There is a great line in the venerable book Beowulf when Beowulf is about to speak that goes, “And then the hero opened up his word-hoard.”
One of the great heroes of our modern age is Muhammad Ali, and he certainly had large word-hoard. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” “I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.”
But the quote I like the best is about preparation. It hangs in large print on the wall of the school where I teach martial arts, a constant reminder to the aspiring fighters there: “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
And this is from a man who was an Olympic gold medalist and then the absolute undisputed heavyweight champion three different times. He fought, and beat, supermen–Liston, Frazier, Norton, Foreman. He has been ranked as the greatest or second greatest heavyweight of all time (second to Joe Louis) and the second greatest fighter of all time (second only to Sugar Ray Robinson). He was (and is) called the “Greatest” (originally by himself: “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”)
Ali was a fighter who had it all-incredible foot and hand speed, great footwork, knockout power in either hand, yet he understood the all importance of preparation, of practice.
Whatever your ‘fight’–be it in the gym, at the Games, in the ring, at work, or an actual one in a dark alley–be prepared, really prepared.
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Ian Droze’s final Olympic weightlifting workshop before he moves to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado is this Saturday. This Saturday is the last chance to take advantage of this special opportunity. Get on it.
Bike to the Gym Day is next Wednesday, the 26th. Free coffee for all the morning classes.
OTM for 15 Minutes
1 Clean & Jerk
AMRAP in 15 minutes
12 DB Snatch (6 R/L) 45/30#
6 C2B Pullups