51 Questions Segment -- Iron Forges Iron
I read an interesting quote. How do you feel about the statement 'Iron forges Iron' and does it influence or affect your athletes when they compete?
BB - Alberta
Randy Couture has been the most famous person recently to use this expression. Since then, many have copied it and have tried to use it, attempting to express how they feel about themselves. I understand, as I am sure everyone else, does what Mr. Couture means. But because you say it, it does not necessarily mean that it applies and is true for the person saying it. I was talking with a good Thai friend and MuayThai trainer from Thailand a few weeks ago about this. To state what we discussed regarding this quote is broken down as follows...
1) Iron body... An athlete may look like he is physically ripped beyond belief and is a piece of iron. The first thought many inexperienced athletes may have witnessing this could be how incredibly strong and tough this athlete 'must' be. But early in my career in the 1970's, I learned you do not go by what a fighter looks like. It really means little. My friend brought up that an athlete may look like iron on the outside, but truth be told, that athlete can be glass on the inside. Examples could be an athlete always getting hurt (training, fighting, etc.) but hiding behind an 'iron’ façade of what they look like. A good majority of times, the outside is to hide what is truly lacking on the inside of an athlete. Of course, this is referred to as heart. No matter what you do, as my friend says, you can NOT turn a glass body into iron. This is so true. My friend said it best... "Smash it and watch it Splinter." I have always told my athletes this when they second guess what an opponent looks like. Impossible to turn glass into iron.
2) Iron or Glass jaw... once an athlete has a glass jaw, there is little to nothing one can do. Physiologically, you can not change this.
An athlete can try to improve their skills defensively so as to not to get hit, but a glass jaw is a glass jaw. I have seen athletes with granite chins at the beginning of their career get hit too many times or lose their back teeth during their career which eventually develops into a glass jaw. I've seen many athletes with glass jaws even with they start their career.
Besides impact, TMJ disorder can be another cause for a glass jaw. Once a glass jaw is exposed, it soon becomes an unfortunate pattern of not being able to take a punch. I have seen so many athletes look incredible in their gym, but once they get in the ring and take a shot, the fight quickly disappears and the athlete just tries to survive. You can not turn a glass jaw into iron. Sorry.
3) Heart or Glass resolve... The true 'iron' we are referring to is what an athlete may have inside when it comes to fight. Heart... people may talk about having it, etc. but when one really starts getting popped and even dropped, many can and do fold. It is the guys with heart who speak little to nothing about having it. This is part of one's psyche. It is there whether you like it or not. Hard, even impossible to change. I have always tested my athletes as they prepare to compete, not by trying to hurt them but by pushing their skills and cardio into uncharted waters. I can think of only one athlete who crumbled and complained while being pushed. You can not change glass resolve into iron or true heart. Never. Glass resolve will always be there no matter how one tries to hide it.