Today is the 40th year anniversary of “The Rumble in the Jungle“, one of the greatest boxing events in history. This post covers the time I saw Muhammad Ali fight, and the life lesson he taught me – one that I have shared with clients for the last 40 years: The importance of fighting back in a smart, strategic, and legal way.
The Rumble in The Jungle was held in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Republic of the Congo) and featured the world heavyweight champion, George Foreman, against the challenger, Muhammad Ali, himself a former heavyweight champion. Ali was given little or no chance against the much stronger and heavier hitting Foreman. Foreman was 25 years old and Ali was 32, with the latter fairly worn out and tired by numerous bouts. Ali was also non-competitive during his 3 1/2 year suspension for refusal to comply with the draft prior to this fight.
A few years before this fight, I actually got to see and meet Ali when he was doing a boxing exhibition in South Central Los Angeles. I went with my good high school friend, John Schroyer. During a racially charged time in the history of America, we were the only two Caucasians at the venue.
At one point the garrulous Ali motioned for John to enter the ring and do a little boxing. John was a large man, but motioned with his index finger that he wanted no part of Ali. The place erupted in laughter when Ali told John, “You’re smarter than you look!”
I had no idea at the time that this boxing match would provide me a great analogy that I could use in counseling clients in my private investigative business for the next 40 years. It was during this fight, Ali succeeded in using the “rope-a-dope” technique for the first time.
The “rope-a-dope” is performed by the boxer assuming a protective stance. In Ali’s case, he laid against the ropes for basically the first seven rounds and let Foreman punch him on the arms and body. Ali believed that the punches’ energy would be absorbed by the ropes’ elasticity rather than his body. Ali’s plan was to let Foreman punch himself out, become totally exhausted, and then be easy prey for Ali. How ahead of its time was that?
Jumping forward to the Rumble in the Jungle: At the start of the 8th round, Foreman was a mere shadow of himself. He was an ineffective fighter and the throwing of so many punches had taken its toll. Ali pounced on Foreman with a barrage of combinations, sending Foreman to the canvas. The fight was stopped by the referee and Ali was heavyweight champion of the world once again.
Most of my clients are facing overwhelming obstacles in life, and I often share the rope-a-dope story. There are many women who are spiritually, physically, mentally and professionally “beaten-down” by their spouse or significant other. During the course and scope of their lives, they feel like they are leaning on the ropes and getting pummeled by Foreman. It is with great relish that I tell them they too can have an 8th round. They need to stand up and just figuratively throw a punch into their spouse’s nose. The mere thought of this event will send shock waves through the other party.
Many of my clients are so used to being constantly berated by the other person without any resistance that this behavioral change sends a bold and dramatic message to their mate. Just like Foreman who would rather beat you for 7 rounds, when Ali started fighting back, Foreman psychologically and physically checked out.
The rope-a-dope analogy can be applied to men, women, and children in many different case scenarios. If there is a negative situation in your life, think about fighting back. But fight back in a smart, strategic, and lawful way. Don’t do anything physical that could get you harmed or even arrested. Figure out the best way to stop the abuse, harassment or the placing of you in an unfair position. Do not let their problems become your problems.
You have laid on the ropes long enough. It is time for you to fight back, take control, and knock-out the problems others are causing in your life.