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E-Samurai Interview: Zumat
[07/04/2003] [The Interviewer]

Please state your full Amtgard name.

Umm. Tarkan Bashar Zumat Darkjester-Pentacles.

How did you come up with your name?

Interesting story, actually. I rolled a 20-sided die on the alphabet, removing undesirable letters like "q", and "k". Then I played some scrabble with the five letters I got, and "Zumat." Ok, not that interesting.

What's a Tarkan, what's a Bashar, and what's a Penctacles?

You know, I'm not sure. Duke Sir Owl gave me Bashar, which is equivalent to Baronet, for serving as Regent. MHOG gave me Tarkan, which equates to Baron, for serving as Pope the first time around. I think Bashar is like a Hungarian colonel, and Tarkan might be like a planetary governor from Dune or something. I usually don't use titles. But I figured since they went to the trouble of thinking up unique ones specifically for me, it would be disrespectful not to keep them both.

Pentacles is a household started, as far as I understand it, as a joke. It eventually came to represent service to the club for me. I could be way off base, though. Anyway, since there were five of them that started it, a pentacle was the obvious logo choice. Each founding member gets a "pod". Each pod has its own defining trait. The pod I am in represents chivalry and virtue. While I constantly let my temper get away with me and I have a wicked mischevious streak, chivalry and virtue is something I strive for, and I am proud to be associated with it, and with them.

When did you join Amtgard, and why?

End of July 1998, because my brother (Folcwine) gave me shit about being a couch potato. I went, thumped my first monkey, and have been hooked since. I am attending meetings, though.

What would you say Amtgard's single greatest purpose is?

Personally? Alternate sport. It's a chance to play something aggressive and fast without the boring constraints and normalcy of mundane sports.

Which part do you enjoy the most?

Thumpin' monkeys. Duh.

Seriously, I like ditching, jugging, ring da' bell. Any game that is more involved with physical prowess.

What's your favorite class?

Is that something you eat?

You're not a fan of battlegames?

No. One, they're too slow. Two, the only people consistently enjoying battlegames are those with the projectiles (arrows, spellballs, throwing weapons). I don't enjoy ranged combat myself, hence I don't enjoy battlegames. I guess if your kingdom hasn't been doing this for a billion-odd years and doesn't already know all the best strategies for the classes, and your archers/wizards/monks are dumb enough to get within melee range, playing a grunt might not suck. In any group where people understand how to play their classes to their maximum efficiency, any fighter is going to be relegated to guard duty. And that makes me go to sleep.

What's your favorite weapon combination?

Another interesting question. I don't really have a favorite for general use. I like any of the three main tourney styles (sword and board, florentine, one sword). I do, however, find I have to work less hard to kill as much with sword and board.

What does winning tournaments mean for you?

Validation. I already know I'm right. Now I have to prove it. Generally, I'm not proving I'm good, I'm proving you're not.

Man, that sounds good on paper.

You're a squire to Sir Thor. What does that mean to you?

"I am Thor's squire and you are not. (Unless you are IM Bishop, or 1/4th of Folcwine.)"

It's a different relationship between every knight and squire. I lucked out as far as my knight is concerned. Thor's laid back enough to let me have free rein to fuck up on my own, but in touch enough to shake his head and glower at me at the right times, and he's got a pretty good glower.

Do you think there are too many knights in Amtgard?

I could make a joke about how I'm doing my part to correct that, but I think it's still too soon.

No, there are not too many knights, there are just not enough non-knights. The vast majority of knights I've met are deserving of their belts. If we had more people not yet worthy, the number of those who are wouldn't be so debated.

Why do you love the Iron Mountains?

That's getting harder to answer as I think about it. This kingdom demands that its people be good at whatever they do. It's the smak. It runs so thick, that you can't suck or you'll drown in it. I love that we run smak all the time.

You're Duke of the Iron Mountains right now. How's that working out for you?

Pope, actually. I'm the Pope of the First Church of the Iron Mountains. It's not so good right now, but I'm eating my crow and it will improve before summer is over.

What about that Evil Ryss guy?

We're not calling him Marchand. What about him?

Isn't he your regent or bishop or something? How's that working out?

Ryss is one of the most solid individuals in Amtgard. He's hard-working, creative, and willing to put up with my shit (especially when I fly off the handle over something trivial. I may have a bit of a temper.) I made a great choice when I chose him as Cardinal, if I may pat myself on the back. And he likes guard duty.

So, what's up with you and those Rogues?

I love those guys. They make me laugh with their cute little attempts at fighting. Especially that sweet little old lady, Spyn.

So, what's up with you and those Wu Tang guys?

Nothing right now, they suspended me post-Rakis. Some people have questioned my field honor. Not for shot-calling or for bad sportsmanship. No, apparently I have a bad attitude. Hey, I'm not bitter. And for that, I have been put under heavy review.

So, what's up with those Stick Jock quotes you do?

Self-amusement. Why else would I do anything?

Your banning from the Iron Mountains rekindled a debate about bannings in general. . .

Before I answer this, let me say that this answer is in no way a critique of Lief or his decisions. He shot from the hip and did what he thought was right at the time. I don't like it, but I support it. That being said:

How do you think bannings should be handled in Amtgard?

A lot less biased than mine. My banning happened before the full gathering of the facts and to appease the louder crowd. Get the full story and both accounts of the incident before you act, monarchs.

On that note, if you could do 'Rakis again, what would you do differently?

One, I would not have yelled at MHOG. I would have taken his joke for what it was. Two, I would not have tripped Rabbit, but that's a no-brainer. I lost friends, face, and my forward momentum over it. Three, I would not have reeved jugging for you bastards. It's the most thankless thing I've ever done. We make a call, we're bad reeves. We don't make a call, we're bad reeves. We back our other reeves when they make a call, good or bad, we're bad reeves. Fuck you.

6.1. Good, bad?

That abomination SiM/AC hybrid is bad. I could give a shit about the rest.

IKBOD. Good, bad?

Good. We should all get a voice. Yay, America!

'Rakis 2003. Good, bad?

For me? Heh. Bad.

Clan. Going?

I'm gonna try. No promises. I want to go.

What's your single fondest Amtgard memory?

Well, there was this sloughin' flurb at Clan I decided to beat the living. . .nah, I'm kidding. My first tourney win. It was a fight-off for first against Auromax. I was proud of myself because all my wins were super-clean.

What's your worst Amtgard injury?

My left knee. I don't have health insurance and I'm positive I've torn something. It hurts like hell all the time.

How did you hurt it?

In October or November I was twisting on it while legged. I felt something tear. In retrospect, I probably shoulda stretched, heh. Then I've fought on it every weekend since like a fantastic idiot.

Who do you most admire in Amtgard and why?

I heard there was this dude that played in a wheelchair. If that's true, it'd be him. People who persevere in spite of adversity are the ones who are worthy to be admired. Any monkey can win when they've got all the advantages.

Is there any persevering guy right now who you admire?

I dunno, the Celestial Kingdom's Qualen? Maybe. At Spring War, I heard he won his warlord, then I heard his own knight doesn't think he's that good. Then I heard he went and schooled his own knight over and over again. Then I heard that they still wouldn't give him his due props. And yet he keeps coming out and playing hard. If that's true, that's the kind of thing you gotta admire.

Sure, the guy's got some holes in his technique, but through fighting at Spring Wars and various other events I would say (from my admittedly limited perspective) he's one of CK's top two (non-belted) fighters. Him and Dalos. Props to my Golden City homeboy, yo.

What is the greatest misunderstanding people have about the Iron Mountains?

I wouldn't know. I travel more than 95% of the IM, and most of the misunderstandings about me come from within my home kingdom.

If you could visit three (and only three) kingdoms, which three would You pick?

Wetlands, to thump on and hang out with the bros for a while. Neverwinter, because in January it gets fucking cold up here and a vacation would be nice. Goldenvale, to thump Muerte with his own concrete sticks.

What do you see in your Amtgard future?

I'll do my time, and I'll be back, like a vertebrae. I'll naturally prove everybody who thinks me to be a waste completely wrong.

And I'll thump more monkeys.

Do you have anything you'd like to say to the readers of e-Samurai?

1. I think MSWord ('cause I cut and pasted to answer these) went and capitalized some shit on me. That is so uncool. Hours of laziness ruined. [ The editor also capitalized some shit and removed some emoticons, which ruined even more hours of laziness for both the editor and Zumat. --ed. ]

2. Quit being flurbs, you useless, annoying window-sill chihuahuas. And I'm not just talkin' about Dalos and Brennon.

3. And bring it, fan-boy!

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