Theodore Roosevelt: Daring Greatly & the Martial Arts Life

"I am well mottled with bruises elsewhere. Still I have made good progress, and since you left they have taught me three new throws that are perfect corkers!"

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

For young Roosevelt, it was rough goings from the start, as he constantly suffered from debilitating health problems. At night, he would have sudden asthma attacks so severe, his parents feared for his life. Doctors at the time had no treatment and assumed the worst, that Roosevelt would live a short and unpromising life. Roosevelt's father, Theodore Roosevelt Sr., however, had other ideas about young Roosevelt. These early challenges along with the will of his father shaped Roosevelt for years to come.

In spite of young Roosevelt's frailty, the Roosevelt clan traveled often: to Europe, the Middle East, to hiking in the Alps. Roosevelt's father encouraged Roosevelt to keep up and to set no limitations on his abilities. From this foundation, young Roosevelt discovered the benefits of physical exercise and found a love for the outdoors, and an appreciation for exertion and effort. Roosevelt's newfound reverence for the strenuous life not only energized his spirits but diminished his asthma. For Roosevelt, vigorous exercise was ritual.

Unfortunately, however, exercise alone was not enough. After an incident where Roosevelt was beaten up by two older boys, Roosevelt found need for a teacher other than his father.

And in boxing coach John Long, Roosevelt found a second father...

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Things Discussed

  • Overcoming obstacles & daring greatly

  • Importance of exercise

  • Physical activity as ritual

  • Moral character

  • Meaningful living

  • Mixed martial arts

  • Rough Riders

  • Progressivism

  • Assassination attempt

  • The undemocratic primaries

  • Meritocracy

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