Sunday, April 27, 2008


I've spent most of my day in bed. Part due to sickness (hang over) part due to depression.

Here are some quotes from Nietzsche.

After a great victory.---- What is best about a great victory is that it liberates the victor from the fear of defeat. "Why not be defeated some time, too?" he says to himself; "Now I am rich enough for that."

The denial of chance --- No victor believes in chance.

What do you love in others? --- My hopes

What is the seal of liberation? ---No longer being ashamed in front of oneself.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Muay Thai gaining Ground

Muay thai gaining ground in India
Aby Jose
The martial art with a 1000-year-old history is gradually gaining popularity across the globe, thanks to the effective blending of western elements, especially punching techniques from boxing.

Can you imagine a martial sport which has in its store all the explosiveness of boxing, taekwondo, wrestling and yet is different from all of them. Muay thai, the national game of Thailand, is a hyper-modified form of kick boxing where below the belt blows are the norm rather than aberrations and almost every part of the body can be attacked.
The martial art with a 1000-year-old history is gradually gaining popularity across the globe, thanks to the effective blending of western elements, especially punching techniques from boxing. India certainly is not an exception and the country recently hosted Asian Muay thai Championship in Bangalore. More than 20 states are members of Muay Thai India (MTI) with Manipur and Chattisgarh producing the highest number of athletes.
Unique aspect
A close look at the sport confirms that the increasing popularity owes to a unique aspect of the sport. “What makes muay thai special is that it is a full-contact sport to the farthest extent. The use of knees and elbows differentiates it from other semi-contact sports,” explains Santipharp Intaraphartn, president of Federation of Amateur Muay Thai Asia (FAMA).
The swift acrobatic offensive moves and equally quick defensive reflexes are virtually breathtaking, so are the techniques employed. Generally, kicks are used for ribs, chest and face while punches target face, ribs and stomach. Knee kick and elbow kick add versatility to the attack but the intelligent utilisation of proper throwing technique lends a highly appealing, dramatic ingredient to the sport.
Intaraphartn recalls an incident when a few muay thai competitors were called to North Korea earlier this year to lock horns with kick boxers and he says, muay thai fighters stamped their authority with ease.
Inevitably, the physique of a muay thai athlete has to be very strong and more importantly, supple. Theoretical aspect also forms a vital part of the culturally-rooted contact sport. “Theory forms a strong basis to muay thai. For senior category, there is a 30-month diploma course with four exams a year,” explains Abid Ali, president, MTI.
Expansion plans
MTI is mulling over the expansion of the sport which its aficionados claim to be the undisputed ‘king of the ring.’ Shabbir Ahmed, muay thai coach from Karnataka, whose disciples Kritika M Jois and Akshitha M Gowda won gold medals in the recently held Asian Championship, says free coaching camps are the right way to promote the game, particularly among teenagers.
“ Like any other martial art, muay thai helps to keep the body in good shape. Besides a learner of muay thai naturally attains tremendous concentration power and this can be used for the betterment of academic interests as well,” points out Ahmed.
“Indian Olympic Association has already recognised the sport and in the coming Asian Indoor Asian Games at Macau, each team can send competitors for five weight categories out of the total nine categories in the fray,” says Ali.
Applying science
Even as the sport makes rapid strides up the ladder in the international sporting arena, efforts are on for the application of science for the development of protective guards without sacrificing the traditional inputs. The enchanting music and corresponding ritual in the form of dance and prayer by the fighter before each bout is one such umbilical link to the sport’s rich history.
“Research is on for the improvement of equipment whether it is headgear or any other protective gear,” says Ali.
Despite the rapidly changing face of the sport, sponsorship is far from desired levels and only more awareness about the game can spur a drastic turnaround. “In Thailand, muay thai is a sport where lot of money is involved and television too has propelled its growth. This trend is slowly catching up in other south east Asian countries as well. India definitely is a place with high potential, where the game can be nurtured to a bigger level. Hopefully, things will change in India in the next five years or so,” feels Intaraphartn.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A line

What is life? ---- Life--- that is: continually something that wants to die. Life --- that is: being cruel and inexorably against everything about us that is growing old and weak ---- and not only about us. Life --- that is, then: being without reverence for those who are dying, who are wretched, who are ancient. Constantly being a murderer? ---- And yet old Moses said "Thou shalt not kill."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thoughts on "Metallic Taste"

Memory works in peculiar ways. While the main parts of "The Metallic Taste" did happen, (I got a bloody nose, Mike did say "body, body body," I did spar with Tong and Fabian) there are things that didn't happen. I didn't think that Fabian wanted to be a nose model. I did wonder why he was wearing a headpiece with a face guard. When writing about it I decided it would be funny if he did it as he wanted to be a nose model. Later on in life I bet I'll think I actually did think that he did want to be a nose model at the time. In rewriting the events, I'll probably have changed my memory.

Our capacity to forget is a good thing. It is our capacity to forget that allows us to overcome the injuries done to us. If we remembered every injury wouldn't we end up being entrapped in ressentiment forever? Forever playing the role of the victim? Not only is forgetting a good thing but the ability to change the way in which we interpret our past, which I'm alluding to above, is a positive trait. We can change our lives from "this happened" into "I willed this."

Anyways about the story... I want to write more stories about boxers (Muay Thai and western) but find creating much emotional depth difficult. The depth of boxers is in their motion, in their action. Its hard for me to express my emotions, but they are there in my punches, in my feet hitting the pavement when I do my roadwork, in the breaths I let out, and the blows I let in. There is a depth that is understated, that is salient, that is experienced but goes unspoken.

Maybe the problem is that you can't write with boxing gloves on.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Upcoming Bout

Tong Syvatong and I will be battling it out across the water at Kezar Pavillion on April 26th. The event will be my fourth amateur fight and Tong's third. The doors open at 5 and fights start at 5. You can check out the seating and get tickets here. I would suggest getting cheaper seats as the Pavillion is a basically a high school sized auditorium.

Support your local vegan gansta (that would be me)!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Metallic Taste

I felt rusty moving around the ring. I hadn't box sparred in a week. Two months ago I was getting my face mashed at least three times a week.

"Beat the shit out of them," Mike, my ever supportive trainer said to Fabian.

Fabian is a nineteen year old, 160 pound, latino, who had on his own head gear, the "mark" of a real boxer. The head gear was black with a white interior. A black bar came across the middle of his face, making him look like a medieval knight who doesn't give a fuck about his chin. There was no bottom strap to protect his chin. The head gear was designed to protect his nose. Maybe he thinks he can become a nose model later in life I thought while we waited for the bell to ring. He could wear different types and styles of nose rings. Maybe he wants to become a perfume tester, I continued to muse.

"Ding, Ding," said the round timer as it switched from red to green.

We touched gloves, his white laced up 16oz gloves tapping my own red pillows.

We dance around the ring and I start throwing out my jab. About a third of them connect with his skull. My momentary happiness is smashed away with his fists. I cover up and try to throw a left uppercut right up the middle into his unprotected chin. Yesterday I saw Soren Mongkontron, beat the shit out of a canadian's chin with left uppercuts. The impression had created momentum in my body. The uppercut landed, but given my pillows, my lightweight, and my slow motion speed, nothing happened. There was a slight break than Fabian started in with a combination.

"Work the body, work the body," Mike said.

I began to lower my punches. Fabian is taller than me by a couple inches and getting into his body was like dodging bulltets spewed from a gatling gun. It was only when the round was over that I realized that Mike's advice was for Fabian.

The next round Fabian stood out and I got a go at my training partner Tong Syvatong. Tong and I have been training constantly for our upcoming bout. We run together, we knee spar together, we do sit ups together, we complain about our trainer together. When I think of my friends I think about how well I know them yet with Tong despite all the time we spend together I hardly know him at all... well I know his body. I know he has a slow but powerful right hand. I tried to remember all I knew about my friend.

I jabbed the fuck out of his face and felt some satisfaction when I saw his nose start to drip out red fluid. That meant my jabs, my pawings into the air, was landing right where they were supposed to. Tong stopped to fix his leaking faucet and Fabian came back in the ring. Fabian worked my body a bit more, smashing a left hook into my body. I covered up and tried that left uppercut again with no avail. I started to see Fabian getting tired which lit a small fire under my ass. All I gotta do is work harder than him now, I thought. "His technique won't do him much good if he's gassed" said my fists as they aimed first high, then low into his body. We broke momentarily and I saw his left glove slightly speckled with red. He hasn't boxed Tong yet, I thought. Then I recognized the age old metallic taste in the back of my mouth. A bitter iron in the throat is a trademark of every boxer.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Thoughts on "Lightbulb"

Today I changed the lightbulbs in my kitchen. The other day I was saying how the kitchen was pretty dark. Anne, my roommate, noted that the lights were blown. I put changing the bulbs on my short to do list. Around the corner from my house is a small bodega. Its run by some middle eastern guys. I bought the light bulbs from there.

I wanted to write a short story and thought that a story about changing a light bulb would be fun. I don't read many stories about ordinary every day things.

Along with wanting the story to be about changing the light bulb I decided to have a female protagonist. She's not a very developed character and if I substituted all the shes, and hers, for he, and his I doubt there would be any difference in the story. Lip service is a small step towards writing depthful female characters though right?

The other thing I did was to denote time passing. Halfway through the story I decided the whole events would take about 50 minutes. I counted each action in terms of minutes. I don't know why I did this but it seemed like a neat literary device.

While I was riding my bike I thought of the writer, Piers Anthony. I read a couple of his "Immortal" series before I left for Thailand. In the forward Anthony talks about his writing process. Not only does he have a separate work area but he also finds he rarely has writer's block. He feels he doesn't suffer from writer's block as he writes about the mundane things that happen in his life. It was bizarre to hear him say this as he writes outlandish fantasy tales.

Also that picture of the lightbulb is fucking stupid. My friend Eric commented a while back that I should have more pictures in my writings. Caving into peer pressure has my writing look stupid. Next thing you know I'll end up a hack like El Chavo. Eee Gads!


Her house wasn't the type to have a chore wheel. Her two roommates and her decided in an ad hoc meeting that chore wheels were too cumbersome. Household duties were taken up individually, if at all. The dishes would often pile up building into a small landfill in the kitchen's double sink. Eventually one of the roommates would do some, fill the drying rack, and leave the rest in the sink for the next roommate. Other household labor would be accomplished in a similar haphazard fashion. The bathroom would rarely get cleaned, the living room collected cobwebs in the ceiling corners, the dryer almost caught on fire three times because no one ever emptied the lint trap.

She had woken up from her nap an fifty minutes ago. After ten minutes of laying in bed with her eyes closed she spent five minutes in bed staring at the ceiling thinking about getting out of bed. She got out of her bed, put on sweat pants and a shirt. She assumed the shirt was clean because it was closer to her pile of clean clothes that laid on the floor. The assumption was further validated by the lack of stains, or pungent odors. It was eight o'clock at night, and she had overslept by two hours. What would have been a short cat nap after work had turned into a long slumber. She opened her bedroom door and turned left moving through the living room and into the kitchen. She flipped the kitchen light on and looked into the darkness. She turned the switch again, again she looked into darkness.

"Fuck," she said aloud.

She flicked the switch up and down a few times attempting to ignite the light. "Perhaps the motion of the switch will act like a bow and drill lighting a small fire in the room," she thought. After a minute of failure she sighed and moved into the living room. The living room lights worked. She sat down on the couch and pouted for three minutes.

She then decided to raid the emergency house fund and in order to buy some light bulbs. She spent eight minutes looking for the house fund which was in the kitchen. The darkness made the search difficult but she found it next to the telephone book. She brought the jar back into the living room. The jar was left over from previous tenants. They had ingeniously decided to start an emergency house fund. Unfortunately they'd only filled it with loose change and at this point was half filled with pennies. She looked in the jar for four minutes desperately hoping that by staring into it long enough a quarter, or two might appear. Her glaring was for nothing, pennies still remained. She sighed and felt slightly depressed about her monetary situation for two minutes.

She grabbed her keys from her bedroom, slipped on her shoes, threw on a light jacket and walked out the door to her house. She headed for the corner store which was a block away from her house. She became annoyed halfway there as she had to cross the street. The street was busy with traffic. It took her two minutes to cross.

The corner store was owned by a middle eastern man. He had his twenty something sons run the shop while he sat on a stool and brooded. He would shout at them in Arabic when his temper flared because they had undercharged a customer for eggs, a loaf of bread, or a jar of peanut butter.

She spent a few minutes looking around the store for light bulbs. Not finding any she went to the counter.

"Do you have any light bulbs," she asked.

"Let me see," replied the store clerk. The clerk was twenty six and a second generation immigrant. He had worked in the store for his father for ten years intermittently. He had taken a more full time position after his forays into community college failed in parallel to his father's declining health. His father had heart problems. The clerk shuffled behind the counter for one minute. "We have 75 watt bulbs. Is that okay," he asked.


"How many do you want?"

"Uh two."

"Okay," he said. He punched in some numbers into the old style cash register. "Three dollars and fifty-four cents."

"Thanks," she replied giving him four dollars.

"No problem." He handed her back forty six cents, four dimes, a nickel and a penny. She put the change in her pocket and grabbed the light bulbs from the counter.

The walk back home was a little quicker as there was no traffic. She unlocked her door and went immediately into the kitchen. Using the dim light from the living room she found where the kitchen light dangled. She unscrewed the light bulb and shook it. It rattled slightly proving that it had blown at some point. She took out the new bulb and put it into the socket. She rotated the bulb around until it stuck. She moved to the kitchen switch and flipped it. The light came on and the kitchen was lit. She could see the pile of dishes in the sink. She nodded with satisfaction. She stared into the kitchen for five more minutes and then flipped the switch on and off a few times for good measure.