What is it about combat sports that speaks to me? (Redux)

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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).

Funny.

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…)

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AOC, Ilhan et al…we got some W.I.POC warriors in Congress

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Yeah, I’ve decided to hitch on what I see as a rather kick-ass W.I.PoC bandwagon in Congress for a while. Mostly because I’m a news junkie and I’m tired of seeing old, white rich dudes rape and plunder their way to wealth and power. It really is a dampener on my infotainment binges.

Not to mention that fact that this wretched cesspool of predatory capitalism and misogyny that’s destroying our planet needs some voices up top fighting the good fight (until we can tear it all down that is).

Yes, they’re all politicians and they’re all eventually going to disappoint sooner or later, but at least with AOC, Ilhan and other immigrant women and women of color in Congress, I’m absolutely certain that they’re not going to sexually assault someone.

I also truly feel like they give a shit about stuff beyond personal gain. I’m not suggesting their egos and ambitions aren’t at play, but I have always found that women in power are able to at least care about others around them to a greater degree than men in power.

Not being a sexual predator and furthermore, actually giving a shit about people around you, is in fact a rather low bar, but it is one that I would like all of my elected leaders to first cross before making any policy changes.

And it seems like most old rich white dudes not named Bernie Sanders are incapable of the same.

So yeah, AOC, Ilhan, et al…you have an utterly useless voice of support in me – a fringe lefty who cuddle-tortures his pets and considers the criminalization of cannabis to be backward as fuck.

All hail our W.I.PoC warriors, wherever they fight those good fights and blaze those good trails.

Brothers and fathers and allies alike – unite in defending the matriarchy.

I have my poisons…

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I’ve had multiple poisons over the years that I’ve leaned on to help me through stress and boredom, ensure I get to work every day and take care of business for love, hell even keep me training daily in haphazard martial arts like some directionless moron for the last two years.

Currently I lean on three (poisons as they would be considered in the societies I claim membership in, that is) – booze, cigarettes, and cannabis.

Well, cannabis for me is straight up medicine – the green goddess so to speak – so Imma scratch that off the list of poisons and add that sweet herb to my list of medicines (which is basically that, working out, and eating the occasional salad swimming in creamy dressing.)

That leaves me leaning on two poisons, and there’s really no other way to look at booze and ciggies as anything other than just that. Poisons with some side medicinal benefits no doubt, delectable poisons for easily bored, self-anointed revolutionaries of course, but poisons nonetheless.

Now, this ain’t some cry for help. Nos is it some false-humility-laden, sunshine-up-your-ass clarion call to go all drug free and shit. I like my medicines and poisons sans hypocrisy or bullshit self-justification.

It’s just interesting is all.

I’m also trying to understand why.

I think it’s the constant need for higher realisation no matter how dangerous or self-involved.

To be honest though, I also just fucking like it.

The trick is to ensure it’s fuel and not torpor.

And to always defend the matriarchy.

KALIAMMAN VAZHGAI

SUSAMMAN VAZGAI

RADHAMMAN VAZGHAI

DAYA KUTTI VAZHGAI

FAIZ BOOBOO VAZHGAI

MOLLY POO VAZHGAI

(rumi, vaddu…i see you my brothers)

Why daily martial arts matters to me…

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Mostly in the form of shadow boxing to music or doing circuits of pushups, burpees, and squats…but still.

It keeps me grounded, humble even. Has me dancing with my demons rather than fearing them.

But it’s tough to train every day. Just go ahead and try it. A week. A month. When you get past a year let me know what it felt like, then go for one more.

Then imagine doing it for life.

It is now necessarily part of the noble grind, shorn of romance but yet filled with perennial learning and hope.

I’m in that place now. Poisons and all. I’ve been making them count, and training every day for the last two years. As you can tell I’m proud but also see a long journey ahead and want to ensure there are more adventures to mark the endless path in front of me.

Every goddamn day. I’ve fixed it at a modest half hour (cos I walk a crap load too, what with a puppy now being my everything, including a daily 90 minute constitutional).

I prep for my training with the green goddess, me great healing plant. She has helped me be as successful as I’ve been in keeping it going these last two years.

Sure there will be days when stomach bugs and sabbaticals from said goddess change the “training” to basically messing around with easy drills while watching TopTenzNet on YouTube. Some shitty workout days will have to be balanced out with better ones.

It’s ok. I’m not aiming for perfection.

Just peace of mind and clarity of soul.

Wow…is Tyson Fury my homeboy?

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Tyson Fury is a heavyweight boxing star, a former world champion from proud, humble roots, who also happens to have said some atrociously sexist, homophobic things in the past that prove yet again why us men are truly the weakest of the genders.

Sorry, I’m one of those sports nuts who cannot separate the personhood of the athlete from their athletic achievements. Or whatever personhood I can garner from reading between the lines with cursory reads of articles on my phone.

So I kinda felt a little disgusted by Tyson Fury with my initial introductions to him from the media. But I also remember feeling a touch of pity. Toxic masculinity is usually interred with trauma and mental health struggles. All men know this to some degree or the other.

It was almost too easy to predict and eventually witness the inevitable fall once he reached his pinnacle. Considering the trauma he had taken in (and possibly inflicted on the world in a myriad ways), it played out like tragicomic theater.

For fame, wealth, status, and glory – unlike love and liberation – are but fleeting, no matter at what level they’re first experienced.

But they’re heady drugs nonetheless.

And fall he did from those highs.

Depression. Abuse. Deathliness.

Until he changed the script.

Embraced his vulnerabilities. Learnt to walk before he could get back to doing road work and train.

Paid heed to the knowledge of others but trusted his heart. Got his comeback title bid.

Fought like a dancer tossing away diamond-encrusted shackles.

And got up before the 10 count like he was waking up to an alarm clock – almost like he had trained himself to wake up, every morning, getting ahead of the dark clouds day after day in his comeback bid.

Tyson Fury came away with a draw that didn’t get him the belt but got him as deep a smile as I’ve ever seen on a man who’s really trying to dance with his demons.

And this time around, after the rush of the fight, he seems ready for the struggle to commence.

The righteous struggle.

The noble daily grind for love and liberation that all of us must find our peace in.

I think this sexist homophobe might just be a homeboy of mine.

(Well…as long as he don’t mind arguing while we spar.)

2-1 (or really 3-1) on the crystal ball fights

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At least Nunes won.

But so did that roided shell of a human being.

3-1 on crystal ball fights for me.

Yeah I’m taking the Donald Trump prediction as 2 wins. Especially after the equal parts elation-sadness with the fights last night.

Fine, I’ve lost my undefeated record.

But at least I got realization (which is the point of human existence if you think about it).

MMA, like politics, is seeped in bullshit, greed, and toxic masculinity.

It is an obsession I think I’m over.

Like any addiction for me I’ll never ever fully let go of MMA, especially the training part (and the pre fight press conferences).

But the misogynistic, racist, predatory machinations of promotions like the UFC? Gotta keep from supporting crap like that.

Good thing I believe more in the anarcho democracy of information access in today’s internet age over capitalism I guess.

After all, I have a mortgage to pay…

[Check out my previous post if you want to know what the fuck I’m talking about here.]

Training Diary – on the difficult lessons of honorable manhood

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Sadness is always ok.

Fear is to be accepted.

Frustration is but a part of this noble grind called life.

Anger, so easy to deploy but so very dangerous, must be used as nothing more than fuel to defend love, justice, and higher knowledge.

But never to hurt.

Or control.

That is one of the struggles towards honorable manhood that dismantles the patriarchy.

(The earthen green goddess will help with the rest)

***SUSAMMAN VAZHGAI***

***RADHAMMAN VAZHGAI***

***KALIAMMAN VAZHGAI***