Are You Fit Enough to Fight?

Which of the following photos depicts an athlete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics?

Brett NewlinSarah HammerChristian Cantwell

Actually, they are all Olympic athletes. Fitness is task-specific. A world-class weightlifter is likely to be a poor marathon runner, and vice-versa.

Successful competitors dictate the terms of engagement in their favor. The easy way only way to remain an undefeated fighter is to avoid fights you cannot win. General physical fitness is not competitive fitness.

Charles Atlas, “The World’s Most Perfectly Developed Man”, never won an Olympic medal; he never even tried. Bruce Lee never fought a professional boxer.


  1. Very good point, very well made. When I first saw the title of the post, my first thought was, “Well, that’s dumb, everyone is fit enough to fight. It’s just some folks are not fit enough to survive a fight.” Cool photos

  2. I once watched a YouTube video of, I think, Chen Xiao Wong doing a performance of a specialized form. Very dynamic, very active, very powerful. He rocks.

    In the comments, some people said, “Geez, you’d think he’d be in better shape! He’s so fat!” Such comments are foolish beyond belief.

    His size, and his layer of natural armor are advantages in a fight, not disadvantages. As is his ability to move and deliver power, which was amply demonstrated in the video they just watched.

  3. i think that a martial artist should be a combination of everything good stamina, endurance, power pretty much everything but the best thing a martial artist can have is experience

  4. At 59 years old, I am a 6 (soon to be 7) time martial arts hall of famer. If you saw me on the street, it wouldn’t even cross your mind that I practice martial arts, but if you met me in the kwoon and engaged me, it would be quite a different story. Never judge a book by its cover! Everything that we do in life is task-specific. That’s how we get the best in specific areas of life! Check out my web site at

  5. Not to nitpick but, “In 1958, three time champion British boxer Gary Elms was defeated by Lee by way of knockout in the third round in the 1958 Hong Kong Inter-School amateur Boxing Championships by using Wing Chun traps and high/low-level straight punches. Hawkings Cheung, his fellow Wing Chun street fighter, witnessed the event.”

    Source wikipedia.

  6. Well, that is impressive, if true. One has to wonder why a “champion British boxer” would be fighting high-schoolers in HK amateur matches.

    No offense to Hawkins Cheung, but do we have any information about Gary Elms that didn’t come from a Bruce Lee partisan?

  7. Hello Chris,

    Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I thought I would receive an email if someone replied but I must not have checked the box. As to Lee’s boxing record, I know very little. But if you’re interested, I think I remember Joe Hyam’s “Zen in the Martial Arts” saying something about how Lee had won some amateur matches using chain punches.


  8. I should also say that regardless of whether or not Bruce Lee boxed, it doesn’t really matter in terms of your article. I would say your points are valid even if Lee boxed.

    You’re always worth a read, else I wouldn’t keep coming back.

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