Manvotional: Fighting

The latest in a long list of overblown man-on-man combat sports to hit the mainstream, fighting has not lived up to the hype. As it turns out, when you put two men into an octagon with no rules and let them fight until one is dead or unconscious, there’s just not much story left.

does fighting make you a man” is the question that many people ask themselves. There are many different opinions on the matter, but there are also some facts to consider.

Editor’s Note: This Manvotional was inspired by this week’s piece about thumos. Tom Brown’s School Days was a classic nineteenth-century story about an eleven-year-old boy named Tom Brown who was adjusting to life at a public boarding school for boys and learning how to be a young gentleman. The next extract begins a description of Tom’s one and only major brawl at school. When a giant bully attacked the fragile and delicate youngster, Tom stepped in to halt the pounding and fight the attacker himself, as instructed by the headmaster.

Fighting, 1857, from Tom Brown’s schooldays Hughes, Thomas

Let those young people with weak stomachs, or those who believe that a good set-to with the weapons that God has given us all is an uncivilized, unchristian, or ungentlemanly affair is an uncivilized, unchristian, or ungentlemanly affair is an uncivilized, unchristian, or ungentlemanly affair, simply skip this chapter.

It was not common in those days for two schoolboys to get into a fight. Of course, there were exceptions, such as when a cross-grained, hard-headed fellow appeared who couldn’t be happy unless he was fighting with his closest neighbors, or when a class dispute arose, such as between the fifth form and the fags, which necessitated bloodletting, and a champion was chosen on each side tacitly, who settled the matter with a good, hearty mill. But, for the most part, the schoolhouse lads were stopped from fighting one other by the regular usage of those most reliable guardians of the peace, boxing gloves. Every boy who was ever likely to fight knew all his neighbors’ prowess perfectly well, and could tell to a finety what chance he would have in a stand-up fight with any other boy in the house two or three nights a week, either in the hall or in the fifth-form room; and every boy who was ever likely to fight at all knew all his neighbors’ prowess perfectly well, and could tell to a finety what chance he would have in a stand-up However, as far as other boys in other homes were concerned, no such experience could be gained; and since most of the other houses were more or less envious of the schoolhouse, clashes were common.

After all, what would life be like if we didn’t have to fight? Fighting, correctly understood, is the business, the actual, noblest, and most honest business of every son of man from the cradle to the tomb. Every person worth his salt has adversaries, whether they be bad ideas and habits in himself or spiritual wickedness in high places, Russians, Border-ruffians, Bill, Tom, or Harry, who will not let him live his life in peace until he has thrashed them.

It is useless for Quakers, or any other group of men, to raise their voices in opposition to war. They are too powerful for human nature, and they do not obey their own rules. Every single one of them is battling in his or her own way, someplace. For all I know, the world might be a better place without conflict, but it wouldn’t be our world, therefore I’m against crying peace when there isn’t any, because it isn’t meant to be. I’m as sad as the next guy to see people battling the wrong people and the wrong things, but I’d rather have them fighting than have no fight at all.

 

 

 

 

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