Wednesday, October 7, 2009

ZenTiger What is in the water?

What is in the water? The recent boxing match between Tua and Cameron have brought out comments from all degrees of the political spectrum railing against contact sports, and in particular boxing. Some of these comments spring forth from the blogs of commenters I like and respect, so I respectfully offer a counter-argument.

Some want to redefine sport to exclude the martial arts, others link boxing to the sideline raves of the spectators, who can get more carried away than the participants.

I worry the underlying theme of denigrating the physical brutality that accompanies such sports is an idea absorbed by the osmotic pressure of living in liberal left societies. Some ideas are like cancers, creeping in and corrupting a cell at a time until the damage is noticed, and then perhaps it is all too late.

The liberal left promise to end all forms of "violence", from a smack in discipline, to the brutality of rugby and the barbarism of boxing. All sorts of justifications arise to assert this idea. More laws, more restraints, less freedom to choose. And a morbid fear of the physical.

Except by removing such sports, they are denying a fundamental piece of what it is to be human. The paradox of intense competition produces spectacular gains both personally and in society. Self discipline, an awareness of limitations, the joy of surpassing them, the inspiration to others and the confrontation of what happens when we push things too far, and succumb to more primal instincts.

The liberal-left ideology is dangerous. It always points out the downsides, but never acknowledges the upsides. It is repetitive, it is relentless. The rules it plays to are hardly sporting, and the game plan is to keep the other team off the field, rather than allow them to engage. Hey - it avoids bloodshed if the other team can't even get on the field, and because the left think they are always "right", a competition of ideas is unnecessary.

So all of you living on the right side, or are the classic kind of liberal, or sensible kind of conservatives, consider carefully what benefits we lose if we take these ideas to their logical conclusion.

What is the goal? One could argue banning boxing would be a good start. You can train, you can push yourself, you can build yourself up, but just never ever use your strengths unless they are approved by the Committee of What We Think Will Make Society Better.

It will not work. You can ban sports, you can redefine them to exclude the ones you don't like, but it will not change the internal forces in a person that seeks out such things. Laws and regulations will not change society, self mastery will. And if you look at the top athletes, the top fighters, the top sportspeople, you will see that they have taken on this struggle for self-mastery. They are instinctively admired for it.

Embrace the challenge, plunge yourself into sports, into competition, into life and use the challenges to make yourself a better person. Ignore the idiots and avoid the thugs that also participate in the game and on the sidelines, as training for real life. Indeed, give such people an idea of what they need to do to lift their own game by remaining in the thick of things.

In the meantime, filter your tap water.

Related Link: A great opinion piece by Joe Bennett in today's DomPost: Bennett on Boxing.

An excerpt:

The boxer closed in on his victim, shoulders rounded, throwing blow after blow, his head down, his bloodlust up.

The crowd became unselfconscious in their excitement. The opponent fell, and got up again to cheers. Not cheers of support but cheers that there would be more fighting. In came the blows again, vicious, sinking into head and body. Goliath shielded himself inadequately with arms and gloves. The blows kept coming. He fell again. The bell saved him.

Nobody went away. Men, women, policemen, they were all held to the spot. The fight touched something fundamental in them. You could ban boxing, but you wouldn't get rid of that something. Boxing was an outlet for it, by proxy.

A minute later it was all over. Goliath had fallen. The crowd rapidly dispersed. The cops returned to the beat like islands of propriety, itinerant reminders that the daytime rules still operated. Everywhere around me I heard snatches of talk about the fight. It had been visceral and honest. For all the fake publicity, it had been fighting for real. You could see the pain. You did not want to step into the ring.

I drank a beer then wandered back to my hotel room, flicked on the television. I watched an American movie about the attempted abduction of a president. It was implausible and thick with violence. Perhaps 50 people died in the half hour I watched before falling asleep. People were shot without remorse.

This was violence sanitised and glorified. This was fake and glamorous. This was much worse than boxing. This was porn. This was the truly bad stuff. The stuff they give Oscars for.

13 comment(s):

KG said...

Bloody brilliant! I'm putting up a link to it.

Gecko said...

What a fabulous counter argument, well done!

MathewK said...

Good post Zen.

I recently saw a bit of cage fighting on one of the channels. I don't know much about it, but i never really thought much of it, didn't seem like terribly violent sport. But in this particular one, the one fellow had his head split open and the opponent was still going at him. Good heavens that's simply too much in my opinion, i couldn't believe the ref didn't stop the fight right there, and it's not like he couldn't see it or something, you could almost see the fellows brain and with that much blood he can't say he didn't see it.

I guess it is a violent sport after all, but having said that, as long as those taking part in it know that this is the case, then they should be free to do so. My only condition to letting people do what they feel like to each other in the ring is that if something happens, don't make me or anyone else pay for the consequences. Until i am freed from having to cough up for crackheads being revived in emergency rooms and kick-boxers having their teeth put back in, they have to sacrifice their rights and freedom.

Elijah said...

I say bring back dueling!

PM of NZ said...

Nothing wrong with my tap water! 100% pure rainwater from the sky out here in the rural wops.

Must be all those additives you townies are sucking in like chlorine and fluoride for a start.

ZenTiger said...

Well, if there's nothing in your water PM, then you might be right. But it's not just chlorine, must be some agro drugs.

For some reason, that makes me really angry.

Hulk Smash.

ZenTiger said...

I say bring back dueling!

Surely we've come further than "pistols at dawn, Sir"

Pistols at noon would be more civilised.

KG said...

It had a didn't it?

ZenTiger said...

True, although now I would agree we are straying from sports.

Dueling, of course, was about resolving a matter of honour between gentlemen (and some duels were fought until first blood, rather than death.)

Shem Banbury said...

Excellent post. My nomination for POTY (Post of the Year) so far this year. Although because I am the judge you are up against some good ones of mine!!!:)

True on so many levels. As humans we need sport as an outlet for who we are. It should be used to inspire us and challenge us into being better people. I love one of the lines towards the end "Embrace the challenge, plunge yourself into sports, into competition, into life and use the challenges to make yourself a better person."

Use that advice - go and sign up for a 10km running race, join your local golf club or even buy a surf board and get knarly on some waves. Yes you may get blisters, get hit in the head with a stray golfball or get eaten by sharks but you will have a bit of fun while you do it.

homepaddock said...

I'm not against martial arts in general or sports, like rugby, where people get hurt by accident.

It's just boxing in which the aim is to knock someone out to which I object.

ZenTiger said...

Hi Homepaddock. Sorry if my use of your post implied more than it meant to you specifically, your post was mostly to use as a starting point to other commenters, such as the BMA (linked later).

Martial Arts in general ultimately will mean fighting (testing) and pain. The serious practitioner will not be satisfied until they can use it for the purpose it is intended, without diminishing all of the other benefits.

Mixed Martial Arts full contact fighting are typically more brutal than full contact boxing. Have a look at UFC, for example.

Every weekend there is a martial art tournament somewhere. Many might only allow light contact, but a sizable amount are knockdown.

Banning boxing would only lead to a call to ban all forms of fighting. I doubt it will happen, but I do not doubt the attempts will be made.

Elijah said...

And what will happen? The sport will go underground and be controlled by organised crime. Why oh why do people not learn from history?

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