The one with Martial Arts

Basically the idea of practicing something is to stop sucking at it. Sometimes it’s merely about sucking less. Why, anyone can suck at anything, you just have to figure out for yourself what it is you don’t wanna suck at and simply do it. If finding it doesn’t make you do it, means you just don’t care enough about not sucking at it. So you keep sucking.

When it comes to fighting, there are multiple reasons not to suck at it.

For many people it’s simply about feeling safe and knowing how to defend oneself and those who can’t against some aggressive jerks out there. Fair enough. Most people don’t even know how to throw a punch so if you practice your defense for few months you’re already quite a few steps ahead. Just don’t get too excited, you don’t turn badass after a few self-defense classes, nor do you learn to fight only from watching YouTube.

There surely are plenty other reasons.

As for you, you just need to struggle, you need to keep learning, keep your mind busy, clear your spirit, sweat away all the bad shit that happens to you, because, believe it or not, the person you fear the most and whom you have to defend yourself against is your very self. That’s right, you are your dearest enemy. So how could you mind if someone tried to beat the shit out of you? Aren’t you the one who pours gallons of beer and whiskey in this ugly mouth of yours? What actual opponent you may think of would push all those disgusting cigarettes down your throat? What ruthless barbarian would stuff your stomach with junk food? What enemy would waste your time the way you do it yourself? Against what fighter would you have your mind messed up the way you do it to yourself with drugs, porn, cheap entertainment and toxic relationships?

That’s right, you’re the monster here.

Your buddies at the gym try to beat you all the time and you’re thankful to them for that, and you do your best to repay them in the same manner for you know that they expect the same from you as you do from them.

So be it any sort of ass-kicking philosophy: from the ancient Greco-Roman wrestling to the modern Brazilian jiu-jitsu; from the elegant Japanese arts of karate or judo to French savate and Russian sambo; from deadly beautiful Korean taekwondo to tough American kickboxing, from the sweet science of the Western boxing to the violent Thai art of eight limbs.

It is all worth bleeding for.

But beware, my friend, of obscure mysticism and all the Jedi bullshit. There ain’t no kung fu grandpa waiting for you in some ancient dojo on the top of a mountain, willing to make you a warrior in some secret ways of forgotten art. Yet there are frauds and impostors out there who want to benefit on your will to improve, selling you some badass mambo-jumbo for the very few and initiated. Don’t trust those guys. If any of their complicated moves worked in real life, you would see people use them in MMA. And don’t you buy the crap they say about not using it for such low incentives like cockfighting. Why, if you got some killer technics it’s not for your dancing classes, right? You wanna be able to actually perform them in a real fight.

Tell you what. The only shit that’s real is where you work your ass out and there’s blood, sweat and tears. And you know it’s real because people get hurt and you don’t get to fake bleeding. Pain is quite a real thing. That’s pretty much it: shit is real when it hurts.

So when you choose, choose wisely. Find out what fascinates you, what makes you curious, what drives you crazy. For anything you train makes you better, stronger, healthier. Once you start it’s no more a set of UFC highlights, no more keyboard fighting.

You become obsessed. You cannot sleep because you think about it and when you sleep you dream about it and when you don’t dream about it you cannot sleep and when you cannot sleep you start again to think about it.

I want you to think of your techniques before you get to sleep, whatever it is, I want you to kick, punch and roll when you sleep, damn it, I want you to sleep on the mat, and when you roll in your relentless nightmares your teammates from the gym will come and choke you so that you wake up and start training for them not to come again to choke you in your dreams.

Why, I shamelessly admit to do my shadowboxing everywhere I can. I slip punches in front of my bathroom mirror while shaving, I practice my head movement in the elevator, I train my kicks in my office. It is all about repetitive drills and precise motions, you want them to become automatic, you want to perform them without thinking, make them instinctive.

Once it becomes a part of you, a day without it feels way more painful than the actual fight can be. Once you train on a regular basis, it brings you down when you don’t, you get depressed from not doing it. But it ain’t obvious, it’s all about discipline. The fight begins the very moment you’re awake and struggle to get up from bed. Your body hurts already, your mind hurts, you don’t want to move. And even when you do, it’s terribly easy to lose your shit during the day. And the worse day you’re having, the more convincing a beer and peanuts look. You tell yourself that you can skip this one, you’re justified. Just remember that your own hell is paved with your excuses.

Moreover, you know there’s people out there that are gonna be judging you. Dear, oh dear. Can’t express how sorry I am and how I feel for you. So what you’re trying to tell me is that it bothers you that someone you don’t even know, you don’t even care about, is watching you and probably laughing inside while he should be minding his own business. Is that what scares you?

Tell you what. If you’re a real badass fighter you’d have to be a real jerk as well to be laughing at some beginners. And if you’re a beginner yourself, to laugh at others would mean for you the achievement of an extreme level of pitiful douchebaggery. And yes, of course, jerks and douchebags are always there. But with some time and patience you’ll learn to deal with them. However, most of them are the projections of your own fear and anxiety. Those creeps and goblins are all in your head while the actual reality doesn’t give a shit about you.

Which doesn’t mean reality ain’t there. Indeed, you will get to know the objective reality as soon as it punches you in the face or kicks you in the rib. Many times you will get hurt without being able to strike back for your opponent will turn out to be on another level. Many times you will get schooled like a kid by an opponent younger or even smaller than you. Maybe you’ll get outsmarted by a girl. You’ll get outsmarted by people less educated and less comprehensive. You will get punished, you will bleed from your nose for three days in a row, you will have your guts smashed by those nasty body shots, you’ll have the shit choked out of your neck, you will have your arm twisted by some violent takedowns, you will have your ribs devastated by those huge middle kicks, and many times you will feel helpless and frustrated. As everyone does at some point. This is where you find that there ain’t no quitting, you’re not allowed to quit. And that’s how you stop sucking. And then it gets harder.

The one with the new beginnings

You moved on, stepped in so far that, should you wade no more, returning is as tedious as go o’er. You bet, you Macbeth. You’ve been through some real shit, man, you’ve seen shit, you’ve done shit, you’ve lost your shit, but somehow you’ve managed to keep your shit together and now you know some shit about shit. You just needed some time, some warmth and some pussy.

It turns out that pussy is the greatest painkiller for all of your hard aches. Pussy heals it all, pussy knows, pussy listens, pussy understands, pussy will lead you through the darkest valleys of your most desperate times. Have faith in pussy.

It seems you’re cured – not that you’re totally fine and stuff, but you’re obliviously not a crybaby bitching about how hard it is. And then, a few weeks away from moving out from your glory hole town to start a new life, you helplessly fall in what seems to be love. Love again.

She’s the kind of girl that gives you a vague notion of the Unattainable. She’s your teenage fantasy from the poster. She’s the incarnation of the sluttiest innocence, of the sublime vulgarity, of the modest provocativeness, of the kindest bitchyness. She’d make you proud, she’d make you feel alive. But you know she’s totally out of your league.

Funny thing is, she feels exactly the same about you.

Yes, life has its own genuine sense of irony. It knows when to pour down some big load of shit on your head, and when you least expect it, it gives you a hug, a candy or a blowjob.

So you’re sitting there on the patio of the most popular club in town, hanging out with your best mate, having a beer or something, and she’s sitting there, right in front of you, just a few steps, accompanied by what appears to be her boyfriend. You’re watching her discretely because you like everything about her.

But she’s not so discrete – in fact, she’s not discrete at all.

And there goes the most important, the most becoming, the most exciting thing about men and women, the very essence of our sexuality – the eye contact. It’s uncompromising, it knows no retreat, it’s dense, it’s intense, it’s present and it’s tense. You two just take it to another level.

You know it’s something, your best mate knows it’s something, but the presence of the other guy makes you all confused. Everyone’s dying to see how this one ends.

Your friend proposes you a bet: he wants you to go there and just flirt the shit out of this situation. You may have some guts but you’re not mad, you can’t take such a bet, you don’t want any Faust pas.

Then you and your friend both decide to go out, have a walk, visit some other place. Then after a while you both come back again and she’s still there. But now she’s the one who’s leaving. Things just come and go, fortune’s a bitch, once you’re a king, once you’re a beggar.

And all of a sudden, after your eyes have already met for the last adieu to optically kiss the space that separates you, she approaches you carelessly and hands you over this wrinkly piece of paper that appears to be a chewing gum wrapping. You both say nothing, she leaves. At that moment you still consider it a joke, she must be having a good laugh now, for what you’re about to discover is most likely a wet chewing gum she’s just put out of her pretty mouth. But instead, inside the paper wrapping, you find her phone number.

You type the number down on your cell phone under the name that says it all: Unknown beauty. Of course you call her. You’re not as dumb as you look. So you start dating. Turns out that the guy she was with  the other night is her gay friend. Totally trustworthy. She’s got some cool friends by the way. And she’s gracious and she’s damn smart. She’s that kind of smart that you find hot as hell. She reads things and she likes your writing. And loving your writing is the sweetest love a girl can make to you.

She recommends you this novel that will change your way of thinking about literature forever. It is Nabokov’s finest and most achieved work, full of juicy passages and incredibly eloquent puns: Ada or Ardor. From the very first lines you adore Ada’s pandoric orientation towards nature and you sense the odor of her brilliant idiolect, dressed in the splendor of ardent metaphors that open the door to most devious ardor one can think of, devoutly to be punished, erotically speaking, adultery adored and devoured. You notice that Nabokov is relentlessly fucking with the reader and you start to love this game that only the one with the pen, the one with the pun, the pantheist demiurge of the fictional world, can ever win.

Thank you, my adorable Ada, ardor of my dolor.

You and your new girlfriend go along surprisingly well. She takes you quite seriously – such an honor you did not expect. So you take her seriously too. That cannot end up well, can it?

You have your big time, there are moments of a violent passion. When she first kisses you, you already end up scratched and bitten but you do not complain, you appreciate her pretty cruelty. You even like the fact that every damn time you leave her for a tiny moment alone in a bar, someone tries to pick her up. And though she’s kind to everyone, you’re the only person she gives a fuck about, so you both make fools of other guys pretending to be siblings, just like in the novel.

Such is the Summer of your loving. No wonder when she tells you she’s got to leave to Manchester for a couple of weeks, you decide to follow her without hesitation. There will you spend some of the most incredible days of your life, most of the time shifting gently from a passionate lovemaking to a deep conversation. You keep talking while falling asleep, and you wake up talking, and all of a sudden, you realize you’re making out again. Fucking and talking – this is what couples do.

What could possibly go wrong? She even forgave you when your ex ended up again in your bed, she appreciated the fact that you told her, that you’d resisted the almost uncontrollable temptation of the body you knew so well and loved so much. She forgave you this. And she forgave you, God, she really did, this one time when you told her in the bed that she’s not this other one, she’s not your ex. Such a brilliant ontological statement. And you told her that, you bitch. This one thing no-one should ever hear from a lover: “You’re not her”, “You’re not him”. One day you will hear that too. In fact, you will hear that many times. Take it as your redemption. Far too many times you were him to the others and you didn’t give a damn.

Anyway, when you’re involved, shit goes wrong incredibly well.

You’ve been accepted to the studies you’ve been dreaming of. You’re about to move to some real city and enter the path that will enable you to read the French novels for a living. How cool is that? You’re going to learn some shit too. Oh, you can’t even imagine the things you’re about to learn.

Now you leave, she stays. But you both don’t worry much. For the first few weeks you visit each other regularly and you keep talking and making sweet love all the way au bout de souffle. It’s just that at some point, and heaven knows why, you stop caring. Maybe it’s because you too sure of her being yours, or maybe you’re too excited with the new city thing. Either way, you fuck it up once again. All the missed calls, all the long, sensitive and pretty brilliant letters she sends – you leave it all without much of a response. She’s damn right to dump you, she’s too much of a woman for you.

Now you’re all alone with your novels. In a city that doesn’t give a fuck about you.
Watch out for the shit is yet to come.

The one with first love

So you happen to be this total badass when it comes to screwing things up. You simply own the game. You may suck as long as all works out but as soon as the things go south, you just nail it like a real pro. Indeed, Joe Rogan could make a ten hours podcast about your unequaled ability to ruin everything. You could be the subject matter for some weepy song by Taylor Swift. When a guy wants to break up with a girl, he should just call you asking for some advice: dude, will you please screw that up for me? Because you know it all, you’ve been there, you’ve seen the shit go down, you’re a veteran, you’re a Navy Seal in the field of rotten relationships, for you’ve been in a fucking Vietnam of dying love. Hell yeah, mum and dad have taught you well.

But things were not always like this.

There is no such thing as a beginner level in love. You don’t just show up at the gym as some clumsy rookie looking up to those shredded guys with some real experience. Though it may seem like it because of your undeveloped mental warfare (which doesn’t improve much with time anyway). But generally, the less you know, the harder you love. For knowledge kills all the beauty and grace. Each and every one of us has some basic inner set of skills when it comes to love, those love skills we develop until one day we learn that love kills.

It all starts with the guts. Don’t be delusional. All the bees and flowers, all the singing birds from Disney’s atelier, all the squirrels and hedgehogs messing around in the enchanted forest, all the horny rabbits, every damn living creature, from a tiny grasshopper to a big old tree, all them lesbian fairies and gay little hobbits, all the nasty Santa’s helpers, they all know it’s about chemistry, it takes some hormones to do the love thing. Physiology, not philosophy. Such is the right of Spring: guts come first.

Remember those days when your guts were about to explode every damn time you merely thought of a female’s body? You were so unprepared. One might say: you didn’t see that  coming. At that time it didn’t take much to turn you on: a young girl’s face, neck, collarbone, wrists, forearms, knees, calves or ankles, exposed for a short glance, were to your imagination like a real life soft porn. Tight dress or miniskirt, sleeveless or t-shirt, even jeans and grandma’s sweater, it all used to set fire to your brain, boil the blood in your veins, make you helplessly shiver from lust.

And then one day she enters your life and you know that this is it, you’re done for good, there is no going back. She is your destiny, your doom, a heaven-sent angel of perdition, the cutest thing you’re about to see in this peculiar circus of dust and sorrow.

Now, stay tuned, you’re in for a big show.

The beast within you has awaken. You’re fourteen or so and you don’t know shit about life. All you have is your instinct telling you to have your sting in. No strategies, no tricks. Which makes it all real, sincere, authentic. You’re crazy about her both physically and intellectually. You could listen to her talking all day. And you both love Led Zeppelin. Then again you say stupid things and you act like a stoned monkey with a permanent boner. But it works. So you wrap your arm around the waist of your innocent prey, you hold her hand, you caress her, you cherish her hair, you scan her girly moves, you inhale her every breath, you worship the funny smell of her sweat. And you want things to stay that way forever.

What some stubborn adversaries of Schopenhauer, their empty skulls contaminated with common sense, tend to call the “external world” does not concern you, it’s out of question, it’s simply out of joint. They say that what you experience is an illusion, that it will pass, that there’ll be others. They are right, but they’re wrong.

The first time is clumsy and unofficial. You had seen people do that in movies but no further details have been revealed to you. And then there’s this whole machinery, the finest, the most achieved of Nature’s work, her magnum opus: a woman. You look at all those switches and buttons, all those valves and engines, all that complex gear with no manual attached, and you try to work things out. There is not any unique procedure to be applied. Though they are all alike, no two of them girls are the same.

And then, all of a sudden, you just both know what to do. And you keep doing it. You do that anytime and anywhere. You do that in her fancy schoolgirl’s room, you do that in yours, with  Kurt Cobain, Queen and Metallica watching you from your posters. You do that in the park or on the boulevard. You do that on the railway bridge. You do that under the bridge. You do that before and after school. You do that during concerts. You skip classes to do that. You make out at school. You do that in the toilets of the only pubs that sell beer to underage kids. You do that on the windy hill near the train station. You do that on the telephone. You do that to the extreme point of becoming two little virtuosos of the sacred art.

You love the hell out of each other. You drink every drop of your vital juices. You do it in every possible way. You do it until the earth shakes, until the rivers overrun, until heaven and earth find reconciliation in a thunderstorm of ecstasy. And you know you’re doing it right.

But into each life some shit must fall. South is where things go – it is the natural law of entropy. The empires go down, the stars rise and die, the galaxies collapse. After four years of ups and downs, of heated arguments smothered with an even more heated sex, after getting the shit regularly beaten out of your face by this innocent little lady whom you would never dare to hurt, after countless threats, lies and betrayals, after breaking up and getting back together, it is all over. Never will you feel the same again. The whole world, as you knew it, is falling apart. The paradise is lost.

And then, once again, it all comes to guts. Your guts tell you that you are not going to make it. For your guts are still with her. No matter how hard you try, you just cannot feel a thing with other girls. Thus the beginning ends. It will take years to recover but the wounds you have will never heal. They were right, there’ll be others. What they didn’t tell you is that you’re about to enter the path of thorns and splinters.

Now you’ve learned your lesson. And now you’re on your own. There is no cure for that disease in the Ovid’s Remedia amoris. Against that force there is no remedy in our gardens. So you do the only thing that’s left: from now on you’re gonna swim in bitches.