Why do you push yourselves, and why did you pick sport as your passion?


By: Gym Jones

At Gym Jones sport is the "Way" - Mark Twight

You have the way, but why? Why do you push yourselves to be the best (climber, fighter, whatever) that you can and why did you pick that sport as your passion?

I'm nearly 21- a college student studying video game design and development. I'm studying for every kid's dream job, but It feels like computers and video games aren't my answer. I have this burning desire to physically become the best I can. I don't know why & I don't know what to do about it. I want to run, swim, climb, throw, jump, fight- whatever is athletic I want to do it. I came across the GymJones website and began reading the 'Knowledge' page & I knew I had found something. My hands became clammy and my heart raced with every page that I read.

"It is up to the individual to figure out why he/she is doing something and to accept responsibility for those choices and actions. Figure it out." - Mark Twight

I don't even know what sort of reply I'm expecting from you guys, if any at all, but it felt like you could point me in a direction.

Thanks for your time.


Big questions, asked at an important time in one's life. Why? has many answers and those change with time, as one gains experience, perspective, as the influences in life wax and wane and evolve.

I only speak for myself and I don't recommend my path to anyone. I picked a psycho-physical activity as my path because on such a path my future is up to me: where ever I end up results from my willingness to educate myself, prepare my body, work and endure. My path happened to be climbing (due to a variety of convergent influences), which, in some circumstances, is about as close to chaos as it gets, where surviving and thriving requires a very resilient mind and body. Other sports, even the martial arts paled (to me) because of their artificial and controlled nature, rules, and safety nets: many of them are more or less set "performance" pieces - sport without thought, and repetitive movements without freedom.

In an article about my evolution as a climber I wrote, "within the subculture (of climbing) my future was up to me. I could hold on, or let go at any time. Climbing was anarchy, and I an anarchist. I threw off the chains of convention and claimed myself free from them. I didn't know what I was free for. I knew I wanted to be a great climber. I wanted the freedom of spirit I knew would come from being very skilled at my craft, from being comfortable with fear. The mountains could teach me these things."

The main point is this: freedom of spirit derives from skill, experience, self-knowledge, and from a healthy relationship with fear. I understand now that the craft itself matters little, that when talent is discovered and nurtured, when genuine skill and capacity result from dedicated effort, then freedom of spirit and in life may be discovered. And that freedom - based on one's ability - can transfer to any aspect of life. The only barrier to expressing such freedom is fear. Overcoming fear, which is much different than simply mouthing the words "no fear", should be central to whatever path one chooses. Individuals experience and confront and resolve fear in a variety of ways - there are as many paths to this as individuals - and some of them are more or less effective. The point is to choose a path or a craft and in learning and truly knowing the Way you have chosen you will have learned the essentials of many other Ways.

The reason I am where I am today is because I dreamed of a life, not a job. A job is a tool. Money is a tool. Freedom and maneuverability may be obtained through judicious use of these tools. One may also enslave himself with them. Happily, we live in a country where we are free to choose the tools we use and how they affect us. And in those choices, if we are diligent and attentive, we may, possibly, if we are lucky, find a Way that is uniquely our own.

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