The fight

Walking to the fighting ring Jay was feeling that dream-like confusion when things just don't make sense, but you carry on anyway, one step then the other, trying really hard not to think. But as any well trained meditator knows, trying not to think only leads to more thinking: "what is happening? what does master A know that I don't? what will happen to my tranquil life?" and pushing those thoughts away only brought up more thoughts.

Memories of days spent in the wild with her father flushed her consciousness. Days exploring nature and talking about how the world could have been if humanity only chose a better direction with their tech they created. Clear bright skies and liquid sun filled her body of magic and worry-free vibes, until the ring bell woke her from her trance.

Not knowing when she had arrived at her position and how she was prepared to start a fight in this state. She had to look into her master's eyes and expect the worst. A’s style was usually swift, precise, throwing punches and kicks fast and clean then backing up, leaving space for maneuvers. Jay was waiting expectantly for A to make the first move, but A was just moving around the ring, as was Jay, both waiting for each other to open the fight.

Time only gave Jay's memories a chance to flood her again. Rememberings of her first fight in this ring, when she was beaten up, not knowing how to block, dodge or parry without falling. In this community you learn to fight by fighting, and almost everyone arrives not knowing a thing. But you are required to fight and demonstrate your willingness to learn anyway. Suddenly she felt the first punch to her face that forced her to give one step back. The fight started while her mind was gone to other times and places; the first mistake you learn to avoid.

"Stop!" she screamed inside of her head to the ideas and memories that kept flowing as she covered up a punch to her ribs. Jay deflected a kick then she rolled, started dancing to the rhythm of her teacher. Blocking and dodging, blocking and dodging, one kick and punch at the time. At first the punches were sparse but A continued kick after kick and punch after punch increasing its speed. Jay was only able to pull back and block and roll defensively, not finding an opening to counterpunch, not finding a strategy, not liberating her mind from worries.

Jay ended forming a shell to block the ferocious combinations from A. The few onlookers that were around for the unannounced fight were only surprised to see Jay so cornered. In Jay's mind memories continued paralyzing her, visions of her loving parents, family picnics out in the mountains, and then and then the image of her sister's face came to her mind, lovely, innocent but then, also her sister was angry. But why?!

Jay ducked to break free from her shell, slipped out of the corner and threw a back kick to A, which threw her out of balance for a split second, but swiftly recovered. When Jay started advancing, throwing a combination of punches non stop, right, left, up, and down, with all her might, gaining all the room she had lost to A, advancing, now forcing A to the opposite corner. For some reason now A didn't even try to feint or weave, just blocked and parried everything Jay threw at her. Outraged Jay kept pushing, kept punching, kept on and on and started crying and said out loud finally to all her thoughts "STOP!" after which she threw herself to the ground. Covered her face and wept with no interruption from anyone.


Jay cried non stop for what felt forever for her. No more than half an hour really. Only A understood what she was going through and pushed her, on purpose, to get those emotions out. Deep inside, A felt guilty for pushing Jay so much ever since she joined the fighters, to the point she provoked the discussion that made them stop talking for almost a year. It all had a purpose, even if A wasn't convinced if it was the best way to do it, she always did what she thought was best. She had many doubts about her methods, but not enough time to test alternatives, so always followed her gut, as she encouraged women to do more.

Their differences in philosophy is what brought them apart. Master A tries to teach women how to be more like men, and teaches men how to be more like women, so all fighters can enjoy the best of both worlds. But Jay always thought that more sensible methods could be more effective. Jay likes to think and meditate things through, while A likes to push people into uncomfortable situations where they have to figure out their way out, or fail and learn fast.

The discussion they had was exactly about this. Master A never defends a woman in public. If a man is mansplaining or underestimating her, A would not intervene but instead plan a way to put that same woman in a similar but more extreme situation and push her to bring her character out. The other way around, men being pushed around by women seldom happened, and usually guys are quick to stand firm and not let others push them around. Guys push each other around more frequently and they find it funny, so that is not usually a problem, but not a desirable behavior within the fighters. Too much joking between each other could lead to a fight with A.

So Jay questioned one day A about this, why not defend women and help them analyze how to respond next time, instead of exposing them to a difficult situation. Jay never liked witnessing such orchestrated moments. A politely reminded her that if she didn't like it, she shouldn't have joined the fighters. This was just how things were here in this community. Jay protested that things don’t have to stay the same just because that was the way there had always been. She believed things could change, and that one thing she loved about this community is that the rules are decided together and no body has more power over the others, everyone demonstrates their ability and improvement in fights but no one ever needed to use violence against each other for this same reason: we could all just talk and decide the new rules.

A agreed with Jay, that is something beautiful about this community and A is no power figure, just their chosen leader. But as long as she was the leader she would continue with her methods. Jay hated that of her master. Admired everything else about her but hated how firm she was about something Jay believed was a stupid methodology. So she stopped talking to her in protest.


Fights never end in someone crying. Because the moment someone started crying, which was a lot more common at the beginning of your fighting career than people would like, someone would tell you to stand up and keep fighting. There is time to cry after a fight, not during one. But this time A let Jay cry. Ever since Jay stopped talking to her, A started to doubt even more her methods, but kept carrying on with them because she didn't believe in any other alternative. Right now, if she pushed Jay to keep fighting, she feared she could drive her away for good this time.

The curious but respectful bystanders left Jay and A alone. When Jay finally lifted her head there was Master with a mint tea and some snakcs ready for her. How odd was it for Jay to feel so vulnerable and in need. She is so used to being self reliant. But even the strongest needed taking care every now and then. No point refusing kindness now, when she desired it the most.

They left together for a more comfortable place to talk. And Jay told A all about her morning and how K and Vi helped her. She also addressed the elephant in the room:

"I still hate how you push people to test their limits, I wish we had just talked instead of getting into that fight. I hate that people see me cry." said Jay with resentment and shame in her voice.

"Our emotions are our strength," A was sharing a bit of her wisdom which Jay missed a lot, "There is no shame in crying just as there is no shame in laughing or screaming at the top of our lungs. People may judge our behavior as out of context but only because they don't live under our skin, in our minds, and could never understand what we are going through. Crying is just right in a situation like yours. You are not crying because you are afraid. I have never seen you afraid once in my life."

"I think you're crying" continued A, "because you just realized you have lived in a lie".

"What do you mean I have lived in a lie?" asked Jay, surprised, for this has not even occurred to her. Millions of confusing thoughts and not one was about her life being a lie.

"You were thinking about your family, weren't you Jay?" asked A.

"Yes... especially about my father,” replied Jay, and this brought a couple more fresh tears to her eyes.

"Did you remember anything specific he said?" A inquired further.

"Just random moments hiking or exploring the forests, and some things about humanity choosing the wrong path," said Jay.

"Well, you might not be conscious about it yet, but you will soon. I have so much to tell you, but we will need to move to a more private place to talk," was A's response and having said this, she stood up and left. Jay assumed she must be planning something and didn't care to ask or follow her. She needed to rest so badly, her body was running on liquid fuel only and was taking its toll now.

She slid on the couch and closed her eyes just to rest one minute. But fell asleep profoundly instead.