“The Fighter’s Mind” Quotes

I recently read “The Fighter’s Mind: Inside The Mental Game” by Sam Sheridan. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. As always, if you like the quotes, please buy the book here.

Fighters Mind Cover“Rediscoveries are common among philosophers; the human mind moves in a circle around its eternal problems.” -A.J. Liebling (vii)

“The more you look around, the more you see that everyone is fighting something.” (vii)

“It’s a battle of will, and nothing destroys will like fatigue.” (6)

“There’s always another level. People may not understand it, may not be able to grasp it, but there’s always another level.” (13)

“Dan Gable says, ‘Breaking somebody is the gaol. You get him to quit trying to win, he tries to survive.’” (19)

“Mark DellaGrotte says, ‘At the end of a hard training session, I have them all walk around with their hand up, because they’re all winners and they’re all MY winners.’” (48)

“Take your enemy from where he wants to be, make him fight your fight.” (53)

“Liborio says, ‘Accept you can lose, you can not perform. Take this big bag of rocks out of your backpack, take the pressure off, and you’ll do better. Once you understand that, man, you can do well.’” (70)

“Especially in a bad position you have to become a perpetual motion machine.” (72)

“Marcelo says, ‘Maybe I am not better than my opponent, but I know for sure I love my training more.’” (75)

“I asked Nino, ‘How did you get good at submissions from all these different positions?’ He said he looked at all the bad positions, all the spots where he wasn’t strong, and tried to figure out a submission from there. He doesn’t fight to get into the right position – he learns and practices submissions from positions he’s uncomfortable in.” (75)

“Nino Schembri says, ‘I take what they give me and make a strong position out of a weak one.’” (75)

“The great ones are fanatical students, analyzing positions and all the tiny adjustments that make a position or a sweep work. The difference between a regular student of jiu-jitsu and the great players is the dedication to studying the game.” (75)

“I start to think that maybe it’s the other way around, that you can’t be great without humility. The most humble guys, who are the most open and willing to learn, are the ones who become the best.” (81)

“The defining moment for a fighter isn’t victory, but the way he deals with defeat.” (92)

“There’s no easy way. You gotta take a lot of beatings.” (101)

“Pat said, “It’s the guys who go to the breaking point again and again and don’t give up. It’s up to you. SUre, some guys are in it to be a fighter, or to be part of a team, or get girls and be on TV. But there are guys who honestly know that if they don’t give up they’re going to be world champion. THe real guys know if they keep at it they can win a title. I would always mentally convince myself there’s no other option.” (102)

“Nothing can replace natural self-discipline; nothing can replace time in the gym. Andre loved boxing, and you have to love it to be great. To compete at the highest level requires eight or ten years of groundwork, going to the gym and working to get better every day, day in and day out, with no end in sight. You have to love the journey.” (112)

“Randy says, ‘When I’m done learning I’m done winning.’” (137)

“I tell that to friends or people I meet who want to be writers or artists, anybody who wants to do something different, a job without security. Don’t let it be anxiety; let that uncertainty generate excitement.” (138)

“Kenny Florian says, ‘My goal is to beat the hell out of the last Kenny Florian I fought.’” (158)

“It comes around to an important facet of fighting: acknowledging your identity and working to make it the best version of you.” (158)

“Kenny says, ‘You need to have a brutal honesty with yourself. Did I do everything possible to win that fight? What didn’t I do? And analyze honestly, without bias, from a technical standpoint. And then ask yourself, ‘Did I do everything in my training to prepare?’’” (161)

“Frank said, ‘Imagine if you did that to every person you came in contact with? You put yourself underneath them to learn? I always stay a student.’” (177)

“Sometimes the best way to beat a guy is to go into his strengths, not his weakness, to go where he doesn’t expect you, where he feels so confident he’s vulnerable.” (194)

“Josh wrote in The Art of Learning: ‘In every discipline, the ability to be clearheaded, present, cool under fire is much of what separates the best from the mediocre.’” (194)

“You have to get down and dirty and battle with yourself. I am just like everyone else. My work can be great but I’m nothing special. If you don’t win that one, you’re finished as an artist, a student, a fighter.” (197)

“Greg says, ‘You do brutal workouts to get used to suffering so that suffering doesn’t become a huge defining deal.’” (207)

“There’s always a point at which people will break. That’s why you trian mental toughness. Everyone will break – there’s not a man alive that can’t be broke. Your job, with all that mental training, that suffering, is just to push your own line of mental breaking so far back your opponent can’t find it. Then you take your opponent and get him to cross his line.” (210)

“Greg says, ‘If they lose, I get broken up and emotional, but I recover and go back to the process. The fight is only fifteen minutes, the process is months, years. If it was just about the fight I’d have a miserable life.’” (221)

“John says, ‘Anger can take you away from your goal. You can get caught up in a desire for revenge, which distracts you. Experienced fighters will create this in opponents.’ To John, what sets the top guys apart is the idea of ‘relaxed poise.’ He says, ‘The single definitive feature of the uberathlete is a sense of effortlessness in a world where most men grutn and strive and scream. It comes easy to the best, and what creates that? I think it’s a sense of play. No fear or anxiety about their performance. Like when the first time you ever drove a car, you came out seating and exhausted. Now when you drive a car it’s effortless and smooth. Fear and anger are motor inhibitors.” (237)

“Renzo said, ‘Now, everything is much clearer, you don’t waste time or strength, you just go straight to the point.’” (238)

“Renzo says, ‘The guy outweighed me by thirty kilos, and I thought, I’m gonna be here all night. If I can’t finish him, we’ll be here tomorrow morning. Because I don’t give a fuck, I’m not giving up. I’m going ot see how he’s gonna make me quit. It’s impossible.’” (239)

“Peter said, ‘Some artist said that when you start to work, every artist you ever cared about is in the studio with you. One by one, they leave. Finally, you leave, too. Then the work happens.’” (246)

“Concentration comes with the hidden cost of diminished creativity.”

“It’s a misunderstanding of Musashi, that if you adopt that proper philosophy and ‘be like water’ or ‘fear nothing,’ you don’t need to practice ten hours a day for fifteen years.” (256)

“There are no shortcuts but a lifetime of study. There are no easy ways but obsession.” (257)

“Once you’ve devoted a lifetime to study then the important thing is to get out of your own way and not screw yourself up by thinking.” (259)

“You have to be simple, uncomplicated, pure, just to have a shot at falling into that zone state. And of course you need your ten thousand hours, too. Jordan and Kobe worked harder in the gym than everyone else.” (267)

“We choose things that are against our own best interests because the freedom to make that choice is more important than those interests.” (279)

“Carlo laughed and continued, ‘It helps explain why there is no money, because you get paid in satisfaction.’” (281)

“My first serious art teacher used to say, in his said voice, ‘We draw because we want to be loved.’” (283)

“Fighting is a way for the unwise, the damaged, and the angry men and women to find wisdom. It makes you a better person.” (283)

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