Something I wrote here: http://zalfaomega.blogspot.com/2012/12/learning-how-to-fight-will-teach-you.html that I though you great folks might enjoy reading and discussing:
It’s hard to take office work seriously after a night of hard sparring. Co-workers expect you to empathize with their fear of public speaking or sense of being overwhelmed. They expect you to share the experience of living in a constant state of apprehension. They call this living. I call it waiting to die.
How do you empathize with a fear of public speaking when the night before fear was having your head knocked off your shoulders? How do you empathize with someone when they equate existential malaise to pain; while you feel very real pain in your sore muscles, bruised shins, and black eye?
Once you have learned to overcome fear on the most primal level you can recognize its absurdity when applied superficially. Once you learn the true power you carry inside of yourself, it is impossible to be paralyzed by mere superficial fears. There are only two fears that are true: death and pain. All other fear – humiliation, failure, judgement – is either derivative or superficial. All other fear can be negated through properly cultivated personal power. The trick is fighting.
Fighting cultivates personal power. First you learn how to apply the necessary skills in the art of combat, then your skills provide you with confidence, then your confidence translates to the world beyond fighting and becomes power. The difference between confidence and power is the same as the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is knowing facts in a specific field, while wisdom is taking those facts and applying the knowledge to the wider scope of your life. Similarly, confidence is knowing that you have a set of skills, while power is applying those skills to the wider scope of your life. With power, you recognize that the inside of an office will never be as scary as the inside of a ring or cage. The nervous sweat you feel before a speech or meeting is nothing compared to the painful sweat that rolls down your forehead and stings your eyes during a fight. Being overwhelmed by paperwork does not induce anxiety when compared to being overwhelmed by punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. This is called perspective.
You might notice the calm demeanor of a fighter. Calm, cool, and collected while under fire. The zen master. Some call this the warrior’s spirit or the fighter’s perspective. It is the ability to look at the world honestly and objectively, the good and the bad alike, and treat it like a fight. Every day is a fight. Every moment is a fight. Good shit is going to happen, and it will be enjoyed. However, bad shit is going to happen, too. Dark shit. As bad as it gets. Stage 4 lymphoma when you have two small children and a mortgage payment you can barely afford just because the universe felt like throwing a sincere “fuck you” in your direction kind of bad. First graders shot in cold blood by some lunatic in Connecticut kind of bad. Buildings collapsing onto city streets on a September morning kind of bad. A fighter acknowledges all of the dark scary shit that goes bump in the night and decides that if the universe is going to say “fuck you” from time to time, the only logical response is to throw up your middle fingers and fight back. No fear. No apprehension. No judgement. No wishing that things were different. For a fighter there is only the next move. The past is the past and the future is not yet here. It is only the present moment that deserves attention and requires action.
Musashi said, “Once you know the way broadly you can see it in all things.” If done correctly, learning how to fight will teach you how to live.
@thedude1985, Seems almost like a copy and paste from Fight Club :P But I do agree with you, having a physically demanding and battering pass time/hobby/something you love will definitely make the rest of your life seem “easy.” It’s one of the most beneficial and overlooked aspects of pushing yourself beyond your limits, and going into that state of calm/truth, into that flow state. However, I disagree about the fear of death and the fear of pain, especially if you are a fighter! These seem to be the least real fears of the fighter, as they are the most important to overcome! The best fighter has to accept laying his life on the line to win a fight. Your pain has to be translated into an advantage, and definitely not be feared.
Great post my friend! Learning to fight also brings tremendous positive benefits, even before you ever spar or step in a ring!
Hm. Very interesting read indeed, and I agree with you; fighting can/will help you understand fear and pain, and help you to get rid of superficial fears, as you mentioned. However, I do not think that fighting is the only way to get rid of fears and pain. It is a good way for the people interested in fighting, contrast to me, as I’m more of a peaceful person.
I have never enjoyed fighting, beating other people senseless, or just doing it for fun. I find hurting others, unless in self-defence, a hard thing to do. Maybe I am the only one, but that’s how I feel atleast.
I have managed to overcome fears and pains trough reading. I read alot. I have a list of books which I shall read before I die, the list is over a hundred books or so. One of them are Ishmael, Conversations with God, The Alcymist, All of these books (as well as more) have changed how I view the world. I don’t take life so seriously anymore. I don’t take school so serious anymore. I focus on keeping myself and everyone around me happy, not worrying about all the troubles I’m going trough.
I have distanced myself from materialism. I’m not sad or mad when I lose something “valuable”. Though I cannot say I have been in your situation, having four kids and a morgage payment; I am pretty sure I would do fine. When I view everything in a materialistic and kind of “cynical” view, I do not feel attached to all my stuff, my clothes or my behaviour around other people. I was once a co-host at my old school, for a show. Maybe 200-300 people arrived. I liked it, holding speeches was no problem for me. Same with presentations and other trivial stuff. If I like something, if it’s something I’m passionate about,
I’m not afraid to humiliate myself. I’m long past the stage to care about what other people think about me. I go trough all the states of the mind and body to be able to experience life. I think what you’ve just shared is one of the many ways to simply not take effect of these so called “pains”, and I sincerely thank you, as that has helped me broaden my view on life.
i box, i dont spar much anymore, but i agree
fighting takes it to the ultimate where other stuff seems petty – people you meet there are self confident even if they are blue collar workers – they are happy and not sensitive / lacking in self esteem
i hang out with other people, who are so full of insecurities / fears or looking to try to brag about themselves and i just laugh
i dont think its just fighting – its any intense exertion of the body and mind – but the fact that you’re physically drained after a session and that you have to learn to push yourself mentally – both very strong skills
Great read man, I hope to start doing some MMA type fighting at a local place in my town. While I was reading it I had an interesting thought. So back before the industrial revolutions, like in the old west to a point but more middle ages and before pretty much to the point we began being sentient, life was a constant struggle against nature to get food and to stay alive. Death and pain were an everyday occurrence, they would have to hunt animals and overcome them to get there evening meal, and people who also hold contests of strength but these days our society doesn’t have much of that at least for the average person. So what if with out having pain and death everyday as a regular occurrence our brains have come up with other things to worry about like humiliation, failure, judgement and other such trivial problems people deal with. so that would be why fighting helps give you clarity and realize how now of that stuff matters, because back in the day you had have a clear mind and be focused on survival.
@olemyh, Thank you for the response, very interesting!
I don’t want to come off as the jerk that keeps linking to his own stupid blog – but I just happened to write something today that deals with the importance of having *both* a physical art and mental art as a passion in life. Kind of the whole yin/yang idea – too much masculinity is no good, but neither is too much femininity. The key is balance.
Anyway, I think it’s a relative response to your point because you mention only things that I would consider “mental arts” in your reply. I’d be honored if you took the time to read it and let me know what you think: http://zalfaomega.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-importance-of-mental-and-physical.html
I’ve always had a natural disposition to towards action and physical activity, so I wonder what someone with a (seemingly) opposite disposition thinks of this idea.
I agree. I definitely see how fighting can build the necessary confidence in a person to get out and make the life they want, in a way, all of life is a fight. Fear can paralyze you from making a choice, which as we all know is just as bad as choosing the wrong choice. I also believe it can help a person conquer fear, especially superficial fears. One of my biggest regrets of my youth has been NOT fighting all of the times when I really should have….(not talking about training, more along the lines of fistfights)….there were people that someone should really have stood up to, who in retrospect weren’t scary at all but I was always worried about losing, getting hurt and getting in trouble and I wonder if the experience of fighting them would have made me a more confident and secure person than I am today, and at a faster pace than I am learning to gain confidence in myself. I’ve never had it in my youth, and while I’ve been making some gains, I really should have had learned confidence long ago.
Your blog was very interesting, thank you for sharing.
You seem to put the word to my incoherent rambling post (I re-read it, I wrote it 03:56 in the morning) and I agree with you. Balance is the key.
As I said, I don’t like fighting. I like walking. I walk long distances. I walk as often as I can. I go for long walks, sometimes several days. My goal is to walk around the earth. Walking and reading are my two occupations. Both are very easy to do, and it is a peaceful and silent art (as you put it). In contrast to you, I have never truly had a natural relation to physical activity. I have never liked sports, though I can enjoy it playing with my friends, it’s not something I would practise unless invited to. Walking on the other hand, is something I truly enjoy. Growing up on a farm surrounded by woods, swimming across lakes and walking for miles to get to my destination, is something I find peaceful. It does not matter where I walk, it could be anywhere. Putting one foot infront of the other, slowly passing by, makes you observant to the things around you. Be it nature or cities, you notice everything. You get to truly enjoy nature up close, aswell as the urban city with all it’s attractions.
Reading is also something I enjoy. When I was younger I used to read alot of books about fantasy. Now, it’s less fantasy and more books that alter your view on the world, aswell as life. I’m not from an english-speaking country, meaning alot of the books I read early on were books in my language (norwegian). I now only read english books, as those are often the good ones. I read alot more than anyone else, and it came natural to me. Reading other peoples work, thoughts and stories made me more knowledgeable. Attaining knowledge is something I also enjoy, learning new words and basicly read. Read, read, read. Becoming a pilgrim, a walker, is something I have enjoyed since I was a kid.
Between the stage of a kid and where I am now, I forgot all about walking, going on trips and the likes. I spent most of my time playing videogames on my PC. I now recently started to walk again, and it feels great.
I think you are right. Balancing your body, mind and soul is essential. Do something physically and mentally, be it reading or writing, walking or fighting. You will get rid of your superficial fears and pains with either doing something mentally or physically challenging.
Thanks for your blog link by the way, again, interesting read. Again, something that broaden my view.
@olemyh, thanks for taking the time to read it! It’s so meaningful to me to know that the crazy thoughts in my head actually resonate with other people. Writing is actually the most
terrifying thing I’ve ever done because it’s sharing my deepest thoughts with other people (I’d rather fight!)
You sound like an extremely interesting person. Good luck walking and reading!!