Wednesday, February 6, 2019

My Fight / Your Fight (2015) by Ronda Rousey, Book Review

My Fight / Your Fight (2015) by Ronda Rousey with Maria Burns Ortiz

I am a fighter,” Rousey writes as a start, “To be a fighter, you have to be passionate. I have so much passion, it’s hard to hold it all in. That passion escapes as tears from my eyes, sweat from my pores, blood from my veins. So many people assume that I’m cold and callous, but the truth is you need a big heart to fight. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I have had it broken too. I can compete with broken toes or stitches in my foot. I can take a hit without batting an eyelash, but I will burst into tears if a sad song comes on the radio. I am vulnerable; that’s why I fight.” At first, I’m skeptic about this statement. And then after I finished reading this book, I’m repented of my sin. Truly - either you hate her or love her; you think she is a bully or a real fighter; a poor actor or a champion - no doubt her life stories are amazing, inspiring, moving, personal and broken-but-beautiful. You can’t deny her talent, determination, focus, and hard work. This is surely one of the best autobiographies (and biographies) I’ve ever read. Rousey taught me what it is to be a fighter.

“Rowdy” Ronda Jean Rousey is an Olympian, Fighter, Actress, and Wrestler. Before she became a fighter, she trained for judo and mixed martial arts. After she became a fighter, she also explores a career as an actress (she was featured in The Expendables 3, Furious 7, Entourage and recently, Miles 22). As of December 2015 when this book was first published, Rousey is ranked the #1 Female Bantamweight Fighter in the world according to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and #2 by Sherdog and Fight Matrix. Sherdog lists her as the #3 Pound for Pound Women's MMA Fighter in the world, while ESPN and Fight Matrix lists her #4 Female Pound for Pound Fighter. She was the UFC’s highest paid fighter at the age of about 28 years old. In short, don’t mess with her! She is "The Baddest Woman on the Planet"! She is now, as we all know, currently signed to WWE and holds the Raw Women's Champion title. I agree with Dana White, president of the UFC, when he writes, “Ronda is an incredible role model, empowering women and girls... [she] has changed the world of sports, and by the time she’s done, she may change the world as well.” Rousey may need to learn how to deal with the trauma of failures (ego and pride too, especially after her back-to-back losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes) but other than that - she has nothing to prove. With all of her accomplishments and wins, Rousey is, in my opinion, a legendary fighter.

Each chapter of this book begins with an anecdote that summarizes her philosophy of life. Chapter titles are quotable and if you want to get a brief summary of what this book is all about, you only need to read these awesome anecdotes. Rousey (with the help of her sister, Maria Burns) writes a book that is engaging and to my astonishing, not a single chapter is boring, as far as I can remember. She tells the stories of how she almost died due to the heart failure as an infant, how she struggles to speak when she was young, how she faced the death (suicide) of her father, how she learned to fight even in the midst of pain and suffering (there were times when she even competed with broken toes and sprained ankles), how her mom sometimes believes in her then also doubt her decisions, how she continues to train harder than anyone else, how she handles painful relationships, criticism, and discouragement from the people close to her, how she was so poor that she slept in the car many nights and have to work three part-times a day, how she rises to stardom, and many more. I read this book less than 1 week and the only reason I didn’t finish it sooner is that I have other works to do. Let me summarize this book with five (5) of my favorite anecdotes that I learned from Rousey:

#1 You Have to Be the Best on Your Worst Day. “My mom always says that to be the best in the world, you have to be good enough to win on a bad day because you never know if the Olympics are going to fall on a bad day... You have to be able to win every match twice on your worst day.”

#2 Everything Is as Easy as a Decision. “...How you feel is entirely your mind. Your mind has nothing to do with your environment. It has nothing to do with anyone around you. It is entirely your decision. Making a change in your life is as easy as making a decision and acting on it. That’s it.”  

#3 Someone Has to Be the Best in the World. Why Not You?My mom asked me a variation of this question every day. ‘Why not you?’ she said, ‘Seriously, why not you? Somebody has to do it. They’re handling out Olympic medals. They’re literally handing them out. Why don’t you go get one?’ Her question was not rhetorical. She knew what it took to be the best in the world... Being the best in the world is not easy, but it is completely achievable - if you are willing to put in the effort. My mom taught me to expect that I could be the best.

#4 You Will Be Tested. “I have lost tournaments. I have lost friendships. I have lost my father. I know that I can deal when things are bad. I can come back when things are at their worst. I’m not afraid of losing all my money or losing my career, because I know I’m capable of living in my car and rising up. Once you’ve conquered the worst things that could happen, there is no need to fear the unknown. You are fearless.

#5 If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Do It. “People are always looking for the secret to success. There isn’t a secret. Success is the result of hard work, busting your ass every day for years on end without cutting corners or taking shortcuts. It was Michelangelo who said, ‘If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.’ It is not hard to figure out what goes into being successful, but it’s also not easy to do.”

Like I said, every chapter and anecdote in this book is worth reading. Borrow or buy this book even if you’re not a fan. Marvin begins his comment on with “I was a Rousey hater” and then end with “now a fan.” If you only follow her career, public impressions, and persona, you might dismiss her for her alter ego. But if you go deep into her mind (as beautiful as her beauty) as portrayed in this awesome biography, you’ll love her. In fact... I already fall in love with Ronda Rousey. Love you.

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