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By In essay, Korea, Mixed Martial Arts

The Main Event

 

Front and center was a cage where men would soon punch each other for money. Seats inside Seoul’s cavernous Olympic Hall wrapped around it on two levels: cageside VIP tables for the type of people who wear suits to a cage fight, and open seating above it for everyone else. Behind the cage was a ramp that led up to a theater stage set up with gear for a rock band. Above, a jumbo screen showed silent highlight videos of older matches on a loop.

A pre-fight promotional video started. Clips of knockouts played as the lights dimmed. Band members crept to their positions through the shadows while the video showed mean-mugging men holding up their fists. The video culminated with resounding, ear-splitting English: “Top FC! Fighting! Champion!”

The screen went blank. A row of mortar-like pyrotechnics shot flames upward from the edge of the stage, and the band started screaming over the sounds of their instruments. They sounded like the kinds of bands most kids listen to in high school but are now embarrassed to think about–except all in Korean.

It was exactly the type of campy, weird high-production values that I wanted, but as the music pierced the on-stage flames and echoed through the auditorium, I didn’t quite feel there. I didn’t quite feel anywhere…”

 

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By In essay

Man’s Best Reflection

“When I first started dating my fiancé, before we had a dog, we discussed this hypothetical: if a dog that belonged to you and a human stranger were hanging in peril, and you only had the time and ability to save one of them, which is more deserving of rescue? At the time, I made a logically-framed argument, maintaining that humanity is fundamentally more valuable than the life of any other animal, that a person is capable of producing so much more good in the world than a dog is, and that the risk of the stranger being a complete monstrosity of a person after being saved from impending death would be minimal compared to the odds that he or she would be a valuable contributor to society. Her rebuttal: just wait until you get a dog.

I waited. We got a dog. She was right.

Not only would I now save my dog without so much as a flinching hesitation, I’d probably save a stranger’s dog before I’d save the stranger. Sure, having a dog of my own has helped change my mind, but there’s more to it than that. An honest inspection of humanity yields a much stronger argument. Dogs are better students of character than humans — they bark at those worth barking at, offer their belly to those deserving of intimacy — which begs the assumption that perhaps they are simply better than people…”

 

Read more at Medium

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By In essay, Mixed Martial Arts

Something in the Water: The Past and Present of Hawaii’s Warrior Spirit