Off The Tracks aims at reversing the roles, offering a weekly contribution narrated by various artists inside or outside of the electronic music scene. Up next is the Britisch producer Tricky, who just released his 13th long player ununiform on his own label False Idols via !K7 Music. For our essay series, Tricky is writing about his lifelong passion for boxing, martial arts, and which training technique he prefers.


 

I never liked football, I used to play in school but I never watched football – I just had to play in the team. But my auntie sent me to boxing when I was 15. She said: „Get up to the boxing club,“ because all her brothers boxed. I had one uncle who was a professional and I had two uncles who were amateur fighters. My great granddad did a bit of street fighting, so I come from that kind of family. So she sent me out to the boxing club too, to keep me out of trouble, and that’s when it started for me. Today, I don’t watch any sport except boxing. I’m not „mates“ with any famous boxers but I’ve met a few. Well, I’ve met loads, I’ve met Mike Tyson. I used to go to Vegas and I’ve got friends who are boxing trainers, and I’ve been to a lot of boxing shows so I’ve been around them since young, through my uncles and stuff – so I’ve been around them.

I’m not a fighter, but I grew up around fighters – and boxers are the toughest guys I’ve ever met for street fighting. I’ve got a friend who’s never trained in boxing but is a well known street fighter in Bristol. He never got taught the technique, but he just knows how to fight. That’s the difference to me. But I’m all about the training, not the fighting. It wasn’t coming from violence in my youth, just in the area where I come from a lot of kids boxed, a lot of my friends boxed. I was never violent, but my uncles were very violent. I don’t even really box or fight, I just do the training. but if you put me in with an amateur kid 15 years of age he’s going to beat me up, because he’s there to fight.

So there’s training on one side and then there’s the competitions too – and I’ve only been in two competitions. I won them both: In New York, in a mixed martial arts practice calls Tsun Tao. But I never actually use my training for fighting, the last time I had a fight must’ve been 10 years ago at least. I wouldn’t compete again. I love the training and stuff and the playing around, sparring sometimes a little bit, but I’m just not at that level any more.

I train three times a week in Berlin – it’s really all about the training, not the actual fighting, like I say. So there’s cardio and strength training, to warm up, and then learning the techniques gradually. I train in Panantukan, it’s filipino and they call it „dirty boxing“ – all using elbows, knees, but still boxing, just not so many rules as in traditional boxing. Using all your body but also sticks, knives. In eastern martial arts they teach you to use weapons first then your hands when you get good at that. In western fighting it’s the hands first and then you move onto weapons.