Thursday, February 09, 2006

Zen & the art of anger management

I just gave notice at my job, which has alleviated a lot of the stress I'd been experiencing. And as I sit here at my desk, running out the clock, I think back to my last job, & the remarkable similarities between it's effects on my personal life. I was getting to be less & less fun to be around, & was having trouble enjoying even the simplest pleasures, like drinking a Fosters while watching my favorite tv shows. During this rare moment of clarity, I'm starting to realize that I need some kind of outlet for all the bad feelings.

What I did before was join this goofy martial arts place out in Santa Monica. It was a blast at first, because I got to put on those gloves they wear in the Ultimate Fighting Championship & beat on random people. In a controlled environment, of course. They would be covering up with these leather pads. And I didn't mind taking a few shots back...hell, I was covering up with those pads, too. And between you & me, most of the guys there were weekend warriors who punched like toddlers. And when someone with a real arm would wind up on me, it felt good, like I was really excercising. It was strange how good it felt to focus all my frustrations at some poor soul bracing himself behind a 2x4' mini-punchingbag. As for the "martial arts" aspect of the classes...well, I haven't been in a fight since taking them, so I wouldn't know. Probably never will. Most people don't want to fight, anyways, they just want to talk shit.

Well, then I got a little ahead of myself & thought, "if I'm having such a blast taking such meticulous potshots, wouldn't it be great to just go all-out & go toe-to-toe with a like-minded individual?" So I tried kickboxing. Let me tell you, it was no kind of fun. The cardio was amazing, but the thrill of hitting people was immensely dampened by the fact that not only were they trying ot avoid being hit, they were trying to hit me back, harder & faster. That...wasn't...part...of the deal!

Yeah, I know, I must sound pretty bad. I can dish it out, but I can't take it, eh? Well, shit, I won't make any bones about it. It's no fun having your mouthguard punched out from between your teeth, or being kicked in the lower ribs. I know that sounds like fun, but it isn't. So I tried a change of venue...Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, something I'd always dreamed of trying. For those of you who haven't been following mixed-martial-arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is basically wrestling, only instead of trying to pin your opponent, you're trying to get him to submit by choking him or bending his joints backwards. It's mindblowing stuff. Well, it was a blast learning the fundamentals, but it was the most frustrating thing in the world having a bunch of more experienced students drag me around the mat like a CPR dummy. It was just like getting my ass kicked in kickboxing, only this time I was gagging from being choked out so much & my arms felt like they'd been pulled out of their sockets & put back with a few pieces missing. And what do you know, that teeth-gnashing anger I'd been funneling out was suddenly stopped up again, clouding up the horizon. Ah, sweet irony! I was the weekend warrior getting the ass-end of some other asshole's cathartic workout.

Since the classes had changed from an outlet for my frustration to a source of it, I stopped going. Yeah, I know, I'm a quitter. So sue me! Well, now I'm trying to figure out a way to lose some weight & had the idea that maybe I should try something similar...unfortunately, most of the boxing gyms around here are "boxcercise" (no contact...can you believe it?!) or else cost an insane amount of money, which is somehow justified by the fact that the instructor once sparred with Marvin Haggler, or used the bathroom at Cusomano's Gym back in the day.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu places are just as expansive, & for the same ludicrous reasons. If the head instructor went to the same chiropractor as Carlson Gracie, those classes are gonna be exPENsive!!! There's a place here in Hollywood that I might try out, though. I stopped by to watch one of their classes & I guess it was ok. Kind of a high blockhead-ratio but then that's to be expected in this particular sphere of influence. And hey, I'm not looking for people to sit down & discuss Chaucer with. I'm looking for people to beat up legally. There, I said it. Hey, I'm starting to feel better already!