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Growing Up Bronx

Who’s the Master?

If you watched “The last dragon,” then this post may resonate with you. How can you ever forget Sho’nuff and his chants of who’s the master? In the Bronx, we had our own version of who’s the master, read on for more.

When we were kids my friends and I used to wrestle and basically try to dominate one another. We would playfully attack each other and continue the onslaught until the other person submitted to your physical superiority.

One of the things I liked doing to them when I got the upper hand was making them say that I was the master. My technique was that I would smash their head into the floor and ask “who is the master?” I’d crush them until they said I was the master. I also had this thing called the “chin attack,” that was basically my power move when we were wrestling.

Of course I wasn’t invincible, and if they got the upper hand on me while play fighting, then they would get their payback and make me say that they were the master. But that rarely happened.

That’s just the way us kids played in the hood. Yes, in my little circle of friends, most of the time I was the master. But there were times were I had to submit to one of my older or stronger friends. Life is funny that way, you might be the king of your hill but all it takes is that one outsider to dethrone you or make you look weak and exposed in front of your subjects.

I still remember the shock in my friends faces when one of my buddies who actually wrestled in high school rag dolled me all over the floor. This dude completely dominated me and kicked my ass in my own freaking bedroom. That’s when I learned the lesson that training generally makes you superior. On that day, he was the master. My friends mockingly asked the question as he whooped my butt, “so who’s the master now?”

It should be noted that this statement wasn’t only used when we were wrestling. We’d also use it when one of us needed something from the other and they were being difficult. It was our way of making them beg for it and tormenting their ego.

In addition to that, we’d use it while playing video games and winning. After you destroyed someone or got a difficult win, you’d say: “Who’s the master!”

I didn’t know it back then, but “who’s the master” was preparing me to be a man in the adult world. It’s a bit more covert, but most of us are out here trying to make the other say, “Who’s the master?”

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