Wrestling Tough – A Tough Guy Book Review
In a sport where your opponent is there to break you at will, being tough is a requirement that goes beyond the physical or mental. That’s all. The movements are all the same, you are matched by weight class and everyone is looking at both of you. In the book, Fighting hardAuthor Mike Chapman takes a look at the very essence of the sport of wrestling while giving readers a glimpse into every great wrestler’s toolbox. Not only does Chapman use wrestlers, but he also touches on other great athletes and coaches from a variety of sports and how these skills, traits, and habits help develop a winning mindset for the mat and for the rest of his life.
Wrestling has existed since the beginning of man, and it is one of the purest sports according to the characteristics of man and nature. Two people try to compete with each other and force their will on them and claim what is there. The Epic of Gilgamesh, It is listed as the oldest literary work that exists today. It is the story of a warrior king who fought for his lands in an epic fight against a wild man from the distant lands of his kingdom. The story of the battle of Gilgamesh and Enkidu for Uruk is a story that is over 4,000 years old. Uruk was believed to be in a land called Sumer, which many historians have cited as the location of the Garden of Eden, this is the place from which God had expelled Adam and Eve for disobeying him.
As long as there has been a man walking the earth, it would be safe to say that there has been some form of wrestling. There are more than 50 variations of the wrestling that are practiced around the world today in more than 150 countries. Wrestling is a sport that is talked about in the Bible and that is participated all over the world from towns to the Olympic Games with more than 40 centuries of history to keep it together. The people who participate in it and the characteristics that are built by participating in what may be the most demanding sport known to mankind also make it independent.
The basics of hard fighting begin with simply choosing to fight. Both Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were known as fighters of considerable skill. The idea of choosing wrestling is difficult, but many educators promote the sport as an ideal way to instill discipline and values that will enable people to be successful in life. While you can choose to play some of the most popular sports like basketball, baseball, and soccer, fighting demands something of you at every practice or event. Every time a person struggles, you can expect to be pushed to the limit and you can expect to want to quit, but the struggle demands that you want to win more.
Understanding tenacity and building confidence are fundamental attributes that any fighter has to strive to obtain. Understanding toughness is the difference between giving up and winning in many cases. It is the process of knowing that something hurts and knowing if that pain will prevent you from training, training and winning in the competition. It is overcoming setbacks and being in front of an opponent knowing that they are nothing special, no matter the circumstances. Developing confidence goes hand in hand with understanding toughness, as a fighter you have to build from the pain and torments of training. You have to feel the rigors that a fighter will endure and understand that today’s pain is making him a successful champion when the whistle blows. The confidence built through physical preparation cannot be given with a game plan executed in one day, rather it is a daily plan that will let you know that no one could have trained harder.
Dan Gable is mentioned over and over again, as expected in a book on tough wrestling, as his fighting and training style was one of tenacity and honest destruction. His focus and dedications are those from which the legend was born. This same intensity carried over to what is known as “Gable’s Boys” in the wrestling world, as he never chose what he would call the best wrestlers as much as the wrestlers who matched his style. Then he took the time to destroy those fighters to turn them back into a better mold, a Gable mold that he was confident they could pressure their opponents to fight their way – the Gable way.
Gable taught concentration and determination to all of his athletes through preparation. However, this requires one thing from the participants, commitment and dedication to your goals. This is something that many coaches have come to understand by observing successful athletes, but in the case of wrestlers, this can be spoon fed a second killer at a time. Each takedown is the one that wins the game, each exercise is that point or a desperate situation, the pin you need to win. These small goals lead to bigger goals: state titles; national titles; World Championships; and the Olympics. While fighting hard, it is important that you have to want it before each practice before you can set the intensity level to go that far.
Bear Bryant was known as one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, winning 6 national titles. He also held the sport of wrestling in high regard, requiring each player to participate in wrestling during their spring training, to prepare them both physically and mentally. When it comes to preparation, the fight brings a person to the outer limits of himself and comes face to face with surrendering or pushing forward against a person.
The will, the will to win and wanting to win has to be ingrained in the mind of a fighter. The Brands brothers were known to “want” to achieve their goals, writing affirmations and stating what the future held. Several great fighters had the same belief that it was all a matter of wanting it so badly that you brainwashed yourself by affirming it over and over again. This is the mentality of a fighter, many great fighters like Bill Koll and Dan Gable were known for their intensity and brainwashing mentality that seemed to put them elsewhere.
Talent is good, but giving it something extra is important, especially when your opponent is likely working while you’re out of season and wants it just as bad. Talent without hard work will leave you drained and exhausted against an opponent who is committed to hard work and is willing to work harder than you. Hard work leads to the ability to rise to the occasion and bring a new level of intensity to the competition and to your opponents. Plus, with that extra effort, a fighter who has worked hard will have built mental toughness that can be constantly developed and improved. Those buffs can affect other abilities and attributes that will only make you a better and more talented fighter.
The ability to pay the price of victory is paramount. John Smith and Dan Gable did not compromise on relationships as they sought excellence in wrestling. Not hanging out with friends or just being so consumed with victory can weigh heavily on an athlete, and with the fight, the mental gas tank will be challenged. In practice, a fighter has to be willing to take himself to a higher level where he can put aside all setbacks and life that passes. After putting the thoughts aside, then they should be ready to get hit against the mat over and over again or to fight an opponent who is ready to push you onto the mat. Wrestling is paying the price, and when you’ve paid that price, everything else in life is easy.
Fighting hard is a mindset, a winning mindset. If you’re looking for a magic bullet or the latest self-help fad, you won’t find it. If you are looking to change everything about yourself and how you approach life as a whole, learn what it is to fight hard. Fighting hard is a mindset that, by applying hard work, success will follow. Fighting hard is about looking deep into yourself and being critical of what you do as an athlete, since you are a competitive swimmer or wrestler, there is something about the wrestling mindset that benefits you.
Develop a positive attitude. Developing a point of view that if you want it enough you will have it is good, but the ability to know that if you want it and work hard enough you will get it. Coaches such as Dan Gable, Pat Summit, John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, and Bear Bryant expressed the benefit of having a highly confident team that had been tested through physical preparation to the point that powerful, confident mental acumen leads to success. Presidents, statesmen, ancient kings and many more believed in the benefits of wrestling and its ability to create a mental vacuum that aspired to success. Values and confidence built from one of the most demanding sports humanity has ever participated in can only lead to better life skills and a brighter future.
Dan Gable once said, “Wrestling isn’t for everyone, but it should be.”