Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Those cold and timid souls

It may be that stupid people take too much risk in their lives -- perhaps without knowing it. But my guess is that intelligent people tend to be too risk averse. Were it not the case, we'd have more startups, innovation, scientific breakthroughs, and even great art.

Theodore Roosevelt, speech at the Sorbonne 1910:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

I have great respect for Teddy Roosevelt's insights. He understood MMA a hundred years ago; historians of the sport will note that early UFCs didn't even have weight classes! From an earlier post, Mama said knock you out:

From a letter to son Kermit, dated 02/24/1905:

Yesterday afternoon we had Professor Yamashita up here to wrestle with Grant. It was very interesting, but of course jiu jitsu and our wrestling are so far apart that it is difficult to make any comparison between them. Wrestling is simply a sport with rules almost as conventional as those of tennis, while jiu jitsu is really meant for practice in killing or disabling our adversary. In consequence, Grant did not know what to do except to put Yamashita on his back, and Yamashita was perfectly content to be on his back. Inside of a minute Yamashita had choked Grant, and inside of two minutes more he got an elbow hold on him that would have enabled him to break his arm; so that there is no question but that he could have put Grant out. So far this made it evident that the jiu jitsu man could handle the ordinary wrestler. But Grant, in the actual wrestling and throwing was about as good as the Japanese, and he was so much stronger that he evidently hurt and wore out the Japanese. With a little practice in the art I am sure that one of our big wrestlers or boxers, simply because of his greatly superior strength, would be able to kill any of those Japanese, who though very good men for their inches and pounds are altogether too small to hold their own against big, powerful, quick men who are well trained.

"Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to His Children" edited by Joseph Bishop.

1 comment:

David said...

And I say that as I spend every day wheeling around getting my legs going fast enough to run on the hedonic treadmill.

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