Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Richard Ben Sapir wrote a novel in the late seventies called "The Far Arena." (Some of you might recall his name from the very long running and bestselling Destroyer series that he and Warren Murphy created. Those started out serious, but quickly turned funny, and though Sapir passed away, Murphy kept going, stretching them out to well over a hundred titles.)
Um. But in the Sapir novel, which was science fiction, the set-up is that a Roman gladiator got too popular and was ordered to kill himself. This he did by taking some mysterious poison and walking into an icy sea. The combination of the poison and cold somehow preserved him, and two thousand years later, he was found in a block of ice, thawed out, and revived.
Yeah, okay, that's the suspension of disbelief, but not so hard for SF readers to make.
Anyway, as the story progresses, the main character's prowess as a sword fighter gets bandied about and -- forgive my fuzzy memory -- he winds up in a match with the current French fencing champion. The French guy is a master of his art, and he is pissed at the idea that the gladiator could possibly beat him. He pulls the button off his blade and goes for blood. His technique is far superior.
The gladiator, however, had fought men and sometimes tigers, to the death in the arena, and within a couple seconds, the French champion was past tense.
And the point was, real combat isn't sport.
A recent posting by a MMA champ on a martial arts website as to how silly the art of silat is compared to what he does brought this memory up.
I guess some folks still think sport is reality ...