being punched is good for you

Went to watch boxing yesterday. What was a devotee of nonviolence doing at a boxing tournament? Supporting a friend, actually. One of the guys from the ASWC was meant to be competing, but apparently his opponent didn’t turn up. Unfortunately I only discovered this after I paid the $20 entry fee.

But I stayed and watched for a while anyway. I found it was easy to quickly lose yourself in the tactics, and let it become a kind of faceless violence, a purely strategic endeavour. It does strike me as a strange sport though – two men, who have never met before, get in the ring to beat each other up. Jerry Seinfeld does a good bit on this exact point.

To me, the problem with boxing is you have two guys having a fight that have no prior argument. Why don’t they have the boxers come into the ring in little cars, drive around a bit, have an accident? They’d get out, “Didn’t you see my signal?” “Look at that fender!” Then you’d see a real fight.

It was rather funny entering the Reggio Calabria Club to look for where the boxing was being held, and finding a rather elaborate and formal wedding in the main room. Upstairs people are celebrating the declaration of eternal love and fidelity, and downstairs people are punching each other up. Sensational.

But the beautifully ironic part was noticing a large, wall-size poster promoting VicHealth, which read: “Health through sport.” Health through punching each others’ faces in. Nice.

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