The Non-compromised Pendulum: Cus D’Amato book review by Steve Lott
I never teach until I’ve spoken to the fighter. I have to first determine his emotional state, get his background, to find out what I have to do, how many layers I have to keep peeling off so that I get to the core of the person so that he can recognize, as well as I, what is there. – Cus D’Amato
Review by Steve Lott
I can’t imagine another sport having it reviewed in a way that boxing was reviewed in this book. The combination of the metaphysical, the psychological, the emotional, the physical and the techniques of what is involved. The combination itself – I don’t think it was ever done like this in sports.
It was the first to see that in boxing. However, I would imagine that for an average boxing reader, boxing trainer or a boxer the book would be way above their level. It is a very high-level reading, not for a student in school, not high school, not college. It requires a PHD intellect to grasp the scope of the book.
Whenever I review something about boxing, whether it’s a film of a fight or a photograph of a fight I like seeing the visual part, as I am an old school guy. There is an emotional component in watching the video and watching the fighters, without the visual it is very tough to get the idea.
The last chapter of Non-compromised Pendulum was the most clear and understandable for me. Knowing Cus D’Amato personally, I should say that he used to break sweet science into three components much like the book did: the mental, the emotional and the physical.
Cus knew that the mental and emotional components comprised up 80% of a fighter’s makeup, with the physical being only about 20%. If fighters were able to withstand the pressure, mental and emotional anger and control, it would be easier for them to perform the physical. They would not be inhibited by the pressure of the fight. They would be able to do exactly what has to be done in the ring. No matter how physically talented a fighter might be, if he gets hit on the chin, he will go down.
But, while Cus would be very impressed with mental and emotional aspects of the book, I think that 99% of the fighters and athletes will find it hard to understand the importance of mental and emotional components that must be the foundation of a successful fighter.
Sad but true that most of modern boxing trainers cannot make their fighters do the most basic and important things such keeping their hands up and moving their head. For this reason, I do not think that such a unique piece as Non-compromised Pendulum will be widely read by coaches and boxers.
However, this book might be helpful for many to understand who they really are. I do not read self-help books as I am an old school guy, and I have that “switch” in my mind set, which puts me in a position when I do what has to be done. Perhaps, for this book about the mind and specifically boxing of Cus D’Amato, there will be people in boxing world that will grasp useful things for them, there maybe people outside of boxing that find concept that they can apply whether it is a sport, business, or some other endeavor. Cus believed that it is extremely crucial for a fighter to know himself first. If fighters can understand themselves, then they can fight better.
I for one think that if Cus was I alive, he would be impressed and appreciative that someone took the time to portray and examine these facets of boxing to such a degree. Cus would be impressed that the author understood that 80% of boxing was mental and emotional, with the physical being a small part.
Steve Lott – CEO of Boxing Hall of Fame Las Vegas Nevada, boxing manager, former film editor at ESPN, and assistant to fight managers of the time Bill Cayton and Jim Jacobs who financed Tyson’s boxing coach and life mentor Cus D’Amato, boxing film historian.