I’m sure we all remember the first time we fitted a mouthpiece, excited about getting to glove up and actually spar. It was like a test we were actually excited to take, wondering, excited and curiously what the end result would be, all the time silently wishing and hoping we would emerge this newly discovered super hero, although we know deep down inside, we will probably aren’t. But we don’t think about what it won’t be like, there’s a sick twisted thrill in the desire to be tough in the physical way we all somehow do want to be. We equate toughness with physical strength and we want to be able to feel confident and strong which includes this need to also be a “BEAST”, at least this is my idea of true toughness. I guess it all does come down to my disdain for those who talk and and show, without having the substance of action to back up what the idea of what they show themselves off to be.
NYC is just the best place on earth, friends that leave always come back to visit and the dinner conversations, the brunch conversations, the strolling conversations, these magical people that pull you away from you and in a way where you remember the crazy bits about your life that make you, you and the craziest parts of your friends that make them, them. You end up discovering these whole pieces of them and and you, that come together making our friendships so unique, interesting, intriguing and strong.
This only happens with unique people who are genuinely your friends. People who live to hear your color and see your sound. People who genuinely exist for the relationships between each other. There’s a synergy, because it’s honest. So many people are looking for the wanting of something other than the relationship of friendship, they’re exhausting to try and understand, mostly because there isn’t much to understand about these people, they just want, but they don’t really want your friendship, it’s something else and they make it seem like it’s friendship. Another interesting topic of discussion this week, but not for now. I think it got summed up as the selflessness of selfishness, ruined by the the stupidly selfish…
Today was a fun day of tales of the Chelsea Hotel, the Gramercy Park Hotel. A bit of Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. Old New York, New New York. Fight or Flight and I think we discovered that we are a group of friends that don’t understand flight, because we are all fighters of unique breeds.
This reminded me of the first time I ever put gloves on. This was not an idea of my father’s or my mother’s. This was an independent decision made by yours truly one day. I just came marching out into the living room on a Monday and announced to my father “I am going to start the fighting class on Wednesday”. I don’t think dad heard me, I repeated myself and he looked up and said “You? How are you gonna fight? You walk into things all the time and you’re always getting hurt and complaining about getting hurt.” I just stood there and said “Well, I’m clumsy, but I won’t be when I’m fighting”. Dad smiles, with a touch of sarcasm and says “Ok, get a mouthpiece and make sure it’s fitted by Wednesday, put a pair of gloves on and then you’re gonna have to learn how to take a beating”. I was ready.
Wednesday comes and I was excited, nothing scared me about getting hit, I’m not sure if it was spankings growing up, or if it was the fact that I had always watched my father teaching it growing up and that our family activities were usually watching fights together, so much so that my mother would ask the people to put on UFC for her and this was back in the days of Mark Kerr, Mark Coleman and Kevin Randelman. We watched Pride and K-1. She loved Ernesto Hoost and Kazushi Sakuraba. This is before MMA is the force it is now. This was what I did with my family, so it felt really fun to start actually doing what I enjoyed as our family activities.
My first class. I don’t think I managed to get a single punch to land, or even get my body to throw one. It’s the craziest feeling, the first time you spar, it feels like the Matrix in the worst way possible, because you are the Matrix, in the complete opposite sense. You can’t throw a damn thing, you feel like molasses is what slowly moves through your blood and breathing feels like inhaling syrup. I was a disaster, but I honestly didn’t mind taking shots, there was something I sincerely like about being able to walk into punches and not allow them to phase me. There was something I liked about getting clocked good and being able to maintain my focus and clarity of eye contact. There was something I loved about seeing the fear-like confusion in my opponent who would throw everything they had at me, but I would just walk them down. This felt like strength to me, this felt tough to me and I liked that I was making the person feel scared of me, even though I hadn’t landed a shot and couldn’t even figure out how to throw a shot while taking this beating head-on. I felt tough inside, I felt this inner beast come to life and then I also just felt ridiculous about the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to land a shot and that I got so tired from what felt like doing so little, but there’s nothing so little about being able to take the beating I had laid on me, for an hour. I thought because I am the Grandmaster’s Daughter the students would take it easy on me, this was not the case the from the first night and the competition, along with the beatings only built as my experience grew.
Dad watched me and had this look I couldn’t read. I didn’t know if he was utterly disappointed at how much punishment I never backed down from or if he was somehow impressed, but there’s no way he could have been impressed, I got my ass handed to me, but I never back down or stopped moving forward, something I would also become very thankful for in life.
Afterwards he said “You never backed down, you just keep moving forward, you aren’t afraid of the shots”, he just seemed kind of amazed, but I still thought he was amazed in a bad way and I remember saying something like, “I know I didn’t throw or land much, but I will, just give me time, I didn’t think it would be so confusing learning how to get hit”. Dad says “You have the punches, you have the technique, you just need to mature with sparring, but what you actually have is something I can’t teach you, you have incredible ability, because you have no fear, that’s not something you can learn, you have so much potential, you have real talent”.
What I initially thought was gonna be a joke that Wednesday night, ended up being the best beating of my life, I don’t think I have ever seen dad so much impressed by my raw ability and I had a lot to process too about the experience.
Just talking about “Fight or Flight” today reminded me about this whole experience and so many life experiences we experience. I have a personality where I will just take things head on and I am absolutely not afraid of anything, I have been scared, but fear I know nothing of. Even when I have been scared, I don’t experience fear, in fact, it is my lust for living and my upbringing rooted with a profound sense of integrity that makes me fearless, because no matter what I know I act with good intensions and a pure heart that gives me the confidence to know my intentions to always be in the best way possible.
I am only scared when I am confronted with something profoundly wrong and incongruent, but it is my gut for the negative and sense for the tainted that always seems to make sense of me being scared and I recover with the solid confidence to know from my standard of right and wrong, honor and dishonor, real and fake, to face whatever it is I am with the fearless desire to do what is just right.