During some restless teenage years in Bangalore, it was boxing and kickboxing with a dog-eared edition of The Tao of Jeet Kune Do.
Then ensued a long break where activist adventures and delusions of revolutionary grandeur across multiple continents held captivation for head and heart, with ciggies and booze emerging as two bosom travelling companions.
Now, as I come to the end of my significantly mellower and peaceable thirties (rooted in Minneapolis of all places on earth, whoulda thought?) – I’m back to being obsessed with combat sports.
(MMA this time around…and that dog-eared copy of Bruce Lee’s brilliant text still floats around our living room).
As the glory and responsibilities of being a family man bless me with identity and meaning, there is still one part of me, a restless part of my soul that clamors for full realization.
This need for the relief of realization, as I’m starting to call it, lies at the heart of that restless part of my soul, which for now finds a modicum of groundedness in seeing two cage fighters beat the crap out of each other for my entertainment.
Of course, my obsession with combat sports will not be without self-critique.
How can it be?
That will negate the quest for full realization.
Simultaneously, I celebrate the fact that it grounds that restless part of my soul.
I think one reason might be because it helps with fear – fear that resides in the pit of my brain, causing it and thus me to do dumb shit.
I go back to my many escapes, from what feels like lifetimes past.
And in this most blissful of life stations, happiness running over, struggle always coupled with joy, love in my life like never before, I now know that the relief of realization lies in inviting this fear – the fear of death and ending – into my life as an authentic friend and loyal travelling companion.
This fearful friend then makes me grateful for the life I’ve led thus far and whatever might lie ahead.
At a less pristine level, it also makes me very, very grateful for crazy-ass cage fighters like Gamebred and Showtime, defying the bookies against bigger, heavier fighters and knocking them the fuck out.
(Now, if I can just deal with the inherent toxic masculinity interred in MMA, we’ll be good…)