What defines a great sportsperson? There is the obvious answer; being very good, exceptional, at their chosen sport. There are many world class sportsmen and women. I define world class as being of a high enough level of competency to compete on the world stage, regardless of the sport.
I can tell you what is most valuable to you. Health, of course, is very important, without your health life is pretty miserable. As well as one’s physical health, one’s mental health is also of paramount importance. Still, neither is the most valuable commodity.
In our consumer crazy world, we purchase items, subscriptions, take holidays, accumulate stuff at a ferocious rate, hoarding phones, computers, televisions, buying designer clothes, going organic, because it looks good and buying fresh produce, having a night out at the cinema, theatre or just out for a meal, all of these things and experiences add to one’s life and general enjoyment. In that respect, all of the aforementioned is valuable.
There is definitely something to be said for one’s approach to a situation affecting its outcome, or should I say perceived outcome. How things, events, in a life are recalled depends on the eyes, feelings and perceptions of the person relating the event. A torturer will have a totally different account of the time spent doing the deed than that of the tortured. That is not to say one version is wrong or remembered incorrectly, it is just different perspectives.
For anyone who has lived around other people for more than twenty years, there are some unequivocal facts that would have been observed. One; we are all the same, as in there is a normal expectation of what you expect to see of the human animal when you visit another country or different place. There is no Three Armed Land or Giraffe Neck Island. There is not even a land of Amazons, no matter how much we men wish there was.
It is pretty common knowledge that human characteristics are heavily influenced by our childhoods. Even as we learn and absorb stimuli and gain experiences, there are still the many forgotten moments that are embedded in our psyche that influence our actions and behaviours.
Ricky Hatton, the former light-welterweight and welterweight boxing world champion, famously earned the nickname Ricky ‘Fatton’ for his penchant for gaining an enormous amount of weight between his fights. He would walk around, fat of face and rotund of body, quipping his way through social functions and television appearances. Come fight night he would be ripped and ready.
It all begins in the head. Everything, good and bad. Wake up and check the time: it’s five forty-five in the morning, fifteen minutes before your alarm is due to go off. First thought; argh! Only fifteen minutes! I’m shattered, I just want to stay in bed – that Monday vibe – or: fifteen minutes? Great! Thirty push-ups, thirty crunches, thirty squats! Boom! Ready for the day!
There are not many sporting endeavours that are as fair or test the limits of personal ability like combat can. Whether it is boxing, one of the many martial arts or something a bit more archaic such as fencing or jousting, there is always a chance for both participants. Combat sports not only test and push you physically. One has to overcome mental limitations when it comes to fighting. Especially with the striking arts, there’s nothing quite like getting hit in the face to test your resolve in a pressurise situation.
It is an unfortunate side effect of blanket media and social media, that physical fitness and one’s appearance is such a dominant aspect when it comes to fitness. Especially for younger people, with advertising and the use of actors/models targeting their demographic, there seems a societal pressure to conform to certain norms.
The elements needed to live a physically healthy life are as follows: eat good, wholesome food in moderation, abstain from alcohol, do regular exercise, get seven to eight hours sleep a night, preferably retiring at the same time each night. Keep stress to a minimum, live on into your eighties, barring illness or mishap. Easy. Not the life interesting biographies are made of, but that all depends on what you want out of life and living.