final draft? Please critique....don't hold back

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humean
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:04 am

final draft? Please critique....don't hold back

Postby humean » Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:35 am

It is a strange thing to schedule a fight. Knowing that, in a few short weeks, I’d be expected to show up ready to exchange blows with a stranger. The physical preparation is the easy part. What is tough is proceeding despite the rational inner-voice that tells one to avoid fisticuffs at all costs. I grew anxious and increasingly nervous as the date of my first fight approached. Unsure of what I had got myself into, I easily summoned a dozen or so believable excuses as to why I should pull out from the fight. But I could never bring myself to withdraw. A big part of me needed to see this thing through. No matter how ugly it got. No matter how ugly I got (which was a big fear considering the likelihood I would be punched repeatedly in face during the event). I had to know if I was a fighter.

At 25 years old, I had never been in a fight. I had never been in a street fight, a bar brawl, or even a shoving match. I’ve had numerous chances to sucker punch some poor fellow, but my affable personality and my natural inclination to avoid jail-time have usually served me well in diffusing potential hostilities. However, I have had a lifelong interest in combat sports and martial arts. The big attraction was the ultra-competitive aspect of fighting as well as the emphasis on individual excellence. I can trace my competitiveness back to Pee-Wee wrestling. I started wrestling at five years old, goaded on by my collegiate state-champion father. I lost my first wrestling match, but won every subsequent match until I stopped wrestling my second year of high school. Excellence on the mat was expected and earned. My father would force me to wrestle with him without any easing up. I would desperately push and pull at an arm or a leg in a futile effort to overcome the 30-year age difference and the 150 pounds of weight he had on me. Maybe my dad was a bit of a bully, or maybe he was teaching me something. Even though in the days and hours before a match I would feel sick with butterflies, I always showed up ready to wrestle, ready to win, and convinced I could win.

While in college, I participated in a few intramural sports but was perpetually vexed by the recreational mindset of the other students. One can only take co-ed soccer on a ¾ -size field so seriously before the other players give start giving you that ‘is this guy for real’ look. It was by accident that I discovered a sport that offered the same level of competition that I had so enjoyed when I was wrestling. After only one session, I was hooked and I began training four to five nights a week in Mixed Martial Arts. It is also known by a more sinister and trashy moniker: cage fighting. To the uninitiated, Mixed Martial Arts is a regulated combat sport that employs boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and judo together in a unified competition, and often occurs inside a caged ring. Much like wrestling as a kid, I thrived in the competitive environment of martial arts training and liked to delude myself that maybe one day I would take a fight. Well, it seems that one can only train for so long before the lure of the real thing outshines the verisimilitude of sparring. As strange as it may sound, I wanted to know how I would react in a fight. Would I wilt, or would I press through the discomfort and come out the other side? After many hours in the gym and at least as many hours spent wondering how I might fare, it was decided: I would fight.

The day of the fight came and went. I lost. With the loss, I was made to face my true reasons for fighting. Had I won, I am sure I would have hung up the gloves and ended my career with a perfect record. But in the weeks after the fight, I realized that it was the outcome that I feared, and not the fight itself. During a fight, instinct and training take over which makes for little time to worry. Bruises will heal and cuts can be stitched up, but I will never forget that loss. A month or so passed and headed back to the gym. Still unsure of what my future held in the way of fighting, I started training again just to exercise. Soon enough, I began to see what mistakes I made during the fight. I knew I could do better than I had on that day, I knew I still had another fight in me. Two more fights to be precise, both of which I won.

I don’t fight anymore. I still train, but I don’t take fights. Part of why I haven’t had a fight in two years is because my employer frowns upon black eyes and cauliflower ear. The substantial financial investment (i.e. college degree) in my brain has also been a major motivator in avoiding the repeated head trauma. But, as one of a rare breed—a cage fighting philosophy major—I can say that my unique perspective has allowed me to see a fundamental connection between fighting and what I believe will lead me to success in and after law school. The only factor I have control over in a fight is how prepared I am. When I fought, I entered the ring by myself. Behind me in my corner, I am supported those who have trained and educated me for this moment, but inside the ring it is only myself that wins or loses. The effort that is put into training is what pays dividends on fight night. This is the same attitude that I will bring to law school and the legal profession. I prepare like I am going to be in a fight.

WayBryson
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:24 pm

Re: final draft? Please critique....don't hold back

Postby WayBryson » Sat Oct 30, 2010 2:12 am

A few of things stand out to me:

1) Grammar mistakes. For a final draft, there are quite a few in here--there really shouldn't be any. For example, "got" should be "gotten" in the following sentence: "Unsure of what I had got myself into."

2)It Rambles. This essay is quite long without really saying a whole lot. You don't really tell us much about yourself, your substantive interests, or your reasons for wishing to go to law school. As a philosophy major (I was one myself) you ought to have some intellectual interests that match up well with law school, and I don't see them here. I get that you are trying convey the mental discipline and focus that it takes to prepare for a fight, but you don't need an entire essay for that. A paragraph would do.

3) Tone. There are moments of humor in here, which I kind of like, but they don't quite fit the overall tone. I can't tell if you are a naturally funny person, who is being constrained by a dry medium, or a dry person unsuccessfully trying to be funny. This isn't good. It also backfires in a couple of places. For example, you come across as a bit of dick when you talk about intramural soccer. You even quote other people saying as much: ‘is this guy(dick) for real.’ I get that you're just trying to be funny, but it doesn't really come off very well. Moreover, the inclusion of "co-ed" can easily be taken as a slight on women as it is only used as an adjective to convey the lack of seriousness in the game. In other words, an unsympathetic reader could easily read this as "women players=not serious game."

4) The fight metaphor. I don't like it. It implies that you view the whole world as a stage for conflict, and moreover 1 on 1 conflict. This latter part, which you explicitly state in your conclusion, is particularly bad, because lawyers and law students often work in teams. At the very least, I would try to take the emphasis off of the conflict and more clearly focus it on the preparation and inner attributes that allow you to cope with the challenges life throws your way.

Anyway, these were my impressions. I only mean them as constructive criticisms, and I certainly don't mean to say that you actually are a combative dick. I only think that someone might read that into it, which would be unfortunate. Best of luck on the applications!

humean
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:04 am

Re: final draft? Please critique....don't hold back

Postby humean » Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:31 pm

oohhh...I should have noted that by final draft I meant that I wasn't going to add or subtract much content. spelling, grammar and punctuation will be adjusted before submitting.

thanks!

humean
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:04 am

Re: final draft? Please critique....don't hold back

Postby humean » Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:34 pm

WayBryson wrote:A few of things stand out to me:

1) Grammar mistakes. For a final draft, there are quite a few in here--there really shouldn't be any. For example, "got" should be "gotten" in the following sentence: "Unsure of what I had got myself into."

2)It Rambles. This essay is quite long without really saying a whole lot. You don't really tell us much about yourself, your substantive interests, or your reasons for wishing to go to law school. As a philosophy major (I was one myself) you ought to have some intellectual interests that match up well with law school, and I don't see them here. I get that you are trying convey the mental discipline and focus that it takes to prepare for a fight, but you don't need an entire essay for that. A paragraph would do.

3) Tone. There are moments of humor in here, which I kind of like, but they don't quite fit the overall tone. I can't tell if you are a naturally funny person, who is being constrained by a dry medium, or a dry person unsuccessfully trying to be funny. This isn't good. It also backfires in a couple of places. For example, you come across as a bit of dick when you talk about intramural soccer. You even quote other people saying as much: ‘is this guy(dick) for real.’ I get that you're just trying to be funny, but it doesn't really come off very well. Moreover, the inclusion of "co-ed" can easily be taken as a slight on women as it is only used as an adjective to convey the lack of seriousness in the game. In other words, an unsympathetic reader could easily read this as "women players=not serious game."

4) The fight metaphor. I don't like it. It implies that you view the whole world as a stage for conflict, and moreover 1 on 1 conflict. This latter part, which you explicitly state in your conclusion, is particularly bad, because lawyers and law students often work in teams. At the very least, I would try to take the emphasis off of the conflict and more clearly focus it on the preparation and inner attributes that allow you to cope with the challenges life throws your way.

Anyway, these were my impressions. I only mean them as constructive criticisms, and I certainly don't mean to say that you actually are a combative dick. I only think that someone might read that into it, which would be unfortunate. Best of luck on the applications!


excellent suggestions....I will more than likely incorporate some of these. Especially the co-ed part....I can see how it might be pejorative. Thanks a whole lot. I appreciate the candor.

humean
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:04 am

Re: final draft? Please critique....don't hold back

Postby humean » Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:53 pm

WayBryson wrote:A few of things stand out to me:

4) The fight metaphor. I don't like it. It implies that you view the whole world as a stage for conflict, and moreover 1 on 1 conflict. This latter part, which you explicitly state in your conclusion, is particularly bad, because lawyers and law students often work in teams. At the very least, I would try to take the emphasis off of the conflict and more clearly focus it on the preparation and inner attributes that allow you to cope with the challenges life throws your way.



any suggestions on how to keep the fight metaphor while deemphasizing the whole "stage for conflict" thing? I don't want to get into a deeply philosophical rant mid-statement but I do wish to convey the mental preparation aspect. eh?

Thoughts? I concede that the conclusion leaves the reader with the impression that I may fight them if they cross me. Im not like that. really.




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