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The Atheist Who Strangled Me - In which Sam Harris teaches me Brazilian jiu-jitsu and explains why violence is like rebirth

Sam Harris talks about his love for BJJ - "Harris began practicing BJJ in earnest in November 2011 and now trains three times a week, often in private sessions with Ryron Gracie, a head instructor at the Gracie Academy, which has locations in Beverly Hills and Torrance, California. Last year, he posted an essay on his Web site about his experience with BJJ, in which he rhapsodized about the pleasures of being nearly "choked out"—squeezed by the neck to the point of almost losing consciousness—or forced to cry uncle when a superior fighter cranks his head or limb in an unnatural direction. (BJJ teaches mercy: before you are maimed or killed, you "tap out," typically by gently touching your opponent’s body to ask him to stop.) Harris likened training with an expert fighter to "falling into deep water without knowing how to swim." He sees BJJ as a cycle of mock death and resurrection, wherein an expert may kill you many times per session. "To train in BJJ is to continually drown—or, rather, to be drowned, in sudden and ingenious ways—and to be taught, again and again, how to swim."

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