So a couple of months back, I rented this movie:
It's a gruesome Swedish movie about a young boy and his vaguely romantic relationship with an ancient vampire who looks like a young girl. The vampire girl, Eli, is hard to romanticize - she butchers humans without much remorse, keeps a human slave and treats him poorly, and generally does a bad job of seeming human enough to like or sympathize with.
But she develops a soft spot for little Oscar, a sweet kid who's tired of letting the local bullies beat him up on a daily basis. Her lesson to him is, more or less, that if he wants to avoid the daily shake-downs, he'll have to beat them at their own game. He'll have to hit them back, hard enough to send them seeking greener pastures.
I thought the movie was ok, but it's grown on me with time. I like that effect, partly because it seems like such a disaster from a commercial standpoint. There's something appealing about a virtue that is hard to exploit for cash.
So it turns out I had a hard time forgetting this movie, and it's partly what inspired me to start taking martial arts classes. I've been doing strength training for a while now, with more or less intensity, but there comes a point where it's not enough just to be strong. I wanted to do something with the muscles I've been developing, and Let The Right One In was percolating through my brain at just the right time.
So I started taking mixed martial arts classes. Mostly kickboxing and jiu jitsu so far. Every class beats home a similar lesson. I find it very natural to try to escape from a sticky situation - squirm out of a choke hold or avoid an arm bar - but have a much harder time taking the next step, to go on he offensive myself. But the fight isn't over until someone wins or loses. So the only way not to lose is to win. I guess this is obvious, but it's been a bit of a revelation to me.
Aside from a few little nuggets of wisdom, I'm mostly collecting bruises. Great big ugly ones that bloom in all the colors of a radioactive swamp and make me look like a battered woman. I'm kind of proud, so take a look:
This one was the biggest and ugliest. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture until it was past its prime. Try to imagine what it would look like with more purple, red, green, and yellow.
This is the best one I've got going right now:
And this one is on the inside of my knee:
More to come, I'm sure!