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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cage Fighting - a Clue is in the Body Language

Body language is an amazing tool. It can portray a subtle message or make a powerful statement. There are countless books written on this topic and an entire science devoted to it. During my off-hours on Saturday, I had an unexpected chance to witness body language in its most simplistic and purest form. It seemed as if time had slowed down to allow each detail to be amazingly clear.

It started with two intact males in a large pen. Besides the initial cordial glance at each other, all seemed 'normal', but it didn't take long before they began to circle each other in a slow, stalking and deliberate pace. Step 1 - Posturing, had begun.

I couldn't help but notice how their eyes stared with purpose as they waited for a sign that would explain the other's intentions. Both males observed every motion as they watched for a muscle to tense or the flicker of an eye - something that would confirm or deny the potential threat. Now we were well into Step 2 - Stare Down, and it soon became clear that neither had plans to back down.

The atmosphere was escalated by the presence of other pack members who were quiet but watchful. They were EDGY and the vibe reverberated throughout the room like a sharp but subtle blast of air.  Thanks to the cage, they were forced to stay back and could only watch as the center two moved in closer. Some of the pack pretended not to care by turning their heads, while others were frenzied in anticipation and outright stared. We had rounded the corner and were well into Step 3 - Pack Mentality.

The final two remaining stages were the actual fight, followed by the declaration of a winner. As I'm sure you guessed, the fight did start, during which there was quite a bit of tumbling, tossing, rolling and blood. Yes, real blood. One word summed up this event for me - hedonistic.

Now here's the good news. No 4-legged animals were present, used or hurt during the above event. Confused? You should be and you might be surprised to learn that this was a legal HUMAN cage fighting exhibition held in a sports arena. Why was I there? A work event, complete with box seats, for my husband's company (who built the arena). I'm pretty open minded, but this event will forever be checked off on my list of life event experiences as something that need never be repeated. 

So what does this event have to do with dogs? Well, at least dogs fight for a purpose. On the other hand, leave it to 'civilized humans' to fight and draw blood merely for the sport of it! 

Ok, the real lesson is that no matter how social we are, body language still remains the base for communication for all beings. Watch and you too will learn - although I suggest sitting in a mall to watch people or at the edge of a dog class to watch K9's. It's a more enjoyable experience without the posturing : )

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