In the late 70s, I was trying to look at the part of the mental part of athletics, and the mental part of wrestling. The "why when you get really good sometimes you lose your fire?" So we had great workshops at Iowa one weekend and we had a lot of people come to it and it was a training camp and the guys had been guys in the world teams, Olympic teams, national champions, all these people. And we worked with this one guy, Dr. Haniotis, and we went around the room that I believe there were 21 or 22 of us and everybody went around and talked about their biggest fear.
And basically after everybody talked, it basically came out that everybody has one of two fears; one is either the fear of failure, or fear of fatigue. And in some form or another you try to address this and one of the things that Dr. Haniotis was really good at talking about was that sometimes you use different words like fear of fatigue and fear of failure and you would think that guys that were on Olympic teams, or World teams, or already won World Championships would not have a fear of failure, but their concern was that they had already been at a high level and they were worried about if they lost what would people think of them? That they would were lucky to win the championship, that they were lucky to do this.
So at every level there is that fear that you always have that's ever present. And what you do is you learn to live with it, you learn to control it, you learn to address it. The other one is fear of fatigue and that was the other one that most people had in some form or another. And one of the things that Haniotis talked about is that people use the word, and we say this at camp a lot “the guy's a machine he doesn't get tired." Okay that's not true. And basically Haniotis said is that everybody gets tired because back then we were all kind of doing what Gable did. We were training, we were running, and we're still getting tired and what we couldn't figure out was that we did this, but we’re still tired. And what Haniotis got us to understand, was that everybody gets tired. The real key is the ability to function when you’re tired. Which then you start connecting different dots and then that even goes back to Ranger School, the whole object of Ranger school is to use lack of food, lack of sleep, everything to get you tired to make sure that you can function.
So then the object is that if you're in good shape and you know you're in good shape, you wrestle as hard as you can because if you get to the point to where you're tired and you train unbelievably hard then it's very easy then from that point on to say “if I'm tired, this guy who hasn’t trained as hard as I am has to be tired, I can function when I'm tired” and then that's what gives you the edge. That’s what makes the difference in the third period, is not that you're not tired but the ability to function when you're tired because it's already happened many times in your life and you just have to understand the process of what you're going through. It’s like for most people is that you have a 1-1 match and you're about ready to quit and then you feel the other guy quit. What does it do? Your energy level shoots up and all of a sudden you're not as tired. So it’s learning to master the mental part of it and you do that by getting to that point every day of fatigue and learning to function. And each time you get there you get a little bit better at it, a little bit better at it, little bit better. So you go to practice with the object to get tired, to learn to function when you're tired, so that when you get in competition you know you can function when you’re tired.