American Pugilist

The Fighter’s Spirit

Boxing is a skill. You can teach someone how to box. Fighting skills of all kinds can be learned with dedication and persistence, although they seem to come more easily to some than others. I should know. I have been in boxing training for two years now, and am still struggling to get my form right. I’ll get there, eventually. 

But while you can teach someone to fight, you can’t teach someone to have the spirit of a true warrior. You cannot teach heart or courage. A person either has it, or he doesn’t. It’s an elusive quality, but when it does appear, it can be found in both genders, and in all ages, races, and nationalities. 

One of the best things about it is that you never know where it will show up. The fighter’s spirit may come in the form of a soldier who is willing to risk his life for his country, or it may show up in a local small business owner who is brave enough to say, “No, I won’t comply with government tyranny anymore,” and thus risk losing his livelihood to do what’s right (we saw some of that this past year in America, though less of it than I’d hoped).

Sometimes the fighter’s spirit reveals itself in a seven-year-old girl tearing off her mask to stand up to a school board, proclaiming the truth that “God made us to be free people, and we aren’t being free here!” Sometimes it is the voice of a President with the battle cry “Make America Great Again.” 

The Fighter’s Spirit is the American Spirit.

Not all ring and cage fighters have the fighter’s spirit. And not everyone with the heart of a warrior wants to physically fight. Very rarely, a person will possess both the physical skills and the heart, and these rare souls become legends. But most boxers and MMA fighters are simply athletes, not legends. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Athleticism is an admirable skill, and combat sports are a beloved national pastime. 

But it is the enigmatic fighting spirit that inspires, endures, and ultimately propels humanity forward. It manifests into possible what before seemed impossible. It is awe-inspiring, truth-inducing and has the power to move us to action. The fighter’s spirit is what our greatest human stories and triumphs are made of. It is how the United States of America came into existence. 

Look at our history. Founding a new country and securing freedom from the British took fortitude, planning, and all-out war. But none of that would have been possible unless a few brave men (most of them under the age of 30!) who possessed the uncommon hearts of fighters, together declared, NO! No, they would not live under a monarchy’s thumb any longer, nor would they surrender. They had courage, and they put that courage into action. The American colonists may have been outnumbered in 1775, but in the end, they triumphed over the most powerful military force of their time. 

That is what the fighter’s spirit can do. It always has and it always will. It cannot be broken, worn down, or conquered. It endures. Look for it when you’re feeling weary. I promise you’ll find it in the most unexpected people and places. And when you do spot it, expect nothing less than greatness. Just maybe, the fighter’s spirit may even live in you.