I go to the back-alley of the local Walmart, and hidden behind it is a circle of fights, car headlights on, creating almost a modern Coliseum. This has been my life for the last two weeks, tracking down the unknown world of illegal knife-fighting. You may hear that it is an unorganized, dangerous sport. It is dangerous, but unorganized hardly. To the people in the know it is a life-blood. There is not only a world organization; there are even celebrities and sponsorships.
I am going to meet one of the most famous ones right now, a man named Alistair Cain. They say he has killed 2000 men. The official organization of knight-fighters, who operate in secret out of the NFL offices, have told me his victories number into the hundreds. I’m wearing the yellow jacket, a clear sign that I am an outsider who has been invited in. The burly men surrounding the circle of death acknowledge me and invite me in to watch.
I see two young scrawny men. This is just the preliminary round that is open to any crazed bastard that wants to join in. Most crazed bastards don’t make it out of the first round – these two are clearly not destined to do so. The first one is dressed in all red. His figure is sloppy; his hands are shaky; and his opponent isn’t any better - he hesitates too often. The boy in red easily takes him down.
It is then a big strong hand grasps me. It is Alistair Cain. His eyes are like fire. You have to be nimble in this sport, and Cain seems to move like a ghost. He says in his English drawl that he is excited to see me - and talk.
But he has to get ready for his fight. His fight is with the regional champ here, a man by the name of Tony Braxton. He has already killed five men - he is the local hero of the knife-fighting community. He dresses big, and as he enters the ring you could feel that he had real true stardom. He was good looking; he was fast; he was vivacious, and he could rile the crowd up with just a simple look. Cain killed him in 3 seconds.
It was after that we had our interview. We talked about knife-fighting. He said that knife-fighting will never hit the mainstream like fire-bowling or shark-racing, but he says it’s a simple sport that speaks the truth. He’s more interested though in seeing the new film Wonder Woman. He then talks briefly about his life.
“How did I get into this? My family has been knife-fighting for several thousand years. It is largely a family sport - my son and my daughter.”
He hopes that they will become champions someday.
“How is the payment?”
“The pay is in the hearts and souls of the dedicated fan base of bikers, stay-at-home moms, and business men who still wear hats, and of course the kids. It is always the children we think of,” he said. “But the money is okay; I’m middle class.”
“Now, Cain, I do wonder how are you able to perform these violent acts, day in and day out?”
He got up and clasped my hands and looked straight into my eyes. I knew that was all I would learn about the mystical world of knife-fighting. And in that moment after we had finished the interview, Cane stabbed me, and as I bled and prepared to enter my first step into eternity, I was transported to an ethereal movie theater, where I saw the strong, breathtaking, feminist icon that was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), displayed on the screen. I appreciated it as it subverted the traditional gender roles of the action film, and I marveled that this was a film that portrayed the strong ideals of a 21st century world.