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With the Dondus
Sparring on the Net-Removed Basketball Court: 8/11/16
© 2016 James LaFond
People who care about keeping crime away from their recreational space remove the nets and even hoops from basketball courts. The remaining space is largely unused, so we have tended to use such abandoned courts as sparring surfaces.
Exactly a week ago Charles and I sparred on the painted asphalt court at the Loch Raven Rec. Center, which used to be Hillendale Elementary School back when I was seven years old and two Puerto Rican kids and their hairy dog attacked me while I waited for my mother to pick me up after baseball practice. This piece of ground has claimed my pain many times:
-I used to get beat-up by the first baseman on my team after practice because I “sucked”
-Bernard once broke my nose and painted my face with the pint that ran out boxing on the stage while Mister Franks said, “Oh, James will be alright.”
-There was the time in 2006 when Charles snapped my left pinkie finger clean in half as we sparred in the rain, two days before my fight with Rico Arus.
-Then, in 2009, I think, I was sparring with Brett here when he split my balls with a rising stick stroke that put me down—and the football coaches looking on, as they attended to their hot dog grill, reenacted my emasculation to every passerby that arrived at the field. As I tottered around trying to put the pain from my mind we would hear the occasional viewer of my reenacted plight say, “Oh, helllll no!” which made me laugh, which really fucking hurt…
Charles and I are back at this spot. For six weeks we have sparred and he has gone from just getting buy me on youth, to out-working me, to taking it easy and still beating me down, to dismantling me with maddening ease.
The heat index was 110.
The session that followed left me with hands bruised too badly for me to take even light hits this week, and he really was going easy. Part of the reason is my gloves only have a quarter-inch of padding. Most of it is a crucial reduction in my hand speed as yawning Age takes her cruel toll of my abilities.
We are the only palefaces, which feels good, because these are predominantly the best folks of their kind.
-Two boys walk by and one says, “Do that hurt?” I ignore them, but Charles obliges them with a thwack that severely bruised my left hand on the pinkie side, and, as I wince, the one boy says, “That do hurt.”
-A coach comes by and says hello.
-Three more coaches, including the head coach of the peewee age group, come to sit under the tree and watch as my beating continues.
-An assistant coach and a dozen tiny boys in giant helmets and football pads begin doing pushups not ten yards from us.
-Two pozer thugs—skinny fellows—ask us, “What is that called, what do I call it when I upload it?” I told him, “Escrima, a Filipino art that just means fighting with weapons and is related to our terms skirmish and scrimmage.”
The youth look at my arms askance—already raised with welts—and backed up to film our next round. The football coaches then permitted the tiny players to watch and they clung to the fence with their little hands, observing through their face cages.
The head coach, who remembered us from years ago, asked, “Did you see that Olympic victory in fencing? Wasn’t that great?”
Charles answered, “Yes, sir, it was,” as we crossed sticks and he began the hunt.
He has been having a hard time finishing me—as he is a skill-based fighter and not a natural and does not know immediately when I am ready to go. Our work on that will be covered in my next sparring piece. He has been picking my hands off but has had a hard time dealing with my entries. But last Thursday, Charles found that sweet spot and did a pain dispensing dance all around me for two rounds, disarming me while scoring a combination and stepping away—which is the Holy Grail of the art. I hung in there as long as I could, then, having switched to lefty, he caught my back hand beat with an umbrella block and zinged me above the left ear with a backhand tip-dump that gave me a concussion that has just about worn off and left the impression of the fencing mask screen on the knot he raised on my bald head.
As we broke I checked my phone to see if Oliver was showing up and called him back as the two pozers viewed the round on their phones:
“What’s up, James?”
“Well, brother, this white man is beating me to death with a stick and none of these other black folks are lifting a finger to help me.”
“You know, James, they probably think you’re white. Welcome to WorldStar Hip Hop.”
“Are you coming up to stand in for me here—you’re on the parking lot, right?”
“You’re sparring with Charles, right?”
“Well you have a nice time—I don’t think I can help you out there. Couldn’t get a baby sitter, but I’ll watch him do it again on Sunday.”
Charles and I have had numerous experiences sparring in public, with the general opinion of white men seeming to be negative [many having called the police on myself and earlier sparring partners], while white boys are curious and black men and boys are universally curious as to the activity. Most of the blacks will decide that this is not something they wish to engage in, but are at least curious and inquire after a reasonable fashion, asking intelligent questions. But most white men exhibit a marked uneasiness with the activity.
What is the social mechanism that turns white boys into sissy men with such maddening regularity?
All races have their problems dealing with the social construct and palefaces owe it to themselves to examine their general aversion to masculine aggression, for the same society praises the plucky woman.
Twerps, Goons and Meatshields: The Basics of Full Contact Stick-Fighting
The Punishing Art
The Range Ladder
modern agonistics
‘Charles versus Lonely Dog?’
blue eyed daughter of zeus
masculine axis
'in these goings down'
Jeremy Bentham     Aug 19, 2016

“We have become too civilized to grasp the obvious. For the Truth is very simple. To survive you often have to fight, and to fight you have to dirty yourself. War is evil, and it is often the lesser evil.” - George Orwell, Looking Back on the Spanish Civil War

“Those who abjure violence can only do so by others committing violence on their behalf.” - George Orwell
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