LAKE COUNTY- Northwest Indiana residents are voicing impatience with escalating tensions between Karate dojos in the area as the recently announced South Shore World-Invitational Karate Grand Tournament approaches.
The frequency with which displays of discipline, physical conditioning, and combat readiness have been happening in public spaces with cinematic qualities has led to calls for police involvement, curfews, and formal denouncement of local sensei on the part of mayors, town councils, and The Shogunate.
“No crimes have been committed in the incidents at hand, but the people of Northwest Indiana have lived for months with a constant tension. Always in our minds, the threat of unarmed displays of Karate skill and virtue haunt us. In the shopping malls, gas stations, middle schools, and car washes, it is never far from us” an anonymous official from South Lake County told us earlier this week.
“I’m so sick of all of this shit. I wish the tournament would just hurry up and get here so that we can get on with our lives.” – Braiden Grasser, Hanover Central High School Student
“Once the trees started to blossom you could tell (Karate students) were going to show up any place you’d want to take photos.” local high school student Braiden Grasser told us. “People are just trying to get some ice cream at the Dairy Belle, next thing you know there’s like ten guys jumping on cars and doing crane kicks on the dock, demanding to be called the ‘Crushing Blows.’ I think they just want to prove who can shout ‘hai’ in the sharpest pitch. I’m so sick of all of this shit. I wish the tournament would just hurry up and get here so that we can get on with our lives.”
The South Shore World-Invitational Karate Grand Tournament, proclaimed mysteriously by an unknown organization, is scheduled to take place on the first day of Autumn at the Hammond Civic Center. Announced only by the appearance of paper fliers found all over lake county, the event proports “To settle once and for all time” the question of “which school carries with it the spirit of victory in all of Lake County. Entrants from all nations and schools welcome.”.
Speaking recently at the Lake County St. Patrick’s Parade, Michael Sprecher (a local social media manager and a homeowner in Winfield,) told us that “It’s getting so that any public event with even slightly cinematic qualities leads to some 15 year old shouting about his kata and the inevitability of his victory at the World Invitational in remembrance of his fallen master. I always thought the idea of a kid too young to drive performing a speech in an aside was some corny Shakespeare nonsense, but I saw it happen three times last week. Most of them are barely thirteen.”
When asked if she’d been impacted by situation in any way, Portage realtor Angela Smith said “My husband and I were at the lakefront in Hobart last month when the weather broke. About five boys showed up out of nowhere on top of the Lake George Dam. They were all wearing white… ‘gi?’ I think they call them? I wondered who they were shouting at when I noticed four other boys in black outfits were just kind of there all of the sudden on the other side of the bridge shouting about ‘the unconquerable style and training of the Poison Fist Clan.” It really gave the dog a scare. Whoever was playing that wooden flute so loud wasn’t easing the tension either. I’ve never even seen something like that. Then they were all just suddenly gone. It must have been like one in the afternoon, why weren’t they all in school?”
Dramatic scenes at public gatherings aren’t the only impacts of the rivalries being felt within the community. With local lumber yards already charging record prices due to supply chain issues and a surge in home renovations, the seemingly endless piles of wooden 2x4s left behind after being splintered bare-handed by 17 year-olds to demonstrate their strength and focus have led many to wonder where all the money for these rivalries is coming from.
An emergency Town Hall meeting was called this Monday in Griffith to address what community members were calling the “Southland Clash of a Thousand Schools.”
“We got to have law!” Local grandmother Prudence Shoulthard declared, with many of her neighbors applauding her assertion. “This town is lousy with boys in pajamas shouting about their honor, training, and single-mindedness of focus every time the sun sets and we don’t have room for this nonsense!”
The Lake County Sherriff’s Department advises that “Residents looking to minimize the possibility of exposure to valorous students as they defend the names of their schools, sensei, and the styles they practice should take basic precautions. Always be aware of your surroundings. When you go to take a photo ask yourself, ‘is the scene before me dramatic? Does everything seem unusually colorful? Are there doves and beams of sunlight filtering down from stained glass?’ If the answer is yes, it is advisable to move along. The butterfly wing murals people pose in front of for Instagram photos behind downtown buildings aren’t much of a risk, but a field of sunflowers at dusk? The last night of the County Fair in front of the neon-lit Tilt-A-Whirl? These are the places the karateka (students) are most likely to appear.”