Monday, June 21, 2010

Realization From Watching "Fight Club"

I recently saw Fight Club for the first time on a plane ride to Romania. I had been wanting to see it for a long time since all of my guy friends had been raving about it. The movie (based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk) is about a regular, tortured, insomniac-ridden man (Edward Norton) who meets Tyler Durden, an unorthodox anarchist (Brad Pitt). They both start a club, Fight Club, where the point of the club is to, obviously, fight. The club gets out of hand when Tyler beings to engage in more criminal behaviour that ends the narrator in trouble. The movie has extremely interesting twists and the acting is absolutely incredible, so I highly recommend it to anyone.

While I was watching the movie, I realized that the club would be one that I would readily join. I am, by nature, a physical person, someone who when she gets comfortable with someone else starts becoming physical in sometimes, inappropriate ways. I am a member of my school's Tai Chi Club and one of the things I learned is that I like fighting. While my height (5'0''), my slight build (97 pounds), and my lack of fighting technique make it practically impossible to win against a larger person, I enjoy the rush of the fight. I delight in punching the other person and I also delight in being punched. If at the end of the dday, I am covered in cuts and bruises, I am a happy, proud person. Although the fact that I am both a sadist and a masochist help in the enjoyment of beating and of being beaten, I don't believe they are completely the reasons for why I like it. Fighting releases tension. It's like exercise, it can loosen you up, make you feel better, and let you forget about your life problems for a few minutes.

One of the people I follow on Livejournal wrote a post ( a while ago about the need to fight with her partner. Even though she was smaller than him, she loved the pain of it all (going in to work with a limp or visible brusies gave her a sense of pride). When I read it several months ago, I tilted my head and thought "Huh. Interesting". Now, after reading it again, I can nod my head and completely understand what's written. The utter loss of control with a trusted someone (a partner, for example) who you know will not kill or permanently maim you (and vice versa) becomes a necessity. The freedom to punch someone and to know that after the fight, you are again friends and no hard feelings are present is perhaps an inconcievable notion, but a liberating one. However, if one isn't careful, a new pleasurable activity might become an obsession, and as shown in Fight Club, might make people go to extremes if they don't have the right mindset.

I now finally understand why boxing is still enjuoyed by so many. Before, I had absolutely no idea why people would enjoy a "sport" that was basically two people beating eac other up. Why would the Romans, those who were so intellectually advanced, go watch the gladiators for amusement? The answer is we like to see ourselves beating ourselves up. We are by nature a physical, violent people and so we have an instinct that for some of us develops into a desire to fight or to watch one happen.

There is a difference between a healthy fight and an unnacepptable one. A fight with someone who you have no hard feelings for entails that (as the rules of Fight Club say) when the other person says "Stop" or taps, you stop. Beating someone afterwards is completely unnacceptable. No additional weapons than the ones already approved are allowed. And, above all, every fight is volunatry. If these rules get broken, just like anything else that is risky to perform, consequences can be momentous.

Remember, first rule of Fight Club is  you don't talk about Fight Club. Second rule of Fight club is you dont talk about Fight Club.

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