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  1. #1
    Crouching Philosopher, Hidden Philosopher supporting member
    DAYoung's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Martial Arts - How Important is the Pain?

    In Chuck Palahniuk's novel Fight Club, the nameless narrator gives a disturbing vision of white-collar life: a condominium like 'a filing cabinet for widows and young professionals', constantly unfulfilling consumption, and a working day filled with cynicism, disorienting travel and never-ending piles of paperwork. He is numb with exhaustion and boredom, and unable to sleep. He even attends self-help classes for people with terminal and chronic illnesses, just so he can cry.

    His anaesthesia ends when he - and his hallucinated buddy - invent fight club, where executives and cleaners beat the living **** out of one another every Saturday. While his job leaves him permanently dissatisfied and souless, the fight club revivifies him. He says: 'You aren't alive anywhere like you're alive at fight club.'

    While the narrator gets off on the comraderie and challenge, there is also a sense that the pain and suffering are bringing him back to life. If work is a meaningless chain of unnecessary yet burdensome banalities, fight club is a bloody, searing necessity. It is the pain that lets him know he is alive.

    Obviously this is a book, and not real life. Moreover, it is about more than fighting. Nonetheless, the questions stands: just how important is pain to people's experience of the martial arts? Have you ever found yourself longing for the hurt? Is there a sense of being 'alive' after all the bruises and cuts, the strains and sprains? Is it masochistic to long for this, instead of dead-end or mind-numbing work? If so, is this a problem?

    Let me know.
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  2. #2
    alex's Avatar
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    well im not sure why you had to explain the concept of fight club to us (has anyone here not seen/read it?)

    but i agree. I see these sad lifeless fucks on the bus every day. they get on, stare out the window with a sad look on their face, get off the bus. never read, talk to their friend (generally dont have any) watch other people on the bus (it isnt weird ok)

    I think you are on the right track though. theres a certain sense of belonging after you train with a bunch of people, like you are sharing in some kind of greater thing. like you have something that nobody else does. for me it isnt really a reprieve from a shitty job or anything because i dont work :p but i can imagine it becoming something like that.

  3. #3
    CNagy's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    It depends on the pain. Strains, sprains, etc? No, that **** is not satisfying at all.

    What is satisfying is hitting the hundred pound bag with your forearms, your elbows, your palms, your knuckles. What it satisfying is shin kicking it, front kicking it, round kicking it, kneeing it until all the areas mentioning are burning red and stinging, you're winded, sweating-- tired and clinching the bag, but still throwing strikes.

    Pain is secondary. Destruction is primary, but not the kind of destruction where you think about hurting someone. Just the simple repeatable fact that when two objects collide, and one of those objects happens to be you, the other object gets the worse end of it. For me, powerbreaking is extremely satisfying.

    But you can see pain as a sort of progress. The right pain, the ache of used muscles, the burn of exertion, lets you know that you are pushing yourself; when you push yourself, you improve. It's not a problem and it's not masochistic unless you lose track of why you are seeking to feel pain in the first place.

  4. #4
    DCS's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    No pain, no gain.

    Working on the edge of the injury is what makes you feel alive.
    Things about Jits: How do Armbar 2.0

  5. #5
    Neildo's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Pain is weakness leaving the body.

  6. #6
    and good morning to you too supporting member
    PirateJon's Avatar
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    I wanted the pain to "test myself" when I first started. Getting rocked a few times cured me of that bullshit. Now I'd be happy never to be tagged again.


    The soreness of a good workout is still great though.
    You can't make people smarter. You can expose them to information, but your responsibility stops there.

  7. #7
    Phrost's Avatar
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    Pain is also the most effective indicator that you've fucked up and the most effective check for unrealistic perception of your skills.

    It's why there's such a huge dropout rate for schools that spar compared to schools that don't. Given that so many people are interested in Martial Arts for the fantasy element, pain brings reality to your doorstep pretty goddamn fast.

    Good thread though.

  8. #8
    Acupuncturist / Anesthesia Student

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    Tyler Durden: "Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessle's life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever had."

  9. #9
    Cullion's Avatar
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    Hmm.. I don't do martial arts because I'm scared of getting raped by homeless immigrants at knifepoint, or that one day I will find myself in a biker bar at the end of the world and be cornered by aging extras from the 'dukes of hazard' who will not let me leave until I join their religion or fight my way out (i.e. 'reality based self defence').

    I'm a heavily built male who lives in a quiet country town in the UK. I don't get into staring matches with gangs of random drunks, and I don't try and pick up their girlfriends. I do not live in an environment where random strangers threaten my life as I walk down the street. Neither do most people who do MA.
    All things considered, attending an MA club where they spar hard represents an increase in the risk of physical danger, rather than a decrease.

    Why do I do it ? the 'fight club' guy has a point. I do it to because I find it a satisfying lift out of a numbing white collar routine.
    But it's not the pain I'm after, it's the occasional (sadly too rare) little 'win' I find satisfying, and 'wins' in pussified point sparring or 'non competitive' MA based entirely on kata or perfecting pleasant looking techniques against compliant partners just isn't satisfying enough.
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  10. #10
    Poop Loops's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by DCS
    Working on the edge of the injury is what makes you feel alive.
    The variation I heard was "the closer you are to death, the more alive you feel."

    I certainly get a high out of rolling/sparring that I would never get out of say tennis.

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