The Undead Have the Best Dojos


Nosferatu (Photo credit: plong)

This used to be a vampire.

This scared the bejeebers out of us.

The vampire wasn’t a flashy creature. It didn’t need to be. This was a creature that could turn to mist, could run with the wolves. They could mesmerize, they could strip us of our will.

They were silent. Slow. Slipping in with the dark to drink our blood and leave us dead or worse.


Not so much.

Anne Rice might’ve been one of the biggest catalysts of vampire evolution. Her vampires were reluctant. They seemed to have souls, to bear sorrow and regret. And they were. . .pretty.

And from pretty came the rest. Vampires were cool – wearing leather and delivering scathing one-liners. They started wielding staffs and swords and guns.


You’re a vampire. Why in hell do you need a gun???

But the thing that has really confused me is the martial arts.

Buffy was a big player in this. For the hunters, the slayers, to know martial arts would be reasonable. Were they not well versed in defense and escape they’d be nothing more than brave little lambs for slaughter.

But why do the vampires know martial arts? And not just martial arts, but Matrix-style martial arts. It’s the norm, now. They can run up walls and drop down in front of an opponent to sweep their legs before you can blink.

Why? How?

All things being equal, two vampires fighting each other should be a violent, vicious attack — two starving wolves clashing.

And vampires attacking mortals should be a feral, desperate attack. We’re food!

Yet somewhere in this world or the next there is an exception. A revered Sensai holding court over the dojo of the undead.

Do the vampires bow to him? Do they have to progress through belt degrees? Do they eat him if they beat him in the final battle? Or is he, too, undead?

What about the werewolves?

Does each creature have their own training grounds, or do they all train together – a Hotel Transylvania place outside of reality where there is a truce amongst the players?

What an amazing arena – countless undead creatures sparring against each other in halls with reinforced floors and vaulted ceilings built to accommodate their extra strength and speed.

Learning not just how to take a fall, but how to take a spine-cracking spin into a marble pillar and jump up to resume fighting.

What a spectacular place that must be.

They should make a movie about that – The Karate Kid meets Dracula.




6 thoughts on “The Undead Have the Best Dojos

  1. I think you’re really on to something here. Joss Whedon kind of went here towards the end of his ‘Angel’ run. During the last season, he’d pretty much done all he could with turning all of the tropes on their heads. We had the demon who disgraced his family because he was a sort of ‘lounge-demon’ who could sing and ran a bar where everyone had to behave and people could have their souls ‘read’ by singing for him; Lorne. Angel himself has a soul that was given him and he feels such sorrow and regret that he feels the desperate need for redemption and grace, blah, blah, blah. Then, Spike turns up in the 5th and last season, as a ghost, or some kind of shade-thing. I love Spike; I love Angel too, for very different reasons. Odd, that. Anyway, Spike had stolen some amulet-gizmo-whatsis to make some sort of sacrifice-get in good deal for Buffy, and I forget what kind of buggery he was up to, not very good buggery, but he winds up with a soul, too.

    Geeze, I’m laughing while I type all this, because, I’m not one whit scared. You’re right. Between Angel and Spike, we now have 2 vampires with souls and they proceed to spend the rest of the season bickering with one another like a married couple and trying to one-up each other as to who is the real Champion and should win the Kewpie Doll. But one of the funniest episodes of the season is “Why We Fight.” It flashes back to the 40s. Angel is tapped by the OSS to sneak on board a submarine supposedly filled with vampires.The OSS know Angel’s a vampire, and also know he’s not eating people on a regular basis anymore, but threaten him anyway, so they sneak him on the sub (it has plans that the allies need and I guess vamps are crappy sailors; they’re also notoriously non-partisan).

    To wrap this up, Angel runs into, Spike, who doesn’t have a soul, yet, so he’s still his horrible, hilarious self, slouching around in an SS coat, with Count Nostroyev (I knew Rasputin!) and Prince of Lies. The next ten minutes are hilarious, because Whedon points out so expertly how those old tropes, as spooky as they can be, are time-worn.

    The scary is when against what he know holds to be truth and despite the grace and redemption he is trying to achieve is when Angel is forced to ‘sire’ the one remaining mortal on the submarine who does know how to drive the boat. And tragic, too.

    But damn, those dojos. If I were ever to take a class? I want to be in his dojo! Happy Halloween, Lynette! Mary


  2. Lynnette, I think you’re onto something there. I don’t gravitate towards that subject matter in books, films or otherwise yet even so, as you wrote about it that way, even I felt interested in writing a story about it.


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  4. Pingback: The Hunter at the Gates of Dawn (Part 3) « Excursions Into Imagination

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