When I got back from New Jersey, a little over a week ago (really? it’s only been a week?) one of the first things I told people was, “I met the Ultimate Warrior.”
“Good for you. What’s his name?”
“No, you don’t understand, not an ultimate warrior, THE Ultimate Warrior. You know the wrestler? WWF?” And this is where I’d lose them. Which is a shame, really.
Birmingham has it’s own snobbery. Seeing as it’s the biggest city in an otherwise rural state and that it lives in the shadow of both Atlanta and Nashville, professional wrestling is, well, beneath us. We have a national reputation of being backward, barefoot and stupid and thus have an overblown aversion to anything that might label us as common. “I thought all that stuff was fake anyway.”
Since you may not know, the Ultimate Warrior was the vanguard of a new generation of professional wrestlers. He did much in the mid to late 80’s to shape the industry and to set the new standards of what a professional wrestler looked like and did.
For the kids who watched him he was pure awesomeness.
Warrior (yes, that is his name) at 53 years old has had a resurgence of late. He has his own channel on YouTube, mrultimatewarrior, and a new project Warrior University. Spend five minutes watching one of his homemade videos and you can see this is a man of passion. He’s intense, it’s evident that he still trains religiously and he speaks with the rasp of one whose vocal chords are strained regularly with the passion of his message.
“Everyone has their own genius inside them.”
“Become more of who you are.”
“Live your truth…Your gut instincts are the purest form of truth you can find.”
Before he spoke Zach showed a highlight reel of Warrior in action. More than seeing him battle my childhood hero, Hulk Hogan, more than seeing him toss Andre the Giant (a man I came to appreciate as an adult) over the third ropes I was touched by one scene: Warrior, holding a little girl of five or six years up for the camera, encouraging her, “Show ’em your muscles.” And that little girl with fierce confidence flexing her tiny biceps and in that moment feeling how awesome she truly was.
That is what is so cool about Warrior.
He reminded us that all the greats of history were originals and not because they “made up” something that no one else had made, or made it better than it had been made before, although many did do these things; what made them original, and consequently great, was that they brought forth their own genius.
Originally, genius meant something more than “a really smart guy.” In ancient Rome it referred to the guiding spirit in a person, their own unique quality, that which pushed them to create and set themselves apart. Today we might call this soul, but more in the jazz sense than the church sense, but understand these are by no means exclusive.
You have genius inside you. You are special. You are unique and that is a beautiful, wonderful thing. Like Paul Reddick said and Warrior drove home, “Who are you to hide that?”
The Ultimate Warrior is Warrior’s (yes, that’s redundant) expression of his own genius, but not in the way you might think. The warrior image he takes and expresses is not that of the destroyer. Our focus is not supposed to be on the victor who has laid waste to all his enemies, but on the fighter, the one who is willing to risk it all, to lay everything on the line for what he believes in.
We are all born to be warriors, though we may never raise a hand against another. We are born with the spirit of warriors and our lives are the battlefields.
How do we meet challenge and adversity? Do we face it head on, bringing all of our particular merits and skills with us into the fray or do we cower and hide, letting others fight our battles for us?
The way in which we face our lives is determined mainly by how we feel about ourselves and how we’ve let others shape our feelings about ourselves. Do not let others tell you how to feel about yourself. No one knows your genius better than you, not your peers, not your parents, not anyone.
You show them how they should feel about you, by your actions and your presence.
It has taken me 40 years to learn this lesson to the capacity that I now understand it, and it took every one of the slights, the misunderstandings, the back handed comments and flat out bullying and abuse that I had to bear in order to bring me to this place.
As such I’m grateful. Were it not for being knocked down, for being told I was inferior, not good enough, being made to doubt myself and question my right to even be here I would not have had a hole to climb out of. Part of my gift is my ability to share my experience, these battles I’ve fought are experiences worth sharing.
I am better for having had them, grateful for the lessons they have taught me, not mind you what my tormentors wanted me to learn, but for the lessons I learned about myself: I am strong, I am resilient, I have value and a burning desire to share that value. I, too, am a warrior, and so are you.
Join us July 28th and 29th. Discover your own strength when Chip Conrad comes to Birmingham to bring Bodytribe’s Brutal Recess to Agoge Fitness Systems. Spend two days arming yourself with new skills and abilities, rediscover your body and its capacity for play and growth. Take the next step in bringing your life to the next level. Rediscover your own inner warrior. CLICK HERE to find out more and sign up.
Like what you read? Sign up HERE to get our daily newsletter delivered to your inbox. As always your email is safe with us, we’ll never share or distribute it to anyone else, that’s a warrior’s promise.