Citing significant emotional discomfort and an “awkward” holiday celebration, Martha Phillips, 62, says she “deeply regrets” asking her 22-year-old nephew, Daniel Hunt, about his newfound karate obsession.
“I’m not on the Facebook very often, but every time I am, I see him posting pictures of himself in his little kimono outfit, so I asked him about it,” said Phillips. “What a mistake that was. He got all huffy and told me it’s jiu-jitsu, not karate. Now, I did gymnastics in high school. I don’t know all the fancy Japanese martial arts lingo. But as far as I can tell, it’s all just a bunch of different names for chopping boards in half.”
Hunt, who claims to be a second-degree blue belt, stood by his decision to correct his aunt. “I just didn’t want her to have the wrong impression,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to be rude, but like, there is a difference. It’s like comparing soccer and football, you know?”
According to Hunt’s cousin, Dylan O’Leary, the initial conversation attracted the attention of other family members, many of whom hadn’t spoken to Hunt since the previous Thanksgiving. “He’s always been a little odd, but now he’s… changed. Don’t get me wrong, he’s in way better shape than he used to be, and I’m glad he has something he’s passionate about, but I don’t really get the appeal of rolling around the floor with other dudes as often as he does,” said O’Leary, 26, hastily adding that there’s “nothing wrong” with his cousin’s “personal choices.”
Hunt’s sister, Kathy, claims she’s always supported her brother’s newfound hobby, but admitted that she was often embarrassed for him when they were around extended family members. “I was six when he was born; I spent a couple years of my childhood learning what his babbling meant. So when he yelled ‘oss’ after we said grace, I was able to roughly translate it for everyone.” But even she wasn’t comfortable with all the new vocabulary her younger brother had picked up within the past year. “Dylan dropped the spoon that was in the mashed potatoes, and Dan yelled ‘Porra!’ Maybe I’m too sensitive, but we’re like, really white. I felt like that wasn’t really his word to use, if you know what I mean.”
Hunt shook away his sister’s concerns with a dismissive shaka. “It’s cool, man. I have Brazilian friends.”
Other relatives who attended the dinner and wished to remain anonymous told us that Hunt’s behavior got “progressively more obnoxious” as the night went on. “It got pretty weird pretty fast,” said one source. “Martha said that the turkey was a little too salty, and Dan made some odd comment about it not being as salty as his opponents after he chokes them unconscious and steals their girlfriends.”
Hunt didn’t deny the accusation. “She should’ve marinated it in [my opponents’] tears,” he said. “I just won third place at a pretty big tournament in the area, so, yeah, I’ve got a pretty big target on my back.” The Jiu-Jitsu Times reviewed Hunt’s claim and found that he did indeed claim third place in his three-man division two weeks ago.
A second anonymous family member reported that as everyone gathered in the living room to watch football after dinner had concluded, Hunt began offering to demonstrate some of the submissions he knew. “We were all tired and full and just trying to digest and he’s over here pretending to be Jackie Chan. Talking about omagagas [sic.] or some s***.”
Again, Hunt confirmed the story. “I just think it’s funny how they think these football players are so cool and so tough, but I’ll bet you none of those guys know how to defend a basic shoulder lock. Eddie Cummings is half those guys’ sizes and he could end their careers in an instant,” he said, going on to offer to heel hook anyone who didn’t believe him.
Phillips expressed guilt over starting the conversation in the first place. “I shouldn’t have brought it up. Maybe he would’ve been less irritated if I’d just asked him why he was still single or how long it’ll be until he gets a real job instead of working at that retail store.”
Kathy Hunt emphasized that her brother would still be invited to next year’s Thanksgiving dinner, but added that she hoped by then he would “cool it” with the “kung-fu” talk. “I just miss how things were when we were younger, when we’d talk about less controversial things like gun control and Uncle Tom’s justification for cheating on Aunt Susan,” she said. “All my friends are telling me how their families were torn apart in a single evening by arguing about politics, and I’m just like, ‘You guys don’t even know how good you have it.’”
At press time, Daniel Hunt was busy posting a photo of buttermilk biscuits to his athlete page with the hashtag “#WannaRoll.”