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There are many reasons why people go to sports clubs, where they learn how to harm and not to get harmed. Each of us leads a different life. In the club class you can meet a warehouseman, taxi driver, lawyer, doctor, student who still does not know what will do for a living, and an experienced law enforcement officer. Up there it does not matter how much money you earn, what you wear, what kind of car you drive, if you have an iPhone, or how much you can press on the bench. You step on the mat, into the ring or octagon, the PR ends and the truth begins – your image does not matter anymore. You sweat, bleed, suffer pain, lose your breath the same way as others. You are made of the same material. Its endurance depends on your work.
When you lie under someone on the mat, when you get a liver kick or a hook to your jaw, when someone sits on you and hammers your head, everything else ceases to matter. Once a friend psychiatrist told me that if people were aware of the tension relieving potential that lies in martial arts and sports in general, psychiatrists would be out of job. The whole thing is happening in our heads. Body fatigue is a natural form of renewing our nervous system, which we are programmed to. Focusing, being here and now, and experiencing ZEN or FLOW – it’s all a drug that attracts us and does not let us give up. For two hours the brain is functioning on a different frequency, rests.
We all need acceptance at an atavistic level. We wish not to be judged, we want to be embraced by the group. That is our nature. The place of fight, where a person mentally becomes naked, teaches humility to those who have it too less and increases self-esteem of those who are regularly bullied. Since social and material status does not count, the other person begins to matter. It is a mystery to those who have never sat down on the mat after training with people being from god knows where and doing god knows what for living, laughing and feeling cleansed.
The sense of community and belongingness is often overlooked by the combat sports trainers. They explain that it is an individual sport for individuals. On the mat, in the ring and octagon we enter alone. But to get there, one needs a training partner’s hand and his words „you’ll be alright, do your thing”, cheered off throats around the fight spot. When you’re out of oxygen, you need the attitude of a trainer who lives your fight more than his own. You need a team. You need a bond.
Not for belts, not for medals, and certainly not for money.