Table of contents


Some notes on men & war

This is the story of two brothers who fought each other in the cage. As boys, they were high-school wrestlers. Their father, a veteran whose mind failed him, beat his family. The boys became harsh; they ran. One lived with their mother & saw her ghastly end. The other married the woman he loved. The father gets religion & stops drinking. He listens to Moby-Dick, a story about man & divine injustice, to punish himself.

Tommy starts fighting at a local gym when he returns from Iraq, both deserter & hero. He briefly destroys a contender. Brendan is a family man. He teaches high-school physics, but goes bankrupt. The banker tells him, There’s no shame in bankruptcy these days. The man disagrees. He returns to prizefighting to earn money for his family.

Sparta is the tournament’s name. The organizer is a Wall St. dude. He says he wants to know the toughest man on the planet. You know the showmanship that attends fighting… Tommy starts with a furious knockout with his first hook. Brendan appears scared, but he wins by tapout in the second round. Caution conceals the fighter’s skill… He next showcases his endurance.

Tommy trains with his father. Brendan’s trainer is an old friend. He has pictures of Nietzsche & Beethoven in his office. He tries to persuade his fighters to calm down & keep their head. Brendan enters the cage to the Ode to joy. Tommy enters his third fight as his brothers chant the Marines’ Hymn. He destroys that contender again.

Brendan faces the favorite in his third fight. This awful man is as harsh as large, & his agility terrifies. Nothing about him is human but the skill of his attacks. He walks with murder thoughtlessly.

Defensive warfare is likelier victorious, for it resembles more closely man faced with harsh nature. The general who knows himself conceals himself rather better defending than attacking. Urgency compels him to act, but he judges what is necessary. That the attacker chooses the circumstances of battle may be an illusion. Surprise is indeed inevitable in war, but this is the reason the art of war requires self-knowledge. The body of self-knowledge is discipline, unrelenting self-control. This is necessary, as those know who connect the city & death. Courage overcomes the fear of death which keeps men from doing what is necessary. Being that men fight for their own, which they think good, politics & warfare therefore teach the same things about how men are moved to anger & fear. Therefore it is clear that the general should rule his men by wealth & beauty as well, for his knowledge ensouls them, who are merely the body of the army.

The best movie about brutal fighting. A must see for young men