Leggo My Ego

I’ve been waiting for this night for seven years! I write about ego in NIGHTFALL, talk about it, how it can affect choices. I don’t actually lecture about it, making the narrative a freaking lecture, which was how I felt Dan Brown was doing in THE SYMBOL. I just weaved the affects of ego through the narrative, hoping that I’ve communicated my views through subtext.

Broke Back

Broke Back

Tonight was a historic night.

One of the most talked about UFC fights was UFC 162, Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman (pictured left). Silva (pictured right) has been the reigning middle weight (185 lb) champion for the past seven years. In mixed martial arts (MMA), that is unheard of because no one has accomplished that, save Silva.

I’ve always felt that Silva had an ego, though you'd never know with the words he uses. Like a shark that can sense blood from a thousand miles away, I can sense a person's ego. We see evidence of Silva's arrogance in his previous fights when he taunts his opponents, giving little respect, despite the fact that he says he respects every single opponent.

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Actions speaks louder than words. Women know this. I know this. Does this make me a woman?

Silva’s fights always starts with some form of reading his opponent, where they’ll attempt some form of attack, but Silva always evades, doing calculations like a supercomputer, reading their reach, timing, rhythm, skill, mind set, etc. And once he’s done with his calculations, he pounces and often finishes his opponents in the second round.

When the main event of UFC 162 started, I saw Silva come out, completely relaxed. Weidman charges to the middle of the octagon, also relaxed. In spite of Weidman, who is a very accomplished wrestler, taking Silva to the mat, the champion easily evaded all submissions attempts and got back to his feet. A few moments later, Silva’s supercomputer was on its way to finishing the calculations. I know this because when the champion starts taunting the challenger, he'd figured out Weidman. My body reacted from watching all of Silva's other fights, expecting a huge knock out finish of the challenger. From my point of view, Weidman seemed lost, but he also looked relaxed, a good thing. End first round.

Here’s the important part. When the second round began, Silva came out and taunted Weidman again. When Weidman tried to strike, Silva would dodge and move as if the challenger had nothing on him. The champion even pretended he was hurt when a punch grazed by his cheeks, an expert at going with the flow of punches, making him very difficult to knock out. More taunting, show boating ensued, something the fans of the UFC, and me, were used to.

Then it came. Weidman threw a combination, which was a little messy but worked because a half-hearted back fist had forced Silva’s head to flow left, and he blinked. Weidman quickly followed it with a punch to the chin, knocking down (out even as Silva’s eyes rolled up) the former champion. Weidman then followed Silva with punches to the ground to make sure he was done.

Knocked Tha Ef Out

Knocked Tha Ef Out

So this is a long diatribe about how ego can be anyone’s downfall. I’m not saying I don’t have one, but I’m aware of it enough to not let it step in front of me and control my actions. Most of the time.

Ego has brought down civilizations, religions war over which god is better killing millions upon millions, corporations have withered away when the focus is on material wealth rather than serving the people. Sometimes it takes time. I mean, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it took a damn long time before it fell. Israel is still a subject of huge contention. Blackberry and Microsoft were caught with their pants down when Apple released the iPhone.

I’ve written how I’ve left my martial arts school because I didn’t believe in them anymore, their form of teaching, and the egos displayed in every inch of that school. They commented on my website, trying to dissuade me from my opinion, and as I’ve written here, I don’t read reviews unless I’ve solicited for it. My former school, on the other hand, have changed part of their system to accommodate for my criticism, and failed because they simply didn’t understand my article and the simple truth about how humans learn physical movement. The crazy part is that article listed simple things they could do to improve their student’s abilities. Dorks.

Yes, I do have a spy there. And they will never figure out whom. If they did, oops. Sorry, dude. Or dudet.

Is It Too Late?

In researching warrior societies for my book, a commonality is they started training at preadolescence.  There weren't any real exceptions for good reason.  All of thesocietiesI focused on stemmed from hundreds to thousands of years ago where men had to protect or fight for what they had. Native Americans had to protect their villages.  Scots fought for their land and freedom during the English occupation.  Samurai fought for their warlords during Japan's monarchy.  Spartons threw their young into the agoge to become Greece's special forces.

Life was treacherous.  As a result, fighting became a necessity.

But do you have to start at a young age to be good at anything?  It seems that a lot of successful people of today started their endeavors when they were children.  Michael Jackson is a good example.  The turn out for his remembrance is a tribute to his passion and hard work.  But look at the other brothers.  What happened to them?

What about the colonel?  That's right.  The man who made fried chicken a staple in America?  Did he start frying poultry when he was young?  He had a variety of jobs that had little to do with flightless birds.  It wasn't until his late forties that he started a cafe, and his fried chickens had become popular.  Then at the ripe young age of sixty six did he start selling franchises, which of course spawned the empire all chickens fear today.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is about to have its 100th pay per view show this weekend.  The heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar, started to train how to fight just a few years ago.  It's fair to say that a lot of great fighters on the UFC roster started when they were young.  And Lesnar is highly talented as an athlete.  But the one thing the UFC has proven over and over again is talent and experience has little to do with winning.  More than hard work, it's a mindset forged under the heat of severe competition.

For Lesnar to become the heavyweight champion in four fights, which is amazing in its own right, he had to overcome some very experienced and gifted fighters.  In listening to his many interviews, he always knew his unproven ability to win, worked extremely hard, and approached both his fights and training with an intelligence that some heavyweights ignored.  A lot of them relied on their weight and size to prevail.

He scoffed at critics who said he was too green for the sport of mixed martial arts, that he needed experience before he could even challenge the prior champion, and, despite his explosiveness and size, knew he had to learn quickly with a furious pace.

Is it ever too late to start anything?

Yes.  When you're dead.