Teddy Atlas’ powerful motivation speech – A Song of Fear and Fire
Anyone who has ever faced adversity –- whether it be physical or mental –- has felt the crippling power of fear.
Fear can hinder a person’s ability to comprehend circumstances and solve problems. In the office, this could cause failure. In a sport, this could lead to a loss. In a fight, this could result in getting hit in the face.
The legendary boxing trainer Cus D’Amato understood the power of fear. Before he ever taught his fighters how to throw a jab, he sat them down to talk about fear. In his own words:
“Fear is like fire. You can make it work for you: it can warm you in the winter, cook your food when you’re hungry, give you light when you are in the dark, and produce energy. Let it go out of control and it can hurt you, even kill you… Fear is a friend of exceptional people… You must understand fear so you can manipulate it.”
[Cite: Fire & Fear: The Inside Story of Mike Tyson by Jose Torres]
Over 30 years after D’Amato’s death, his disciple, Teddy Atlas, carries this torch of fear management in the message he delivers to the fighters under his tutelage. Like all worthy disciples, Atlas has expanded upon his mentor’s teachings.
The following video shows a glimpse of Teddy Atlas’s approach to handling fear as if it were fire.
Atlas tells his fighters to be firemen. He teaches them that — like fire — fear is not something to run away from. Instead, fear should be an entity that we seek to control and extinguish. He states that a fighter must make himself comfortable with fear to the extent that fear “tells us that … we’re at home”.
Whether your fight is against a boxer, a martial artist or one of the countless obstacles life throws in your direction, the words of Teddy Atlas serve as a reminder that fear is a sign that you are moving in the right direction.
You can follow the classic Cus D’Amato approach, and befriend fear; or you can take the road paved by Teddy Atlas, and extinguish fear. Either way, as long as you don’t turn your back towards it, you will be embracing the mentality of a fighter.
The late Cus D’Amato (1908 – 1985) is considered to be one of the greatest trainers in the history of boxing. He trained former World Heavyweight Champions Floyd Patterson and, the legendary, Mike Tyson. [Source: Wiki]
Teddy Atlas trained as an amateur boxer under Cus D’Amato, then work with him as a trainer until 1982. Atlas has trained former World Heavyweight Champions, Michael Moorer and Alexander Povetkin. He currently trains former World Welterweight Champion, Timothy Bradley (shown in the video) [Source: Wiki]
About the author: Carlos Alejandrino is an avid martial artist and fight fan. He fights using the styles of Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, while incorporating any other techniques that he finds useful.