Beyond Black

It’s been said that deep thinkers are simply those who devote enough time to the practice; modern-day philosophers aren’t those who are born capable of asking “why?” but those who choose to do it.

While there are always parts of my life that I’d change if it were possible, one of the things I cannot imagine living without is the ability to think and ask questions. Something of this nature, which I cherish, is often viewed as a negative trait by others, stating “you think too much” and so on and so forth. Personally, I could care less what others think. Why is it their right to think and not my own? Moving on.

Last night, I had a very vivid dream that instilled in me the desire to re-live a past goal. In the dream, I was walking through a department store and found the time to speak with a security guard. We spoke about what it meant to be a man, modern day warrior, and champion. He was encouraged and thanked me for the conversation. I continued to walk through the store, shopping for electronics and other gadgets. Walking to the checkout counter, I saw a good friend of mine finishing up a conversation with the same security guard. And I instinctively knew “A man has been provoked today to learn the way of the warrior” and I knew it wasn’t from my conversation with the individual, but from the talk my friend had with him.

Walking through the checkout line to greet my friend, he looked at me and said “It’s time.” and I knew exactly what he meant. Walking to the destination, I instinctively felt inclined to ask for advice, encouragement, or some sort of secret that would help me accomplish what it was that I set out to do. Instead, I knew now was not the time for advice, but to discover the inner strength I possessed…and win, or get knocked out trying. Screaming crowds parted as I walked forward. My friend followed behind me. The fight ahead was mine, and mine alone. A final check of the gloves and I was ready. Applying vaseline to my face, no words were spoken between my friend and I. None needed to be said.

Four steps separated me from the fight where I would discover my mettle. The cool mat was still dirty with the blood of the previous fight. No excuses. No encouragement. No advice. No tips. It was time to discover my heart. The gate shut behind me. The crowds roar dimmed. And I stepped forward for the fight of my life.

Wake up.

Laying in bed, I felt the quick of my pulse and knew I had touched into something that was far from accidental. Instinctually, I felt the desire to calm down and write off what had happened as simply a dream. Katabasis, Plaat. Discover. Graduate. Fight.

In December, I trained for a mixed martial arts (MMA) fight. Three to five times per week, I stepped into the gym and trained harder than I knew was possible. I remember my first time getting hit in the face. The inner part of me screamed “Enough! You’ve learned your lesson” but part of me knew I needed to push forward and continue training. The training was brutal. And I felt as if my perseverance with training was enough of a lesson to be learned. Instead, I signed up for a fight and continued to train. December 20th was the only thing on my mind that month. Through my workouts, diet, and hard training, I kept that date in mind.

The night of December 20th, I arrived at the fight and was ready to kick ass. I knew the fighter I’d be fighting, and felt quite confident stepping into the ring that night. Apparently he didn’t. In that moment, some part of me died, as I was told that I wouldn’t be fighting that night; my opponent declined to show up. Mark, my younger brother, stepped into the ring that night. I rose to my feet as he fell to the ground. Two brothers fell in that moment.

It is time to revive the part of me that died that night; the part that said “It’s okay…you did your best. Now quit.” It’s time to stop accepting excuses, inner weakness, and a weak-minded society that has lied and convinced me that I’m ‘good enough’.

And so, here begins my second entrance into the world of Mixed Martial Arts. I’ve been scoping out gyms here in the neighborhood, and will be joining one as soon as I find the one with the best training program. It will probably be dependent upon me getting my car this July. And I’m ok with that.

Whether it takes a month or a year, I will be getting in the octagon.

Coming alive.

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