Tag Archives: Daniel LaRusso

Black-belt in Creepy Laughter!

27 Nov
Miyagi Karate

“I know Elisabeth went down on you, Zabka. This kick to your face will echo through eternity!”

In 1984 Daniel LaRusso crane-kicked Johnny Lawrence in the face to win the All Valley Karate Championship. An entire world of moviegoers cheered; I pointed and laughed at the blonde, starch-collared children of privilege known as the Cobra Kai. It was a perfect moment in cinema history. On the drive home from the theater, I had my father stop at half-a-dozen neighborhood dojos. I wanted to assess the suburban Sonny Chibas who instructed countless kids kicking their way from white belt to yellow in the span of 18 months. I scoffed at their modest goals and howled when they failed to break paper-thin boards with awkward round house kicks. One collapsed to the floor yelling, “Ah, shit! You didn’t hold it right! My left foot is shattered! Mom!” It was a perfect moment. Those chumps weren’t going anywhere–not one of them would be a tournament champion, to say nothing of becoming a ninja one day.


Ninja. It’s the new “I sing in a band . . . and live in my car.”

My dad was going to sign me up on the spot, but I balked, wanting to practice some moves at home first. My NES seemed like the perfect place to start–but for months I got nowhere in Ninja Gaiden, and did even worse at my neighbor’s house while trying my hand at Shinobi (he had a Sega). My lone successful combat versus a ninja was when my neighbor’s younger brother entered the room in a Toys R Us ninja costume to demand his turn at Shinobi. He threatened me with rubber throwing stars and plastic nunchucks wrapped in foam. Rather than give up the game controller, I kicked him in the sac and ran home with it. It was a perfect escape, I laughed.

Later that week I negotiated a delicate truce with the neighbors. Their game controller was returned and I was allowed to borrow a game called Kung-Fu in the negotiation. Kung-Fu was a two-dimensional 8-bit video game which challenged the sole player to traverse five levels filled with knife throwing goons, dwarfs who did flips for the sole purpose of landing on your head, snakes that fall from the ceiling, fire breathing dragons that appear and disappear with a puff of smoke, and naturally, as in life–the killer bees, acrobat dwarfs, and knife throwing goons are more persistent as the whole brouhaha goes on.

Few realize that in the early ’80s the Nintendo corporation was at the forefront of CGI technology.

Kung-Fu taught me that I could sit on my ass for hours at a time with only minimal thumb cramping. It also taught me that I too could actually conquer a video game. After I defeated its boss, MR. X, for the first time and saved the beautiful Sylvia, who happened to closely resemble Thomas, the hero of the game, except she was wearing an 8-bit dress, I knew anything was possible. Though schoolmates taunted me when I boasted of my great victory, their triumphs in Super Mario Bros 2, Duck Hunt, Castlevania, Zelda, and Mega Man, didn’t net them any skills that might brand them a creep or social pariah later in life–their loss. You see, when I was learning the game and taking my lumps, I started mimicking the laughter emitted from the game’s bosses after they had vanquished me. Their laughter I can only describe as a maniacally digitized version of what the Count Von Count used to do on Sesame Street (RIP).

“Do you have any idea what the street value of this mountain is? AH HA HA HA!”

Everywhere I would throw my voice and put the Kung-Fu laugh out into the world–MaHaHa-Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho! MaHaHa-Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho! Throughout middle-school, high school, and college I perfected my skill. My NES was long gone, but I paid homage to my great accomplishment by continuing to preach its figurative gospel–MaHaHa-Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho! To this day in the back of theaters, in crowded elevators, when conversation momentarily dies out in a small room full of people–MaHaHa-Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho! I sometimes block my phone number and call numbers on my contact list knowing full well the blocked call will be sent straight to voicemail–MaHaHa-Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho! Right after a premature finish to lovemaking–MaHaHa-Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho! While sitting in the studio audience of horrid sitcoms for extra cash. Out in traffic when my car’s horn is on the fritz. If you don’t believe me, try it on for size yourself–MaHaHa-Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho! It’s just perfect.