Bill Weintraub

Bill Weintraub

The Fight Ethic


Hi guys.

Recently I got an email from someone asking about my support for UFC-style Fighting -- which is properly called Mixed Martial Arts or MMA.

Because I could see that the letter writer was posing the sorts of questions that many gay-identified males living in an analist milieu would have about Fighting and MMA -- I answered the email and I'm posting the email and my response here.

I know that I owe many of you emails, and you may be wondering why I'd write to a stranger before I write to you.

The answer is that my priority is posting on this board.

Because this board is read by thousands of guys.

And when I see that by answering an email I can develop a post -- that's what I do.

So it comes down to -- the good of the many.

Again, I'm sorry that I owe so many of you email.

And I will try to get back to you.

For now, please take a look at what a guy named Anthony asked about MMA and Fighting -- and my response:

Hi Bill,

Awesome web site!!

I have a question... Do you think that UFC takes the fighting ethic too far? I mean wrestling is great and all, but do you think it's good for guys to bloody each other like that? Just curious.

I'm 31yo man. Ive never been in a real physical fight with a dude. But lately Ive been feeling the urge to fight a guy, jsut to see what it's like. I don't think if Ive ever thrown a real punch (except when I was really drunk and hit my friend in a bar). Anyway, what's your take on guys fighting in real life? How do I learn to be a fighter?

Last, should I bring this up to my bf or would he think I'm mad?

THank and keep up the great work!!


So there's Anthony's letter.

His questions are not unusual, given the cultural milieu -- which, again, is analist -- which he inhabits.

But that doesn't mean they're "good" questions, or that his is a simple request for information.

What he's trying to do, rather, when he asks if "UFC takes the fighting ethic too far"; and if I "think it's good for guys to bloody each other like that" -- is to find an excuse for not Fighting --

which means to find an excuse -- for not being a Man.

That's what Anthony's doing.

He's playing with the idea of Fighting -- which means embracing his Manhood -- and turning it over in his mind and coming up with -- "UFC is fighting but it's too much fighting" -- or "it's not good for guys to get each other bloody."

And we need to see just how absurd what he's saying -- is.

Because you can't sorta-kinda-maybe be in a fight.

You can't be in a fight half-way or three-quarters of the way or one-eighth of the way.

Fighting is full out.

Either you're in the Fight -- and Fighting to win --

Or you're not.

Same with blood.

Guys get hit in Fights.

They get cuts.

And they bleed.

So you can't say, I'm going to fight, but only if I don't get hit.

Or bruised.

Or cut.

Or bloody.

It doesn't work that way.

Being in a Fight means getting hit -- and hitting back.

That's what it means.

So these are all excuses.

And Anthony is looking for an excuse.

An excuse for not Fighting.

An excuse for not being a Man.

Looking for that sort of excuse is not unusual among gay-identified males -- and it happens, though less frequently, among straight-identified males too.

But it's looking for an excuse nevertheless.

Recently, in a reply to a friend's email, NW said,

It's the denial of fighting which is "bitchy-ass crap." Faggots enjoy bitchy-ass crap (as in, crap-on-their-cocks and butt fucking) because it helps them deny their right to being male and being proud of that male-ness. To be completely male, a Male needs to fight, and a Male needs to be proud of that characteristic, ALONG WITH the physical body characteristics that are used in the fight (the balls and the muscles and their courage). It is ALL part of one package...The Package Male.

To deny it and to shun it is to be a fem-male, to be a bitch. Faggots are males who have grown to deny their masculinity.

"the balls and the muscles and their courage" says NW.

It's a great turn of phrase.

NW: to "deny your balls and your muscles and their courage ... is to be a fem-male, to be a bitch. Faggots are males who have grown to deny their masculinity."

NW's right.

It's the denial of Masculinity which concerns us here.

Maybe some of you don't like NW's use of the word "faggot."

But he's using it to refer to males who've bought into their own oppresssion by buying into the heterosexualized view of their role in life:

which is to get fucked up the butt and in every other way deny their Manhood.

Remember what my foreign friend said:

If there is no heterosexual society there would be no homosexuals. And no heterosexuals either. Male-male sex is isolated only because in the western society, its spaces and its customs are completely heterosexualised (i.e. made mixed gender with pressures to be heterosexual). But heterosexual spaces are themselves unnatural --- and it was only through financial and technological power brought by industrialisation that the western society could create such an artificial unnatural heterosexual environment.


Gay men are one of the most ardent supporters of heterosexualisation. They represent the dust bin created by the heterosexualised society to contain the mutilated/ negativised remnants of male-male sex that survives after the intense oppression of them in the mainstream...

And that's what NW is talking about:

"A mutilated and negativised remnant of male-male sex" which survives in that gay ghetto we call analist subculture -- after the true and natural Love of Man for Man has been banished from the mainstream of society.


The true and natural Love of Man for Man has had "its spaces and its customs completely heterosexualised"; and that Love itself has been banished from society.


And Denied.

Analist subculture is built upon the denial of Masculinity.

NW: "Faggots enjoy bitchy-ass crap (as in, crap-on-their-cocks and butt fucking) because it helps them deny their right to being male and being proud of that male-ness."


These are males who are engaged in a denial "of their right to be male and to be proud of that male-ness."

Because that's what heterosexualization -- expects of them.

The denial of Masculinity.

And that's what we can see going on with Anthony.

In my response to Anthony, I'm a tad less harsh than NW was with his correspondent.

But, like NW, I'm trying to get Anthony to stop making excuses -- for not being a Man.

Here's my response:


Awesome web site!!

Bill Weintraub:

Thank you Anthony -- I'm glad you found us.

I have a question... Do you think that UFC takes the fighting ethic too far?


Anthony, when I get a letter like yours from a gay-identified man, usually the subtext is that Bill Weintraub is encouraging violence.

Which is not true -- to put it mildly.

As you may know, I was a founding board member of the NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, I've done a lot of anti-violence work, and I know the difference between a fight sport -- and violence.

The UFC -- which is actually just the most prominent of the mixed martial arts (MMA) fight leagues operating today -- is basically an updated version of ancient Greek pancration.

Like wrestling, it's a sport.

It has MANY safeguards built-in.

And it's actually a lot safer than ancient Greek pancration.

Furthermore, Anthony, the true violence in gay male life today is occurring among barebackers -- guys infecting each other with HIV and other STI, like hep C.

Larry Kramer has described that behavior as "murderous."

And it is.

Even with HAART -- that's what it is.

To someone like myself, who saw so many die of AIDS, and who understands that even today HIV / AIDS is a serious and dangerous condition -- the tolerance of the gay community for that violence at its core -- is shocking and appalling.

And my question for a guy like you is -- are you writing to the webmasters of barebacking sites and hook-up sites asking them about the violence they underwrite and encourage?

If not -- why not?

Because that's violence, and it's anti-gay violence -- no way around that.

Let me make clear to you that in my view any act of anal penetration is an act of violence.

If you do anal, Anthony, you're involved in that violence.

Fight sports, by contrast, are not about violence.

They're about the channeling of aggression, which is the central attribute of the male.

Guys fight.

They have for millenia.

Just as Frot is a normal and natural male activity -- so is Fighting.

What the Fight Sports do -- whether they're MMA or traditional martial arts or boxing or wrestling -- is provide structure.

Training, rules, categories, etc.

When you do fight, in a Fight Sport, you're matched with someone of equal size, age, and most important, skill level.

So that it's a fair fight.

Plus, of course, there's a referee in the ring to ensure that the Fight is safe and according to the rules.

Also -- if we look at your question again:

Do you think that UFC takes the fighting ethic too far?

Again, the answer is No.

It's fighting.

It's not ballet.

And, as fighting, I think the MMA fight ethic is about where it should be.

As I've said a number of times on the site, I do have some caveats about MMA and organizations like UFC, but in general, and given that we're living in the highly heterosexualized and ultra-materialistic, consumption-obsessed 21st century -- I think MMA is doing pretty well in representing the fight ethic.

What's MMA lacking?

Well, this isn't ancient Greece.

So the male nudity, which cannot be separated from the religious aspect, which cannot be separated from the phallic aspect, which cannot be separated from the male-male erotic aspect, which cannot be separated from the philosophic-moral and educative-idealistic aspects of ancient Greek Fight Sport -- all that is missing.

Ancient Palestra or Fight School
On the right a victorious boxer stands nude, holding the palm of victory;
on the left is a herm, a statue of Hermes with an erection, found in all Fight Schools

Those elements are missing from modern-day MMA.

As is, at the upper levels, the amateurism of the Greeks.

But, and again, given where and when MMA exists, it's doing pretty well.

So let's look a bit more closely at MMA.

Like I said, MMA is a modern-day version of the ancient Greek pancration.

If the Greeks, in all their brilliance, did it --

it should certainly be good enough for us.

But MMA also has a contemporary history.

American mixed martial arts emerged out of contests held in the 1990s usually under the rubric of "reality fighting."

The idea was to duplicate the conditions of a hand-to-hand fight on the battlefield or on the street -- ie self-defense.

And one of the questions people were asking is -- What's more and most effective?

Is karate better than jiu jitsu?

Or judo better than boxing?

And what folks found was that you need a *mix* of skills -- you need to be able to fight standing up, but you also need most definitely to be able to fight on the ground.

Because most fights end up -- and end -- on the ground.

And that was really -- revealing.

It changed the way people thought about fighting in general and self-defense in particular.

At the same time, MMA is NOT a street fight or fight on the battlefield.

Again, there are a LOT of rules.

Rules to protect the fighters.

So from my point of view, a person like yourself, who's never fought and who knows nothing about fighting, needs to learn both -- how to fight as a sport -- and also how to fight in self-defense.

Which involves potentially deadly and / or extremely damaging moves which you would *never* use in a sport.

But Anthony you have to know that stuff.

Because in a true street fight, the guy's not gonna observe Queensberry or MMA or any other rules.

He'll try to kill you.

And you have to try to kill him.

Otherwise you won't survive the fight.

So be clear:

a street fight is not MMA;

MMA is not a street fight.

Anthony, it's like comparing someone who puts antifreeze in her husband's jello --with someone who throws a dinner party.

They both involve food and feeding, but the intent of one is very different from the other.

For Men, Anthony, Fight Sports and the actual Fights -- are celebratory.

They're happy occasions.

That's why guys do it.

Because they like it -- it feels great -- to put it mildly -- and because it's affirming in a way which you, who haven't done it, can't truly imagine.

I mean wrestling is great and all,


How do you know wrestling is "great?"

Have you wrestled?

but do you think it's good for guys to bloody each other like that?

Anthony, the way it's phrased, that's a loaded question.

But I'll answer it.

Blood is part of fighting.

In full contact fighting, guys -- sometimes -- get cut and bleed.

It's not a big deal.

Futhermore, fact is, not all MMA fights are bloody.

Not by a long shot.

Here for example is a sequence of pix in which the guys are clearly fighting hard.

But there's no blood:

And here's a sequence from another fight in which there was no blood:

So: blood is not a constant;

MMA fights are not always bloody.

But that's not to say that a bloodless bout is "better" than a bloody bout.

Blood is part of fighting.

And in some MMA fights, one of the guys bleeds:

Sometimes heavily:

Sometimes barely at all:

It's less common for both fighters to bleed.

But it happens:

In this picture there's what appears to be, relatively, a lot of blood.

Of course the guys are sweating very heavily, and that may be making the amount of blood appear greater than it is.

What's salient about the pic, actually, isn't the blood, but that it's from the NY Times, which consistently tries to put the worst possible face and construction on MMA, since it strongly disapproves of Men and of Masculinity, particularly as expressed in Fighting.

Let's talk about the Times and MMA for a moment.

Like I say, the Times ran this picture, which is not surprising, given that it often refers to MMA as "human cockfighting."

"human cockfighting"

When the Times uses that phrase, it's of course talking not about the human cockfighting of phallus contra phallus -- though I wouldn't assume that the Times' editorial board and sports writers are completely ignorant of what anthropologists and ethologists call penis fighting --

and what we call the sacred practice of cock combat --

rather, the Times is making a snide comparison between MMA and the avian cockfighting of rooster vs rooster.

Does MMA in fact bear any resemblance to avian cockfighting?

No, it doesn't.

It's true, as we'll see below, that both are about male aggression.

But so are boxing and wrestling and football for that matter.

The Times doesn't characterize wrestling as "human cockfighting."

So the Times' use of the word "cockfighting" is really loaded -- and is without question bigoted and propagandistic.

For example:

According to the Times, which recently ran an article on cockfighting in the Dominican Republic, in avian cockfighting, the roosters' spurs are fitted with plastic spikes, and by the end of the bout, one of the birds is either dead or will be destroyed.

Because avian cockfighting is meant to have a fatal outcome.

Guys watch a cockfight in the Dominican Republic

Needless to say, the Times doesn't approve of avian cockfighting, even though the Dominicans say it's part of their national culture.

Once again, in cockfighting, the roosters fight till one is dead or totally disabled.

Does that bear ANY resemblance to MMA?


In MMA, the rules are set up to make sure that not only is no one killed, but that no one's seriously hurt.

Because NO MMA FIGHTER wants to seriously injure another.

Has there ever been a fatality in MMA?

Most people say there's only been one, though it is to various degree discounted because it was at an unsanctioned event in the Ukraine in the 1990s.

Apparently, the fighter in question had been denied permission to fight in the US, and had fought against medical advice.

So: this was an unsanctioned event in the former Soviet Union, which at the time was notorious for lawlessness, and a fighter who'd been told not to fight.

That, to me, is the equivalent of someone getting killed in a street fight.

Some people think there was another death more recently, but most agree that because the death occurred two months after the fight, and because the guy may have been complaining of head problems before the fight, the relationship between MMA and the death is cloudy.

Furthermore, though MMA is new to the US, both Brazil and Japan have a longer history of this sort of all-in fighting -- with no deaths.

So there are those who compare MMA's record of one death -- in an unsanctioned event -- with that of boxing, which has had more than one thousand deaths over the last hundred years.

Nevertheless, the Times, without hesitation and consistently, refers to MMA as "human cockfighting."

Interestingly, however, the Times never brings up the question of death.

Because it knows there's NOT ONE death that can be clearly and unequivocally attributed to MMA as it exists today.

Now, here's something else which is interesting:

According to the Times, there have been *twelve deaths* over the last year and a half -- that's eighteen months -- in an equestrian sport known as "eventing."

As a result, says the Times, there's "unease."

I'm not making that up.

This is the title of the article:

Equestrians' Deaths Spread Unease in Sport


I mean, you know, "unease" is what you feel when you fart at a tea party.

Twelve deaths in less than two years should occasion a tad more than a little "unease."

But hey -- this is an equestrian, refined, upper-crust "sport" --

and the Times is ultra-polite about what's going down.

Can you imagine what would have happened if there'd been twelve deaths over the last year and a half in MMA?

It would be banned.

The Times would have gone crazy, as it often does, on its editorial page, there would have been any number of self-righteous speeches in Congress, and the sport would now be outlawed.

Yet twelve people die in an expensive horse-riding sport -- and the Times reports "unease."


Like, your shoes don't match your gloves.



The New York Times doesn't like Fighting, because it empowers Men.

And the Times is not a fan of male empowerment.

And we have to be aware, when people say they have an issue with blood and fighting, that most likely their issue is with Men and Masculinity.

Let's look at this a little further.

The Times is opposed to both "human cockfighting" and avian cockfighting.

But avian cockfighting isn't the only sport in which animals are badly injured and have to be destroyed:

As you can see, not just the rider was hurt in this "eventing" accident.

In point of fact, in equestrian sports like this one, in which the animal has to jump hurdles, horses are frequently hurt and have to be destroyed.

What about the birds in Dominica?

Well, the Dominicans point out that theirs is a poor country in which many people keep chickens, which they kill and eat.

So why, they ask, is it a big deal, if they fight some roosters?

It's a legitimate question.

After all, I don't think the editorial board of the Times has stopped eating poultry.

Most of which is raised under appalling conditions in what are de facto chicken factories.

Look at this pic:

Again, part of the problem, certainly, for the Times, is that this is an all-male sport which is about Fighting:

According to a history published by the cockfighting commission, the first fighting roosters arrived in 1492 when Christopher Columbus landed on what became the Dominican Republic. The Greeks and the Romans were said to have held rooster fights, and they are popular today in Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico, Puerto Rico and elsewhere.

In the Dominican Republic, many say, cockfighting is intrinsic to national identity, especially among men. "This is something that we carry in our blood," said Jose Luis Ramirez, a cockfighting referee. "We are warriors. We love the competition."

Cockfighting is especially popular in the countryside, said Lynne Guitar, an anthropologist and historian who lives in the Dominican Republic and studies its popular culture.

"They play baseball, they play stickball, and they have cockfights," she said. "On Sundays, the women go to church, and the men go to the cockfight."


Guitar said that many Dominicans had more pressing concerns than whether a rooster was being treated humanely. In their country, 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

"Daily subsistence here is a fight," she said. "Most of them don't have money for medicine when their kids get ill. So to see a rooster dying, it's like, 'And? So what? It's a rooster.' "

[emphases mine]

So the Times will tolerate animal -- and human!!! -- deaths in a heterosexualized and "genteel" sport practiced by wealthy Europeans and European-Americans.

But it has a hard time with the darker-skinned, all-male, and very poor, partisans of cockfighting in the Dominican Republic.

Even though, of course, no Dominicans get killed in cockfighting.

The point is, that whatever you may think of avian cockfighting, it's clear that for the Times, this is not just about the animals.

It's also about the Men, their Masculinity, and Fighting, in a culture which is less heterosexualized -- than our own.

The Times article says that the Greeks held cockfights.

And that's correct.

According to the Britannica, cockfighting was introduced to Greece around the time of Themistocles, who died in 460 BC.

But we see, for example, on this Spartan kylix or drinking cup, which looks earlier to me, two cocks facing off.

And we also know that cockerels -- young roosters -- were popular courting gifts among male-male couples.

Which you can see in this later kylix depicting Zeus and Ganymedes, in which Ganymedes is holding a cockerel, which would have been given him by Zeus.

Like the birds on the Spartan kylix, this cockerel looks like a fighting cock.

So you have to wonder whether they were used for that purpose.

That would make sense -- a lot of sense -- since the rooster was seen as both an example and symbol of male courage and male aggression.

And of male sexuality.

No question of that.

And that Zeus has given Ganymedes a cockerel -- a symbol of male aggression, male courage, and male sexuality -- also tells you a lot about the Greek conception of sex between Men;

and of the sort of Man -- in this case a youth -- another Man would find attractive:

A male who exhibited aggression and courage.

Males were courted, after all, at the palestra -- the wrestling school, the fight school -- a place, as Walter Pater says, of severe and chastened grace.

Translation: it wasn't a disco, it wasn't a drag show, it wasn't a rave.

It was a place where males trained in fighting, learning skills that they would need in battle.

It was, for the Greeks, a place of Masculine Rigor.

Of deadly earnest.

And of great male beauty.

We know of that beauty because we see it in the sculpture and vase paintings which have survived.

Pater: "The beauty of the palaestra, and the beauty of the artist's studio, reacted on each other."

That's right.

The Men of the palestra, the Fighters, whose disciplined pursuit of excellence possessed them of a calm, what we today think of as "Olympian calm," were the models, not just in body, but in spirit, for the statues and paintings of athletes, heroes, and gods -- gods, as Jaeger says, in human shape -- which are the genius of Greek art.

For the Greeks then, as for us, male-male sexuality is associated with male aggression and male courage.

And when Zeus -- or any other suitor -- gave his beloved a fighting cock, it was a gift of a fighter -- from one fighter to another.

In a context which was both implicitly and explicitly sexual.

In present-day Dominica, the context may no longer be explicity sexual -- though we don't know that -- but it is still implicitly so.

Which brings up another question.

When guys, whether they're ancient Greeks or present-day Dominicans, are watching, in their all-male / homosocial environments, cockfighting, are they getting turned on by the fighting they see?


Does watching the cocks fighting elevate the guys' testosterone?

Very probably.

So cockfighting is another all-male, pre-heterosexualized, sexually-charged fight ritual.

It's been banned throughout most of the Western world, and perhaps properly so.

But if, dear reader, you dine on chicken, I don't think you can claim to be on a significantly higher moral plane -- than guys who fight cocks.

Of course the roosters can't consent to taking part in those fatal fights.

But neither does the chicken consent to be stuffed full of feed, antibiotics, and growth hormones, and then slaughtered for your table.

The point being that we need to be aware that when folks say they have an issue with blood and fighting, that most likely their issue is with Men and Masculinity.

Here's the NY Times MMA pic again:

And there's a lot of blood.

And I'm showing you that pic because I don't want to be accused of pulling my punches, as it were, on this issue.

Blood is part of fighting.

BUT -- the fact is, that this level of bleeding is in NO WAY a constant of MMA.

Because often, there's no blood, or, when bleeding is present, there's just a little blood.

So -- It's really simple:

In MMA, sometimes there's no blood, sometimes there's some blood, sometimes there's more blood.

Blood is part of the sport -- because bleeding is part of fighting.

And guys may even bleed when they train:

Blood is part of fighting.

And the fact is that the presence of blood is not something new in Fight Sport, or unique to MMA.

We have many many pictures on our Alliance sites of ancient Greek vase paintings depicting boxing and/or pancration, and it's common, though again not universal, for one or both of the guys to be bleeding.

So -- sometimes when guys fight, they get a cut and bleed.

It's part of the sport.

It's not a big deal.

Furthermore, I think it's fair to say that many guys in the sport -- almost certainly most -- enjoy the blood.

Let's look at those last two pix again:

If this fighter, this Man, is capable of smiling through the blood -- why wouldn't you be capable of that, Anthony?

You're both Men.

If he can do it -- you can do it.

And in this next pic we see that same fighter and his opponent enjoying what Statius calls The Comradeship of Wounds:

the comradeship of wounds

You can't have the comradeship without the wounds, Anthony.

That's just the way it is.

That's what the blood, beyond the plain physical fact of what happens when two guys fight, is about.

But that's not something you're capable of understanding, Anthony, because you've never fought.

And the truth is, since you've never fought, you won't understand the blood -- and I can't explain it to you beyond what I've done.

You have to experience it.

Fighting is physical.

At a certain point, you have to stop talking about it -- and simply do it.

In any case, and once again, no fighter wants to see another fighter seriously hurt.

That's not what it's about.

And that's why, again, there are so many safeguards built-in to mixed martial arts fighting today.

In addition, Anthony, that comradeship of wounds -- the struggle, the sweat, the blood -- produces a great camaraderie among guys who fight -- which again, I can't explain to you -- you have to experience it.

And it's something you can experience -- if you make the effort.

That said, however, let me say this:

Anthony, you're an adult.

If you think guys getting each other bloody is bad, if you think fighting is bad, if you're concerned about getting hurt --

my advice is simple:

Don't fight.

No one's going to force you into an MMA fight.

For one thing, you wouldn't be an interesting competitor -- you have no skills.

On the other hand, and for just that reason, you may have to fight someday in self-defense.

Because a predator or predators can read your lack of skill in your body language, and will find you a tempting target.


Just curious.

I'm 31yo man. Ive never been in a real physical fight with a dude. But lately Ive been feeling the urge to fight a guy, jsut to see what it's like.

Again, that's normal and natural.

I don't think if Ive ever thrown a real punch


That's not good.

You need to learn to connect with your male aggressive power.

(except when I was really drunk and hit my friend in a bar).


Was that a play punch, or did you hit him for real?

And why did you hit him?

Anyway, what's your take on guys fighting in real life?

What do you mean by real life?

Do you mean strangers fighting on a street corner?

No, obviously, I don't support that.

Anthony, that's the sort of question which tells me that you need to read more deeply on the sites, because these are issues I've addressed over and over again.

Like I said, there's a huge difference between fight sport and street violence.

And the violence of barebacking.

If, again, you don't understand that, you need to read more deeply.


My husband, Patrick, was in many street fights as a boy and youth.

That was a function of the very gritty inner-city neighborhood in which he grew up.

He decided, eventually, to train in a martial art because those street fights were violent and he wanted to get that under control and subsumed by the discipline of martial arts.

Patrick had the good fortune to study under a truly fine Grandmaster.

He then became a kickboxer and teacher himself.

You can read about one of his kickboxing bouts here.

And you can read too that he says, "Peace should be the way of the warrior for he bears the cost of war."

The dojo in which Patrick trained and then taught was an inner-city peripatetic dojo-without-walls whose purpose was to keep kids who were at risk for gang activity out of the gangs and into the discipline of martial arts.

The dojo to some degree protected those kids from gang violence.

But if one of the dojo's kids -- or higher belts -- was involved in a street fight, he had to write out a report of the incident and submit it to the Grandmaster.

And if he didn't have a very good reason for fighting or if the fight was avoidable, he was disciplined.

So -- Fight Sport / Mixed Martial Arts / Martial Arts -- are not about street fights.

Indeed, one of the primary purposes of the martial arts is to reduce violence.

That's the truth.

How do I learn to be a fighter?

By training in a martial art.

I recommend karate.

It's very accessible.

What I don't recommend you do is go out to a bar and start a fight.

Doing that could get you very seriously hurt.

So: NO "fight club."


Karate is good.

If you want to try UFC-style mixed martial arts -- there are Fight Schools springing up everywhere.

But I feel that if you've never thrown a punch, it's best to get some karate or other martial arts training before you start Fight School.

The traditional martial arts are highly structured.

And if you're a guy who's never thrown a punch -- that's best for you.

MMA-based Fight Schools have some structure -- but usually far less than in the traditional arts.

There are young guys who walk into a Fight School off the street.

But those are guys who've been taught some fundamentals by their fathers or brothers, who may have wrestled in high school or college, and who've probably been in schoolyard fights too.

If you've never thrown a punch -- martial arts is where you're probably best off.

And, as with anything else, you have to shop around, visit different schools, and choose a school in which you're comfortable.

Last, should I bring this up to my bf or would he think I'm mad?

How could I answer that question?

I don't know your boyfriend.

Speaking in general however, there's clearly a lot of feminist-inspired prejudice against masculinity and fighting today.

But my late lover and I trained in karate together; and, like I said, Patrick is a karate black belt and was a kickboxer.

So there are martial arts couples -- even in our etiolated world.

Remember that at one time, virtually all Men were Warriors and shared that bond.

I would say that if you train, it would be good if your bf trained with you.

Because everyone in the field agrees that it's a good idea for a couple to at least train in self-defense together.


Predators sometimes focus on couples, because they tend to be self-absorbed.

If you and your bf train together -- you'll be able to handle that easily.

Because you'll have rehearsed what to do when attacked as a couple.

Very important.

So there's no reason not to train together -- and good reason to do it.

But, Anthony, what I recommend you do is -- not worry about what your bf thinks -- but train.

Do it now.

Don't spend the next ten years dithering and dillying and dallying.

Because then you'll be 41.

Just go out, find a school, and start training.

You'll be glad you did.

THank and keep up the great work!!

You're welcome, Anthony, and I hope you'll help us keep up the good and great work of our Alliance by donating.

We can't do that work without the help of guys like yourself.

Bill Weintraub

So that's my letter to Anthony.

I called this post "The Fight Ethic."

Anthony was asking if MMA takes the fight ethic too far.

Of course not.

Both our idea and our ideal of the Fight Ethic derive from the Greeks, and from their definition of the Agon, the male contest, as "one man's strenuous physical effort to overcome another."

Here's another description of the Agon from Agoge III: The Longing for Masculinity:

a free man competing with his peers, naked, unfettered by any element foreign to his own body, conforming only to the rules of the game, with the sole aim of winning for himself an olive crown -- in other words a purely moral victory -- and the praise of his fellow men.

~ Andronikos, The Greek Museums, 186

So Professor Andronikos speaks of a free man, naked, competing with his peers, and seeking a purely moral victory -- and the praise of his fellow men.

And athough Professor Andronikos doesn't use the words Excellence and Honor, that's what he's actually talking about, and as I discussed in my last reply to an attack on men being together.

Which you can find simply by going to that page and using your browser's "Find" function to locate the Greek word "arete" -- Excellence.

Excellence is simply this: that the Man tries always to excel, always to be best --

in the company of other men who seek always to excel.

Because these Men ALL seek to excel, they compete and / or Fight in an atmosphere of great mutual respect.

And that's where the concept of Honor comes in.

As the great classicist Werner Jaeger explains, Honor is "the external image of a man's internal value, reflected in the criticism and praise of his fellows."

So -- as Andronikos says, among the Greeks, the Warrior or Fighter, naked, unfettered by any element foreign to his own body, seeks a purely moral victory -- and the praise of his fellows -- which is Honor.

In a forthcoming post, I'll be quoting further from Werner Jaeger, who characterized the Greeks both in their Games and in their Culture as "Men struggling to bring their Manhood to perfection."

That's the Fight Ethic:

Men struggling to bring their Manhood to Perfection.

Anyone who studies the Greeks understands that --

and understands what a great gift the Fight Ethic is -- to Men.

And to Humanity.

NW speaks of "aggression and the beauty of guys who assert that aggression."

That's a concept which would be instantly recognizable to the Greeks.

Because from Homeric times forward, the Greeks associated beauty, nobility, bravery, and moral worth -- with Fighting.

NW also speaks of ManSpace and ManFight.

He says that Fighting is Good.

Man is Good.

And that Fighting is Man.

Once again, those are concepts which the Greeks would recognize immediately.

The Greek Universe was Man-centered -- "anthropocentric."

And for the Greeks, as I've said before, Beauty was only beautiful -- if it was Brave.

And Brave Beauty could be found only in the Fight.

Whether the Fight was physical, moral, or -- as was so often the case for the Greeks -- both.

The Fight Ethic

I want to thank NW for the many contributions he's made to the idea of the Fight Ethic.

NW himself has had to fight -- not just as a wrestler on the mat or a mixed martial artist in the ring -- but in his own life to free himself from the shackles of heterosexualization.

He's fought hard to do that.

And he's succeeded.

Brave Beauty.

Thank you NW.

A True Warrior.

Bill Weintraub

April 14, 2008

© All material Copyright 2008 by Bill Weintraub. All rights reserved.

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What he's trying to do, rather, when he asks if "UFC takes the fighting ethic too far"; and if I "think it's good for guys to bloody each other like that" -- is to find an excuse for not being a Man.