Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Real-life "Fight Club" Participants Bruised, Bloodied

I recently saw this post on Dr. Helen’s site (a blog I read regularly), and had to post on it. According to CNN, there are real-life, underground fight clubs, in this case, featuring computer techies (AKA geeks) from Silicon Valley and other locations. I can relate, as I sold my three TKD schools in '96 to spend more time with my family, and eventually ended up in the tech field as a systems admin for a police department in VA. I train 2-4 times per week now, instructing public safety (police, fire, rescue), and women's self-defense for the love of it, and I would go nuts if I didn't.

... bloodied and bruised, they limp back to their desks in the morning.

"When you get beat down enough, it becomes a very un-macho thing," said Shiyin Siou, 34, a Santa Clara software engineer and three-year veteran of the clandestine fights. "But I don't need this to prove I'm macho -- I'm macho enough as it is."

Inspired by the 1999 film "Fight Club," starring Brad Pitt and Ed Norton, underground bare-knuckle brawling clubs have sprung up across the country as a way for desk jockeys and disgruntled youths to vent their frustrations and prove themselves.

"This is as close as you can get to a real fight, even though I've never been in one," the soft-spoken Siou said.
This is all well and good for us grown adults, who should be mature enough to know and assume all the inherent risks of activities like this but...

In recent months, police in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have broken up fight clubs involving teens and preteens who posted videos of their bloody battles online.

Earlier this month in Arlington, Texas, a high school student who didn't want to participate was beaten so badly that he suffered a brain hemorrhage and broken vertebrae. Six teenagers were arrested after DVDs of the fight appeared for sale online.
Dr. Helen's point of view is that, "Sex used to be forbidden and people went underground to do it--now sex is advocated everywhere--even college campuses hand out free condoms. But now the forbidden fruit in our society is violence and it has gone underground." She believes that traditional masculinity has become so un-PC (politically correct), that the repressed aggression has no outlet. She goes on, "The aggression was innate to begin with but it was never channeled, and instead was stomped out of them in the culture as something wicked, immoral and "male." Perhaps these fight clubs are the new male ritual, like in the olden days when boys went through rituals to become men. The schools and culture have attempted to squash whatever maleness is left in today's men and all they are left with (besides football which is now banned at my daughter's elementary school) are a few underground clubs to artificially practice their manhood. Wouldn't it be better for our culture to accept and teach boys how to sublimate and deal with violence when they are younger so they do not have to grow up to be men so desperate to prove themselves that a broken rib and a thrashing at an "underground" fight club is the only way to prove their manhood?"

I tend to agree. Martial arts are another way I keep sane. Sam once said that he always felt best after we went toe to to for our 90 minutes every week. Same here. I've commented before on how much I love the contact, the bone on flesh contact, and even the near misses that are part of the territory. That may change as I grow older, but for now...

Read the rest.

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