Commentary – Love, Hate, & War Machine

In my early 20s, I trained in my first Martial Art.

Raised in age filled with Kung Fu movies, Ninja Turtles, and the ever present mystique/awesomeness of Bruce Lee, it was hard not to be fascinated by Martial Arts. Throw in a dash of Pro Wrestling and Hulkamania and well, it was no wonder I was captivated by Mixed Martial Arts when I first saw it.

I can remember just starting my Muay Thai training and going to a bar one evening to watch UFC 40, Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock.  It was marketed using their nicknames “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” vs “The World’s Most Dangerous Man.”  Just writing these words, it’s almost no surprise to me that the violence that is spilling from the cage/ring/field is making its way into headlines.

All three of the teachers I trained under for Muay Thai shared the Buddhist philosophy that went with the art, their takes on it, and emphasized the responsibility that comes with martial arts.  I was at a very angry place in my Life for a variety of reasons that came with that period of my Life.  But the idea that I could “Walk the Middle Path” made sense in my Spirit, so I went with it.

I’d stop training to finish school, get caught up in work, and it was a few years before I got into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Though not as spiritually philosophical as Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu’s techniques spoke to my own spiritual beliefs.  I learned to “Flow with the Go” and that each technique built upon the previous in order to better set-up the next.  I also learned that on the mat, the same as in Life, sometimes you had to submit.

I wasn’t so angry when I trained Jiu-Jitsu, but I was very much in Pain.  I felt very disconnected and had a hard time being present.  That led to some challenging experiences when Life happened but what I learned in both Martial Arts, helped me because it related to my overall belief that one could endure and overcome anything with a solid spiritual foundation.

I’d stop training Jiu-Jitsu for a time because I didn’t want to rely on the physical for my fulfillment.  I loved Jiu-Jitsu, I still do, but I made a choice to build within.  I would eventually go back, fall in Love further with it, only to tear my calf.  I laughed at myself because I had no other choice but to accept.  Jiu-Jitsu taught me to submit, so I tapped to the position Life had me in, which at the time, felt like focus on my spiritual growth.

I’ve not gone back to Jiu-Jitsu since, I did for a time start doing some Muay Thai work in a gym, but I’m in no rush right now to train in a Martial Art.  I know when it’s time, I will move towards what I am meant to.

Which leads me to the title.  I don’t know why, but my Heart has always gone out to Jonathan Koppenhaver aka War Machine.  He was on a season of the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter with a friend from Intermediate School, Troy Mandaloniz.  I didn’t follow the season too much but caught a few of Jon’s heartfelt testimonials and it was sad.  You just got the vibe that the Dude is one hurt individual.  Knowing my own pain, I couldn’t helpd but feel compassion for the kid.

The saying, “The struggle is real,” is so applicable to War Machine.  Over the years, he’s been in and out of prison, did adult film, dated an adult film star, and fought not as much as he should because of the trouble he’s found.

He’s currently in a whole lot of trouble that’s making the rounds for very violent domestic abuse charges.

A quick search of what’s trending on Twitter about it and people are saying some really vile things about him as well as the victims of the incident.  Dog the Bounty Hunter has even joined the fray, camera crew in tow.

I find it sickening.  I don’t in any way agree with domestic violence (physical, mental, emotional, verbal, all of the above).  But what is it about us as people to throw so many stones at the suffering, at the ill.  It’s like we want to be a part of the drama.

It’s amazing to see what’s coming out of Dog’s Twitter feed.

I realize these tactics are meant to draw out the volatile character from hiding but how does that make it better?  Why are we cheering that?  

If a bull is already in a rage, do you add more?

It’s like we people just like talk out of both sides.  I’m saying we because I’m far from perfect and subject to my own hypocrisy.  That’s human but I think it’s okay to put it out there that we can be better.  Isn’t it?  Am I alone in my quest?

I don’t know what happened in the recent incident.  You have two very different views floating out there and the gruesome pictures of the first victim, Christy Mack, War Machine’s ex, are Heart wrenching as well.  I feel really bad for both of the victims and hope they heal quickly and safely.

The whole situation is unfortunate.  But I am hopeful that we can learn.

Something else, that is also getting to me, is that the same day as the news broke on this, an MMA site I read regularly, Bloody Elbow (oh the irony), showed a video ofAnthony Pettis, a fighter in the UFC, who let his girlfriend punch in the face.  I couldn’t catch it in the video, but I saw the claim that she hits harder than the contenders in his division.

That’s all good and well but I’m wondering why not much is being said about that?  Because he asked for it, it was okay?

I realize the media changes perspective on a dime and the sheep flock along but…

Factor in that last week in MMA saw the Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier hype train get violent with explicit lyrics and I can hear John McCain’s claims of human cock-fighting echo from years past.  So much has been done by many people to improve the perception of the sport.

In a period of time where the NFL Commissioner is being questioned for a short-term suspension relating to domestic violence involving Ravens Running Back, Ray Rice, we are awash with very violent acts involving people who’s livelihood is violence.  Football is violent but in the end, it’s called a game.

MMA is more violent and before it even begins, it’s called a fight.

I loved Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and have been a fan of MMA for a long time, but it’s a pretty dark hour for the sport currently.

My prayers go out to the victims and I’m praying for you to Jon/War.  I don’t doubt your Heart is good, but your actions have been out of control and I hope peace finds you at some point in this Life before anyone else, yourself included, gets hurt.


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