Sport or Religion?

Sport has pre-Christian origins and belongs to ancient Greek culture. Along with theater, philosophy and the systems of polis management, sport and especially the Olympic Games was one of the characteristic features of the Greek civilization. It was there that it received its greatest development and the form in which it is known to us today.

The Greek interpretation of sport was based on the idea of a game. That is why the competitions themselves were called games. Also, theater performance was called a game, in which, as well as in sports, poets—creators of tragedies and comedies—competed with each other. The concept of play has a close connection with the very foundations of culture, as Johan Huizinga shows in his famous book Homo Ludens. The main thing here is to draw the line between serious involvement in the contemplation of confrontation or competition, as well as in the fabric of a dramatic work (if we talk about theater) and the conventional nature of such confrontation. Sport and theater, and play as such, presuppose distance. That is why there was no Ares, the god of war, among the Greek patron gods of the Olympic Games. This is the meaning of the game—it is a battle, but not a real, conventional battle, not crossing a certain critical line. Just as theater only depicts the action, so sport only depicts the real battle. Culture is born precisely from the realization of this boundary. When society internalizes it, it acquires the capacity for subtle distinctions in the realm of emotions, feelings, and ethical experiences. Sports and theater bring enjoyment precisely because, despite the dramatic nature of what is happening, the observer (spectator) retains a distance from the events taking place. It is this distance that forms a full-fledged citizen capable of strictly separating the seriousness of war from the conventionality of other types of competition. Therefore, for the duration of the Olympic Games, Greek city-states that were often at enmity with each other concluded a truce (έκεχειρία). It was at the time of these games that the Greeks realized their unity on the other side of the political contradictions between the individual polis. In this way the different things in sport were united through the recognition of the legitimacy of distance.

In the Christian era, sporting events in the Hellenistic world gradually disappeared because Christianity offered a completely different model of culture and unification of people. Everything was serious here, and the ultimate authority was the universal Church itself, in which people and nations were united. It was she who carried peace and the greatest possible distance—the distance between earth and heaven, mankind and God. In the face of the universal mission of the Savior, the differences between peoples (“Jews and Hellenes”) receded into the background. This is probably why sports (as well as the theater) lost their significance.

The revival of sport begins in the 19th century under completely new conditions. It is interesting to note that while the theater as part of the culture of Antiquity reappears at the very beginning of the Renaissance, it took several more centuries to revive the Olympic Games. This was probably hindered by some of the aesthetic aspects of sport as such, which contrasted sharply with Christian notions of what constitutes decent behavior. It is indicative that in Germany the founder of the sports movement was a convinced pagan and extreme nationalist Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778 – 1852), who perceived the sports and gymnastic movement as a basis for spreading the ideas of German unification among the youth, which became the basis of the sports ideology. Jan was a fierce apologist of Germanic antiquity and advocated the revival of the runes. In the twentieth century, Jahn’s ideas continued to develop both in the context of Pan-Germanism and in the Wandervogel youth movement, and in particular had a great influence on National Socialism.

Pierre de Coubertin, who revived the Olympic movement, was also a nationalist (in a sense, a racist). The involvement of Greeks, who were then in a state of national struggle with the Ottoman Empire, was also part of the overall strategy of European powers in transforming the geopolitical balance of power. At the same time, European Freemasonry, although fundamentally atheistic, was also very attentive to it, but not alien to a certain “pagan” aesthetics.

In general, it turns out that sport, originally a non-Christian cultural phenomenon, disappeared during the Christian Middle Ages and returned to Europe in a post-Christian and even partly anti-Christian context.

This raises with new urgency the problem: is sport compatible with Christianity at all? Can the passions, aesthetics, and rules of the game evoked by sport be combined with a Christian worldview? Of course, this question is a particular case of a more fundamental problem: is Christianity compatible with the modern world in general, built in general—and not just, of course, sports—on the foundations of desacralization, materialism, evolutionism, secularism, and atheism? Obviously, it is not possible to answer this question unequivocally, but it is appropriate to pose it, if only to start a cycle of meaningful discussions. Such discussions could help us to understand more fully in new contexts what sport is and, much more importantly, what Christianity is.

Alexander Dugin is a widely-known and influential Russian philosopher. His most famous work is The Fourth Political Theory (a book banned by major book retailers), in which he proposes a new polity, one that transcends liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism. He has also introduced and developed the idea of Eurasianism, rooted in traditionalism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geopolitika.

Featured: Saint Christopher Carrying the Christ Child, by Hieronymus Bosch; painted ca. 1500.

Being a Superhero: A Conversation with Ian Jacklin

Ian Jacklin is documentary filmmaker, concert promoter, actor, and kickboxing champion. He has produced three films and holds one world kickboxing title. He is in conversation with Grégoire Canlorbe.

Grégoire Canlorbe (GC): You are ranked number two in the world by the World Kickboxing Association. Please tell us about this incredible accomplishment.

Ian Jacklin (IJ): Like many young men, I saw a Bruce Lee movie and was hooked. Especially when on the first day of grade 9 high school I had to watch a buddy of mine get beat up while being held back. I went home that afternoon and told my mom to put me in Karate at 14 years of age; and the rest is pretty much history.

Ralph Chinnick was my master at Professional Self Defense Studios in London, Ontario, Canada. His early instruction was to learn the technique. To just keep coming to every class and learn the technique. Which I did and did well.

Ian Jacklin.

By the time I was a yellow belt I was kicking like black belts. By the time I was a green belt I was beating black belts in sparring. And the great thing about Kenpo karate under the Ed Parker system was we actually kickboxed. No point sparring. Real fighting. And I heard then that Bruce Lee said that you learn to fight by fighting.

So it was a natural progression to go to other dojos and spar their best guys, which I did in Kitchener Ontario at Sifu Ron Day’s Kung Fu Academy, where was the future PKA lightweight champion of the world, Leo Loucks. He became my idol; and I learned from him. on his rise to the top, when he beat Cliff Thompson.

Our trainer Jimmy Fields was the best in proactive, positive mental instruction, while in the deepest and darkest moments of battles in that square circle.

I had other trainers that would try to scare you into being better. But that never worked for me. Militant instruction may work for some, but it didn’t work for me. I needed love and light, and Jimmy gave me that. I truly believe that if he and Ron Day were to be my handlers for my career I would have not only fought for the world title but would have won it and kept if for a long time. But alas… it wasn’t meant to go that way. Apparently, the universe had bigger plans for me.

I won the Canadian ISKA title by beating Conrad Pla in Montreal, when I was 18. I fought Mark Mongo Longo for the North American title in Gleasons Gym Brooklyn, which went to a draw. Many including myself thought I won that fight but it was in the US and I was Canadian, so… it was what it was.

Not long after that Lennox Lewis won the Gold in the 1988 Olympics, and he was from Kitchener Ontario Canada; so, it was only fitting for his pro debut to be in Toronto. They trained in our Kitchener Kicks/Ron Days Kung Fu Academy for that fight, so they got to see me in action. They saw a white boy that could fight and took me back to England with them.

I actually started in boxing, before karate, as a kid hanging, out at the Boys and Girls Club, London, Ontario, Canada. And although my kicks were my best weapon, my hands weren’t too shabby either.

But being in the Lennox Lewis pro boxing stable really improved my hands, and I had a lot of fun living in London, England for a while. John Davenport and Harold “The Shadow” Knight were my trainers.

After about 4 months, I decided I didn’t like where I was. I mean Lennox and the guys were cool, but London just rained every day and it was really depressing. My high school sweetheart was back in Canada and I really missed her and my family, so I eventually quit and headed home.

The main thing was, I couldn’t believe how many shots to the head I was taking in boxing compared to kickboxing. I mean my legs were wicked, so most guys never got the chance to punch me in the head; but in boxing that’s all you do. I knew if I stayed in that sport I’d be punch drunk and ugly within a few years. Besides, I had been watching Bay Watch on one of the 4 channels England had on their TV and had been California-dreaming.

Back in Canada, I worked the summer, continuing my electrical apprenticeship with Gordon Electric in my hometown of London Ontario, Canada. I had no plans. I just knew that I wasn’t done fighting and still had my dream of fighting for the world title as Leo did.

And then it happened. With 3 days’ notice, I broke up with my girlfriend, quit my job and packed up my motorcycle with a tent and sleeping bag, and headed to Hollywood, California.

Although heartbroken due to making that decision to follow my dreams, which didn’t accommodate a girlfriend whom I dearly did love… I also felt more alive than I ever had been, knowing I was going to take a shot at not only pursuing my dream to fight for the title, but maybe even get into Hollywood as an actor. After all Jean Claude Van Damme was there making all his martial art movies. So, I figured it was worth a shot.

It was such a dilemma leaving your girlfriend, family, friends, and career on a whim for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I sped through the mountains in various areas on the way to Cali with abandon. So much so that I even crashed once and almost fell off a cliff, if it weren’t for that 3-foot-high cement barrier. It was like I wanted to die for what I left, but wanted to live for what lay ahead… hard for me to put into words. But apparently, somebody up there likes me. And after picking the rocks out of my flesh and a quick stop at a local motorcycle shop, I was back on the road. It was the summer of 1990. It wasn’t my time to die yet. Hollywood here I come.

I stayed in Whittier, California with Les Sickles, the brother of one of my home boxing trainers. Jack Sickles was my mentor in Canada and his brother became that in California. He was 85 when I first met him. We became fast friends and I truly had some of the best years of my life with him as a newbie in Southern Cal. He was now a widower and had been a pro boxer when he was young, so just loved tagging along with me to the gyms.

I fought and won the North American WKA championship and eventually went to fight Javier Mendez for the world ISKA Cruiser Weight title fight in 1993. I fought him a few years earlier and beat him. Then he beat me this night and took the title. But the point is, my dream was to fight for the world title and I did that! Also, I wanted to star in a Hollywood movie, which I quickly achieved, thanks to befriending legend, Don “The Dragon” Wilson. He became my sparring partner which elevated my fighting skills and put me in a bunch of his movies like Ring of Fire II where I played the lead bad guy.

My film career included Kickboxer 3. The bad guys of the Kickboxer movies. I remember the night my agent told me I got the role. It was about a year to the date of me arriving in Tinsel Town. I was working as the VIP bouncer at the Roxbury which many know was the Studio 54 of the day. I babysat more drunk actors and rock stars than I could count in those days.

And sure enough, Jean Claude Van Damme was in the Roxbury that night. I asked Elie Samaha, one of the owners, to introduce me to him, which he did. I thanked him for doing Kickboxer the movie, so I was able to get the lead bad guy role in Kickboxer 3. He looked at me and squeezed my cheeks and said with a face like that you should be the star! I laughed and said maybe someday, man! Maybe someday! And sure enough, that did happen. I ended up being the good guy in Expert Weapon and Death Match down the line.

Many of you have heard that to make it in Hollywood you have to sell your soul. I’m not 100 percent on that, but I was offered a multi-picture movie deal if I would have slept with a gay producer. I said no thank you and left Hollywood. I had put 10 years into that place and was tired of the rat-race—and if that was the only way I was going to make it, I knew it was time to leave.

Long story longer… I went to NYC and became a filmmaker.

GC: Which leads me in to my next question. How did you move from being a kickboxing-champion to championing holistic medicine and alkaline?

IJ: So, Hollywood wasn’t a total waste of time. While doing a play I met an actress, J. Cynthia Brooks, who like myself had been on Days Of Our Lives among many other shows and movies over the years. We actually had met at the Roxbury years earlier, and now working together on a play, called Spoiled Women, I found out she had just cured herself of terminal cervical cancer. I overheard this at a rehearsal one day, and it lit a fire under me like few other things have.

I said, “What?! You can’t cure cancer. What do you mean, you cured yourself of cancer?”

And as I’ve said before the rest is history. Turns out instead of doing the usual chemo, radiation and surgery she followed a friends advice and did holistic medicine and dropped meat, dairy, sugar. Used a “Rife” machine and meditated a lot. Cured her terminal cervical cancer (of which she was given one year to live, if she did the western medical treatments) in 8 months.

I had thought cancer ran in my adopted mom’s family, so worried for her. I dove deeper. It was when the internet first started, so I researched others that claimed they too cured their cancers with holistic methods; and then I would call them too, so I could validate via their voice if they were real or not. And they were.

So, I decided to make a documentary about it, and called it by the name of the website I also started,

Thanks to doing that I learned a lot about health and wellness, and have been a cancer coach ever since. The key is to drop the acidic lifestyle from what you eat, drink, think, breath, and these days the wifi radiation you sit in. You can book a health coaching session with me at, if interested.

GC: I must say that your fight with Sasha Mitchell at the end of Kickboxer 3: The Art of War easily ranks among the dramatic highpoints in the Kickboxer saga.

IJ: Wow! Thank you for that compliment. My favorite bad guy of the series (me included) was Tong Po! He was the best actor. The original kickboxer film with Van Damme was shot so well, too. Edited well. But for a sequel I thought KB3 was done quite well too. And we had Shuki Ron as the choreographer, who let me be the pro kickboxer I was, to make it, what I thought, one of the most realistic fight-scenes in the series, for sure.

I mean, I was actually still fighting pro kickboxing in the ring in between movies, and I don’t know how to movie fight. Just fight. And luckily by the time Sasha Mitchell and I worked together, he had been training as a kickboxer for a few years, so he was much more believable for Kickboxer III: The Art Of War.

GC: How did it feel to play a good guy (and leading character) in Death Match?

IJ: I loved being the good guy! I mean I’ve always said in real life I’m not an actor, I’m a super hero. But they don’t pay super heroes, so I have to moonlight as an actor.

GC: Do you believe a great action-movie could be made about what you call the “scamdemic?” Would you be ready to act in such movie?

IJ: Lol. Yes, that would be great! It would be me and a bunch of human beings fighting the reptiles like in They Live! I have the power to decipher who is one and who isn’t and boom we take out the ones that are. Finally, planet earth will be run by human beings, not Draconians!

GC: Thank you for your time. Anything else that you would like to add?

IJ: I’d just like to say for everyone that wants to be a hero in real life, start local. Go to your board meetings and vote out the leftist demoncrats. Watch the movie, 2000 Mules to see the truth. Trump won. End of story! Not saying he’s perfect—but come on… Biden? What a joke the bankers played on us!

Get to know your cops and sheriffs, and band together. We cannot let the Illuminati scum run us anymore. The whole scamdemic thing must never happen again. They just rebranded the flu and turned on 5G. That’s it!

I wrote my 3rd book, ConVid 1984: Antidote, which explains the hows and whys humanity got raped and pillaged by the bankers. I explain how to detox, for anyone that got suckered in to the shots. Or just wants to be healthy. You must get Alkaline, as explained in both my earlier books I Cure Cancer and Alkaline: Dr. Robert O. Young’s pH Diet & Mindset. Take good supplements: Whole food supplements. Grow your own organic food year-round.

Featured image: “Asian martial arts beauty,” by Phung Wang of Vietnam; painted in 2018.

Collectivism, Individualism, or Why we all should play Tennis

Iga Swiatek is the best woman tennis player in the world, and she is only 20! After winning a tournament in Stuttgart last month—which in addition to prize-money offers the winner a gleaming Porsche—she has just won another top tournament; this time in Rome. Swiatek and Serena Williams are the only players in history who did this twice in a row. When one watches Swiatek play, it soon becomes clear that there are only two tennis camps: Iga and the rest.

Iga Swiatek, Day 11 of Wimbledon 2018.

While watching her play against Ons Jabeur, an excellent Tunisian player, an excited commentator on Polish television, said a few times: “our girl,” “she represents Poland well.” Hearing that, I wanted to exclaim, “Hold your horses, Paco! She is Polish, but she does not represent Poland.” Swiatek has not been selected by anyone to play in a national team. She represents herself and herself only, and if your heart is beating faster because next to her name on the television screen there is a Polish flag, it is no more than a form of the player’s country identification, not different from a car license plate driven by Mr. Kowalski.

Here is the thing worth reflecting on. Chess, or sports like tennis, golf, or cricket are individualistic enterprises. They show the individual’s talent, and the player has no need for a crowd waving a national flag, screaming loudly. Tennis is a fierce game, played by two people over whose heads the only sound that hovers is silence. The sound of a bouncing ball or a player’s occasional bellow is the only sound we hear. Precision requires concentration, which requires silence. That is why the spectators must remain silent prior to a serve, and they can’t leave their seats while the game is in progress. Clapping is allowed only when the game stops. Only very seldom, one sees small groups of fans who bring a national flag, trying it make tennis a national spectacle.

Here is another thing: the net separating the players makes a collision and, thus, a foul impossible. No foul, no fair play. Only the rules and the skills. What is most important, since you are one of the two players on the court—you and your adversary—you can’t blame your adversary for your failures. If you lose, it is your fault; and, if you are averse to assuming blame, you must recognize your adversary’s superiority.

John McEnroe, 1981.

The English like to say that football is a sport for gentlemen played by ruffians; rugby is a sport for ruffians played by gentlemen. By way of paraphrase tennis is a sport which requires you to be a gentleman. In moments of anger, you can, of course, smash your racket on the ground (as those non-gentlemen Jimmy Connors and—still worse—John McEnroe notoriously did), but you can’t blame anyone; and the arbiter will likely fine you for un-sporting behavior. All that makes tennis look rather unemotional and suggests that you had best limit your emotions to the very end when instead of cursing or smashing a racket, you throw it up in joy, or you kneel in humility, like Iga Swiatek did when she defeated Ons Jabeur, while the latter accepted the defeat with grace, congratulating the winner.

All that stands in stark contrast to our beloved team sports—such as football (or soccer, to use the American idiom)—which often reflect the worst of us. The behavior of the English football fans in the early 1990s was so bad that FIFA had to fine England and threatened her with not allowing its team to participate in international tournaments. However, there is nothing singular in the English case. When in the 1966 Brazil was eliminated in the World Cup in England, Vicente Feola, the coach of the Brazilian team, discretely exited the stadium disguised as a nanny. Why? Because he was afraid of the Brazilian fans who would blame him for the failure of their national representation, which would be seen as the failure of Brazil as a country and Brazilians as a nation. When Bill Shankly, Liverpool manager, was asked by an interviewer, “Bill, is football a matter of life and death for you?” Shankly responded, “Oh no, it’s much more important than that!”

If you think it is insanity, you are likely to be very wrong. Football is a national religion. Winning is a form of salvation, and losing is seen as perdition.

Fans of the FC Karpaty Lviv football club honoring the Nazi Waffen-SS Galizien division, in Lviv, Ukraine, 2013.

In collective sports, it is not just the team that plays; it is also the public, the nation, all of whom are seconding their team. The fans identify with the team, and at moments of joy, following a goal, they become one with the team, and the team becomes one with them. Emotions run high and cannot be controlled.

In contrast to tennis, the spectators are not forbidden to talk or even scream. Individualist games require suspension of emotions—golf and snooker are other good examples—while collective games feed on emotions. When the team wins, the nation wins; when the team loses, the nation loses, and the nation is in mourning. Repeated loss of games in tournaments may even be perceived by the nation as its own weakness that results in a sense of humiliation. Hence the irreverent chorus of English football fans: “God save our gracious team!”

World Cup and other international tournaments are wars of nations. “It’s stupid,” you may say. “Birth is a matter of accident; and are we supposed to second our respective teams only because Smith was born in Liverpool, McDonald in Glasgow, and Russo in Rome?” That’s the thing about nationality. It is an irrational form of attachment that comes with your birthplace and your language. Collective sports feed just on national spirit, and they are ersatz for real killing. Be that as it may, it is obviously far better to see the English beat the Scots, the Irish, the French (or vice versa), or the Germans beat the Poles (or vice versa) than actually going to war.

Nationalism is not the only aspect of sports. During the Cold War, the leaders of the Soviet Union and East Germany (the most ideologically extreme country among the Soviet satellites) saw sports as extension of ideological war. In their heads, winning by a team or an individual athlete from a socialist country meant superiority of socialism over capitalism, over the corrupt capitalist West, etc. This was all hogwash; but because no aspect of human existence was free from ideology, one had to believe that winning by a team from a socialist country meant the superiority of “homo socialisticus.” Similar thought perversion can be found in Nazi totalitarianism. The winning of four gold medals by the Black American Jesse Owens during Olympic games in Berlin, in 1936, could make you doubt the idea of Aryan superiority.

Happily, the ideological era in sports is over; or it would seem so. However, the recent movie King Richard—about the Williams family—is loaded with racial undertones. It is the story of Venus Williams and her spectacular rise to fame; her father’s determination to raise two great tennis stars: Venus and Serena. We all know them and there’s no need to remind the reader who they are. The movie—with Will Smith playing Venus’ father—needlessly focuses as much on Venus’ talent as it does on the idea of a black girl playing “white” tennis. I do not know whether those moments in the movie are true or whether the director invented them, but race identification here only spoils the joy of seeing those wonderful girls striving for individual perfection. I doubt whether those who saw Venus and Serena play (or Tiger Woods), thought them black. What they saw was something breathtaking: an individual’s pursuit of excellence.

This is not so in collective sports. What underlies them is a sense of atavistic belonging: local (city clubs fighting other city clubs) or national (national teams fighting other national teams). They are expressions of nationalism, and the fans’ reactions and popularity of football and other collective sports is a barometer of the nation’s sense of identity.

The metaphor of war in sports is not new and cannot be limited to nationalism only. It also touches on a problem of human emotions: fighting others you hate or dislike. It was interestingly explored in the 1974 movie The Longest Yard, with Burt Reynolds, in which prison inmates take on the sadistic guards playing American football. They beat the guards, which compensates for physical and psychological abuse of the inmates by the guards. Apparently, sometimes fictional war can compensate for real life degradation and humiliation.

To be sure, team sports are not gentlemanly encounters, in which you strive for personal (not the nation’s) excellence. They may add glory to your nation. A fan’s sense of pride is borrowed. However, even as a player, you share winning with your playmates. You are part of a group, and only a few strikers, like Pele, Diego Maradona, or Gerhart Muller, will forever be remembered—but not as Brazilian, Argentinian, or German.

The same goes for tennis players. Iga Swiatek may be Polish, Venus and Serena American; but they do not represent Poland or America, or white and black races. National and racial identification is one thing; collectivism is another. Any attempt to make tennis an expression of a race or nation’s spirit is an expression of collectivist thinking and opposite of individuality. What we need today is more tennis and other individualist sports. In addition to their respective virtues, they force you to behave like a gentleman, which is the opposite of a collective’s lack of civility.

Zbigniew Janowski is the author of Homo Americanus: The Rise of Totalitarian Democracy in America. He is also editor of two volumes of John Stuart Mill’s writings.

Featured image: “Tennis at Hertingfordbury,” by Spencer Gore; painted in 1910.