Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Incipit Trageodia by James

INCIPIT TRAGOEDIA
by James Lucas

Matt strode around the ring clockwise, tapping the four turnbuckles three times: top, middle, bottom. He didn't seal the ring; Matt marked it as his. His blackened shoulder, the rings around his elbow, as well as the dark lines on his forearms contrasted with his slender frame. Across his shoulder blades was a newer tattoo, a phrase he had scrawled into his flesh in dark black letters when he began fighting. The tattoos snaked across his muscles as Matt slunk around the ring towards his corner. His opponent, a stocky bearded man, hung his jaw as his trainer poured water into it. He bounced, spilling the water onto his bare chest. His eyes locked onto Matt as my brother.

The judge motioned the two fighters forward, and spoke lowly to the men. "Clean," is all that could be heard. Matt pounded the shorter man's fist and backed away as the bell rang. His opponent rushed towards him with fists of fury. Matt's arms shot to his face as a deluge of jabs pummeled him. Dancing around the ring, Matt tried vainly to check the aggressiveness and block the punches. He shot a jab at his opponent and missed. A right hook was returned in kind. Another jab blasted towards his opponent. This one landed. Matt stepped forward and became a Muay Thai fighter.

Versatile, brutal, and straight forward, Muay Thai is the science of the eight limbs. Fighter's employ their shins, knees, elbows, and hands to destroy each other. The traditional aspects of Muay Thai were followed for the fight at the Fairfax Gym in San Francisco albeit gloves, headgear, kicks and punches were included- normal procedure for a modern fight.

Matt had trained extensively and this was his third smoker (non-professional fight). "He looks like a cancer patient," a friend quipped. In two months Matt had lost all of his body fat. Though we are identical twins, he was twenty-two pounds lighter--a shrink wrapped Bruce Lee. He stopped eating a day before his fight, to weigh in as light as possible. Matt tipped the scales at 140 lbs/63.5 kilos and fought as a junior welterweight. The daily regiment of heavy bag work outs and calisthenics not only trimmed him down but made him fit to become a Nak Muay, a traditional Muay Thai fighter.

The plasma screen TV's that hung beneath the ring showed my brother's fists. They were jets; as soon as one took off another landed. His opponents head snapped back. Matt kicked him in the ribs. His opponent stepped forward and they clinched, grabbing each other's shoulders. This form of stand-up grappling is conducive to kneeing one's opponent in the stomach. Matt's patella jack-hammered into the fighter's belly button. Trying to protect himself, the other fighter moved his elbow in front of his abdomen. Matt's knees bruised the man's forearm. After two three minute rounds, several well placed kicks, and a dozen knees to the stomach, Matt's opponent was worked. The victory was clear.

Stepping out of the ring, I stared at my twin brother. His latest obsession was sticking. He talked of going to Thailand for 3 months to train. The conditioning was religious. He stopped drinking. I congratulated him, as he stood next to me. A veneer of sweat covered his body; he looked strong. The swelling from the hits hadn't set in yet and he smiled. He turned slightly showing the block letters between his shoulder blades INCIPIT TRAGOEDIA. I suspected the Latin translation but asked anyway.

"It's Nietzsche," Matt smiled. "It means the tragedy begins."

1 comment:

aragorn said...

Seems like james should stick with the story telling and drop the comedy.