Ladies and gentlemen, I have a story to share with you today. It’s a story of a boy who fought through life’s toughest challenges to emerge victorious. I remember one Fourth of July, as the fireworks reflecting off the lake through the window slowly faded, the laughing gas & anesthesia began to take hold of my young mind. I was only 10 and I was being wheeled into emergency surgery due to gangrene poisoning from a botched appendix surgery 3 weeks prior.
I didn’t die, obviously, and the following year, The Karate Kid premiered, and it changed my life.
I’m just like you, a human being who has been dealt some tough hands in life. But I’ve done something extraordinary in pursuing building my passion, Scientific Wrestling, over twenty years, and it has earned me purpose, power, and respect beyond my wildest dreams. I learned from the world’s undisputed greatest legendary wrestlers and fighters and have been trusted with their legacy and sharing their teaching with the world.
I’ve had my fair share of setbacks in life, but I’ve never let them define me. When I was 15, I earned my black belt at Mile High Karate. But then I got nuked again. Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When I say nuked, I mean it literally. I endured 8 weeks of brutal radiation “therapy,” 4 very tough surgeries, and 6 months of chemotherapy.
The teenage body I’d built up to a strong 6’1″ and 165lbs withered down to 117lbs within two months. This was the same weight I was when I started Karate as a twelve-year-old! I became bitter and self-destructive; self-pity, drinking, drugs, and failing my classes at college.
But I found my way back. I stopped my self-destructive behaviors and began building myself up once again. I had no plan, but I did have a roommate who had been absolutely obsessed with skateboarding and Thrasher magazine. I didn’t like skateboarding at all, but my friend Michael was a good dude, and his obsessiveness was contagious.
He was doing great things and inspiring others with his obsession. And here I was, the first in my family to attend college, and on a Leadership scholarship, no less, but I was not a leader. I was a loser.
I set upon myself to find my own obsession, like my roommate had (he now runs Thrasher magazine as Editor-In-Chief)!
I whittled it down to a shortlist. I began modeling my friend’s obsession with skateboarding and applied it to martial arts. I studied everything I could from the library and bookstores. Between May of 1993 and 1994, my life radically changed, and I began working hard on my fitness and martial skill again. That same year, the UFC came out and I attended it live. It was like kerosene to the spark I started. My roommates must’ve noticed because that year, they threw me a birthday party where we had boxing matches in the half-pipe in our backyard. I beat everyone silly. Me!!! They even tried to grapple me, two-on-one, again I tapped them both (one with a triangle choke with my legs and the other with a sleeper using my arms). I started respecting myself again!! It was so powerful. That year changed the entire course of my life.
From this experience, I’ve developed five tips, strategies, and solutions that, when implemented correctly, will give you purpose, power, and respect too.
1) Deal in facts and measurable results. Allow yourself to be disgusted with yourself. Really look in the mirror and hold yourself to a higher standard.
2) Get obsessed and let that obsession drive you to become the best version of yourself. Sustained single-minded focus is the magic behind all great things.
3) Take calculated risks. Bet big on yourself, then take close notes as to what works and what doesn’t.
4) Put in the tremendous effort required to achieve big goals. This will require never quit levels of commitment and discipline.
5) You need people. You need mentors. You need a team. You need clients. You need people that trust you, and trust is earned through follow-through and living up to your agreements, especially with yourself.
These principles helped me build my legendary company Scientific Wrestling.
We’ve talked about the power of obsession and how it can lead to greatness. We’ve talked about taking calculated risks and betting big on yourself. We’ve talked about the tremendous effort and hard work that is required to achieve your goals. But none of that matters if you don’t have a community of people to support you and hold you accountable.
I know that life can be tough. It can be filled with challenges and setbacks, and it can be easy to lose hope and give up. No matter how difficult things may seem, I believe in your strength, your resilience, and your ability to overcome any obstacle. You don’t have to participate in surrender. You can win.
That’s why I want to share with you some wisdom from the art of wrestling. You see, wrestling is a lot like life. It requires discipline, determination, and the willingness to keep getting back up, no matter how many times you get knocked down. And just like in wrestling, the only way to get better at life is to keep trying.
So the next time you face a challenge or a setback, don’t give up. Don’t let fear or doubt hold you back. Remember: the only way to succeed is to keep trying. Do it again, and again, and again. Trust in yourself and your abilities, and know that I am with you every step of the way.
And when you couldn’t possibly do it again, just do it anyway…
So go out there, do it again. Not just once more. Just keep going. Persist. Persist past your lifetime and become a legend. Build your legacy.
Make mistakes, learn from them, and keep moving forward. That’s the only way to achieve the greatness born within you.