As I sit and write, a Hindi song is playing. The singer sings, “Oh Life, come and embrace me. For I too have embraced every one of your sorrows”.
I listen to the music and recollect, floating with the winds of memory. I was watching an Indian martial arts movie. It is arguable that Asian martial arts originate in India and a lot of people don’t know that the country has a variety of martial arts. The star of the movie was incredible and the film was a real treat for a martial arts fan such as myself, a man who has grown up on Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen.
As I was watching the film, I was thinking of my own experience of fighting. I have been trained in Judo, Boxing and Taekwondo at various phases of my life, although I am not by nature a fighter and only become any good when I am angry. I am not a good student of fighting. I prefer peace and loving and am not by nature aggressive. I have been involved in real fights, of course, including bouts in the boxing ring. In fact, I grew up as a fighter, with two brothers my own age and fighting was a regular recourse and solution to conflicts. Fights happened regularly.
In fact, the fight is enshrined as the ideal type of interaction in my relationship with my brothers. When we were playing computer games together, we would only ever play StreetFighter II, a mortal combat game which was massively popular during our early years. The hours and hours of competitive fighting that we played and the mastery of block and defence, the careful attack of the defence, the slow untangling of a seemingly invincible stronghold of defence, the mastery of combinations and special moves, all these have had a profound influence on my life.
The fight I am most proud of, however, was in real life. The fight was against two opponents who were both much taller and bigger than me and which I won. I won because I had to win. There wasn’t an option. And I wonder how many men in this day and age have fought twice their number and gained the victory.
It is amazing how fast the mind and the body move within a fight when the blood is up. When I was fighting my two opponents, I did the dance and landed the blows in a frenzy which was remarkable because it seemed completely unplanned at the time but it was an amazingly effectively choreographed sequence of actions and movements. It is almost as if someone else took over the controls or was pulling the strings above me in a perfect combination. Maybe the hours of practice on the video game version allowed me to succeed where others would have failed.
Every fight is different. It is unique. It is an event. It is an intense dance. A fight is a study of the life. It is an interpretation of being. We study our opponent’s moves and the patterns. We look for the chink in the pattern, the little opening in which we can insert a world of pain. We know weakness and we disguise our own weaknesses as strength. There is both absolute vision and absolute concealment. The vision of the dance of the other is mesmerising and we must learn the secret of not falling into fascination. We learn the language of the body and we teach the language of the body. The only pain will be your pain. The only hurt will be your hurt. The only sorrow will be the sorrow of your defeat. We learn how to carefully humiliate the opponent, searching for the perfect attack, the flawless attack, the beautiful attack.
How wonderful it feels to inflict the teaching of the body on our opponent. When the aim is true and there is the cutting of the solid, when there is the meaty, crunchy impact, there is joy and bliss. The body is appeased. The body is content. The body has spoken.
The fight is a philosophy of life.