A Killer with Heart

people-men-fight-challengeYesterday, I took a shortcut through an alleyway. The buildings were covered in dirty paint from a few decades back. I stepped around a mangled grocery cart and stepped over a rotted bone that wild dogs didn’t even want. A broken down car suggested that the neighbors used the narrow road to discard items that were hard to place in the garbage.

I finally made my way to the open street and the bright sunlight. I felt like I had just stepped out of the arena of would-be muggers, only to find myself facing a fight club. Having never been to a fight club, I decided to put my alley courage to the test and entered the facility.

The dark room was decorated with various pieces of abused equipment and the dilapidated walls were covered with posters from previous fights. The one poster that held its shiny finish was for a fight scheduled later this month. Partially blocking my view of the fight cage was a glass cabinet that hadn’t been cleaned in years. Inside were several champion boxing belts and MMA trophies.

A short Asian man walked up to me and asked, “What you need?”

“I wanted to give your employees some discounted oil change coupons from Hi-Tech Addison Auto Repair,” I said as I handed him the coupons. “Do you train fighters here or have competitions?”

“We train,” he said. “I’ll give these to the guys.” He waved the coupons and then walked into the restroom.

Emerging from the hallway shadows was a bigger man wearing a hoody. The only part of his black face that I could see was his crooked nose uniquely shaped through multiple beatings. I glanced down at his hands and saw his red, calloused knuckles just below the baggy sleeves. The evidence suggested he was a fighter.

“We train killers,” the guy said as he stepped into the light. “The kinds of men that win fights live just on this side of crazy.”

I felt compelled to dribble out a few words of small talk and held my ground as the large framed trainer stepped closer. His knuckles turned white as he clenched and then relaxed his fists. His brown eyes tried to intimidate, but I could see too much depth and control through the windows of his soul.

“Is putting on a caged fight like putting on a concert?” I asked.

“It’s more complex,” he said with a furrowed brow. “Working with killers on the edge of crazy keeps you on your toes.”

“When I’m not working sales and marketing for a company, I’m making movies,” I said. “Some times actors need special attention, too.”

The man’s gangsta look suddenly shifted to that of a visitor at Disney World. He slipped his hoody back and his countenance became childlike. He told me a story of when he was interviewed for a documentary before a fight he coached. He loved the behind the scenes perspective and was in awe of how the final product looked on screen.

“Our dull surroundings came to life,” he said. “The music and the cutting back and forth of the images, I looked like a cool coach.”

“That’s one of the things I love about filmmaking,” I said. “Taking someone’s plain, ordinary day and turning it into a blast of entertainment and awe, as I reveal the heart of the story to an audience.”

“Heart, yeah, that’s it,” he confirmed. “When a boxer has heart, he can go longer in a fight than he thought was humanly possible. The crazy guys, they just try to kill everyone until someone puts them down.”

“There’s a lot of great boxers with skill, and as you say, some pretty crazy ones too,” I said. “But, the guys with heart rise above the moment and become more than the sum of their parts.”

“You’re right, they get a miracle,” he said with his eyes widening with revelation. “I’ve got to think more about this heart stuff. Because everyone has a story, but not every story is worth sharing.”

“Unless it has heart,” I added.

“You’ve got it,” he exclaimed.

“Hey thanks man … for sharing,” I said. “I’m going to take the lesson you’ve taught me and think about it—see if I can apply it to my life.”

“Oh yeah, me too.”

“Our paths just might cross again,” I said as I walked out the door.

“I’ll look forward to it,” he shouted as the door closed behind me.

What an amazing day. I had met a killer that became a coach of killers. The only thing that kept him away from crossing the line into crazy was his heart.

© 2017 by CJ Powers

The Student Body – Review

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-9-14-36-pmThe rebirth of ethical journalism was evident in this controversial documentary. The filmmaker held nothing back in pushing to get truth and perspective from lawmakers that launched the measuring of embarrassed children to obtain countywide obesity numbers for political purposes.

The Student Body follows student journalist Bailey Webber as she seeks to learn why her friend received a terrible letter from the school administration stating that she was obese. Lawmakers had implemented controversial mandates requiring students to have their body mass index (BMI) recorded in the name of reducing the student obesity epidemic.

Webber battled months of red tape and chased after political figures to learn that the government hadn’t consulted a single doctor or child psychologist during the development of the law. Her perseverance finally landed an interview with the man that led the development of the law, after being turned down by him dozens of times.

Not only did the film open the viewer’s eyes to the controversial program that now includes 20 plus states (Webber’s state no longer on the list), but also it unearthed the fact that lawmakers are no longer concerned about the public’s viewpoint. And, they have changed enough laws to control the public’s freedom of speech so it no longer interferes with their tactics.

This politically charged documentary told from a teenager’s perspective premieres October 5th in New York City. While there are several slow segments, the most compelling elements are tied to a passionate teenager who drives the audience’s thirst for truth and justice.

There is no doubt in my mind that Webber has earned the right to produce a sequel. Her earthy style demands the audience’s attention, as she initiates authentic encounters that produce truth regardless of the person’s choice to remain silent or politically correct.

It’s been years since a journalist sought after the truth regardless of viewpoints or political positioning. Webber’s gift to the audience also includes her growing awareness that our government does not work like she was taught in school.

The awakening from her innocence is readily shared with the audience, not as a girl who is crushed under the weightily system, but as a young woman emerging into a person of strength—ready to straighten out our government and realign it to the constitution.

The Student Body is a must see documentary if you want hope that the next generation is capable of correcting our distorted government.

©2016 by CJ Powers