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The Way of the Fight

The Way of the Fight

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The Way of the Fight

valutazioni:
4.5/5 (10 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
257 pagine
4 ore
Pubblicato:
Apr 23, 2013
ISBN:
9780062195678
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From the world’s most popular UFC fighter, Georges “Rush” St. Pierre, comes a startlingly honest portrait of a fighter’s journey, highlighting the lessons that propelled his rise from bullying victim to internationally celebrated athlete and champion.

There’s more to winning battles than fists and feet

For world-renowned professional fighter Georges St-Pierre, the greatest asset is not physical strength or athleticism—it’s a sense of purpose. From his beginnings as a small, mercilessly bullied child first discovering karate to his years as a struggling garbage collector who spent all his free time in the gym, his hard-fought rise in the sport of mixed martial arts, and his long, painful recovery from a career-threatening injury, Georges never lost sight of his ambition to become the greatest martial artist of all time. In The Way of the Fight, Georges for the first time reveals what propelled him not only to become a champion but to embrace obstacles as opportunities to build character.

The Way of the Fight is an inspirational look into the mindset of a master. To Georges, all life is competition, and there’s no more perfect metaphor for competition than the life of a fighter. He explains the value of discipline, risk and even fear, with the wisdom of one who knows that nothing is assured—his next fight could always be his last. Drawing inspiration from fighting legends, Eastern philosophy and a trusted inner circle, The Way of the Fight is a powerful, life-changing guide to living with purpose and finding the way to accomplish your loftiest goals.

Pubblicato:
Apr 23, 2013
ISBN:
9780062195678
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

GEORGES ST-PIERRE, from Montreal's South Shore, is the current reigning welterweight champion of the UFC. He practices various fighting disciplines, including wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and karate. He won his first amateur bout at age 16. In 2006, he became the UFC Welterweight Champion; he lost the title in 2007 but regained it in front of his hometown fans in 2008. He has not lost a single title defense since then. He is now recognized as one of the best pound-for-pound MMA fighters and all-around athletes in the world, and he is a three-time Canadian Athlete of the Year. Follow him on twitter @GeorgesSPierre.


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Anteprima del libro

The Way of the Fight - Georges St-Pierre

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Every Single Morning Takes Root the Night Before

In the calm and quiet of darkness, I move across my apartment—through the living room, before windows that look over the river and into the city. The dark gray and blue waters flow toward me and past, but only if I pause to look. I rarely ever do. It disrupts the routine.

I part the blinds and reach for the curtain rods, hung low beneath an eight-foot ceiling, and check that my hand wraps are drying. I run my fingers up and down, flattening the fabric. I set and reset them along the rod so they’ll hang down perfectly; so they’ll hang flat and creaseless; so the day’s efforts will evaporate.

I move to the washing machine. I empty the contents of my workout bag. Another load off.

Back by the balcony, I crouch down and place my gloves before the electric fan, which spins and rotates, left and right, doomed to starting over. They’re lined up perfectly, my gloves, like soldiers at attention, like pieces from a puzzle waiting to be placed, like someone wants to take their picture, like geometry that matters.

I stand and turn back to the entrance to gather my carryall bag and fill it for tomorrow. Always tomorrow. Workout shorts, two pairs. Training shirts, three, sometimes four of them. Workout shoes. Gloves for the octagon, and then another pair for the ring. Shin guards. An athletic support, more hand wraps and athletic tape. That usually does it.

From the desperately barren kitchen cupboards I choose an empty water bottle. From the refrigerator I select a protein powder, lots of it. Then I exit, having little other use for this part of the home. I leave the bag by the door—aligned with the console table, near my keys, wallet and phone—and head to the bedroom. I walk into the closet and glimpse at the clothes I own. Most of these items are gifts—sneakers and a few suits I keep for public appearances and special events. I recognize myself in the same jeans and the same plain T-shirts I rotate from day to day. A black one, sometimes a white one.

I kneel down to gather a shoe. I catch the glimmer of my first championship belt. It’s lying across the ground, in the corner, gathering time. I pick it up—the shoe—and take him and his brother over to the clothes I’ve folded and placed on a bench, waiting for the morning. Then I brush my teeth and walk over to my bed.

Now I pray.

There’s a spirit there, a presence I can feel, and we have these nightly conversations. I know exactly what I want and what I’m asking for. What I’m hoping for. Then I lie there, just another shape in the dark. Sometimes, depending on the position of the moon, I see shadows of these other shapes cutting across the wall and ceiling. The outline of a prehistoric shark’s tooth, sitting on my dresser. A T. rex statue, growing when pressed against a beam of light. Japanese cutting swords, two of them, hopelessly waiting to be handled.

And I lie there, at least an hour and often two, as implacable thoughts bounce from the shadows into my head and reverberate against my skull.

The torment of night.

Out of the corner of my eye there appears the only meaningful physical object in my life: a unicorn. A porcelain myth, a twisted horn, a symbol of purity left to me by my godmother when she died. A statuette and a few looping scribbles—words she composed about a boy who’ll turn into a man, and how she wished she could be there, how she imagines the life he’ll live and the girls and dreams he’ll chase.

Eventually, rest comes and, finally, sleep.

With light comes movement. Before the alarm has an opportunity to scream, my eyes open, searching aimlessly before my mind awakes. The first thoughts inside my head are that day’s training. Where I must go, what time I must be there, with whom I’ll be training, my goals for the day. Life is a program now, a schedule, a balancing act etched into my brain. The written schedule I used to refer to is redundant now. I don’t even know where it is.

I rise, I brush and I leave—all within five minutes. Sometimes, with a few minutes to spare, I’ll eat a bowl of gruel. A holdover from earlier days when nutrition was subject to meager finances.

I’m out.

I take the elevator down to the basement. My big black truck pulls out of the lot on its own. Windows down or up, the sound of hip-hop is surely loud enough to charm my neighbors.

Breakfast—lots of eggs with training partners/friends—and then directly to the first workout of the day. It can consist of wrestling, boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, gymnastics, sprinting, Muay Thai, karate or a combination of any of the above. It can last an hour or two. In slow motion or at top speed. Then a shower, and another round of food, then rest, including a nap for forty-five minutes to an hour.

Then comes the second workout of the day. It can also take the form of wrestling, boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, gymnastics, sprinting, Muay Thai, karate or a combination, and can take an hour or two, in slow motion or at top speed. And then a shower, and more food with friends—always with friends.

Then the truck takes me home via the same route as the night before. I park and ride the elevator from the garage up to the ground floor. I walk through the lobby and salute the doorman, the only constant hello I get in what otherwise feels like an anonymous building. I walk to the next elevator bank, punch in my floor number, and head up to my little place that’s barely halfway to the penthouses. I walk into the apartment, head straight to the washing machine and remove the objects from my bag. I begin to prepare for tomorrow.

Always tomorrow.

The Idea for This Book . . .

. . . first came to me on the day I realized I was going to need major surgery. I chose that day for a reason, and it’s a really simple one: because from that day onward I would be inventing the rest of my life. In eight months of surgery, recovery, therapy and training, I would define the new version of me and leave my old shell behind. I would put into practice everything I’d learned in the past three decades, and incorporate new knowledge from the people and the world around me.

In other words, I would be attempting to prove everything I say in this book.

What this means is that I’m laying the groundwork for guaranteed success even before I know the outcome of my return to the octagon.

How? By facing my own fears, by setting a clear goal, by working toward it with all the mental and physical effort possible, and by accepting the result no matter what happens. You see, the outcome of my next fight is not determined in the octagon. It’s determined in the weeks and months before the fight, when I’m getting ready for it.

In my loss to Matt Serra, my pride hurt me. When he connected with a good head shot, I should have backed off and got my wits about me, but I didn’t. I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. My ego didn’t like it. Instead, all I could think was, Wow, I’ve been rattled by this little guy. Wow, I can’t let that happen. I need to get him out RIGHT NOW! So the real mistake was pride. Getting hit with a good shot should not have been a surprise, and it wouldn’t have been if I had prepared for it.

As Aristotle wrote a long, long time ago, and I’m paraphrasing here, the goal is to avoid mediocrity by being prepared to try something and either failing miserably or triumphing grandly. Mediocrity is not about failing, and it’s the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying. The reason is achingly simple, and I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

My goal here is to write the greatest book ever written, including these words about fear. It doesn’t make any difference that this happens to be the first book I’ve ever written. What matters most is the spirit in which it’s being written—and, quite simply, that it’s being written. The purpose is to become the best writer in my category (yes, page for page and pound for pound). I’m just not sure what the category is yet, and I’m not sure I should care.

The reason behind writing this book is that I’d like to find a way to tell you my story in a different way than it has already been told. In a way, my life can be explained through mathematics and equations. It’s really simple: from the moment I started learning and acquiring knowledge, I realized how much there was left to learn. About fighting. About diet. About love and life. About fear! About dinosaurs, even.

So the equation works like this: the more I learn, the less I know. Yes, more is less. That’s the way it works in my mind. And it applies to all of us, not just me. For me, that’s the secret to a big part of my life and how I became who I am.

Let me explain.

When you learn something—like how to make chili, for example—you acquire some real knowledge. Which ingredients to pick, how to prepare the meat, what order to place things in the pot, and how to use a secret ingredient. What happens, though, is that while you learn how to cook the beef and add the ingredients and put everything in the pot, you realize something: there is so much more to learn about cooking. There are so many other combinations for preparing the same meal. Some vary because of the cook, or the country, or the ingredients, or the taste.

So proportionally, even though you learned something new, you realize there is so much more you still don’t know about cooking. Therefore, you know less than you knew before.

MDs and PhDs live by the same rules: the more they learn about their field, the more they realize there is left to know. The good ones realize the beauty of this mystery, and they persist. What I try to do is put myself into as many learning situations as possible. When I see something new that I think I’ll like, I research it and see if and where I can fit it into my life.

That’s why I started doing gymnastics, for example. I’m sure there are a lot of MMA guys and fans who think it’s stupid and wimpy to do gymnastics. At least I used to think that way. I disregarded gymnastics and believed it was for other people. I was closed-minded.

The key for me is being open to the learning that comes from other sports. To me, seeking knowledge is like opening doors. The planet we live on is a succession of doors. And I know the doors are everywhere. As I grow older, I also happen to be rather aware of my astounding ignorance, and so I’ve come up with my own cure for a closed mind: try it once, and see.

The first thing I do, and it sounds simple, is figure out how to open one of the doors at a time. Let’s say the door is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The first door you open is stance, figuring out how to hold yourself upright. Once you open the door just a crack, you get to look and peek at what’s hiding behind it. You’ll get a first glimpse at what’s right there within your reach. Maybe it works for you or maybe not, that’s part of the deal. But know that it doesn’t have to open very far to trigger a reaction.

It’s all about curiosity. Sometimes you open the door wide and see right away that the knowledge there does not interest you. This happens to all of us, and it’s okay. For example, though I need to eat often and focus on healthy foods in my line of work, I know I don’t want to learn how to be a chef. I don’t have the time or desire to focus on it, considering my personal goals, so I let other people who are experts at cooking and have a strong nutritional knowledge base take care of making my food.

So, I guess essentially knowledge is about attraction. It’s about building a relationship with learning. If you don’t like what you’re learning, learn something different.

The truth is that I believe gymnasts are the best athletes in the world. I’ve been training at it for years now, but I still can’t do a fraction of what the good ones are able to do. The way they move and their ability to generate power from all kinds of different positions is simply amazing. It blows me away. Gymnasts can produce power from the most awkward positions. That’s important in martial arts too, because no opponent is going to move you to a more comfortable position.

There’s a kid who hangs around the gym whenever I go to train in gymnastics. He’s shorter than I am, much thinner too, and he doesn’t look powerful at all. Not even a little bit. But he makes me look weak. On my Facebook page I used to ask my fans to send me challenges. One day, one of my fans asked me if I could do a handstand push-up. That means leaning my knees on my elbows, with only my hands touching the ground, and pushing up. It requires power, strength and balance. Well, I couldn’t do it. But this kid, this scrawny gymnast, he could do it, and more than one. I stopped counting at fifteen, I think.

In Case You Don’t Have Time to Read . . .

. . . or don’t feel like reading the whole book, at least remember this: pick a goal, make a realistic plan to reach that goal, work through each step of the plan, and repeat.

If it seems like a simple concept, that’s because it is a simple concept. But it’s not so easy to execute. The reason I’m sharing my intimate stories and thoughts in a book is so that I can hopefully help foster what Aristotle called the greater good—by helping readers to be better. After I beat Jon Fitch, I told him it was the best thing that could’ve happened to him. I humbly submitted that the only way to see the defeat was as an opportunity to get better. That putting the defeat in a proper context would give him the same opportunities I’ve been afforded.

Another powerful Aristotelean term I heard used by a good friend is arete. It’s a Greek word with no real equivalent in any other language so far as I can tell, but basically arete is about looking into your own soul and not only discovering what it is that can make you great, but also identifying the source of that greatness and activating it every single day of your life. It’s the well you draw from when there’s no other resource. It’s the absolute truth that sits in the deepest part of your soul.

I hope that within these pages you’ll find some of the answers to your inner questions, but that’s not the whole point. The key, actually, is to get you to ask yourself all kinds of questions to which nobody knows the answers. Nobody but you.

This isn’t the only book out there that can help you become better at being who you were meant to be. But this one is my version, and I’ve decided to write it my way, which means that sometimes I’ll be telling you about injury rehab, while at other times the story will draw from anecdotes from three key periods in my life—childhood, the journey to becoming a fighter, and being the most authentic champion I can be. Sometimes I’ll take a few words to quote someone who inspires me. Other times I’ll break down the material in lesson format, with key steps and examples. Some of the stories or quotes I’ll share with you, I’ve carried with me for years; others I conjured with the help of friends and family quite literally while writing this book.

And I did not write it alone. There is a team behind this story—in fact there are many teams.

Something important for you to know is that I hire to my weaknesses. I’ve always looked to learn from experts who know more than I do. Kristof Midoux, John Danaher and Firas Zahabi are great examples of those who have helped me excel inside the octagon (and there are many more, including coaches and training partners). It’s the same outside the octagon. My team of Canadian and U.S. agents make things happen for the business side of my career, negotiating contracts, helping me build my anti-bullying foundation and playing a key role in my life in all things not directly related to fighting. The point is that I choose people close to me to help me put my life in to context and determine the most useful points. They help me find the best way to tell this story. They’ve kept me honest, I think.

L’homme libre est celui qui sait rêver, qui sait inventer sa propre vie. The free man knows how to dream and how to invent his own life. The philosopher Martin Gray said that. The first part of Gray’s quote I interpret as looking within yourself and imagining the greatest things you’ll ever do. The second part of the quote—knowing how to invent life—I interpret as the practical side of the equation. It’s about the plan you must develop to make the dream possible. It’s the preparation and work that have to be done to make it come true. Because dreams don’t get made overnight. I started karate when I was seven years old. It took almost two decades of constant practice and dedication to get a shot at the title. Twenty years! And to be perfectly honest with you, most of that time I had no real idea exactly where I was going. At first, I thought I was going to be a wrestler, like Hulk Hogan. One day, when you were nine, I found you watching wrestling on television, my mother recalls. "You turned to me and said: ‘One day there’ll be a bonhomme Georges (a Georges figurine).’ It really freaks me out when I think of that."

What isn’t in Martin Gray’s quote, though, is the journey. Because no two journeys are alike. Nobody can pretend to know the journey another person takes to achieve his dreams. There are billions of people on the earth, and every single path is different. Especially for those who are deliberately on the road to self-invention or reinvention. But we all have to rely on our feet and our eyes.

How I Structured This Book

The essence of the story is broken down into five major parts: Mother, Mentor, Master, Maven and Conscience. Each section is connected to the voice of someone who changed my life, who played a key role and helped me become who I am today.

Mother takes you into the world of my childhood and some of those early, shaping lessons. You’ll hear from . . . my mother. Mentor, which should also be known as the Ground Book, is where everything begins, and the voice is Kristof Midoux’s. Master—or what you might

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  • (5/5)
    Not a pure autobiography in the usual sense of the word, in this book St. Pierre writes about scenes from his life and some of his formative influences. As he describes them, these are the Mother, Mentor, Master, Maven and Conscience, which correspond to chapters about his childhood with comments from his maman (Mother), and then chapters with his first real sensei, Kristof Midoux (Mentor), his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teacher, John Danaher (Master), his coach, Firas Zahabi (Maven), and his friend, Rodolphe Beaulieu (Conscience). Ever the consummate professional, critics of St. Pierre's performance in the ring have complained that he lacks the killer instinct, saying that he plays it safe and doesn't take unnecessary risks. He wins, to be sure, but he doesn't finish opponents, or at least, he hasn't finished opponents since his 2009 fight against BJ Penn. After reading this book, I better understand why.St. Pierre is a master strategist, as well as a master tactician, and he understands how his opponents will fight. His objective is to get ahead on points so that his opponents are forced to take risks, while taking as few risks as possible himself. It is a successful strategy, and given the personal risk he faces every time he enters the octagon, (both physically, of getting badly hurt and financially, of losing purse money and endorsement contracts), who is to say that this approach is not sound? Not I. I think St. Pierre is one of the more intelligent fighters out there, and it's always a pleasure to watch him at work, disassembling an opponent's game plan and crippling their resolve and will to fight. You could see this most profoundly in the 2009 Penn fight, when Penn's corner literally threw in the towel, but you could also see it as recently as the 2013 Diaz fight, where Diaz stumbled through 5 rounds of a solid schooling in mixed martial arts at the hands of a master.More than a pure autobiography, this is a book of philosophy, in which St. Pierre explains his life philosophy as well as his fighting philosophy. A true polymath, St. Pierre incorporates many disparate elements from eastern teachings, history, geometry, anthropology and martial arts into his approach to life and work, and the combination is what makes him so special and so successful as a fighter. St. Pierre takes a much more analytical approach to life and work than most people, and certainly, most fighters. It is his continual drive to improve that makes him so successful, and also keeps him from the normal life that others enjoy. I got the very real sense of estrangement from St. Pierre as I read this book. He must keep an emotional distance from many others in his line of work, both because the profession is a demanding one requiring many hours of work each day, and because anyone who has enjoyed his level of success must be careful to limit access to his inner circle. The Japanese have a concept of masks - the public mask, that others see, and the private mask, that only few ever witness. With St. Pierre, his public mask is on almost all the time, and the glimpses of his private mask are tantalizingly few, granted only occasionally, and only to the privileged inner sanctum.It's a pity, really, because St. Pierre comes across as a very loyal, very intelligent, and very likable guy in this book, if tremendously driven. Almost obsessively driven, in fact. It would be interesting to get a glimpse behind the curtain, but it's unlikely that this will ever happen, at least so long as he is competing professionally in MMA. Too bad - he seems like the kind of person who would have some interesting things to say about history or physical anthropology.If you are hoping to understand what makes St. Pierre successful, this book will give you a bit of information that will cause you to re-watch his fights with a fresh eye. If you are hoping to understand what makes St. Pierre the man the way he is, this book will not give you much. The book is, after all, written for the public mask of GSP, the fighter and the brand, not Georges St. Pierre, the man.This book is as much about delivering on the GSP brand as all of his other very well-thought out marketing activities. As a person, St. Pierre understands that he is the product, and this book is intended to reinforce the brand rather than illuminate the person.Within these limitations, though, this was a surprisingly well written book, and a very enjoyable read. I suspect that not only followers of MMA would enjoy this book, but also scholars of philosophy, and anyone who wonders what it is that makes the truly successful succeed.A wonderful counterpoint to Sam Sheridan's The Fighter's Heart (Grove Press, ISBN 9780802143433) and The Fighter's Mind (Grove Press, ISBN 9780802145017), this book made me want to adopt some of St. Pierre's success strategies - - his visualization, and his goal setting, and his work ethic. As St. Pierre writes in his opening, every single morning takes root the night before. It makes me wonder what I can do tonight to make myself more successful tomorrow.
  • (4/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    Part memoir and part personal philosophy and manifesto, this is a fast and interesting read from a driven athlete and champion. GSP's book focuses on what drives him and what allows him to succeed at such a level in MMA, especially focusing on the psychology and the philosophy around all of it. The book gets a slow start and feels almost like a self-help book as GSP introduces his thoughts on survival, fear, and health, but it quickly moves beyond those moments and goes quickly into his journey toward becoming a professional athlete. At its heart, the book is about personal dedication to one's passion and chosen path--and finding that path--and in that way, any reader might benefit from it. Oddly, I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to. I went into it hoping to learn a little about MMA (and I did), but while I was skeptical of the work (based on the beginning), I ended up really appreciating the dedication and belief behind the work and the lifestyle. As someone who's slowly making a move toward putting my own passion above all other concerns/priorities (but for family), I could relate to many of the discussions here, especially toward the end when GSP starts discussing the feelings of isolation he experiences before a fight, and the manner in which he has to be careful of the people he surrounds himself with. Simply, this is a fast read, and entertaining. It's also an interestingly formatted memoir, and a work that testifies to the fact that a journey is what most matters, far more than any end result.Overall, recommended.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile