Artistry, Allure, and Altered States of Conciousness

Last weekend, the worlds leading Mixed Martial Arts promotion organisation- the UFC- came to Korea for the first time.

Fighting transcends cultures. If a ball crosses a line, it only means something to you culturally. But if somebody punches you in the face, it means something all around the world.

– Joe Rogan

I first heard about MMA when I was in college, as I was eavesdropping on a conversation some classmates were having down the back of a fluid mechanics lecture.


I thought they were chatting about the latest mind expanding drug, little did I know.

I was later introduced to two highly skilled virtuosi, Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre, and from there my interest grew.

I was lucky enough to be in attendance in the capital on Saturday last, and so began a profound journey through time and space.

The first thing I noticed as I entered the Olympic Gymnastics Arena, was the awe-inspiring Octagon, the very sight of which sent a shiver down my spine.

I felt like a lowly plebeian standing in the summom of Amphitheatrum Flavium; unworthy.

The orange hue from the lights gave the mat a sandy complexion; the blood splattered sand covering the floor of the Colloseum.

A sudden, envigorating, orgasmic drop of a beat exploded from the speakers, transporting me back from Ancient Rome to the present moment.

I scanned the arena and observed my surroundings: the stage lights, the big screens, the fitted suits, and the swimsuit models parading around the cage- never before have grown men been so excited to see a number written on a piece of card.

The atmosphere induced a sort of unsettling- yet thrilling- metamorphosis in reverse amongst the crowd; primitive creatures lusting after violence.

As the main event rolled around, everyone knew what time it was, but the grey haired man with the microphone reminded us anyway, and when his catchphrase reverberated around the arena, there wasn’t a single neck hair in the building lying down.

It’s time.

– Bruce Buffer

It’s not just sport, it’s the entertainment business.

It was a powerful, spiritual, all encompassing spectacle.

Although I was fully aware and in the moment as I watched those gladiators do battle, it was apparent that I was immersed in something magical, as if independent of my body.

As my mind drifted, I felt compelled to consider our capability as humans, and the capacity of each and every one of us to achieve our full potential.

Perhaps those classmates of mine were indeed talking about the latest mind expanding drug all those years ago.

Strangely enough, my over-riding emotion at the end of the night, and throughout the whole event, was one of admiration for a fellow countryman who wasn’t even in attendance.

The embodiment of human potential.

The historic event in Seoul provided me with a small taste of the surreal conditions under which he conducts his business, and upon reflection, it’s hard to believe that he is just like any other person.

It’s clear that he is operating on a super-human level.

The lessons he teaches are engrained on a deeper spiritual level.

Be passionate, be optimistic, be grateful.

– Conor McGregor

He is a phenomenon, not just as a martial artist, but as a human being.

He forces others to rethink the boundaries of their own capabilities, and instills confidence in those who are open to receiving it.

We are witnessing true greatness, the likes of which we may never see again, and for that, we should be extremely grateful.

I left the Olympic Gymnastics Arena last Saturday, full of appreciation for the journey.

Photos taken from the UFC website.