The following is not an easy subject to write about; I’ve put off thinking about the matter for several days now because it has been difficult to gather such thoughts into a coherent, understandable form. However, I think it is time I tackle the matter of Chris Benoit’s death.

I think the correct term for what happened is double murder-suicide. For reasons as yet unknown, Benoit, an accomplished professional wrestler, his wife, and his son were found dead by asphyxiation. The leading theory is that he killed his wife and child before killing himself. However, what reason he might have for doing this remains uncertain. Some speculate it was the steroids, some believe it to have been premeditated, and thus is likely the result of something else. Whatever it might be that would drive a man to kill his family, I am certain there is an element of mental instability involved. Sane people simply do not up and decide to push aside all of their natural paternal instincts. But then, it isn’t always easy to spot the insane ones.

(the following is a reconstruction of my original thoughts I ultimately lost to technology, and thus in my mind, while is comprable to the original, is ever the poorer for being the replica)

Some people do not see professional wrestling as a sport, and certainly not a martial art. It is possible to think of kung fu at the other end of the spectrum, not a sport either (that which is a sport is not kung fu), with absolutely no rules. Regardless of how such activities are classified, there is still at least one similarity that applies to any skilled physical activity. Our status—whether it take a materialized form or remain within ourselves—is largely dependent on our physical condition. And as our physical prowess wanes, so too does our mental self-image. What follows tends to be either depression or denial, both resulting in self-destructive behaviors.

Chris Benoit was 40 at the time of his death. Today, I average two new problems every three weeks. As prone to injury as I am now, I can only speculate as to how I will be in twenty years, when a night or two is no longer sufficient to fully recover. Today, I can break my body by consciously removing the unconscious checks that the mind has in place to prevent this exact type of damage. In fact, I do this on a controlled scale when training so as to keep lock and key from getting rusty. In twenty years, I expect the checks will cease to be relevant when even minor missteps will result in weeks of abstinence.

Even more damaging is the fact that, only after a week of lethargy, I already find myself quickly winded. A good indicator of my age is when it is easier to get out of shape than to get back in shape, at least for me. I cringe at the thought of what is necessary merely to remain in place—no mention of improving. Consequently, know what needs to be done, I wonder whether I will have the discipline, the dedication, the drive, the desire to carry out the tasks necessary to keep from dropping hard. I know Sigung has a certain piece of his morning reserved for his morning routine, and I am certain Fighter has made the same arrangements. I also know for certain that the masters at the OKFS make the effort; their presence speaks for itself. They are motivated by their students and grandstudents such as myself. The reasons to practice from their youth no longer apply, and in its’ place, they’ve found new reasons to keep themselves in shape.

The real question is: Will I?


Summer Fun

July 2, 2007

I’m back again. I distinctly remember saying outright or otherwise implying that I would write consistently. I don’t think it’s the first time, and I doubt it will be the last.

So it’s summer already. And with summer comes heat, which implies lethargy. As well, all of the masters at the OKFS are out and about, partly because it’s so nice out, and partly because they’re probably too frugal to use air conditioning. I’m not particularly interested in socializing, but it has its uses, and in particular, socializing with people from a different background, if even only as minor a difference as having come from a different geographical location, can be quite educational and even dare I say productive.

Bruce Lee’s whole philosophy behind fighting is having no style. That’s usually interepreted in a way to mean that there’s no need to have formal instruction, or to have any instruction, or that any instruction will suffice if the student is apt. I think am beginning to understand his actual train of thought, and needless to say, that is wrong. It isn’t that there’s no style, so much as every fighting style has its own strengths and weaknesses, and that no one style will be sufficient. Not only this, but even with proficiency in multiple styles, it isn’t nearly enough. Styles, at the very top, are limiters. They train practictioners to react in a certain way, and hence to think in a certain way. Which is to say, after a certain mastery of a style, it is then necessary to break free of those limitations, until there is no style, only pure combat. With proficiency of multiple styles, it is easier, as different styles utilize different thought patterns, and hence what might be mixing and matching at first will, with a little bit of ingenuity, turn into something unique and distinct to the person. It is a matter of using one style to break free of the bonds of the second, and vice versa, using the second style to do the same to the first.

But the base is always there. It is ever-present. And with multiple styles, there are multiple bases, albeit with a number of overlaps. If you will, imagine a circle, and about the circumference are pillars, each representing one particular base. For example, one might be sinking the shoulders, and another might be generating power from the ground. Obviously, the more such pillars, the larger the circle. At Bruce Lee’s level of understanding, the empty space gets filled up, and the circle becomes the pillar. The more the bases, the larger the circle, the larger the resulting pillar will be.

Anyway, I’ve slowly come to this realization over the past several months, just from listening to different people. They’re all saying the same things, or similar things, but everyone is missing a proverbial piece of the proverbial pie of martial arts. Some are missing more than others. A select few actually have most of it, and are seeking the last missing pieces.

The iPhone seems to be popular among the denizens of the intarwebs these days. I don’t see the hype. Sure, it’s by Apple. And yeah, it has a touch screen, and plays music. I can do without the massive price tag though. While the plans don’t appear expensive, remember that the phone itself is a good chunk of change. At the end of the day, it’ll be something like 2.5K over 2 years. Which doesn’t sound terrible. But considering the typical family plan is the same with 4 phones, that’s 4 times the cost of a pretty decent normal phone.

That’s all that I’ll say about that. I will make one more comment, and it is regarding a particular breed of dog… I have no respect for anyone whom I cannot see contributing to my existence. It’s a selfish thing to say, but it’s the truth in its barest form. I respect my elders because they are a collection of experiences from which I may learn. I respect my peers, because they are like me—learning, and as such, they’re bound to catch something I missed. Sharing is to our mutual benefit, and that is only possible through mutual respect for each other’s understanding. And I have a certain respect for the youth, because they are ultimately where my knowledge and experience will go, and hence they provide me with a purpose and a goal for existence itself. However, I have no respect for those irrelevant to my existence, whether by my or their own hands. Those who fall into this category will have to climb their way back to relevance. Not an easy task by any means, as I am quite the cynic.