An American high school student is suing an elderly Japanese man who, he claims, tricked him into washing cars and doing DIY at his house, under the pretence that he was learning self defence. Dave Andrews, who had recently moved into the area, was befriended by the man after experiencing bullying at the hands of a local gang. Andrews initially tried to join the local karate school, only to find to his dismay, that his aggressors were already members.
After an altercation in which Andrews was physically attacked, the defendant, Mr Gyoza, intervened and offered a safe haven. ‘Initially we just hung out and he taught me about bonsai and other things. Then as we got to know each other better, he started to teach me about karate.’ The defendant used unusual methods such as getting Andrews to clean floors, wash cars and fix fences, but he told Andrews throughout that this was teaching him the basics that he needed to know. ‘I trusted this guy, it was like that film with Ralph Macchio, I thought I was really learning to defend myself.’
The matter came to a head when Gyoza’s house and garden were featured in a glossy magazine shoot. ‘He wouldn’t let me in,’ said Andrews, ‘he said he didn’t know me and just shut the door in my face. I thought it was the final part of my training, standing on my own two feet or something, so I just went with it.’ Andrews entered the local karate championship and was soundly beaten in his first bout, eliminating him from the competition. ‘I had no idea what I was doing. They all laughed at me when I stood there with a duster in one hand and a pot of car wax in the other. It was a total humiliation.’
Andrews is suing for a million dollars in damages for physical harm caused to him as a result of not being able to defend himself, and a further million dollars for the humiliation which has seen him shunned by the local community. Gyoza has relocated and was not available for comment at his new address. A 17 year old boy who was painting a fence at the front of the property refused to comment but did threaten local reporters with a sheet of sandpaper and a dishcloth.