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Devil or a Gift of God?

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Constantine (Cus) D’Amato — once referred to by Muhammad Ali as the world’s greatest boxing scholar. Although D’Amato’s name is not remembered by many today, his accomplishments are. He trained three world champions: Jose Torres, Floyd Patterson and Mike Tyson. Some considered him to be evil, others considered him to be a “weirdo”, and some considered him a genius who knew everything about boxing, everything about fear and how to masterfully control your mind to achieve anything. Perhaps, because of the drastic shift in the lifestyle of people and their values, Sweet Science no longer cherishes true masters of the past, and it considers their philosophies to be “outdated”. 

In 2017, Ukrainian scientist Oleg Maltsev who has been researching Cus D’Amato’s style and philosophy for more than 20 years — wrote “Non-Compromised Pendulum” in 2017 with a student of Cus D’Amato – Tom Patti. This was the first book in the series written to preserve the legacy of Cus D’Amato. Originally published in Russian, it has been translated to English, German and Spanish and has received high esteem and much media attention. The second book, “Lightning Rod that strikes faster than lightning itself” which delves into the origin of Cus’ style and presents the research of Oleg Maltsev and the Expeditionary Corps (the specialized division of the Memory Institute) in Southern Italy, the homeland of Cus D’Amato family.

“Lightning Rod which strikes faster than lightning itself” presents the conclusions reached by the heuristic method. It should be said that the book is highly nuanced and requires a close look and the patience of a thinking mind. There were eight different research areas that all came to the same conclusions from different disciplines:

  • Psychological 
  • Fate-analytical 
  • Journalistic 
  • Cultural-historical 
  • Historical
  • Memory core
  • Criminalistic 
  • Technique

In chapter 7, “Research on the personality of Cus D’Amato”, the author takes a close look at the methodology of Cus’ teaching. When it comes to philosophy and how Cus helped his protégés, there were four main elements that he dealt with: 

  • Fear
  • Pain
  • Emotions
  • Thinking/attitude 

 

Obviously, these four elements are directly linked to the acquisition of the steady skills of an athlete, boxer… anyone. If you cannot cope with these four categories, it won’t be possible to defeat anybody, let alone become world champion. 

 

“… train myself as a warrior and train other men to become warriors too.”

–Cus D’Amato

Cus D’Amato was eulogized by Norman Mailer, Gay Talese and Pete Hamill, and not without a reason. Is there another boxing coach who has had such a different approach in preparing a champion? No, Cus was the first one to bring psychology into this sport. There has been no other coach in boxing history who has fought against corruption as arduously as he did, and he was able to persevere and continue with his duties regardless of IBC (International Boxing Council), attacks by unethical journalists and con men.

“Boxing is a sport of self-control. You must understand fear so you can manipulate it. Fear is like fire. You can make it work for you: it can warm you in the winter, cook your food when you are hungry, give you light when you are in the dark, and produce energy. Let it go out of control and it can hurt you, even kill you… Fear is a friend of exceptional people.”

—Cus D’Amato

(Photo courtesy of STEVE LOTT, Boxing Hall of Fame Las Vegas Nevada)

Who was Cus?

Interestingly, not much was known about him until now. Yes, there are some isolated facts about his brothers, his father but almost nothing is known about what had happened to that Italian family before their migration to America. Before Dr. Oleg Maltsev’s research, nobody even posed such questions. Chapter 8 “Fate-analytical research” and Chapter 9 “Criminalistic research” specifically speak about Cus’ ancestral background, doctrines and traditions that made him who he was. 

Just to mention several of Cus’ traits that made him drastically stand out:

He never cared about money, it meant nothing to him. He cared only about how much his fighter can earn.

Cus knew how to provide his own security. He knew how to handle different types of weapons, had a rifle at his house, sometimes carried a gun, and always had a plan on how to retreat and move through the house in a moment’s notice.  He was very careful during negotiations (made sure no one was eavesdropping), never checked in the same hotel twice and so on. Many thought he was paranoid, but in fact, he was just a smart guy and did everything to secure himself in advance.

Cus believed that mind plays much more of an important role than everything else, a huge believer in what some people today may call “nonsense”, “witchcraft”, “pseudoscience”. He practised telepathy, believed in astrology, prepared for negotiations using mental powers and used hypnosis.

However, the main subject of “Lightning Rod”, as the author (pictured below) writes, was not the life of Cus as there are enough great books that speak about the life of Cus as it as. The main subject is the origin of Cus’ unique boxing style. The Ukrainian scientist conducted five scientific expeditions to Southern Italy and found evidence in the number of old treatises of the Neapolitan style of Spanish fencing which mirrored to the same principles and technical elements as in Cus’ boxing system. 

In “Lightning Rod,” one may find comparison of technical elements of Neapolitan fencing style and Cus’ style along with analogous philosophical principles in both systems from treatises such as Blasco Florio, 1844 “La scienza della scherma” (The Science of Fencing); Francesco Antonio Mattei, 1669 “Della scherma Napoletana discorso primo dove sotto il titolo dell impossibile possible” (Neapolitan Fencing with a supreme title: Impossible is Possible); Nicola Terracusa e Ventura, 1725 “La Vera Scherma Napolitana” (Genuine Neapolitan Fencing), Don Luis Pacheco de Narvaez, 1605 “Libro de las grandezas de la espada” (Greatness of the Sword); 1625 “Modo facil y nvevo para examinarse los maestros en la Destreza de las Armas” (A Simple way of examining teachers in the art of fencing with weapons); Gerard Thibault, 1630 “Academie de l’Espée” (The Academy of the Sword); Jerónimo Sánchez de Carranza, 1612 “Compendio de la filosofia y destreza de las armas” (Philosophy of arms)

“No other school should exist except ours. Neapolitan fencing successfully stands against all world schools. No one is capable of even approaching the ones who possess this knowledge to perfection”

 

–Nicola Terracusa e Ventura, 1725 “La Vera Scherma Napolitana”

Also, one of the main premises of the book is that Cus’ style just like the Neapolitan style of fencing is absolutely bound to one master — one authority figure. Within this approach, science comes second because if one does not have a master who takes responsibility to help a fighter become a champion, there is no use of the knowledge as such. 

After the release of “Non-compromised Pendulum” Ukrainian scientist Oleg Maltsev told Sports Illustrated that the book is free to preserve the legacy of the legendary Cus D’Amato “Cus D’Amato, his methodology, his knowledge—I do not own it, the whole world deserves to know his knowledge.” Surprisingly, this second book in the series which apparently required much effort and scrupulous work is also open source and can be downloaded via Google Books

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