John Carder Bush's
KBC Newsletter contributions
1. The Game of Utsu


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[From issue number 4. This article was unsigned. I have very tentatively attributed it to Mr. Bush.]


The Game of Utsu

We have made up a game for letting off steam and providing good entertainment for anybody who might be watching it. It involves three people (although you can play it with just two) and will be a perfect indoor game for an martial-arts enthusiasts, as it will tone up reactions remarkably.

Two people can play the game at a time, with a third acting as judge. The winner takes on the next player and so on, until only one person is left. The two players lie down on the floor head to head, with their left hand gripping the other's left hand. They are blindfolded (check they can't peep) and have in their right hands an Utsu stick. This is just a lightly rolled newspaper. The judge gives a signal for starting, and one player shouts "Utsu!". Within ten seconds the other must shout back "Hi!", and the first player then strikes where he thinks the other one is. Once the person shouting "Hi!" has made his shout he must keep still. A point is scored if the head is struck by the newspaper. Three points are normally played for--the winner being the person with the most points. The trick is to make the striker strike at where your voice has come from by twisting away from where you made your shout.

Each exchange can last for as long as like, but it's a good idea to limit it. Some players will wait, listening for the slightest noise before striking. It's not how hard you hit that is important, but how accurately; and with experienced players the game can go on for a long time. Don't lie waiting to be hit with your face turned up--keep your head tucked in, because although newspapers will not damage you, getting a smart rap across the nose is no fun. Keep your target small and keep very quiet.

The game can be very exciting and hilarious, because the looks of concentration on the players' faces as they listen for movement to indicate where they should strike puts expressions on their faces you are not likely to have ever seen before.

You can take the game to extremes by introducing oriental vibes all the way through: bowing to the opponent and the judge, and making a ceremony of putting on the blindfolds and picking up the sticks, etc.

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