A Violent Metaphor: Motorcycle Hill

“You must make friends with suffering!” Greg Jackson shouted as I   struggled up a steep sand dune on the outskirts of Albuquerque, with a group of 15 professional fighters.

I’d arrived the day before for a two-week crash course at Jackson’s famed MMA camp. After the easy victory in my first amateur fight and the success and notoriety brought me by the series of articles I’d written I had decided to repeat the process as a professional.

The longer I worked with FIGHT! and the more successful it became the more I was drawn to the gym and the idea of fighting, by the time I got to Jackson’s, training is what I enjoyed most about the job.

I had begun my training in Atlanta with my old friend Master Murgel.  He hadn’t wanted me to break up my training by traveling to New Mexico but I knew if I didn’t do it I might not get another chance.

When I arrived, Jackson told me he would throw me in the deep water right off the bat.

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A Violent Metaphor: Atlanta

In the dressing room before the fight I was surprised when an old friend of my family, the boxer Roy Jones, showed up. “Look how little these gloves are.” I showed him how thin the 4-ounce MMA gloves are compared to boxing gloves.  “When I catch this guy it’s going to be over,” I told him.  I’d seen Rogers at the weigh-ins and warming up he was smaller than me and his technique didn’t look that great. His corner men all had t-shirts that said Team Bam on them and the thought did cross my mind that he might be a little better than I was giving him credit for if he had his own t-shirt. I took comfort from the fact that all the fighters in my dressing room were the ones favored to win.

You’re only going to have to touch him once, I told myself as I looked across the ring at Bam Rogers and I half believed it.  The bell rang and as advertised, he came right at me, crossing the ring quickly and throwing a leg kick that bounced off my left quadriceps. He threw another light one. Is that it, I wondered, unimpressed.

I started thinking about what I was going to do next. I’d look for the leg kick and counter. Instead of kicking, he threw a punch and I leapt at the opportunity to exchange with him.

I threw a loose left hook that landed right on his chin and bounced his head back. I had hoped to catch Rogers with a big shot early and there it was, but instead of collapsing in a heap, which is what I had expected him to do, he instantly fired back with a left of his own over my right hand, which was low. I was shocked by the speed and sharpness of his punch and I felt myself going down.

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A Violent Metaphor: Conclusion and Paranaesis

My experiences in MMA helped me in many ways and during the time I was training and fighting I began to solidify a worldview. Here it is in a nutshell.   Indeterminism and therefore freedom enters into the universe through human consciousness and the basic component of consciousness is will. Consciousness is a continuum with animal impulses on one end and the personal in the middle and possibly, hopefully, something else it is possible to move towards at the other end.   I am a Christian so I believe that this points to what is referred to as Wisdom, Logos or the Word in the Bible and while we can never totally achieve it, since we are separate from God, the purpose of our existence is to move toward it.

To live this way it is necessary to develop the resources and strength of the inner self. Since a person’s will is the most basic and simplest component of our inner self, our wills become visible to us every time we choose the rational over the animal and we move down the spectrum.

Because the integrity of our individual wills is attacked in so often in modern culture, mainly through the stimulation of desire, people begin to mistake their desires for the totality of themselves.   When this happens, they regress back towards a life based around animal gratification. This is the trap of the world in which we live and the reaction against it leads to the sort of estrangement from yourself I described at the beginning of this chapter.

In my case, it was the simple and arduous rigors of training and fighting that shocked me out of the overload and alienation and back to myself.   Once I felt what it was like to live with this sort of authenticity, even if it was just for a little while in the gym, I wanted to extend it to the rest of my life.  When I made this realization, fighting moved back to its proper place in my life.

To end this work I will detail the core principals I took from my experiences in the world of fighting that are important in the larger scheme of things and have helped try to live a more authentic and empowered life. They are:

Don’t give up.  This doesn’t mean charge blindly into destruction or court hardship just to prove how tough you are, but  always recognize your authentic will instead of your animal appetites and develop the first unfailingly as a means to master the other.  Use everything you have, commit, and don’t hold back. Choose wisely what you do then expend yourself fully in whatever you put your hand to. In this way you will marshal all of your resources and develop new ones as well. Always attack.  Eliminate all vestiges of passivity from your mind. Never hold back because of a fear of failure or disappointment.  Courage devours aggression because courage increases and reinforces itself while blind aggression burns out. Be first. Seize the initiative. Wake up. Be alert t as much as you can.  Live with energy. Always, think in terms of winning.  Don’t just survive.  Be constantly aware of the circumstances for victory and watch for them. Close the show when the chance comes. Prepare. Focus on technique.  Details matter.  A mastery of practicalities will produce confidence and eliminate indecision.  If your limbs are tied up, move forward with your mind until you free yourself. When you do, the power of Providence will be at your back.  To really live you must have courage.  Courage is a function of character. Character is a function of self -control, humility and love.  Underpinning it all and the strongest power of the human mind is the ability to believe.

 

The End