Friday, June 23, 2000

Story of Cus D'Amato and fear vs. knife expert

Story of Cus D'Amato and fear vs. knife expert

NOTE: No copyright infringement intended.

Subject: Cus D'Amato and fear vs. knife expert
From: Stickgrappler
Date: 15-Oct-99 | 05:26 PM

I typed this up from BAD INTENTIONS: THE MIKE TYSON STORY by Peter Heller. I posted this to the knife videos thread, but figured this may be good for non-knife lovers. Not quite knifefighting, but a little of fear, fear management, and a boxer's approach to the knife. Enjoy!


At the same time that Babe Ruth was slugging home runs on the other side of the Bronx in the new Yankee Stadium, the young Cus D’Amato was learning valuable lessons about fear and cowardice, toughness and courage and survival on the streets, lessons he would later incorporate in the unique philosophy of life and boxing which he imparted to his fighters. One lesson that became familiar to his disciples was that the fear of something is usually worse than the reality, a lesson he expounded using an example from his own life. He would describe how a guy from another neighborhood, who had a reputation as one of the best knife fighters on the streets of the Bronx, was swaggering around Cus’s own patch and intimidating his pals. One day the hoodlum challenged each of them to a knife fight. Everyone was afraid and no one would accept the challenge. Once his dominance was established, the challenger began insulting and humiliating them until he’d had his fill, and then left. Word of this reached Cus that evening. He was so angered that he sought out the antagonist and challenged him to a fist fight. The reply was no; instead, D’Amato was offered the opportunity to avenge the honor of his friends in a knife fight. The foolhardy Cus accepted. It was agreed the two would meet at an abandoned building at seven the next morning, alone. There would be no witnesses in case one of them ended up dead. On his way home, Cus couldn’t help but think it was most likely to be him. Fear gripped him as it never had before. He hadn’t the slightest idea how to wield a knife in a fight, yet here he was about to face an expert. When he was finally able to control his fear, he thought up an idea that would at least give him a chance. Maybe he didn’t know about knife fighting, but he did know about boxing, about using his fists. He found an ice pick, carved the handle down so it would fit in his closed palm, with the blade extending out between his middle and ring fingers. He than practiced as if he were boxing, only now, at the end of his fist, was a deadly blade as he jabbed the air.

In the few hours that remained until dawn, he tried unsuccessfully to sleep. He then headed for the empty warehouse where the fight was to take place, getting there early in order to check out the surroundings and prepare himself for his adversary. He taped the ice pick inside his fist, made sure the blade protruded far enough and wrapped a jacket around his forearm for protection. Then he waited. When the fear built up too much and threatened to overwhelm him, he danced around, practicing his technique. He learned that motion relieves tension. The minutes passed. Seven o’clock cam and went, and the knife fighter had still not appeared. D’Amato felt relieved, but then checked himself. If he began to wind down and his opponent suddenly materialized, he knew his resolve to fight might be weakened. Finally, when more than an hour had passed, Cus realized that fear must have got the better of the knife fighter. He wasn’t going to appear. Cus went home, a hero to his friends. The knife fighter never showed himself again. Cus knew he had won a victory, not only over his adversary, but over himself. He had faced his fear and refused to allow it get the better of him.


From: striker18
Date: 15-Oct-99 | 05:34 PM

Great story!


From: krept
Date: 15-Oct-99 | 05:36 PM

good story, thanks


From: Horatius
Date: 15-Oct-99 | 05:36 PM



From: grandpab
Date: 15-Oct-99 | 05:41 PM

Great story, thanks for posting it.



From: pit
Date: 15-Oct-99 | 05:42 PM

Cus was the man. Great story.


From: Tatanka
Date: 15-Oct-99 | 05:44 PM

Cus is D'man.


NOTE: Posted 8/12/2014 and backdated to 6/23/2000 to mirror my old archives.



back to top
Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps