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Brick Mouse Speaks
Man Weekend 2024 Review, Baltimore, 5/27/24
© 2024 James LaFond
MAY/27/24
Four miles behind Gawdly Lines.
Most of the fighting age men now grew up post-Columbine, institutionalized in a feminized system of zero-tolerance policies towards fighting, but the internet is (for some reason) still filled with videos from these same school-prisons where dorky children are brutalized by mob violence. I went through k-12 and only ever threw a single punch, and me and my attacker were both so shocked he walked away mumbling something humiliating about how his mother hits harder. There’s a legacy of masculine violence we’ve all been cut off from that exists, for so many of us, as a spectator sport. If you follow the rules, you know next to nothing about it. Take a punch, maybe you’ll shatter like glass, you don’t know.
You should find out.
There’s martial arts studios everywhere, but what do they really teach? In a controlled environment, one-two punch, one-two, repeat. The demonstrations are at half speed, and the “bad guy” always throws himself theatrically in the direction they’ve agreed to ahead of time. A lot of the schools are little more than fitness classes, offering false confidence. Others fail to reign in psycho fighters who hurt the other students and scare their developing competition away from the combat sports.
Man Weekend is the best martial arts opportunity in the country: if you’re willing to leave your comfort zone, you can test yourself while learning from experts in boxing, applied weapons sparring, and grappling. People drive hundreds of miles for a day of training and a day of fighting, and that fight day is mandatory.
Mandatory fighting is an incredible filter for quality men. You don’t have to be an amazing fighter (or any kind, really), but you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and into an arena with men you’ve never met before. Every year, about half the men back out at the last minute, including some highly trained athletes. But when you get there, you find some of the most interesting men you’ve ever met, with experiences you’ve never even thought about, and when everyone is exhausted, the conversation really kicks off. This year, the men discussed the psychological damage of horse-riding on women and the fitness benefits of MAZURI PRIMATE BISCUITS FOR GROWTH AND REPRODUCTION, as well as other topics not fit to print. There’s white collar men, writers, working class guys, young and old. Fathers and bachelors. Everyone has been personally vetted, and they all have stories to tell, if you can figure out what questions to ask.
You’re more resilient than you think, but weaker too, and you should find out both. The coaches at Man Weekend may scare the hell out of you, but they’ll pull their punches and let you hit them, so the new guys experience their first adrenaline dumps, and the veterans leave bruised and pleasantly exhausted. The men who come back the next year are more controlled and more sure of themselves. The fights are as real as you want them to be.
This event is a nexus of masculine energy that the Pool Parties, book clubs, drum circles, and fitness getaways can never be. There’s no substitute for the exhaustion of fighting, and it couldn’t be reproduced with lesser men than these. I would never find these friends anywhere else, and the sine qua non of the whole social event is the filter of mandatory fighting. So come out, and test yourself. Life always gets in the way. Maybe next year you’ll be too busy. Now, while you still have time, while your body still works, learn to fight. Your neighborhood isn’t getting any safer. You’ll get out of it what you put into it. There’s nothing like Man Weekend.
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