Fight And Win by the Rules

— Life gives you a chance. It is important to be ready and take it>.

Continent Alexander Karelin

 

«Life is permanent struggle and only the fittest survive» — this saying is wandering all over our planet as an endless echo sometimes penetrating people’s heads, making them change their minds: they suddenly start to fight for every day, every possibility — with themselves or with fate. But there are people among us whose fight becomes totally concrete by its meaning: they show their power in professional wrestling.

Our new columnist stepped from ring a long time ago but didn’t stop fighting. Master of Sport of the USSR, State Duma deputy Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Karelin tells about the continuing fight in his life.

Fight, fight, fight … It’s in everything. «Without the fighting boring is out life», — Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov wrote. Vissarion Beliskiy said better: «Fight is a life condition». If we try to think, everything is turning around fight.

You read this text and through it we communicate with speech. Apparently not a big deal but this is also fight in fact. Talking is fighting: people’s minds are full of various meanings which crush each other in the air when we speak. We fight trying to be liked — for a place in someone’s mind, for being attractive. Sympathy and unsympathetic feelings are the results of fight. A person fights for food, knowledge, fights against stereotypes. There are millions, billions of examples of fight in the world and we can say that we live in it. And I am lucky as others who represent combat sports because it’s the brightest and the clearest variant of fight after all, because everything is simple: strict rules, clear meanings’ dictate and as a result the absolute of the result itself. Just as you cannot be a little pregnant, you can’t become «almost» a champion.

Determination, discipline and unceasing effort lead to the dream championship. Greediness for work. It is an ability to sacrifice for the goal, ability to say no to everything which is clear and habitual so that those who twisted their finger at the temple behind your back then admitted that all the decisions you took were profitable and saluted not by finger twist but by applaud. They often ask me if we should learn from defeats. I say: better get ready to the victory. To win is much better. Always get ready to victories, don’t look for excuses, don’t think that if it doesn’t work you’ll have the reasons to refer to. Don’t think that if you eat an ice-cream today tomorrow you will say that a saw throat caught you before the final battle. Refuse from the ice-cream and you’ll have no chance to excuse yourself, excuse your defeat.

I had much more than two defeats but they wrote in mass-media about just two. When they took place I was famous, they followed me. After been defeated in the final of the USSR Championship in 1987 I cried out, coughed out and went to train next day. So now what? I’m not made of stone. Same happened after Sydney’s Olympics in 2000. There’s a great thought which sounds like: «When you win everyone wins with you: those who are close to you and not much, fans of yours and those who helped you on your way. But when you lose you are all alone because defeat is always orphan». But I tell you — there’s power in this solitude: after you lose you get back to training and you are alone with yourself again. Mass media rule the public opinion and people see your glorious times, they look at you, you are in the light of soffits and you literally «hear» your success. But that brilliant, I’d say full of intrigue, tremble, shiver wonderful atmosphere of getting to know yourself, your enemy, your coach’s trust — people never imagine.

Illustration Elena Vladimirova

It is possible to win because of this invisible but very important job. First it helps to fight your own disbelief, then to fight for your coach’s trust and win. I think those young sportsmen who make mistakes, lose and get disappointed in fact are wrong in their disappointment itself. The important thing is not a medal absolutely no matter how much of banality it is. As a matter of fact, I always felt the happiest on the carpet in gym. When you’re given a task and you do it. Then with noise in your ears automatically reach your bed seeing nothing, fall and wake up in the morning. Alive again. You live like this for 2 months, half of the year, for years and then competitors look strangely at you because you’ve changed. You make more pushups, fighting with you on the carpet became harder. This was the most beautiful for me in sport. Not medals at all. I suppose that being sportive is not just about champion’s titles, it’s inside, it’s that same toning — virility is the right word I guess. And I’m very lucky I’ve been growing, living and live now this way.

I kind of fought for myself in my sport life but in fact I was fighting for the Motherland for many things dear to me. Now this fight is going on but other way: as a deputy of the State Duma I participate in party battles with hopefully passing by stereotypes. So, at the moment the main thing for me is to prove I deserve trust and it’s more about the commitments than about privileges. In general, I value most of all trust in human relationships, I value people who can trust and I value people’s trust. Consequently, I try to be trustable kind of man. I actually fight against the lack of trust of our citizens because as a deputy of the Duma I get a lot of reproaches. I am sure that not everything can be solved by the law: many things are done by the rules. When they talk about world outlook it is important what rules you are following and if you are ready to obey these rules. There is a serious conflict when you find something interesting in two options but in one of them you proclaim one position and in another treacherously different because of your personal sympathy. I think this aspiration to general rules is the main fight with your own self today. In sport was like — ok, you won, good for you, you lost — work. In deputy job it’s all different: more collective achievements, less direct effects. Now I am responsible not just for myself.

The aim of my work is easy and difficult at the same moment: to change the situation for better in our country. Not to break or deny but to change. When I first became a candidate for deputy I was often told: «Politics is a dirty job, what do you need it for?» I always answered that we must make the rules we do our job according to. I defined my rules long ago and I go along with my deputy activity according to them.

What I want most at the moment? Us to be strong. Our wrestlers to stop seeking for sophisticated excuses why for the first time in 64 years they didn’t win a single gold in the World Championship. I don’t want us to be asked rotten questions about our behaviors and opinions about the Republic and how to live. Not to be taught how to treat women with our traditions — not to push them to chose family above work. We should be ourselves. This is our power. So that we all understand precisely what we can do and what is done over the top. This concerns the Duma, the role of Russia in the world, everyday life. So that everyone who is going to spit chewing gum to the floor would think that it makes us weaker because when it sticks to the ground and gets hot under the sun a girl could step into it and leave her heel-to-heel there. This will make us all one step weaker.

If you want to rise strong don’t lose any single step. «There should be no victory on points, there should be a clear victory» — my father taught me.

And he was right.