People have often asked me why I was drawn to combat sports. Always an intellectual, even one who might decry the very thought of violence, it seemed entirely contrary to the core of my system of beliefs. However, there has always been a corollary theme in my life. The fight for survival.
I was born with a genetic immune disorder. One that affects B-Cell antibody production. The net effect is that of constant worry for infection, a great deal of time spent in doctors offices and hospitals and unpredictable periods of isolation in an almost futile attempt to prevent further negative exposure. Despite these challenges I had an intense desire to fight the odds. To break through my limitations any way I could.
The mental and psychological fight was intense, so intense that the practicality of physical confrontation became more and more apparent. For many of us, we’ve been afforded a comfortable life. One that is insulated from the raws of nature, from the elements, as it once was and now we live with the protection of specialized teams of professionals that handle everything from farming to fire fighting. Through this veil it may seem that the vast majority of people often never experience a true fight however we are constantly bombarded with stresses that challenge us in many ways.
Social, political and even economic challenges have significant impact on our psychology, and that mental impact translates into physical stress responses which our bodies have been tuned to for basic survival. Absent of euphoria our senses of well being are often the product of a physical transition from a stressed state to a relaxed state. All the chemical markers, catalysts and waste materials generated during a stressed state are shifted, sorted, muted, expunged or eliminated from our biological systems as we both mentally and physically contend with the source of stress. The sensations experienced by this process have, over millennia, translated into a general psychological sense of “well being”.
A more interesting phenomena exists in nature however. That being the heuristic perception that one or another physical system may opt to take the “path of least resistance”. We see this often in organics. Where the simplest solution for life often presents itself as the obvious and most immediate probability. Yet this phenomena is observed and personified after the fact. In truth there are many examples where the path of least resistance is not taken by an organic or inorganic physical system.
The ramifications of such variance can be elaborated across many contexts, however for the sake of this discussion I’ll maintain focus on just one. The fight for human survival. The very nature of a fight is in contrast to the path of least resistance, however as we already know, that path is not one always taken and often has inverse benefits to what one might assume. Instead of fleeing from every confrontation, humans make calculated strategic decisions on the recruitment of energy and resources towards, what is perceived as, a common greater good.
The impact is not always immediately obvious, thus to the outside observer it may appear contrary to what is best for the system as a whole. But taking a step back we see that the longer term benefits hold more gains than an immediate retreat from conflict would afford. This cost/benefit analysis is consistently at the foundation of inspiration, creativity, research and investment. When we are most cognitive we can still opt to support actions that might appear immediately opposite the logical path.
Even so, few of us do ever see these impacts. Fewer of us are ever required to contemplate such matters with respect to our very lives, and yet all of us constantly make decisions that reconfirm the validity of this line of reasoning.
This may be perhaps why “we” fight. It’s for certain why I fight. And no matter the physical challenges that may be imposed upon me, I will continue to fight and continue to learn from each and every battle won and lost.