Honorable MMA training buddies wanted in Twin Cities area

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This is an earnest call out for honorable MMA training buddies in the Twin Cities area.

I’m a 38 year old, lifelong martial artist who honors the core values of love, freedom, and humanity – an educator and counselor by profession, who’s obsessed with mixed martial arts.

I’m of the belief that fighting – as in unarmed fighting – is in our DNA. We come out of the womb punching, kicking, and screaming, covered in blood, shit, and goo.

Fighting with our bare hands has been present as a sport with every culture on earth, through the ages. (My own goes back to Adithada and Mustiyuddha from millennia gone by).

MMA, despite its myriad limitations and drawbacks, is the closest we’ve gotten in sporting terms to unarmed combat in this current modern epoch.

Indeed, I believe part of the reason for my own obsession with MMA is because it’s the sport that comes closest to unarmed combat today. Like many reading this, I have faced violence in my past and was drawn to martial arts as a kid for both the right and wrong reasons. I’m trying very hard now to walk the path of an honorable warrior who puts his best foot forward for his family, community of loved ones, and the earth we live in.

One of the things I do to achieve that is a daily dose of conditioning tailored for MMA. I train for a half hour every day (in addition to watching what I eat, participating in activities that feed my soul, and trying to develop a sharp mind).

My half hour of conditioning work usually consists of fairly intense shadow boxing, sprawls, squats, lunges, monkey hops, striking combos (punches, elbows, knees, kicks), constant foot movement, and core/back work, while focusing on breathing, balance, and volume. In addition, and as often as I can, I bike, walk, do pushups/squats, dance with my kid, and occasionally workout on a long bag or a ground n pound bag. I’m fit, athletic, and quite strong; 5 feet 10 inches tall, walking around at ~155 pounds. I think conditioning is the most important physical, mental, and spiritual part of being a fighter. I also believe it should should be the first step for any martial artist and conducted lifelong as a daily grind with endorphin yummies for reward.

I’ve been to gyms before and have trained/sparred, but currently cannot commit to one. I’m a working man and my first commitment is my family, thus all the money we make goes towards the mortgage and family needs. In other words, I don’t currently have the resources to join a proper MMA gym.

Instead I was hoping to find some training buddies in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area who might want to meet once or twice a week, or more, to workout together and, eventually, spar together (ensuring proper safety, rules, intensity levels, and honor bound codes of conduct, of course).

Initially, I’m imagining just doing conditioning workouts together, discussing sparring ideas, and ways to lead honorable lives as warriors (no jokes, I think that shit’s important to growing as a martial artist). My ultimate plan is to get a good conditioning workout for a half hour and then maybe a few rounds of sparring for a half hour, with protective gear and low to medium intensity…so no crazy haymakers and then gassing in a minute and a half…I’m learning from past mistakes 😉

I’m seeking a symbiotic, supportive relationship to get better as fighters and live more honorable lives as warriors. It is thus absolutely vital that my training buddies also honor the deeper core values I’ve mentioned above of love, freedom, and humanity. The relationships we build are more important than our relative fighting skills or lack thereof. Martial arts, and MMA in particular, unfortunately attracts a lot of alpha-male-type assholes drowning in toxic masculinity. If you are sexist, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or an intolerant bigot in any way, I do not want to hear from you as you are not a true martial artist and have strayed far from the path of the honorable warrior (no matter how awesome a fighter you might be). However, if you smiled at that last sentence, please do get in touch.

It’s easier for me to get my ass kicked in workouts and sparring by a fellow warrior whom I respect and care for and I’m hoping it’s the same for you. I also wish to emphasize that you don’t need to have prior martial arts experience – like i said, I truly believe fighting is in our DNA (and we’ve all fought or had our butts wupped in real life). All we need is a willingness to sweat, learn, and help one another get better at life. Maybe we can even document our ongoing success and failures on forums like this.

Finally, I’m also keen on exploring other warrior arts and skills apart from just combat sports – shit that might come in increasing use as our societies crumble for better or worse. You know, shit like hunting, sustainable living, bartering cooperatives, and organic permaculture. I just think doing strength and conditioning work for combat sports and sparring together is a great way to start. My ultimate (pipe) dream is to see this grow magically into a non hierarchical, anti-oppressive, warrior society based on love, freedom, and humanity.

Whatever…costs nothing to smoke up and dream after a workout.

Seriously though, if what you just read spoke to you, and you live in and around the Twin Cities, I’d love to hear from you. Text or email me please and we can chat.

kind regards and much peace,

Shree Varuna

612-636-9895

forthematriarchy@gmail.com

 

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Towards a healthy engagement with monotony

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Life truly is a series of standout moments. Many of them in fact – all floating in a sea of monotonous reproduction in between.

I think we live in a culture that is consumed by an unquenchable desire, and thus unquestioning laboring, for the highlightable moments in life. Our pop culture is replete with neatly packaged moments – good, bad and everything else – that we are told constitute a life we ought to lead.

But we’re not culturally attuned to figuring out the monotony in between. (For starters, it would make for really, really boring television.)

The very fact that I call it monotony – as opposed to, say, journey, which I’ve been told might be a healthier way of looking at it – is a bit of an indicator already. Monotony means repetition, and repetition is a surefire path to boredom in this world of ours, dominated as it is by pop culture soundbites.

I’m not great with monotony for this reason. It’s the reason that one of my greatest life endeavors has been to entertain myself during the monotonous tasks often required for the sustenance of life and love – the monotony of taking care of business so to speak. I do believe this somewhat unhealthy relationship with monotony has been one of the reasons I have struggled in the past with alcohol and cigarettes as coping measures.

Monotony reminds us of the moments that constitute our life across the multiverse and the myriad timelines we exist in – good and bad. It is in getting mindful during the vast spaces of monotony in one’s life that I believe I might get a healthier engagement with those unforgettable moments – timeless joy from the good and endless strength from the bad.

Thus, in an effort to understand life better I am realizing the need to engage with the monotony of life just as much as I seek glorious mile markers. For it is indeed the boring and non-scintillating activities that are necessary for the sustenance and nurturing of loved ones who make those moments of true joy possible.

I believe a major factor in getting to a state of mental, emotional, and spiritual flow – not delirious joy and happiness but rather a baseline state of fairly mundane satisfaction – is a healthy engagement with monotony and boring activities.

Among other things I can think of that help in this regard is understanding the hidden good side to monotonous life activities (apart from any plant-based intoxicants that serve as reward that is).

And here’s what I think that good side is:

It’s safe to say that if one is engaged in these activities then it likely means there isn’t acute stress or pain in one’s life at that very moment. This might change in the future (or you might access pain from your past), but when your life is at a state where you are regularly engaging in day-to-day boring-ass shit, it is a likely indicator that your life isn’t in any immediate danger and that a relative amount of safety is present.

It’s a good thing to remember in this dance with our demons…

 

Love is loss…beautiful, gut-wrenching loss

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Is love possible without the inevitability of loss?

Can true bliss ever be appreciated without pain?

Are we doomed (or blessed?) to forever navigate our lives suspended between joy and suffering?

These are rhetorical questions of course. We know the answers, but we often choose to be blind to vast portions of truth that throb in our hearts and minds. We want infinite love and never-ending joy while succumbing to the linearity of time. We want the happily-ever-after, but without the inevitable ending and regeneration of this earthly life.

They are the demons we fear.

He was out roaming the streets, free and happy. Roaming around the neighborhood and community we all loved, visiting his friends, knowing there was a loving home that would always wait for him.

That fateful night his body was taken away from him by a speeding car, a symbol of humanity’s callousness for the earthen life that sustains us all. That night was when we as a family faced our first (but certainly not last) devastating blow. That night, pain became our eternal companion.

And the questions started pouring in as we held each other, drenched in one another’s tears:

How can life be so cruel?

Why did he have to be taken away from us so soon?

What did we do wrong?

Hell, what’s the bloody point of it all?

The questions are a pitiful exercise in pain management I suppose. The dance with the demons we’re all invited to join, that nobody seeks.

Aye, but here’s the rub…

Deep down, we – his loved ones – don’t want that pain to go away.

For that’s the point of love. It is in pain and loss that love achieves its ultimate realization. It is the gut-wrenching beauty of love. We need those demons. They look fearsome but in reality they are our truest and dearest confidantes.

So all we ask now is that he stay free and happy.

Cos the demons tell me he’ll always be with us…

***

[Rumi poozy, I love you more than life itself and I always will. My brother and best friend – you’ve given me more joy than I could ever repay. I got some things to take care of in this life – you know love needs nurturing – but I can’t wait to roam this universe with you and Vaddu. Stay awesome.]

 

 

Engaging in a relationship with death and suffering

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I’ve been publishing and running this blog since March 2014. I think I’m beginning to understand why. Partly it’s because I have this compulsion, ever so often, to write and be read – doesn’t really matter by how many. And like many others, I want a platform that is singularly in my control, where people can bear witness to as much of me as I care to reveal. Barring my partner, our daughter, and our two cats, I don’t really reveal much of myself to anyone, mostly because I prefer building community with others at arms length distance.

(I’m a family man and misanthropic humanist rolled into one. This blog is sounding board, friend, and counsel.)

I realize I also want to leave a written legacy for my daughter for her to skim through in her own time.

This makes me fear death a lot less because there’s an authentic part of me, with these random streams of consciousness, that will always be left behind in this universe. If all goes well, I will die while Sus and Daya are both alive and well, but not before having helped establish a nurturing, secure foundation of love and community for them to continue thriving in. That is all I dream off and desire from this life. (Beyond, you know, the whole nirvana ideal of freedom from attachment and desire etc…for now, I’m just taking it step by step.)

It’s funny. I used to care a lot less about death in my teens and twenties.

But ever since the blooming of our amazing family, reflections on death (as well as more morbid, fearful thoughts around suffering, grief, trauma, and more…) have been an ever-present hum in my brain.

Try as I might I am unable to get rid of them.

On the surface it’s easy to see why. I lost my younger brother nearly fourteen years ago – three weeks before his 18th birthday – to a swimming accident. Our relationship has continued to grow and thrive in other realms, but I sure do miss him in this one. Issues with loss, and fear of the same, are likely to be lifelong companions. I have also seen a lot of suffering and trauma as a result of past work and activism. I know shit can get really, really bad, really, really fast, pretty much anywhere on earth.

Furthermore, I have never experienced as deep and spiritual a love as I have for Sus and Daya. Being a nurturer and parent is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Never have I feared losing two human beings more than these two. It is a fear so deep, so raw, that I can barely put it into words.

But I think another reason for those ever-present mental segues into death and suffering is because the universe is telling me to engage with those thoughts.

Instead of avoiding them, or rationalizing them, or getting tied down by them, I need to have a judgment-free, fearless relationship with them.

I don’t know what that might look like. Like any relationship, I suppose it will go through its ebbs and flows.

But I do know it’s a relationship that can get healthier only when I let go of my need to control it. I can’t really control when or how any of us is going to die. Nor am I, try as I might, going to be able to protect my loved ones from all the ills of the world. I know they are stronger than me and certainly strong enough to handle whatever life throws at them.

The only thing I do, in fact, know with certainty is that we are all going to die and we are all likely going to encounter some suffering in our lives.

Why not have a healthier relationship with that which is the only true certainty in this life of ours?

(You know, until we figure out the whole non-linearity of time thingy…a whole other mindfuck I can’t comprehend.)

Why are conservative white Americans voting for sexual predators?

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I’m sorry, I just feel the need to rant about this a bit.

The demographic voting breakdown for rapist politicians like Trump and Moore makes for very sad reading. Yeah, I know the Democrat, Jones, won in Alabama – hurrah and everything – but damn near 49% of the electorate still voted for Moore, so it’s not exactly changing the societal dynamics of the state any time soon.

Going by different polls, anywhere from 70-75% of white men and 55-65% of white women voted for these monsters.

Now, this is true for Republican candidates in general, including the non-monstrous ones. They get the majority of white votes, regardless of the political hue of the state. It is the only goddamn reason they are extending their extinction date as a political force in the US.

But does this need to hold true even for candidates who are confirmed sexual predators?

What gives, my conservative white friends? You give a really, really bad name to your socially constructed race.

Seriously, is white privilege really that important to y’all?

Does some arbitrary notion of bullshit ethno-nationalism tickle your heart so much that even sexual predators get a pass as long as they are spangled in American stars and oozing Judeo-Christian, nationalist rhetoric?

I ask mostly out of an extremely concerned love.

You see, due to various life processes and messy happenstance, the majority of friends and loved ones in my life are white. For the sake of my very inter-racial, transnational family, I’m hoping they would never vote for such scumbags.

But even beyond personal cricles, my life is rooted in North America and it does concern me that such a sizable majority of white people actively court ignorance and fear. The shit white people do, across the political spectrum, affects all of us in this current post-1492 moment of humanity’s history. Other communities fuck up and for the most part it only affects their communities. White people fuck up and it affects a lot more than just white people.

(Until climate change shits on us all with absolute impunity and color-blindness that is.)

For now, I’m not very keen on living through an America getting high on brute nationalism and roid-rage patriarchy.

And I know deep down – regardless of who’s reading this piece – you’re not either.

Because you likely have people you care about and/or need who are going to get fucked over in the process.

Including the imbeciles who vote for such filth.

Is a nurturing nihilism possible?

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I must confess that while I have occasionally thought about the concept, I have never really been drawn to nihilism either as a philosophical construct to explore or adopt in an intimate manner. I often end up approaching and thinking about nihilism in roundabout ways.

Vicarious trauma.

Anger at injustice.

Fear.

When pondering about the multiverse and the non-linearity of time (and the infinite nature of the same).

That last one especially has me come face to face with the possibility that life is indeed devoid of any intrinsic meaning or value. Once you go infinity, that shit just fucks you up, because it means all the good, the evil, our biggest fears, our wildest dreams, everything, has happened, is happening, will happen.

This provides me both peace of mind and depression, occasionally leading to the masochistic comfort of a little nihilism here and there.

While I’ve always felt that nihilism tends to be a convenient escape from dealing with different forms of oppression in and around us, it also has the capacity to provide a bit of a temporary balm to help deal with trauma and suffering. And I believe it will always be temporary because, if past readings and experiences serve me right, distinctly contra-nihilist spiritualities and faiths – of different hues and levels of authoritarianism – eventually tend to take root among folks who’ve encountered high levels of trauma.

A touch of nihilism can nonetheless help in making sense of the senselessness of oppression, even if it is incomplete in and of itself to find peace and happiness unless matched up with other life philosophies in a hearty soul stew.

(Yes, I realize the bucketloads of contradictions in that above sentence – that’s the idea.)

Is a nurturing nihilism then possible?

Adding even greater detail for myself and my own understanding of a world that privileges whiteness, maleness, ableness, heteronormativity, and a host of other socio-cultural constructs…

Is a loving, caring, truly anti-oppressive nihilism possible?

Is it the growth and development of meaning inside us, despite or even because of our possibly meaningless lives?

Meh, UFC is on, I’ll think about this later…

What does my fierce and wise little warrior girl teach me?

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To love first and ask questions later.

To develop a lot more patience and keep working on it, cos boy do I need to.

To always respect her agency and not be an authoritarian asshole.

To realize that this is a nurturing partnership and that I have to be the responsible, caring adult in it (not the other way round).

To keep learning while being rooted in the present.

To accept, even be grateful for, the fact that life isn’t ever going to be perfect.

To seek out health and well-being as a family, rather than wealth and acclaim.

To ditch the masculine, patriarchal bullshit as much as possible, and to never rest easy with that particular endeavor.

To be cool with doing boring-ass shit that’s interesting to a toddler, over and over (and over) again.

Above all…to be beyond grateful for her and her mother.

Of course, occasionally I get these messages from some of the strangest actions and expressions on any given day that I can only paraphrase thus:

“You will respect my inalienable right to kick and scream during the poopiest of diaper changing sessions.”

“I own you and you will bend to my cute, darling will.”

“It’s your job to make sure I get the nutrition I need and it’s my job to eat, smear, spit, and/or fling as I so desire.”

“What’s your problem anyway? I eat well and my other, infinitely superior, parent keeps me well nourished with breast milk, so stop your whining.”

“If I want to play with the most uninteresting object in the household, then so be it.”

(“Honestly dude, even then it’s only because I possess the kind of brilliant imagination and wonder that said bye bye to your piss and vinegary ass a while back.”)

“Food is meant to be eaten, yes, but you, with your limited and backward adult brain, simply cannot comprehend all the other uses for it. I on the other hand can…and I don’t understand why it bothers you so much when I explore these other uses.”

(“I’m sure there’s a billionaire art collector in Europe who’d pay top dollar for my Swirling Yogurt Smear On Cheap Ass Dining Table – Daya S.V. 2017)”

“You need to really get it through your thick skull that I am of infinite wisdom and eternal truth. You are not the authority of anything. You are in fact full of shit and I see right through you.”

“I am awesome. You are extremely lucky, like once in a gazillion lifetimes lucky, to have me and my mother in your life.”

“Yes, I do want to swing on each and every swing in the park, and no, I’m not ready to go home. For a glorified butler, you sure do ask a lot of annoying questions.”

“Pick me up. Now. Put on music. Now. Dance. Now. Do not stop until I say so or fall asleep. NOW.”

“Remember, mama #1, appa #2, always…and don’t be thinking you can rest easy with that silver medal, slip up and your ass is off the podium.”

“Yes, that feeling of gratitude you have for me and my mother is what you should be feeling…more where that came from.”

XOXOXO

*sigh*

🙂