Oct 03

Jaden Smith as the Karate Kid

In my humble opinion, nothing is a greater test of heart than sports and combat. You can train, study and read all you want but when the jaws of life slams shut, you are typically left with two choices: fight or run. Most of us assume that we will fight if the situation gets dire, but trust me, you never really know until you find yourself in danger.

It is after reacting and recovering that you truly know what you’re made of. Some of you are warriors, rolling off of your opponent with his warm heart beating within your teeth, but some of you don’t have the stomach for it, and end up running away or falling victim. 

The deciding factor isn’t as simple as winning or losing. You have to apply pressure to your spirit, and observe what it does in the worst situations.

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” – Bob Marley

There is a theory that the instinct to fight is borne from the environment but I believe that it goes deeper than that. Sure the poor kid who has been fighting since birth has enough experience to fight when pushed but that isn’t to say that a person born with everything won’t go ape if pushed the same way. Having heart is only shown during crunch time and no amount of hardship in life will harden a weak man’s stomach.

This is why life throws us it’s share of tests. It gives us the opportunity to learn ourselves. When you get the tests and you find out what you have within you, it makes certain situations clear and the mystery is taken out of the picture. For instance a man who joins his High School wrestling team and quits mid-match (due to giving up) may find that his spirit is weak. A quarterback whose hands tremble uncontrollably when the big game is on the line knows that he should not lead. A boxer with a glass jaw and a heart of iron will know to build up a defense like Roy Jones Jr. in order to not get tapped. These guys know where they stand and rare is the occasion when the weak of heart can break form and exhibit greatness, that’s for the movies… you either have the beast within you or you don’t.

It’s not about great pre-game speeches or a pat on the ass with a “go get em tiger”. It’s an internal instinct that gets called on from the subconscious. It’s like Lycanthropy, the werewolf curse, you switch gears, black out and you fight without a care for consequence or outcome. It’s instinctual.

Oenamaus the gladiator

I will never forget when three boys jumped a nerdy kid at my University and I witnessed the beast unleashed. It was spectacular to watch, his shirt came off and one by one he wore those guys out until the police came and he was back to his senses. Had he analyzed, like someone who doesn’t have it may have… he would have probably run, but he fought and he beat them down royally. See after fighting back like that he knows he has it, even if he had never fought before that day he now knows that when the heat escalates he will transform.

Watching kids play sports is always interesting to me for this very reason… you can see who has the eye of the tiger, the werewolf gene… because they are the ones to turn up the heat whenever push comes to shove. I’m not talking about talent and athleticism folks, I’m talking about pure survival instinct.

So, have you had a situation to reveal your true heart yet? When things got scary, did you fight or take flight? I’ve had a few myself and I know my nature, but like most people that have it, it’s not very pretty when it comes out. 

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