The Fear of Power

When I was 13, I got in a fight. I was hit in the back of the head by a hard thrown football, purposely aimed, and blacked out. Awaking from a temporary lapse of self-awareness, my hands were around the throat of the asshole who attacked me. His face purple. I quickly released him and walked away.

It was a tramatic experience for a new teenager. Before that I constantly got into fights, but with little damage to anybody. Normal schoolyard scraps. I liked it. Being aggressive. Defeating my opponent. All the natural things a boy and a man feel. But, after this fight I scared myself. I became completely passive and introverted. Real or perceived, my actions declared myself scared to fight again. I moved to a school new school when given the choice to. When bullies arose there, I did everything not to fight, but still ended up in scraps anyway. In high school I feared I’d be fighting again. It never happened.

But the nerve racking fear of losing control remained. I risk little. Yeaes passed in front of the computer hoping for a miracle of love.

Years later, here I am, post-miracle, worse off. This is where the fear of power got me. The fear of my strengths and my instinct. From hunter to hunted. From lion to lamb. I let years pass hoping instead of doing. Hope is a motivator, not a game plan.

Reconciling over a decade of anxiety with how I must survive alone in this world is not an easy thing. It was always so easy to let the trampling masses just walk over, holding back until a clearing showed itself. But, alone, a man alone, its not possible to live like that. Out there is still as wild and dangerous as it was for our ancestors. Tribal conflict, apathy, oppression. It was, it is, it will be. Only those without any instinct left break to their knees and pray for redemption without a single try at resistance. Thats not a way to live. Its a horrible way to die.

People fear power, most of all their own, and it brings us all closer to losing our natural humanity. The fear of being considered powerful against others put people in their place: weak and compliant. I don’t want that up to me, they say. No more responsibility. No free will. Just plain old self-slavery.

If I could go back and tell that scared child one thing, I would tell him that all he did was what came naturally to a boy under attack. No warning. No mercy. When up against what is ahead, he did what was needed and no further. And that is all can be asked of anyone.

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Why You Should Learn Muay Thai: Movement

Moving around in Muay Thai isn’t complicated, but it requires a good amount of body awareness. Unlike karate or kung fu, where there is several stances, this art involves two stances (which I know of), that are at your leisure. You can use them, or mix them up, its up to you.

Leverage Stance

The easiest stance, but one that leaves your quite vulnerable, is what I call the leverage stance. This is how it looks:

All pics are grabbed from YouTube.

Keeping your strong leg in the back allows you to gain extra power for kicks, punches and the like, but it opens up your weak leg to the devastating leg kicks that Muay Thai is known for. You may be able to get knock out blows from this stance, but any experienced fighter will see that your weak leg (in this case, the left) is wide open. A good half dozen well targeted strikes on that thigh and he’ll be limping. I recommend that beginners use the leverage stance to get used to the strikes of Muay Thai, but always keep in mind that you’ll need to evolve to the next stance eventually.

Neutral Stance

Its much closer than the other guy, just a bad angle.

The neutral stance is a stance I learned from an experienced fighter/trainer at the gym who was kind enough to show me it on his free time. The neutral stance pulls back your weak leg as close to your strong leg as possible, if not at equal placement. This reduces its vulnerability and allows quicker reaction times (the split second between having your leg flexed during a strike and being able to block is paramount). But, for the inexperienced fighter, creating the full body force to strike is harder. Less pivot movement, less swing, less power. When I cover striking, I’ll show how this stance can aid in your kicks and punches without putting your front leg into mortal danger.

Moving

Moving in Muay Thai is taught to beginners by imagining a square. You start at a corner and then move around the square over and over. If you were starting at the top left corner, you would step over with your back leg (in leverage stance), then slide over your front leg, as if it was a dead limb. To move back, you step back with your strong leg and, again, drag the front leg. But, to move left, you use your front leg and drag the back leg. YOU MUST NEVER CROSS YOUR LEGS. Never. That opens you up to trips, punches, etc and if you’re caught crossing your legs when struck, your balance is fucked and that’s that. In neutral stance, its the same way. Slide your leg, preferably the one closest to the edge of the invisible square, and slide it in the direction you want to go, never crossing your legs. When you start this, it`ll seem strange, but after a few hours of training, its easy and becomes the second layer of your basic Muay Thai fighting style.

Keep Loose

While I trained, I was nervous as fuck. Put on top of that that I was a beta freak scared of my wife`s opinion on the matter (she didn`t like I was training), I was as stiff as a virgin watching Baywatch. I slide around the square as if I was on a track. No bounce, no sway. My movements were wooden, my strikes straight armed; if I was ever put in a real fight, my arms would of been broken on impact. You must ALWAYS keep your limbs loose when striking. This might sound strange when this art involves moves that can break bones, but its for your well-being. Its not the power behind the strike that trainers worry about, its the extension.

You need buffering when you`re tossing out punches and kicks with the force that Muay Thai expects. Hitting a guy at the very end of your reach puts your arm out to be grappled, or if he blocks it correctly, the angle may sprain your limbs or worse. You need to keep aware of your body`s ability to absorb the impact of the strike your sending out. If you think the extension is too far, or that your straining yourself to commit to the strike, then don`t do it. It will throw off your balance and contort your limbs. Your body will thank you for using your head.

These things are the foundation of Muay Thai fighting. Like you see in any number of martial art movies or Karate Kid rip-offs, the first thing you must learn is balance and movement. If you can`t move, you can`t dodge. If you can`t dodge, you can`t block. If you can`t block, you may as well be a punching bag for your opponent.

Next Post: Blocking

Why You Should Learn Muay Thai: Intro

Marital arts is a must for any man worth his balls. Not only do you get a great workout, you learn skills and techniques that may save your life one day, or at least win you a bar brawl or two. It pumps you up and with time, you’ll learn to be confident, if you aren’t already. I highly recommend Muay Thai, or the Art of Eight Limbs. It is a brutal striking martial art that will toughen you from your bones up, literally. Part of Muay Thai’s training is to create micro-fractures in your bones so that in time, and with a lot of calcium, your shins, elbows and such will be harder than steel.

I trained in Muay Thai for several months while in SLC. Due to obvious circumstances, my membership ended up going to waste. But, in that time, I learned more about real fighting than any other dojo I tried out in my youth. While karate or taekwondo would have you stand still and repeat after your sensei, my first lesson in Muay Thai was being shown how to move. Then punching combos and by the end of the free intro lesson, the instructor had me knocking off combos and kicking pads. Straight in, no nonsense. No belts. No gis. Just pure fighting. The last day I was there I sparred for a good half an hour, getting rocked and socked, bleeding and bruised. When I got home, I couldn’t of been more excited to get back. Sadly, bitches be crazy, but that’s a story already told.

In these next few posts, I’ll get across the basic movements, punches, kicks and other things a guy needs to train himself in his own home. And when I get back to training in a gym, I will pass along more nuanced tips and tricks for anyone who wants to train to be a fighter, but doesn’t have the money or bravery to do it with others.

Fight.

The first time I can remember being bullied, it was just after my parents had taken us to Canada. We were horsing around as usual on the playground and I somehow ended up at the bottom of a large dogpile. I couldn’t breathe and the kids wouldn’t move. I flailed to no use. I ended up biting one of the kids on top of me. He started bawling, which got them all off of me, and ran to a teacher. I was taken to the office, mom called, etc. I got grounded.

As a child, I was always encouraged to walk away. Don’t fight. No violence. But, that wasn’t in my nature one bit. After moving schools (due to moving, not the incident), I ended up in several more fights. Sometimes with friends (white trash that were the staple of the school), sometimes with guys I barely knew during sports, some younger kids I bullied. It was a cycle, truly. One would go after me, I’d go after the younger kid. Its how the hierarchy is.

One day, while waiting for my mom to pick me up at my sister’s school, my “friends” and I were tossing a football back and forth. After a short throw by the trashiest of them all, I turned around to go long and instead I ended up with the ball cracking me in the back of the head. I blacked out. And he ended up with my hands around his throat and my knees on his chest. I came to seconds after starting my blind rage and got off of him. After that day, he nor any of my “friends” fucked with me. That year, my parents had bought a house, so I decided to move back to the school I started at, hopefully with a second try. Grade 8. Last year before high school.

Soon enough, I had the vultures circling around me. A bowlcut blonde, a hard-jawed ginger, some guido prick; there were several who saw me as a target, including, again, a “friend”, a tiny little fucker. I has scared myself when choking out the trailer kid. I didn’t want to fight at all, but I did… and I beat each one. The first one, the bowlcut, attacked me with some small stick, cutting my hand, but I went after him anyway. He later ran off, screaming AIDS like little dumb fucks do. He would later get his head slammed into a locker in high school after mocking me in math class for getting knocked over by a car that morning (no injuries). He shut up after that. The ginger was an all around dick, even to his friends. For whatever reason one day, he grappled with me and I took him down, putting him in a full nelson as my dad had taught me before my sisters (and the excuse to end fuck around) arrived. I had him pinned and told him to stop. He walked off, defeated. Nearing spring the next year, 1999, the guido and the ginger teamed up. The ol’ push him over my friend’s back trick. Except when falling over I grabbed the pusher and locked him in my legs. It was a strange sight. The ginger on his hands and knees, me at an obtuse angle, holding the head of the guido with my legs while my hands had his arms. Quickly, it broke and scattered as a teacher noticed the scuffle.

During these times, I was a major beta. A pacifist politically. I had little clue of anything, except that when confronted, I fought and fought hard and fought well, even to the point where it scared people. I was hanging with a girl, an ex’s friend, outside a donut shop. There among the crowd was some crackhead or meth head. He began to mock me then hit the back of my head. I stood up, so did he. He slapped me. “What?” he said. I slapped back. “What?” I retorted. Suddenly, I was being pulled away as he threatened brimstone, death and assfuckings for my slight against him, a guy with a posse of coffee hounds and fat chicks. Apparently, he was known to carry knives.

I feared much during those times. I feared girls, bad marks, girls, my parents, many things, but when I fought, I feared nothing. I was in the zone, like a sport, like when I played soccer, I was there and nowhere else. When training in Muay Thai back in Salt Lake City, I feared. I feared how stupid I looked. I feared that I didn’t know what I was doing. When sparring, I feared my power. I ended up quitting, and having to pay for it. Afterwards, I feared my wife. I feared what her leaving what do to me. I feared moving. I felt fear, always.

Fear is the constant that drives us into submission, I discovered. Hiding and waiting. Moving to shadows, never seeing the light, prevents us from taking that fear and letting it go. What cured me of the submission, and by that, my bad habits that drove me into isolation, was letting go. No grudges. Let go of the hate. Let go of the fear. Reveal all. Reveal that you are a violent man, when provoked. Reveal your wants. Your needs. Reveal your loves and likes and dislikes. Be blunt. Remove the social filter that the schools installed. Use your filter, the one that lets you get laid, not the one that lets you be kind to cunts or sweet to sluts. Be.

I’ve nearly gotten into fights since sparring. A trucker here and there at my guard job, provoking me during the worst times, and only my partner getting the middle to stop it before it started. I still look out for trouble, wishing it would find me, for I want to get in that zone again, win or lose, and feel the rush of swinging fists and throwing knees, knowing this isn’t padded and it isn’t practice. That its real. Its life. And I’m living it, in the face of everything, as I should: free.

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Valhalla Awaits Me

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What are you?

This trip, as simple as the goal was when I began, has come to a point beyond what the beginning surmised. The subject matter, the comradeship, the experiences, has brought around an extra pound of resolve.

You are not what you say, you are what you are.

Simple as that.

I am what I am.

I do not regret my actions. I do not regret my ways.

I grow my beard because I want it. I grow my hair because I want it. I am solid. I am free. I am unnerved by the criminals and psychopaths and weak souls that I encountered because that is what I am.

I feel the truth and know the truth because that is what I feel. The reality of the world. The simple things are made whole by the knowing. By the instinct. By the lessons from my brothers and the history I have witnessed before me.

A man is a warrior, when a man is a man. He sees. He feels. He loves. He knows and, in the end, he does not waiver in front of a woman, an army or the very foundations of the Earth he rests his feet upon for if he does, he gives up his holy honor for lesser things.

I’ve looked in the face of a monster. I saw such a thing this night, a creature crawling with the guilt of an act she should be destroyed for, but our job was not to restrain her. Not to condemn her, but to, in our own way, to expose her reality. We did that, and not a single word of direct admission ever passed her lips. God did not grant us that, He granted us our intelligence to read between her lies, her steel conviction in her false words, and yet we all knew: she, us and the stars, of what she did many years ago and what may come later. Our microscopic cracks in the armor may pay dividends in the future, it may not, but I stood there, making sure the subtle act of confession, if it had come, would be safe. I listened and prayed that she would finally break and give a man wronged peace. It did not come, but it mattered not. I listened and I knew… I was there for a reason and that reason was to hear. To learn. To be the one to celebrate our small victory as the others thought too much of what could be. I was there warrior while they were the philosophers. I was the Spartan to their Atheinain. The Spartacus to their Plato.

I drank to our phantom accomplishment. I drank to live. I drank to feel beyond the petty cold and the crystals of snow that fell around me as I took in the taste of victory.

The fight we fought today, in our lives, in our souls, is not a simple clash of shields and spears and swords for history. Our civilization prevents that honor. We have lost the overt glory of such things. Instead, I was able to raise a glass to the monster, her lies and our small entrance into her twisted soul, and the glory of a single life made better, a single life made truth, by the simple act of having the courage to say: no, you are wrong. No, you are lying.

These things are forgotten in our world of relative reality. These things are in the ground with our distance ancestors. We take the flame and pass it slowly, by subversion, under the noses of our so-called betters who lost the honor of men when they took the reigns of power outside the wall of warrior pride. They never shed a drop of blood or sweat for what we do, nor do they care. They our outsiders. They are lost to the common man.

I take away from this trip for money a lesson all men should learn: stand and fight, for the pride of the battle matters not in victory or defeat, but the very act of participation.