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Tarzan and jiu-jitsu

Only a few characters in world literature have become as beloved, and for so many decades, as the young John Clayton III.

If you didn't connect the name to the person, don't worry. His given name is almost ignored—the world only knows him by his large breastplates, by his loincloth and by the nickname given to him by a group of primates: Tarzan.

The king of the jungles, a firm, intelligent and loyal young man, was created by the writer Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875–1950) in 1912. The reading of Tarzan of the Apes remains a delight, so no spoilers.

Just remember that the boy went to take a boat on the Atlantic coast of Africa, and had to turn around. And how did he do it? With luck, new furry friends and, of course, a knack for fighting that would get him out of a lot of trouble. Even against lions and alligators, as you may have seen on TV and in movies.

In one of the most electrifying parts of Burroughs's novel, Tarzan decides to face one of the most feared apes in the region, the beast Terkoz. Tarzan starts the duel with a plan: trying to control the beast from behind.

The maneuver is successful, and Terkoz can only struggle furiously. In the middle of the tangle, tension: Tarzan loses his knife, his grips on the animal's back, and his cool. But he doesn't lose his breath or his fighting instinct:

But when, finally, he realized that his antagonist was fastened to him where his teeth and fists alike were useless against him, Terkoz hurled himself about upon the ground so violently that Tarzan could but cling desperately to the leaping, turning, twisting body, and ere he had struck blow the knife was hurled from his hand by a heavy impact against the earth, and Tarzan found himself defenceless.

During the rollings and squirmings of the next few minutes, Tarzan's hold was loosened a dozen times until finally an accidental circumstance of those swift and ever-changing evolutions gave him a new hold with his right hand, which he soon realized was absolutely unassailable.

His arm was passed beneath Terkoz' arm from behind and his hand and forearm encircled the back of Terkoz' neck. It was the half-Nelson of modern wrestling which the untaught ape-man had stumbled upon, but divine reason showed him in an instant the value of the thing he had discovered. It was the difference to him between life and death.

And so he struggled to encompass a similar hold with the left hand, and in a few moments Terkoz' bull neck was creaking beneath a full-Nelson.

There was no more lunging about now. The two lay perfectly still upon the ground, Tarzan upon Terkoz' back. Slowly the bullet head of the ape was being forced lower and lower upon his chest.

Tarzan knew what the result would be. In an instant the neck would break. Then there came to Terkoz’ rescue the same thing that had put him in these sore straits—a man's reasoning power.

"If I kill him," thought Tarzan, "what advantage will it be to me? Will it not but rob the tribe of a great fighter? And if Terkoz be dead, he will know nothing of my supremacy, while alive he will ever be an example to the other apes."

"Ka-goda?" hissed Tarzan in Terkoz' ear, which, in ape tongue, means, freely translated: "Do you surrender?"

For a moment there was no reply, and Tarzan added a few more ounces of pressure, which elicited a horrified shriek of pain from the great beast.

"Ka-goda?" repeated Tarzan.

"Ka-goda!" cried Terkoz.

And peace reigns in the tribe again. It was close—now imagine if Tarzan knew jiu-jitsu!


esquea.j Avatar
esquea.j commented:

The law of the jungle is the law of life

April 25, 2022 04:11 PM
Chris Ferguson Avatar
Chris Ferguson commented:

“Kagoda” needs to be on a Rickson T-shirt!!!

April 09, 2022 03:09 PM
marcelodun Avatar
marcelodun replied:


April 11, 2022 10:31 AM
brdarias Avatar
brdarias replied:


April 12, 2022 07:48 AM