tan - in the faded way of someone that's been out of the sun after being in it a lot - and his forehead is beaded with sweat as he takes measured running strides on the machine.

Ew. The gym is full of sweaty people working hard to be more sweaty and gross. Mitch, go to the gym? Laughable! And yet the woman wanders out of an adjacent area from a narrow hallway, dressed in a red tanktop and grey yoga pants, her brown and blonde hair tied back into a ponytail. She's carrying a shiny black purse instead of a gym bag. There's a healthy sheen to her slightly moist skin, but it's not because she's been working out. No way. She just came from the sauna. /That/ is where it's at. As she emerges into the gym proper, she leeeeans to the side to let a heavily-muscled man pass by without having to touch him. Close call.

Luke continues his steady run - slap-slap-slap - of his feet on the treadmill - and looks to the right as the muscle-bound tall guy slips past him. Luke is well built - enough muscle there on his big frame - but it really seems endurance is more his bag. He's sweating a bit but not a ton, yanking out his headphones as he watches Mitch begin to slide by.
Mitch starts to wander through the gym casually as if she doesn't have a care in the world, the least of which being the fact that pretty much everyone in here could probably crush her like a fly. She gets a few feet away from the dude in the Army t-shirt before her phone starts to ring - make that sings - from the out-of-place purse that's slung heavily over her shoulder. Loudly. Obnoxiously.

« Cuz you're filthy (filthy)! Oooh, and I'm gorgeous (gorgeous)! Cuz you're filthy (filthy)! Oooh, and I'm gorgeous (gorgeous)! You're disgusti— »

"Heeey, what's up!" The woman answers the phone shrilly, cheerfully. Cheerful, that is, for all of two seconds. "I know, right! I followed him all the way to fricking Queens and it turned out just to be some jerk with the same mustache."

Luke seems pretty amused by that phone ring - by his grin at any rate - and he punches some controls on the treadmill and begins to pick up speed as he sprints for a good minute or so. He slows the treadmill down as the woman continues to speak - finally stepping off as the treadmill stills. He rubs his face with his shirt - a flash of skin and he looks around the gym as if unsure where to go next. Finally he seems to decide to approach a bag he left nearby, pulling out some handwraps and beginning to wrap up his hands up and shove them into light boxing gloves.

Mitch is quiet for a spell as she listens to the person on the other line. She flashes an ever-so-slightly shifty smile to Luke when he looks her way, as if she has no idea why he looked her way. "Hey, you know what, whatever. I just got out of the sauna so nothing can ruin my mood for at least forty-five minutes," she eventually babbles into the phone, her ponytail bouncing rhythmically as she nods to the person on the other phone. As if they can see her. She starts to wander around the gym at random. It might as well be her living room instead of other peoples' workout space. "Soon I'm gonna have to follow politicians around if I wanna get anything good, but even /they're/ being lame lately. God, live a little. Anyway, I gotta go, people are staring at me. It's kinda skeevy. Bye, loser." Phone hung up and dropped into her bag, Mitch wanders toward the punching bag Luke is near, giving it a skeptical, but curious look up and down. "Always wanted to try that. Is it hard?"

"The bag, or the activity? The actual punching is pretty easy - it's hard to miss the bag. But getting the technique down is pretty hard," Luke offers with an easy smile. He pushes at the bag with one glove covered arm, throwing with his hips to crash a right hook into the bag, left jab, right overhand, left hook into the bag - rapidfire, BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM. "But the basics aren't all that hard to get down?" he asks as he punches again - a one two combination as he shuffles to the left, throwing a left, right, left combination again. "I'm Luke, by the way," he adds a moment later.

"Uhhhm…" Like a tiny spooked animal, Mitch flinches and jumps back a tad when Luke starts smacking on the punching bag like that. The rapid-fire punches catch her off-guard. "Wow, you're kinda hardcore, Luke," she states. It's not a compliment so much as a observation. A slightly wary observation. "Mitch," she offers her unusual name in reply, her face brightening with a friendly smile. "Is hitting that thing a lot like hitting a face? 'Cause it seems like a departure."

"Not really." Luke says after he gives it some thought. He throws another punch and stops the swaying of the bag with his right hand. "I mean, this one is filled with some kind of material, I don't know what. But a water bag, that's more like hitting a human being. Minus bone, of course," he says. 'But you don't really need to worry about that - you have the gloves on, right? And you won't have gloves on in a real fight. But you learn the techniques and you apply them," he offers. 'And hardcore .. I'd disagree. Just trying to fight the backside of heading to forty, is all."

Mitch drops her bag onto the floor at to her side. It falls with a heavy *thump*. Her arms cross lightly across her chest. "Yeah, I punched this chick in the face one time," she begins storytime, wincing and rolling her eyes up to the ceiling. "OkaysoIwasalittledrunk, but it hurt my hand like a /bitch/. I thought I was gonna have to go to the hospital. Who knew!" And… end storytime. "Hey! Don't sell yourself short! You're /totally/ hardcore, man, come on. Are you in the Army?" she asks casually, flicking a finger from its pose on her arm, indicating Luke's shirt.

"You probably didn't punch the right way," he says as he tugs off the two gloves, tossing them into his bag and beginning to remove his wraps - enough to reveal his right hand, flexing it and making a fist - his thumb lined up and sticking out. "Most people punch like this - good way to break your hand.' He makes a fist, fingers oriented slightly differently, thumb tucked back. "And this is better, here. But it does hurt, yeah. Especially in the face - skull, hard as hell. I prefer kidneys, you punch or kick someone in the kidney and they'll drop straight down." He finishes unwrapping his hands, tossing them onto his bag. "I was. For a decade and a half or so," he adds. "Now I'm not, got out last year."

"There's a right way? See? Told you. Hardcore." Mitch listens to this unexpected and violent lesson with a mixture of intense curiosity and… well, terror. Dude is scary, even if he is nice and helpful. One eyebrow flickers up when he confirms his army career; the look comes and goes, transient. "Okay, so wait. Like this?" The woman lifts up her right hand, balling it into a small, fragile-looking fist with her thumb tucked back like Luke's was, but sticking out a little. "I want to be prepared the next time I feel the urge to kidney-punch someone coming on."

"Nope. You - do you mind?" he asks before he touches her, but then calloused fingers are guiding her own. Thumb tucked back, fingers arranged just so. 'So you hold your hand like that. And keep in mind - fist against bone, bone always wins. You'll break your hand on someone's head," he adds. "Then, you twist with your hips. Plant your feet," he shows her how, "You throw your hips around and arc your hand. Aim for soft spots. Stomach. Kidneys, if you have to hit in the face aim for the jaw. Front point of the jaw, you hit someone there you can give them a flash knockout for a few seconds."

Mitch doesn't seem to mind - she's too invested in her new mission to learn how to throw badass punches. She watches her hand closely as her fist is adjusted, then follows suit as Luke tries to show her the proper way to stand. She plants her feet, then re-plants them about six times until it looks better. "'Throw your hips around'?" Why yes, her face does light up with childish amusement. She scoffs. "Hot. Okay, just wait. I didn't know beating the snot out of people was so /involved/. I mean, I know there are whole arts devoted to it, but Jesus Christ. Okay. Okay," Mitch is pumping herself up for what she's about to decide - she hops from one foot to the other and shakes out her hands at her sides, then reforms her fist. She throws it at … the air. "HA! Now I want to hit something."

Luke laughs with clear amusement, looking around and grabbing a crate with some loaner boxer gloves on them - holding up his wraps. "If you want, we can always wrap up your fists and let you take some shots at the bag, you know. Shuffle and jab and duck and hook, get some practice in? You were doing pretty damn well you know, even if you said it was your first time. And yeah, it's involved. If it's worth doing well it requires sweat and some effort on your part," he adds with a grin.

Mitch holds out her hand expectantly toward Luke and the crate of gloves, lifting her dark brows up in a faux challenge. "What, you don't think I'm badass enough?" she chirps. While the thought of exercise was previously repulsive, she sees this as a different game. And hey, it's self-defense! She's in a dangerous line of work. Kind of. "I can do it. I can play your game, soldier boy!," she quips. She bounces with childish impatience on the balls of her feet. "Come on, come on, I wanna bust some shiz up."

"Alright, I can do that," he says with a grin. He carefully tapes her hands up - probably a bit more firmly then she expected - and secures the wraps, fitting her hands into the boxing gloves and lacing them up firmly as well. "Now, the same thing holds true, only your fingers really don't get held the same way. You throw with your hips. The trick is to act like you're punching -through- the target, like you're aiming to hit him a foot behind where he really is. You aim your punch and punch to his chest, you won't get full force. You act like you want to punch past him. Does that make sense? Give it a try."

"Ow," Mitch hisses quietly while her knuckles are taped, even though it doesn't hurt at all. It's true that she wasn't expecting it to be so tight. While Luke continues to school her, the unlikely student twists her wrists around, admiring the look of them for a moment - it's novel, considering she's never worn boxing gloves in all of her twenty eight years. Then? Back to business, such as it is - business, in this case, means fun. But helpful fun? "I gotcha, Jedi Master." Positioning herself in front of the punching bag like she was taught, Mitch rolls her shoulders and cracks her neck to the side, pretending to be "hardcore" like the military man, and then throws a punch at the bag. "Eeeeee!" is her all-too-girly war cry. She hits it solidly; it even swings a little. Wow. "Take that, bitch."

"See, there you go." he says as he steadies the bag. "You have to punch through. That's where all your power is. You draw it up from the core of your body - your torso, and twisting your hips adds more on top of that. A pro kickboxer can do a roundhouse kick and hit you, it'll feel like a twelve gauge blast to your chest. Punching is the same thing. It's about getting power as quick as possible and letting it out," he offers. "You're doing a great job. Now a jab, that's used to keep someone at a distance. Like this," he says as he shows. "Just throw your hand out there - a short, not too powerful punch. You can jab and throw a hook like you were just doing."

"Well, I've never felt a twelve gauge blast to my chest and I don't think/I/ could ever blast someone that hard with my puny fists, but…" Mitch positions herself again, just to make sure she's still ready. She twists from side to side a few times, throwing a few half punches and jabs through the air, puckering her face up. "Okay okay okay, jabs, I think I've got it. Just stop talkin' about twisting hips, it makes me think dirty and then I can't concentrate," she kids. Punch! Jab! The woman's boxing glove-clad fists hit the bag speedily, sloppily, but she keeps trying.

"You got it. Sorry, don't mean to bring up bad thoughts. Just imagine power. Like a rubber band - tight and then released, all that power. That's what you want. You're doing a good job," he offers with a grin. "You got that jab thing down, it's a great tool in a fight. Best way to keep someone at distance so you can hit 'em with a big punch."

Mitch, taking a break from her attempts, tips her head down and gives Luke a distinct 'are you serious?' expression when he starts talking about tight rubber bands and releasing and power. "Yeah, okay." Gutter mind, right here. "Thanks," she says, focusing on the punching bag again. Jab, punch, jab! "Umf. Yeah, this is totally going to come in handy one day. Next time someone sends me hatemail, I'm so going to punch them in the KIDNEY!" Mitch left hooks the punching bag!

"Well, you probably want to use it for self defense," he points out with some amusement. "And you'll want to practice a lot more before you go picking a fight. There's always someone better then you. But you're doing good. Bob and weave, jab, jab, hook. You're doing great," he offers. "So you work as a journalist, maybe? Or radio host? You get hate mail. That means someone in the media."

Mitch bobs and weaves. It just looks like a dance move that should have gone out of style in the seventies. After a few more punches— "YA! Mmf!" she steps back and wipes her forehead with the back of her arm. If only there was someone to run up to her with a towel and bottle of water. "Hey! That /would/ be defending myself. I'd be defending my integrity as a journalist," she answers two comments at once. Breathing more heavily than that little bout of practice would garner in a more athletic person, she wanders away from the punching bag, she plops down on a nearby bench, letting her begloved hands dangle between her knees. It's not very ladylike.

"All done for now?" he asks with a grin, pushing the bag with one hand and hooking an easy, light jab into it. "And I suppose you would be. I haven't been stateside for long, so I guess I'm not all that familiar on what the local laws are on punching someone. You probably do know more then I do about this sort of thing," he adds. "You want a water from the machine, maybe a towel or something?" he asks.

"Yeah, I am all over the assault laws. That wouldn't be so legal. Frickin' regulations." Mitch's eyebrows shoot upward. "Hm? Oh, nah. I'm good. Thanks though!" She's trying to be hardcore, remember. "Thanks for that. It was fun! I feel more kickass already. So where were you before?"

It's clear he does that skip-a-beat wait for several seconds before he replies, snagging a bottle from his bag and taking a few long gulps of water before he moves to sit down, stretching out his legs. "Iraq. Specifically, a bit outside of Baghdad proper," he says finally as he rubs his chin.

"Daang," Mitch replies, looking at Luke anew. Hunched over slightly, she stretches out her legs and watches her sneaker-clad feet. "Iraq, huh. Were you discharged or something and that's why you're back?" She doesn't stop to think about delving in, clearly, just looking at her impromptu punching-teacher expectantly.

"All off the record," he points out with a grin, "No offense intended at all, you know. But yeah, I retired. Good discharge and all that," he adds. "I had just spent fifteen years in, I was ready to try to do something else. I just aven't figured out what that is yet, I suppose."

Mitch gives a tiny, clueless shrug - off the record, discharged, what does she know? She actually looks a tiny bit disappointed that the man's reasons are so mundane. "Oh. Well, you must be glad to be out. Oh, hey!" She pumps a fist into the air— and then realizes it's still gloved, which gives her a moment's pause as she glances at it. "You could teach boxing classes! You'd totally kick butt." She holds her wrists out to Luke. "Help? … Seriously, you're my Jedi Master Hero of Kidney Punching. You'd make a killing."

"Probably," he says with a grin. He unlaces those gloves, tugs them off and tosses them into the box, beginning to unwrap her hands and the tape. "I do some work on the side - security consulting, that sort of thing. In today's world anyone with enough military experience can make an okay living doing that," he explains. "Just not sure if that's what I want to do for the rest of my working days."

"I hear ya, man," the girl named Mitch says as if she's an old pro in the same boat as Luke in any way at all. She helps to pluck the tape off, grimacing overdramatically all the while. "Hey, but seriously, boxing classes. Also? There's no rule saying you can't test the waters. If one thing doesn't work out," She shrugs a shoulder carelessly, "Try something else! Eventually, something'll stick. It's all about experimentation."

"I guess that's good advice," he says with a full grin, tossing his hand wraps into the bag with his workout gear. "Being in the military so long, you get used to things being a certain way, lines in the sand and all that. Maybe I'll look into teaching some self-defense classes, see how it goes," he adds.

Mitch smiles triumphantly, sitting up straight and beaming. She changed someone's way of thinking! Or, at least, pushed them into taking the steps. Her duty for the day has been accomplished. "I'm all about swooshing lines in the sand," she says, lacing her fingers together and stretching her arms out in front of her. She stops well before her knuckles crack, though. "Oh crap, what time is it?" she launches off the bench suddenly to retrieve her purse.

Luke checks his watch, "Hrm, six o'clock?" he asks as he checks his watch on his iPod, putting it back in it's carrier. "You have an important interview or something?" he asks. "And thank you for the advice, by the way. It was nice to meet you," he adds as he pushes himself to his feet, loosening his muscles with a few easy stretches.

"Six? Already? Holy time warp. Nah, I just have this lame article to write about Angelina's adopt-a-spawn horde. I've been putting it off since yesterday. P.S., who names their kid Pax? He's gonna be destined to be depressed. God. Anyway!" Mitch smiles buoyantly at Luke and tosses her purse over her shoulder. "You're so welcome! Maybe I'll start writing advice columns if you start teaching self-defense classes," she says with an amused smirk. "It was nice meeting you!" she concurs and waves around her purse-strap, heading toward the exit.

"Take care," he says, amused with a grin. "You take care of yourself. Good luck with that article," he adds with a wave. "I hope it turns out well. And you should do that. Straight talking advice,none of that coddled stuff," he adds as he snags his bag, throwing it over his shoulder and pocketing his earbud headphones.

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