Ender's Game and Nick Diaz: On the Realities of Fighting

There is no peace for the weary. Victory or defeat, when one enters the cantos of hell, there will be trauma.

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

When we compare and consider particular works, not only does it enhance the works, but it also brings about a clearer truth. As an avid mixed martial arts (MMA) fan, I have been following the unpredictable career of professional fighter Nick Diaz. He has been a champion, he has been fined, he has been banned, and when he fights he moves in one direction — forward. Diaz is as transparent as dirty dishwater; equal parts punk rock and street poetry. Many of the things he has been known to say can only be understood by Diaz. However, there are also times of contemplative lucidity, where inner truths resonate in universal pitch and timbre.

Nick Diaz once gave an interviewer the soundbite of a lifetime. A moment of MMA purity that vividly explains the experience of a championship-level fighter. It is the best insight into the mind of a working fighter. 

In order to love fighting, I have to hate it. There is no love in this without hate. You’ve gotta love it so you want it so bad that you push yourself to those limits. To where you just simply hate it. And if you ain’t there, to where you hate it, then good luck trying to love this shit.
— Nick Diaz
(Peter Paul Rubens's copy of Leonardo da Vinci's lost painting, "The Battle of Anghiari." Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned by philosopher and writer Niccolò Machiavelli.)

(Peter Paul Rubens's copy of Leonardo da Vinci's lost painting, "The Battle of Anghiari." Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned by philosopher and writer Niccolò Machiavelli.)

Reminiscent of another body of work; a body not from within the objective reality of the octagon but from the literary fantasy world of science fiction. In Ender's Game, the reader is drawn into the chaotic mind of a different kind of fighter, Ender Wiggin.

Wiggin is a young man bred for war and born of conflict. Though the world of Ender is one of imagination, the dark truths expressed of the human psyche are all too real. Truths the enigmatic Nick Diaz knows well.

In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them — [I don’t beat them] ... I destroy them. I make it impossible for them to ever hurt me again. I grind them and grind them until they don’t exist.
— Ender Wiggin, Ender's Game

Nick Diaz and Ender Wiggin echo the same sentiment of pyrrhic victory; even the winners are casualties of the fight. There is no peace for the weary. Victory or defeat, when one enters the cantos of hell, there will be trauma.

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