Tag Archives: consumerism

MMA: A Forgotten Legacy

Five years ago, while enjoying my regularly-scheduled weight training, I came upon a poster that would change my life. “OU Mixed Martial Arts,” it read, probably with some low-key graphic and the psoted “Tues/Thurs 9-11 PM” that would become etched upon my undergraduate schedule for the next four years.

At this point in history, the UFC was still a fledgling corporation struggling for “cult” status with Pride Fighting and K-1. Nowadays, I can barely turn a corner without seeing “Tap-Out” splayed across a shirt or bumper sticker. The point is that in 2004, the letters “MMA” had little to nothing to do with the letters “UFC,” they were simply used by a group of people to express that they were more interested in following a diversified training curriculum than pursuing a single art. Where the term still held connotations of cage-fighting, the two were nowhere near so synonymous as they are in the modern day.

Years later, having left the fabled fields of far-off Athens, I found myself perusing flyers at the UNM rec center in search of training opportunities. “MMA Jujutsu,” one read, leaving me perplexed – the formula “Mixed Martial Arts (Insert Singular Art Here)” seems self-contradictory at best. Settling on Ninjutsu and Capoeira, I spoke with a fellow student about the offered “Turbo Kickboxing,” whose description caught my eye with a reference to Muay Thai. She objected that the course involved very little striking or combinations; at which point I grew appalled – I do not know that her allegations are factual; but I DO know that if you can go an hour without launching an elbow, knee, or round-kick, you have no business invoking the name of Muay Thai’s ancient, respected, and notoriously lethal art; no matter how vogue doing so may seem.

“Vogue” is the critical word here – it has become the “hot trend” to talk about MMA, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It has become “in” and “stylish” to walk around with BJ Penn on a t-shirt, whether or not you’ve seen the man fight or even know who he is. It has become “hip” for Brock Lesnar, who admittedly could break me in twain with but a modicum of effort, to run his mouth like a chump on national television, bringing WWE-grade antics into the more esteemed realm of martial arts combat.

It was, at one point, more esteemed. I see the letters MMA on the streets of ‘Burque, whoring out for anyone with twenty bucks and a hard-on for Dana White. I see school-yard level shit-talking from grown men in an effort to make venerable traditions marketable on cable television. In short, I see the martial arts becoming poisoned by the filth of Hollywood consumerism.

On a more practical level, the problem becomes one of steroidal meatheads learning how to fight without the requisite spiritual training, essentially turning machismo-ridden frat boys into walking weapons while the rich historical and cultural traditions of the arts find themselves beyond forgotten; overlooked by thugs and hipsters for a flashier, brand-specific way of combat.

Californication: one. Ancient spiritual traditions: zilch.

Redpillneo is a contributing writer for Project Group Think. Follow us on Twitter – we’re PGTblog.

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The New Taste Of Tea

Whilst perusing the local CVS’s beverage selection, I was advised by a friend against the consumption of bottled water. It occurred to me, at that moment, that while I quite agreed with him I would still throw down my dollar fourteen with tax for a BOGO on iced tea. I would have my very own tasty drink experience, and another could be saved for later or given to a tea-less friend – and that for a cost that seems, even in harsh economies, nigh unto pittance.

Now, before you all run out to CVS and buy up all the iced ea, you should know two things. Number one is that CVS’s prices on certain contraceptives are double that of the gas station up the block, a poignant example of how capitalism can literally hold you by the balls. The other is that the tea in this bottle might seem cheap, but a dollar and a pan of water will fetch you a between ten and a hundred bags of tea, depending on the refinement of one’s palette.

This revelation made my purchase of the tea seem like lunacy. What could possibly be so expensive as to warrant such a mark up? I came to two conclusions.

First, the expensive glass bottle which chilled the tea seemed thick enough to raise expenses, but this only served to make things worse. By choosing to buy the tea at a store, not only am I paying through the nose, I’m wasting resources which will then be chucked back into a landfill, possibly in a developing country. Or your backyard. Or something else scary – people seem to believe things when they’re afraid. In any event, the materials for the bottle were a horrible excuse.

(I suppose one could argue this about shipping as well, but this follows the same reasoning while necessarily implying the consumption of fuel and the consequent worsening of air quality.)

The second thought that sprung to mind was that it may be for sugar or some such thing, and for most of us, that may do the trick. Unfortunately, I had been drinking sugarless tea for awhile in he interest of physical health – not only was the stuff costly, but it was overwhelmingly potent. I felt so ripped off, I thought about cutting the tea with water as the bottle drained, to extend its life and decrease its seeming toxicity.

I like the idea of brewing my own tea. It also seems natural that the modern go-getter should keep themselves perpetually armed, a ready bottle ever at their side for the filling should the need of drink assail them! They could even fill it with –

Water.

Good, clear, natural water. I’ve been drinking more of this, and the taste does become acquired. Shit, you could even carry a thermos of water and tea bags simultaneously, perhaps even with some mint plucked from a kitchen garden.

There is so much to my simple life that strikes discordantly against the cry of reason. In these thoughts I find wonder, inspiration, maybe even…

potential for change?

Redpillneo is a contributing writer for Project Group Think. Follow us on Twitter via the name PGTblog.

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