Substance abuse leads to broken spirits. Anderson Silva failed both his pre-fight and post-fight drug tests. Fans of “The Spider” heart’s shattered as they watched their hero’s continued downfall. But this theme is far from new. Professional Martial Arts has been tainted by PEDS for some time now. It’s just Silva’s unveiled drug use, being the super star he was, hit the problem closer to home. Now the question is, will this be a repeating problem in the fighting sports?
In times past, society looked up to mythical heroes like Achilles and Odysseus. While they had personality flaws, physically they were nearly perfectly; their athletic feats still impossible by today’s standards. There were no PEDs in these stories, just natural ability and help from the gods.
In the modern days, society still look for heroes but rarely in myth. Now, these heroes are real life celebrities and athletes. Fans cream athletes for their physical and personal imperfections; despite that the athlete is often closer to perfection than the fan. Yet these physical performers still strive for more whether for their fans, themselves, or both. Training better is the obvious answer but that’s never enough; training doesn’t give someone that extra pizazz. So some athletes have turned to drugs hoping to get the edge they crave.
In mythical stories, heroes would be overcome by the influence of the gods, thus performing amazing feats and tackling seemingly unmountable physical tasks. We can almost say this is the purpose of PEDs for athletes; to become possessed by a larger power in order to fight better.
Should Martial Artists be turning to a higher power instead? Many athletes already do, since the sport at it’s very core is highly spiritual. Turning to a grander force is guilt free with no negative side effects. There’s no health consequences and no honor is lost.
However, there’s another way to look at it.
Fighters win fights when they channel the spirit which binds all through trusting themselves. Again, in the ancient stories of battles and warriors, there were no PEDS. These heroes were able to achieve amazing things through tuning to this higher powers through themselves. They trusted they could do these things and thus achieved them. There was never any doubt for them in that regard; even without the gods’ blessing. That’s a better edge than any drug can give you. While these stories are fictional they show this truth; it’s a myth that athletes need PEDs to be great. Many Martial Artists have won their battles through their faith in themselves. No drug will ever guarantee a win in the ring, but self trust will.
by Paige Etheridge