In Japan, he was known as the God of Pro Wrestling – Karl Gotch. There’s something to be said for an old man (I think he’s in his eighties now) who (indirectly) is responsible for the return to bodyweight-based training that’s so popular among trainers, martial artists, and Evil Russians. He’s the man responsible for the quote that titles this posting, which translates roughly to:
All great coaches understand this point inside and out. In athletics, the battle for the winner’s stand is a battle of attrition, and one often won by the most supremely conditioned athlete. Technique and skill plays a huge part in sports, but what happens if you and your opponent are evenly matched, or both at the top of the game? The man who hits hardest for the longest wins.
Most athletes at the top level understand this and make it a point to maintain top-level conditioning. Tim Grover punished Michael Jordan with ruthless workouts for years to ensure he would perform at the high level of physical prowess that he was known for (and feared for) on the court. Ali may have acted a fool during press conferences, but he had an unrelenting work ethic in the gym. Bruce Lee writes in The Tao of Jeet Kune Do, “Most beginning athletes are unwilling to drive themselves hard enough. They should punish themselves and then rest adequately, only to increase the output of effort after the rest.” (emphasis added by me)
Seems the top level guys are in agreement – you gotta work, and work hard!
Something to think about the next time you’re tempted to skip that harrowing set of squats, or miss a workout “because your head wasn’t in it.” You don’t want to be trying to “get your head in it” at the top of a 50 degree chute. It’s too late to regret not training hard enough when your lying on your back listening to the ref count to 10.
Do your homework before class.