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Workhorse

Drifting through the world aimless and lacking direction is an existence I know too well. That's not to say that Im wasting my days away wantonly, drinking to excess and sacrificing half of them to excessive sleep. Libraries are slayed and fitness is pursued myopically. I meet new people and live the way a 25 year old bachelor is expected to. But isnt there more to strive for? As I sit here, another faceless denizen of an irrelevant bar, I take in the sights. Several groups of blue collar men and women huddle together in hermetically sealed cliques, loudly discussing gossip derived from stunted lives and unrealized potential. They argue over their favored teams in football, basketball, baseball, and hockey, strongly accentuating that "their" team is going to "do them proud". A business entity they have no tangible, financial part or ownership of, no fiscal stake in. Grown men and women living vicariously through those men and women that had the courage, dedication and tenacious obsession to not only live their dreams, but beat reality into submission, forcing it to mold itself according to THEIR vision. These thoughts pour unencumbered and fluidly through my brain, relentlessly shouting for me to wake up. Yes, I may be lonely at times. Sure, the past may haunt me in passing, rather painfully in fact. But the fact remains, I've nothing but time to pursue my own personal visions, to realize my goals and dreams. The choices are laid out bare as a virgin before me as we speak. Suffer personally and escape totally, or remain ensconced in a repugnant cacoon of self-pity and masturbatory weakness. The choice is clear, to me anyway. You'd never find me with a beer gut and receeding hairline at 35, that's for damn sure.

Im not much of a boxer. The techniques are simple enough at first, deceptively inviting. A flick of the left hand out, relaxed then sharply hardened, does considerable damage. If that punch, the Jab, is a noose, tensile and pliable initially, fatally firm the next, then the Cross is a head on collision with a mack truck going 120 mph. Place your bodyweight over your right foot, right quad flexed powerfully, and cock your right back like the hammer on a revolver. In one finessed snap, whip the body around towards the target awaiting unwilling death. Foot pivoting, waist ricocheting, shoulder charging, fist shooting. The bullet has been fired, and, provided youre physically strong, talented technically, or just graced by Lady Luck, the punch will have leveled its target. These two weapons, packaged and deployed together, form the nucleus of a great offense. Indeed, at my first gym it was the only combination some fighters young and old, male and female, bothered to learn. It's indeed served me well, from the streets of San Diego to the middle of the Gulf, because of its versatility. Whether youre on top of your opponent while mounting him (insert gay jokes here bitch), feeling creative in the clinch, or need to save your own life while knocked on your back, this combo will prove effective and potent.

When it comes to a standup match vs a grappling match, Ill go with the latter everytime. My short, t-rex arms make getting within range to utilize my boxing skills a dangerous undertaking. Yet, when wrestling, this same "weakness" has allowed me to dominate guys twice my size. Through a marriage of advantageous levers and my natural strength, Im in my element while locked up in the throes of combat. Although Im woefully aware of my own lack of relevant grappling experience, my strength allows me to power through tactically sound defenses and meet overwhelming offensive onslaughts with a torrent of my own. If there was a school around here that taught Greco-Roman specifically, I fear Id sink my savings into completely mastering the art. Alas, none exist, so its back to emulating Youtube videos while drunk. Such is life.

Tonight I took part in an organized boxing class for the first time in years. My technique was rusty and choppy, my sense of timing and intuitive sense of the distinct rhythms of combat slightly askew. My cardio, most embarassingly, was far beneath the levels of my adolescence. Ive gotten worlds stronger, but Ive allowed my conditioning to dissipate into oblivion. Oh, but my strength. Years of hand balancing have granted me the power I cold only dream of and aspire to as a teenager. Jabs that once did little more than annoy the bag like a mosquito on exposed skin felt unstoppable and rung percussively. Straights became artillery and my gloved fist the landing mortar rounds. My hooks and uppercuts are more explosive then theyve ever been, enhanced by the one tiny lesson I was never given a decade prior. The Devil is, in fact, in the details, minute and apparent. Jumping rope I beheld the magnificent history gleaming from the walls. Posters, glossy and striking, coated with a modern laminate sheen, took up residence next to fading, black and white photographs of various fighters, fists raised as championship belts adorn their arms, necks and shoulders. With the possibility of fighting as a Middleweight beckoning me, teasing me with prudish coquettishness, I find myself exuberant again, filled with renewed purpose. Admittedly, at the risk of sounding self-aggrandizing, I have both legs up over the majority of my competition. I already exercise daily, with advanced calisthenics as my weapons of choice, while the majority of the men only burden their muscles with glorious strenuousness while in class a few times a week. I needed a goal, and this is it.

I joined the military to get away from physical labor. Of course I expected to train and do grunt work, but hoped that my primary duties would tax my brain, not my arms. Fast forward nearly 5 years later, and Ive earned my answer. I passed all of the courses required of me and have obtained several advanced technical abilities. But all the while I lifted and heaved heavy boxes and bags of trash. I brandished a gun and prepared to take down hostiles with combat training. Ive always been the workhorse, and that's okay. The hollow chested chicken necks can sneer down their burned noses at me while I toil, their disappointment in themselves and envy towards my physique, strength and vitality hidden behind their self-righteous snobbery. We both know who gets the girl and who would win that fight, and it's not you bro. My strength is a blessing from God, a gift, and I will no longer run from what seems to have been pursuing me since I left home. I will make my living with my strength of body, mind and character in some way. Destiny calls, and it looks like work. Time to sweat.

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