I’ve watched it over and over in this dingy motel room, quietly deliberating what I could have done differently, how many errors I made and what I might do to improve. I have felt some apathy regarding the result of this latest scrap, but more over the inherent feelings of, “was that it?” I long to be back in there again with him, under those lights raining blows down upon each other, two beasts locked in mortal combat neither one of whom can accept defeat.
Perhaps that is the truth of this life – Chuck Palahniuk wrote after a fight it’s like the volume on everything gets turned down. Self-assurance soaks in. I’ve stopped in Kota Bharu, road weary, I don’t know why I’m here. No bank account means I can’t renew my visa in this city, hence I’ve skulked in this room, hoping the situation will simply resolve itself – no such luck. A hand-drawn needle and syringe, and a candle, adorn the wall next to me along with spidery script in Malay; dates, a name, “I ♡ yuo”.
See, we only really exist in the ring. Ironically, it’s the one place I feel truly safe, secure. Once the soles of my feet touch that canvas I feel connected to something bigger than myself; freed from the trivialities of daily life, setting foot in the ring is my chance to become more than my limited self, to inspire others – to transcend.
A trance is not far off the mindstate which develops as the fight ascends, a meditative state in which all but the most necessary sensations remain, the necessity not to think but to feel, to allow oneself to be immersed in flow as the blows begin to be exchanged. Pongsiri is currently one of my favourite people; not once have I seen him exhibit anything but the most rudimentary of expressions – in victory and defeat – yet in the ring he is so eminently and immensely present that he spent most of the fight yelling at me the equivalent of, “Come at me bro!”, in Thai. I felt that I should at least oblige.
I have never felt the urge to rematch an opponent before, but now I do, and over five rounds, because Pongsiri really fights. Who knows what he has been through in his life to have developed such an iron will, near unmatched fearless disregard for himself and all in the name of glory and the entertainment of others.
These three round fights no longer satisfy me, indeed I felt as though the last match had really just begun, but no doubt I shall have plenty of opportunity to test myself in the coming years, so I should be content that I have almost become something as beyond the scope of the average mind, as it is possible to be.