This was it. Lee's imaginary opponent was about to become real.
And, much to his amazement, he wasn't nervous like he'd been earlier. His heart was beating at normal speed, his head was clear, his muscles were relaxed. He didn't feel angry or tense.
"I'm ready," Lee said calmly.
Jason held his arms out on either side of him and tilted his head back. "Go ahead," he said. "Punch me, little guy. Take the first shot."
Lee didn't take offense at Jason's insult. It was almost like lee's mind was somewhere else, in a quiet, peaceful place where words couldn't reach him. "I've already told you I can't do that," Lee said.
"Oh, that's right!" Jason said, putting his palm against his forehead, pretending he'd forgotten. "You're a karate man. But what are we going to do, then? We don't want my fans to miss the grand finale!"
Lee said nothing but held his ground.
"Okay, have it your way," Jason said. "If the only way you'll fight me is karate-style, then I guess that's what we'll have to do."
Without any warning
, Jason then ran at Lee with a fake sounding kiai.
"Haaaaa!" he shouted. His leg flew upward, though it was straight and stiff, more like a football kick than a karate kick.
Smoothly, and without thought, Lee stepped to the side. He grabbed Jason's extended leg and yanked it upward, knocking Jason off balance. Jason fell falt on his backl to the laughter of several boys watching. Lee lunged forward into a low stance to follow up with a punch to the nose, but Jason quickly rolled out of the way and jumped to his feet. He held his clenched fists up in front of his face like a boxer, leaving his rib cage exposed.
Seeing an opening, Lee shouted, "I'll show you the real way to kick!"
and stepped in with a front kick to Jason's short ribs, snapping his back leg back instantly, before Jason could grab it. Jason couldn't have grabbed it anyway, though, because he doubled over, gasping for breath.
"Yay!" Jeremy started to shout, but before the word had left his lips, Jason had straightened up and landed a solid punch in Lee's chest, followed by one to the stomach. Lee tried to block, but the weight of Jason's body gave his punches a force Lee could do little to resist. Lee staggered back. His chest throbbed with pain and his stomach felt queasy, but he was still on his feet.
Jason towered over him, tall and thick like a tree. That's when Lee realized how he could win the fight. He had to chop the tree down. Lee delivered a stinging front snap kick to Jason's thigh, knowing this would cramp Jason's muscle. As Lee had hoped, Jason leaned over to rub his leg, leaving his neck exposed.
This was what Lee had been waiting for. Summoning all his energy and power in one big kiai, Lee jumped in with a knife hand to Jason's neck.
"Hyaaaahhhh!" Lee kiaied as the side of his hand connected with his target.
Jason toppled over and lay on the ground. He rolled onto his back, his arms at his sides, and almost did look like a fallen tree.
His eyes were open, though, and angry. Lee knew he had to use one more technique to make sure Jason wouldn't get up and come at him again. Jason's solar plexus, the nerve center of his entire body, was open and exposed, giving Lee the perfect opportunity to knock him out.
"Go for it, Lee!" Jeremy shouted.
It was now or never. Lee moved in for the final blow.