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Banno's Boys
A Real Knife-Fighter's Legacy
© 2012 James LaFond

That Scary Guy in the Dark Alley

Banno was that guy. He is a key character in the Logic of Steel. The last time I saw Banno he challenged me to a fight, he said, because he was still bitter over me teaching his boys how to ‘fight fair’ [box] when he was in prison. By then he was way past his prime, and I might have survived. As it was, his oldest son Miguel put a hand on ‘Dad’ and sat him back down on that barstool while I left with my six-pack.

Banno was a freakishly strong hyper-aggressive ethnic dude who enrolled his boys in karate at age five and made them fight men—any man, anywhere, anytime would do—before they hit puberty. Banno is not with us anymore. But his boys are men now, and I recently reunited with the jock of the clan, and will introduce him below. First I would like to introduce you to his oldest son—a mild-mannered heavyweight—who came to me for boxing lessons when Dad was in prison.

Miguel

Miguel did not want to box. He just wanted to survive Baltimore City public education. He was a freshman in high school who was attacked by armed individuals and gangs of school mates daily. He eventually got expelled due to his unsettling knack for knocking out his attackers.

By the time he was sixteen Miguel weighed 230lbs and had a crushing jab. Although his father did not approve of boxing he decided to call me and set up a sparring session. This was not for school-defense, as he had already been expelled, but to hone his ability to fight for feasting rights at the Banno man-cave. You see, Banno made his boys fight him or each other before they were permitted to eat. I’ll tell you this, sparring with these kids was the toughest thing I have ever done.

While we were talking I heard a smash and a grunt, and then a gurgle...

Five minutes later Miguel called me up and said, “I’m sorry, Mister Jim, Dad saw me finishing the milk [they drank from the jug in front of the open refrigerator] dove over the kitchen table, tackled me, jammed my head in the lettuce crisper and stood on my chest while he downed the rest.”

That is coming up the hard way.

Dante

The Alpha Male Resume

  • sparred full-contact with karate heavyweights from age five
  • knocked his first man [300+ lbs] out at age eight [70 lbs] in response to teasing at a family function with a kick-elbow combination
  • junior high school state wrestling champion
  • fought Banno to a draw at age twelve [a patio brawl]
  • won a gypsy rules bout in brutal fashion against an experienced man at age sixteen
  • winning records in amateur boxing & kickboxing
  • had KO’d over a dozen men in drunken brawls by age 30
  • recruited by a motorcycle club at age 35
  • owns his own landscaping business. Yes, he’s cutting your grass with his 20-inch arms while your daughter is catching some rays on the deck...

Mexicans and Meatheads

Dante no longer competes in combat sports. So, when we got together at a family party the predominantly female crowd was hoping to be spared our normal discussion of broken noses and cracked ribs. He is a young businessman who owns a house, numerous vehicles, and a lot of equipment, and is a new father also, so I steered the conversation to his business. Dante is a real easy interview. Just ask the occasional question and he is off and running. To visualize the actual conversation, just imagine the author asking a one sentence question after each paragraph that ends like this...

“Mexicans? Nah, I got rid of my Mexicans. Granted, they work, but you know—they’re Mexicans! I just got tired of the Mexican part. I traded my Mex’s in for two white-boys. That was a costly mistake...

"The training process is pretty simple; you work with me for a week, do as I do, stick to my pace. Then I give you a set of equipment and pay you ten dollars an hour. I give you a helper, and pay him ten dollars an hour. He’s your man. You train ‘im. If you ever become productive—as in being able to do what I do in the time that I do it—then I’ll pay you some real money...

"Now, a Mexican is worth two-thirds of me. So, I can place two of them and they can make some money for me with that equipment. It is better than parking it. Now a white-boy is lucky if he’s worth one-third of me. In other words, if I give two of these meatheads a set of equipment they can’t keep up with me. So, if I’m going to make the equipment pay for itself, these guys aren’t making much—because they aren’t worth it. The Spartans would toss them out for the wolves to eat...

"You know, I never thought about giving a motivational speech or anything like that. I mean, what kind of people listen to a speech? Losers listen to a speech. Winners are out there doing. If I had to talk to a bunch of losers like that, for instance if I was working for some big group-hug type of company, it would be short. I’d say, ‘Look at yourselves in the morning and say, ‘I’m not going to waste the boss’s time’...

"Well, I’ve got these two meatheads. The one’s been with me for six months I’d say—should be worth something by now, but he’s still just one third of a man. I let him bill the client, give him some responsibility. He looks at the bill, looks at what he’s making, and figures he should be making a lot more. And he’s right, he should be making a lot more, but he’s worthless! I check up on his slow ass at this one job, and he confronts me about only making ten dollars an hour. I told him that was all he was worth so he says something about kicking my ass. Now that was a worthwhile suggestion...

"I tell him ‘Look, you want ta make more money, then you kick my ass and not only do I pay you now, for the whole week, but you get the rest of the week off.’

"Of course, he’s second guessing himself and says, “What if I lose?”

"Oh, he was done right there. How can you even entertain the prospect of losing when you’re preparing to fight?

"I tell him, ‘Look if you lose you work the rest of the day for free.’

"Now the other guy hears this, and says, ‘I want in on that.’

"Okay, so now I’m fighting these two guys who can’t even cut grass. Now, mind you I was still in the leg brace from the motorcycle accident that broke my neck and shattered my leg. But I’m functional; still climbing trees and working circles around these two. So I’m like ‘What-the-hell, both of you pussies at once,’ and it’s on. Really, it’s not even worth recounting; knocked one out, submitted the other...

"So, we’re done workin’ for the day—worked these boys hard! That’s when I fired them.

"What are they gonna do, beat me up?”

He then reached over and patted his daughter, “And I won’t let anybody date her that can’t go a round with the old man. Yep, I’m looking forward to being ‘Dad’.”

Why can’t stuff like this happen in my back yard?

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