Communic8ion 101

Israel Travel Blog

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Wailing Wall, Jerusalem.

Express Yourself.

This is a story about communication.  The world is full of languages.  There are many currencies of expression.  Communication is essential for making the most out of life. 

If sophistication of communication was represented on a scale, I think the order would be intellectual forms at the top end and physical forms at the bottom.  In our quest to further our modern civilisation, we encourage an ever increasing reliance on language and information to communicate our meaning.  Physical communication is increasingly regulated and restrained in favour of language mediums.

Somewhere in our cultural evolution in the west, our culture came to the conclusion that violence is a taboo.  Regulated to the domain of movies and criminal law.  So we are programmed from an early age - never raise your hand in anger.  Thats the rule.

Rules aside, there is one universal truth that I have learned:  The standard of any communication between people is always set by the lowest common denominator.

“…I’m expressing with my full capabilities.  Now I’m living in correctional facilities…”

Dr Dre - NWA.

_______________________

Israel 2004.

I’m far from home. 

Its hot, my black t-shirt sticks to me like a wet blanket.  Sweat pours in rivers from my hairline, travelling through the furrows etched into my forehead from the strain of trying to catch my breath.  I’m running on empty, ragged, chest heaving under body armour, roasting in a sea of heat delivered by the middle eastern summer.  My heart races, trying to catch a runaway beat.  The sweat is in my eyes now, burning, my vision is blurred…  I’m a man on fire - a white hot coal.  I reach up to wipe my face and clear my vision, but its no use.  My hands are gloved and my head is covered by a head guard.

Fatigue sets in.  Get it together.

I raise my hands in a defensive posture, elbows covering my sides, protecting my kidneys.  I bend my head forward, chin almost to chest, hunch forward on bent knees - a reflex now. I have been here before.  There’s a guy on the ground, crawling away from me.  He is no longer a threat, but I’m still a target.  I’m dancing on my feet, rotating erratically in a 360 degree circle.  I move, move, move… but my feet begin to feel like lead.  I can’t let it show.  I grit my teeth and dig deeper.  I’m watching the perimeter of the circle now.  Surrounding me are 5 figures, also clad in black & body armour.  Time hangs on a thread.  5 down, 5 to go.  Keep moving.  Don’t slip, watch my 6.

Slipped.  Too late.  I feel it coming. 

*CRACK*  My breath is gone, stolen by a strike to the back.  I’m on my knees, gulping at air that just won’t come.  *SMACK* Another blow, my guard drops.  I’m on my hands and knees now, looking at the pool of saliva and sweat leaking from my faceguard.  Just a second to rest... surely I can afford it.  Big mistake.  I see the foot just before the shin connects.  *CRACK*   My head rocks back and to the right, flipping me around and I’m on the ground.  Copper fills my mouth and time slows.  I’m on my back now, with stars in my eyes. *CRACK* My stomach explodes in a bolt of pain as my new assailant drops his knee into my body armour.  I double up, into a foetal position.  It is inevitable - the cards have been dealt and its my end game.  He’s on me.  Going for the kill.  His breath stinks.  I feel pressure on my throat and I’m choking.  Still no air.  I need space, need time. 

Blacking out.  No space, no time...

Using the last of my energy, I lose the rules and ram my glove under my opponent's faceguard and into his mouth.  I feel his gag reflex as I dig deep.  I’m grabbing at his lower jaw, pulling it down, hyper-extending it.  His grip on me loosens as his jaw reaches its natural limit.  My elbow is free.  I bring it around in an exaggerated arc.  It’s a blur that connects with the side of his faceguard and I feel the shockwave transfer across the faceguard, into his jaw, and through my glove.  He rocks with the blow and goes limp.  Balance gone, he is off me now, onto his back.  I mount him and raise my fists in desperation.  Open, outstretched to deliver a hammer blow.  Total reversal, but I feel like an empty threat.  There is almost nothing left in me.  Looking down, relief floods through me.  I see that he is already gone.

4 more.  No more.  I quit.

I stagger to my feet, swaying like a drunk.  My mouth feels like its full of gravel.  I trace my tongue along a gash on the inside of my cheek, the sickly warmth pouring into my mouth.  It feels horrible.  I raise my arms in a conciliatory gesture.  Fair effort, I’m done.  I let the others know.  As they nod their understanding,  I turn towards 2 of the remaining attackers in front of me, with my arms by my sides, walking from the circle.  I turn to one of them, grinning.  I open my mouth to speak...

*CRACK*

A front kick drives me backward and forces bile into my throat and into the inside of my mask.  Acid burns my wound and I retch in protest.  I’m staggering in disbelief.  I told them it was over!  This is not supposed to happen!?! My hands are outstretched, expressing the unspoken question: “…what the hell is the deal?”.  But before I can regain my balance and verbalise my objection... *CRACK* in comes another blow.  The rear of my legs burn from the force of a baton strike and my knees buckle.  I crash to earth in a heap, trying desperately to cover up, my protests falling on deaf ears.  The other four are on me now in a combined effort.  Blows cover me like rain.  I try to speak, but every word is stolen by another act of violence.  I am a sea of pain.

It ends when they let it end.

_______________________

My time here taught me one thing... Speaking only works when someone chooses to listen.

If someone elects to use a lower form of communication, violence instead of language, you only have 2 choices - defend yourself or become a victim.

This is the reality of communication there.  It can become reality anywhere.

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Wailing Wall, Jerusalem.
Wailing Wall, Jerusalem.