Welcome To The Bloody Ballet
by Ryan McKinnon
“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?”
-Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
We all dance a Bloody Ballet. Fighting is in our DNA. We are all fighting something or someone. We fight cancer and other disease, or for promotions at work. We fight for equal rights, women’s rights, or the rights of someone in another country. We fight for access to information, or for transparency from our world leaders. We fight ourselves too. Everyday we wake up and fight for a better life, or against our own laziness to move and feel better. From the second our eyes open, we are fighting either independently or collectively against some obstacle, to gain something to make our lives better. We are all fighters, and there is always something we can learn about ourselves by being in a fight.
Anyone who works out at a martial arts school knows that training is a humbling endeavour. We spend our younger years accumulating skill and conditioning our bodies while being schooled by the older generation almost to the point of discouragement. As we get older, it is time that humbles us. We eventually slow down, and have only superior technical ability to keep us safe in sparring sessions. In the middle of those two opposite ends of the spectrum is a sweet spot where an athlete can enjoy a glorious and sometimes profitable career as a professional fighter. It is a specific place where time and skill come together harmoniously to provide a small window into a world where violence is tolerated by the law and lauded by society. A streak of losses to a professional fighter is not only humbling, it literally takes food out of their mouth. The risk-to-reward ratio is so wide, yet fighters dance a razor’s edge between a life of poverty and prestige. It is the overwhelming odds stacked against a fighter that make us admire them so much. They are our modern day heroes from local communities. 99% of the population can’t gather the courage to attempt what fighters do. Therefore, we live vicariously through our fighters.
To watch a fight is to observe two supremely conditioned fighters entangled in a combative pas de deux, dancing a bloody ballet. When two fighters clash, each imposing their respective will upon the other, the audience is given a small glimpse into what it means to fight for something with all your heart and soul. It is in this moment when we question our own lives, and reflect on the challenges we failed to face head on.
We always remember a good fight, and the overwhelming emotions a good fight can evoke. Rocky vs Apollo. Ali vs Foreman. Lawler vs MacDonald. They are all different in their discipline, yet similar in how they make us feel inside. A fight is both bloody and beautiful. A fight is a dance that employs the elements of rhythm, timing, distance, and technical skill to ‘out dance’ an opponent. It is frightening and fulfilling. Gory and glorious. A fight awakens a hidden part of our biological nature, satiating some kind of evolutionary hunger. Nobody forgets a good fight, and just like our first kiss, no one ever forgets their first fight.
The Bloody Ballet was inspired by the art of fighting. The site was created to share the stories of fighters and martial artists from Toronto and worldwide through the medium of a podcast. We don’t want to just share the stories of fighters, we want the listener to participate in them. Our goal is to inspire, awaken, engage and enlighten. We want our listeners to take something away from each podcast, and apply it to their own lives, in and out of the gym.
We can learn so much from the world of martial arts and the people who make a living in it. They say it takes a community to raise a child, and this is no different when it comes to a fighter. Coaches, parents, friends, teachers, doctors, nutritionists, and sponsors all play their part in helping a fighter along their journey towards greatness. The stories of the people who participate in a fighter’s career are just as rich as the stories of the fighters themselves. We want to share those stories too.
This site is for the fans and members of the fighting communities all over the GTA and beyond. Only you know what it’s like to watch a friend and family member cut weight, go to bed early, and come home after a long day at work only to turn heel and head right back out the door, gym bag in hand. We all have some kind of personal connection to our fighters. Let this site be a hub to celebrate what our local heroes do to entertain and inspire us. Let’s come together to share their stories, tell our own, and continue to be good ambassadors of a mission proving that combat sports make better human beings, and bring communities together.
Lastly, this site is a call to action from sponsors, both locally and internationally. If you want to invest in your community, invest in a local gym and the athletes who train in them. A martial arts school is as much a staple of the community as a church or hospital. It is a place of worship where people go to find self knowledge, and challenge themselves to become better, both in physicality and in spirit. Put your money in that collection plate. Give what you can to local fighters. They have a hard enough time working full-time jobs and training 6 days a week. The last thing they need is to work an extra shift so that they can afford better training equipment, gas money to fights outside the city, or food to stay strong. When you invest in martial arts, you invest in making better human beings.
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