Once upon a time the Lap Gochi would patrol the streets of the Welsh highlands like gayly-dressed Samurai – their colourful costumes belieing the terrible carnage that could be unleashed with a simple flick of their brochfael (the preferred weapon of the Lap Goch masters that resembles an innocuous oversized handkerchief).
Even then, practitioners who shared the deadly techniques with outsiders were forced to pull their own heads off in front of the entire village as a form of punishment. Nowadays the secrets of Rhyddfedd and Freckleddll are passed on only to those select few who are invited into the remote villages where the remaining Lap Goch masters meet to mentor a new generation of Welsh warriors.
Even so, the fundamental principles of Lap Goch are well known. There are two:
1. That the best form of defence is attack
2. That the most important element in a successful attack is surprise
The Lap Goch practitioner is therefore taught to suprise his opponent by attacking him before he is himself attacked. Indeed, he will attack his opponent, not only before he is actually attacked, but before his opponent has even considered attacking him. Indeed, to be safe, he will launch attacks on a variety of people who have never even so much as thought about attacking him because they have never had any reason to.
Critics of the ancient art have suggested that this makes Lap Goch a simple form of thugery, as it generally involves assaulting complete strangers in the street, long before they might form any notion of attacking the Lap Goch exponent.
The criticism is valid, so far as it goes, but it illustrates too how the Lap Goch master always stays one move ahead in the game. He attacks not only his enemies, but also those who may one day become his enemies. And indeed, amongst the Lap Goch masters, their premonitions are rarely found to be at fault. Over time, almost all of those whom they attack do become their enemies!
There is no doubt that the recent resurgence of interest in the ancient Welsh art has been laregely due to the rumours that the current American President, George W. Bush, is himself a master of the art! Certainly the principles of Lap Goch seem to be at the heart of the President’s foreign policy, though this in itself is not conclusive.
Certainly the Bush-Lap Goch link would help explain the President’s otherwise incomprehensible strategy in the Middle East. It may also help to identity those odd figures, dressed in braces and tall black hats, who have been seen frequently amongst the President’s group of advisors.
Rev. David B. Smith (the ‘Fighting Father’) Parish priest, community worker,martial arts master, pro boxer, author, father of three.
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