Master the Death Touch: A Guide to Middle School Martial Arts If you got a chuckle out of this story, grab my book for stories you will not find published online. Many cultures develop their own martial art. Some are ritualized and traditional, some are field-tested and highly practical. One collection of non-lethal yet crippling techniques is taught and practiced beginning in middle school in the US. Its practitioners diminish, but do not disappear through the college years. In adulthood, the artform is often all but forgotten. This martial art is yet unnamed, but recognizable by a few consistent techniques replicated in schoolyards and above-ground pools everywhere. The Five-Star Technique: The assailant opens his hand with five fingers spread (hence the name Five-Star) and delivers a whip-like smack across the back of his target. Outcome: A bright red five-finger mark and fire-hot pain. This technique takes on a particular brutality in aquatic combat. Expect a pool noodle lashing in retaliation. Notes: What makes the Five-Star insidious is that if delivered the proper distance from mom, the telltale red mark on the victim’s back will vanish completely before any tattling can be completed. It is a crime that disposes of its own evidence. The Wet Willie Technique: In this maneuver, the assailant wets his index finger with saliva and uses it as a poking weapon. Outcome: Useful as an intimidator, the Wet Willie can clear a room with a single, threatening pointed finger. Notes: In our pathogen-conscious era, it could work on full grown adults. If you try this, you might get arrested, or you might feel like you have the Force from Star Wars. This is not legal guidance. The Purple Nurple Technique: The assailant grabs and tweaks the nipple of the target. Outcome: Revulsion and recoil in the victim. Notes: As with all techniques, this typically a man-to-man maneuver. Guaranteed to be obnoxious. The Noogie Technique: The assailant executes a headlock, then rubs the knuckles of his free hand into the scalp of the victim. Outcome: Red face, temporary hair loss. Notes: If the Noogie is happening to you, the raid is over, your cabin is burning, and you are being scalped. The Sack Tap Technique: Assailant delivers a quick flick to the crotch of the victim. Outcome: Victim doubled over. Notes: A brutal technique, known to end friendships but also entire bloodlines. The Sack Tap is Old Testament warfare. It is against all Geneva Conventions. The Defecator Technique: Assailant makes blades of his hands by joining his fingers. He approaches his target from behind. He jabs the target just above the kidneys with his fingertips. Outcome: When the target turns, the assailant explains the maneuver is supposed to result in the target defecating himself. Notes: Ineffective by most credible accounts. The Death Touch Technique: Not recorded in detail by any credible source. The theory describes a nerve cluster in the foot which, if smashed with the end of a bo staff, will result in the instant death of the victim. Outcome: Instant death. Notes: The Death Touch is preached by the one kid with a rattail hairdo. The one who carries a bo staff whenever he is allowed to do so. Though mouthy, he will never demonstrate the Death Touch, despite pleas and extended sneakers from brave volunteers. He will swear up and down he took a life at his last school, yet here he is, walking and breathing freely among you mortals. Foolish doctors can not identify the Death Touch as the cause of death in autopsies, after all. Now you are armed and ready for your life’s true calling; to fight with middle schoolers. Go forth; avenge yourself of the old wounds.