>Boxing Vs. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

>I’ve been doing a fair amount of Brazilian jiu-jitsu over the last eighteen months and I enjoy it. A lot. I like the fact that you can ‘lose,’ that is, get submitted, and start right over again. In boxing, losing generally involves a lot of pain. I also like the fact that BJJ doesn’t give you brain damage.

What I like slightly less is the social atmosphere of BJJ. You always have to deal with other people. Classes are scheduled at regular times and even open mats call for a lot of social interaction. I don’t like the structured times and places. In boxing you are alone much of the time, even in a crowded gym. Sparring is intimate but the gloves and headgear maintain a distance, not to mention the distrust and caution you need to show your sparring part.

I love people and hanging out but I’ve always needed to be alone a lot. Like the cafe, boxing allowed me to be alone around other people. Boxers almost always respect other boxers’ privacy. If someone doesn’t feel like talking, no one talks to him. You hit the bags alone. You jump rope alone. Roland Barthes called it a Jansenist sport. He was right.

>The Harbor Freeway, Wedneday 10:15 P.M.

>A sign flashes: Accident, Left Lane, Carson Street Exit
Traffic slows, shifting right.
A car speeds through the left lane, turning right just before the blinking arrow.
A flotilla of squad cars gleam along the guard rail.
At the center of the squad cars a bulge of motion and shapes:
a paramedic, a broken car, a glimpse of a plastic sheet
Outlining a human body.

[This was an experiment: I wanted to take myself out of my normal first-person narrative voice. Unfortunately the result was bad poetry].