He was too small, his tiny fists in his pockets, shaking with rage.
They mocked him, he was so young, they kicked him, the way bullies do, knowing there is no way their victim can strike bak, his little face went blue, smeared with tears and their spit.
And, of course, later, he learnt, for months, years, slowly becoming the man he wanted to be.
One day he woke up, looked at himself in the mirror, so composed he was, with all those years of training behind him, all that wisdom, steel and nerves.
And he went back, stood in the square, waiting: and sure enough he saw them, or their siblings, gathering like locusts, so, suddenly, the cool guy disappeared, and in a blue rage he made minced meat of all of them; and the police said “you had a good time here”, and he smiled.
She knew the signs: his knuckles slowly getting whiter, his steps a little slower, his eyes narrowing to the pitiless concentration of the street fighter.
But he was so young, and yet always ready, his fists tight in his pockets: how could she not admire him, her virgin champion…
He, had only eyes for her, and otherwise his work, the training, his ambition for the ring, but this was a time when he would have to fight, for her.
Slowly he turned round and faced the man who had just insulted her: a massive guy probably used to have his way: now he was calm, fearless, weighing where the first blow would fall…
So she spoke the words, her voice smoothing the dense mist of his anger, she sensed him collect himself, and then hit, a single blow, on his lips the smile of the victorious samurai…