This post is not about academics in USC Dornsife. This post is not about any class I’ve taken, or any presentation I’ve seen recently. This post is not about community service, or about research, or about any kind of scholarship.
This post is about ninjas.
Last Sunday (which happened to be April Fools Day; what a coincidence!) a ninja in a crimson cape was spotted at various locations around the USC campus. In front of him was a sign that simply read, “Fight me!” Next to him was another kneeling ninja proclaiming a challenge, offering a foam sword to anyone who passed by.
Just another day at USC.
This was an elaborate prank put on by USC Wushu Nation, the modern martial arts club on campus of which I am a part. If anyone took the sword and accepted our challenge, he or she would be greeted by a shout of “Ninjas, ATTACK!” and immediately be swarmed by over a dozen ninjas flying out from behind walls or bushes, complete with hoods and weapons. Of course our “victim” would always emerge victorious, surrounded by the lifeless bodies of ninjas and the raucous applause of other bystanders.
We got the event cleared by DPS beforehand, of course. They gave us a few cardinal (pun unintended) rules: we couldn’t actually touch the victim, and we couldn’t chase them into any streets where they might get hit by a car or something. But everything else was fair game. A few officers actually witnessed some of our ninja attacks, chuckling as they passed by.
What impressed me most was just how willing people were to take up the challenge, and even how many non-victims were willing to participate. I mean, let’s be honest; would you accept the sword if you saw this randomly on the street? Once, when we had set up shop in front of Doheny Library, a student stood in front of our proffered sword, not sure whether or not to accept the challenge. Even on a Sunday morning, many students studying in the upper levels of Doheny stuck their heads out the windows and started screaming “Fight him! Take it! Fight him!” In front of Leavey Library, two girls carrying posters initially ignored the challenge… and then proceeded to come back, beat our head ninja with their posters, and then flush out all the other hidden ninjas. To be fair, though, we weren’t THAT good at hiding – I mean, they did catch us on the front page of the Daily Trojan, after all.
From our little prank on Sunday, you could tell that people actually enjoyed being here. People gleefully smiled watching our impromptu ninja assaults, and people encouraged their friends to take up the sword without hesitation. No sooner had we ninjas recovered and retreated to our hiding places than someone else accepted the challenge, prompting the cry of “Ninjas, ATTACK!” We were invited to take pictures with people and deviously photobombed when we were not, much to their surprise and then delight. All in all, a fun afternoon for everyone involved.
Just another day at USC.
Until next time,