Entering the ring to the thunderous applause of thousands of action-starved spectators, the two combatants face each other for the very first time. Their height and weight are identical, their dress and safety equipment, similar. Equally ranked, they're both known to have strong, powerful techniques, and each has come here tonight for the fight of his life. Unfortunately, there is usually only one winner. But who will it be?

Three elements are basic to becoming a great fighter. In fact, these three elements are basic to becoming great at anything in life whether it's your school work, your career, or just driving your car. They are physical ability, knowledge and attitude. Of these three, attitude is the most important. For with the right attitude, the remaining two will surely follow. The winner then, will be the one with the mental edge.

But what exactly is the mental edge, and where exactly do you find it? Oddly enough, I find mine is a combination of what I choose to program into my mind as well as what I program into my heart. It's a fusing of these two intangibles, what you can't see that will hurt you.

Picture in your minds eye, an iceberg. See the snow covered ice caps glistening under the light of a full moon at midnight. Pretty isn't it? It's hard to believe that such a magnificent work of nature's art could destroy as many lives as one did all those years ago, sending the Titanic to the bottom of a frigid ocean. Icebergs, it appears, have attitudes.

Only one ninth of an iceberg breaks the surface of the ocean. The remaining eight ninths, the iceberg's attitude, lay beneath the surface, unseen. It was what lay beneath the surface that tore open the hull of the ill-fated Titanic.

And consider this. The most heavily armed US fighter jet, although appearing tremendously dangerous to the eye sitting out on the tarmac is absolutely useless if you don't fuel it first. Ah, ha! Another unseen element. You may have all the physical skills in the world, but flexibility and muscles are nothing without the fuel, without the confidence, without the passion to drive them.

Simply put, I strike with my attitude, my thoughts and my heart, my passion. I just use my fist as the tool.

But you and I know there are so many more wonderful things we can accomplish in life with the right attitude, a positive attitude. And the very fact you're reading this would indicate to me you're a person working with strategies necessary to accomplish those things. You're a martial artist who has set out on a path of knowledge and understanding and is willing to learn by accepting some things by trial and error, and others by faith. You're not afraid to withstand a little pain and punishment, physically and/or mentally, for the betterment of your life as a whole. Wow! Congratulations! Welcome to the winner's circle.

In the future, The Mental Edge will endeavor to investigate some of the strategies one can develop to create and maintain an attitude that will propel us at break-neck speed toward our desired success. I know that attaining our goals, whether in the martial arts or in life isn't always easy, but I've truly found it's really quite simple. You become what you think about.

Till next time, stay sharp!

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