Martial arts is truly the greatest equalizer. Your only weapons against your opponent are your strength, determination, and technique – there’s no padding, no mask to hide behind; it’s brutally honest. Perhaps this is why we look up to this particular group of martial artists. They have been able to overcome insurmountable odds that would have the average man immediately walk away in defeat.
Today, Evolve Daily shares the stories of 6 Of The Most Inspirational Martial Artists:
Bruce Lee, Jeet Kun Do
“Be like water, my friend.”
From his unrelenting work ethic to his deep, existential philosophies, Bruce Lee remains to be one of the most revered martial artists of all time. Many martial artists look to his deep knowledge as inspiration in their own training, in the hopes that they may one day emulate his skills.
Muhammad Ali, Boxing
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
One of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali was also known for his outspoken nature, speaking out against the Vietnam War and of his prowess in the ring. He is also regarded as a figurehead in the fight for racial equality and religious freedom, and as a spokesperson for Parkinson’s disease.
Dan Gable, Wrestling
“Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.”
With a 182-1 collegiate record, 1971 World Gold Medal, and a 1972 Olympic Gold Medal (which he achieved without surrendering a single point), no one can doubt Dan Gable’s talent. Gable also went on to be a successful wrestling coach at the University of Iowa. His mental focus and dedication to the sport is unparalleled. After his first loss in college, he immediately went back to training and went on to win the Olympics. If that’s not amazing, what else is?
Manny Pacquiao, Boxing
“I’m just a regular person who believes life is simple, and I like a simple life.”
A true rags-to-riches story, Manny Pacquiao’s story is one of the most inspiring. A doughnut vendor at 13 years of age, Pacquiao escaped poverty by boxing his heart out. Even after his recent losses, he remains a hero to not only the Filipino people but to many others around the world as well. He is the first and only eight-division world champion and one of the highest paid athletes around the world.
Nick Newell, MMA
“Whether you want to be the best at your job, or at sports, just do your best. Give it everything you have.”
Even though Nick Newell was born with a congenital amputation of his left arm, it did not stop him from joining his high school wrestling team. Newell went on to win over 300 matches in both high school and college wrestling before deciding on a career in MMA. Today, Newell has 13 wins and 1 loss and is the recipient of the WSOF Submission Of The Year in 2013.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, MMA
“I can’t get married yet ’case I’m short on cash. But one thing I’m sure of: I’m happy.”
To say that Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has had quite the colorful past is an understatement. After a rough childhood on the streets of Cariacica, Souza’s life took a drastic change after witnessing one of his best friends get shot. Two years later, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Henrique Machado spotted Souza skillfully playing football on the streets, piquing his curiosity. He then took Souza under his wing and into his home, coaching him until he became one of the best BJJ competitors in history. Today, Souza fights in the UFC, where he has earned distinctions such as “Submission of the Night” and “Fight Of The Night”. He is also currently the #4 ranked middleweight in the UFC.
There is no doubt that there is so much more to martial arts than meets the eye. The underlying principle of martial arts; a warrior spirit that conquers adversity, truly inspires even those who do not practice martial arts. Should we ever feel lost in our martial arts journey, we can most certainly look back at these fighters’ stories as inspiration to do better.