Radicalizing The Gentle Art: Fighting Reactionary Culture in BJJ with Radical Softness by Carrion Toole
To most people, compassion and empathy might seem like qualities you wouldn’t associate with martial arts at first. Especially not in the current age of “just bleed” MMA fans and reactionary chud Jiu-jitsu. However, while I live my life in a way so as to be as gentle and kind to the people I encounter as I can be, I know that I have to hold a strength within me great enough to keep my softness safe. As a trans woman, my love for the world and the people I hold dear in it will always be something I need to be ready to defend.
My interest in combat sports started incredibly early in my life through exposure to pro wrestling and superhero comics, so I had a rather childish and cartoonish conception of fighting and violence throughout my early life. In these mediums, the stories being told through the conflict always involved strong feelings of camaraderie, sense of duty to the community, and a desire to do what’s right even if the odds are stacked against you. So when I was first introduced to the sport of MMA by my parents as a nerdy and isolated 13 year old, it was easy for me to see these athletes as real-life superheroes who were embodying the things I wanted to be in the world. It would only take another 2 years before I finally convinced my parents to let me enroll in a nearby jiu-jitsu school, and while a lot of my fighters and coaches have failed to live up to my teenage optimism, I still believe in the arts ability to foster these values in the right conditions.
|Artist: Zuanna Maria Boscani|
|Artist: Lora Mathis|
|Team Red Planet's Gay Fight Club|
Carrion Toole is a queer, leftist martial artist with 7 years training experience in the Midwest BJJ and MMA scene. She is dedicated to creating a safe and fun training environment for people of all marginalized backgrounds that meets their needs and concerns where they are at. Carrion is also hoping to bring their passion for martial arts and social change together to serve their community and communities in need. Carrion's IG is @pwrtoole