1993 I’m still not quite familiar with Norwegian winter sports personalities and Super Stars. A few names were already beginning to ring in my head though: Bjørn Dæhlie; I had asked Vegard Ulvang to sign an autograph for my ex’ son the other day. And another day as I’m running round Holmenkollen grounds I decide to do squat jumps up and down the steps forming part of the spectator sitting area. Not far from me there is a group of late-teenage-early-twenties boys I quickly understood were an organized sporting team of some kind. We were doing more or less the same strength and endurance fitness training routines. However, I was at least 10 years older than them and was working alone. An obviously non-compromising Coach pushed them real hard. I loved this. One of the boys seemed exceptionally fit as he was always the first to reach the highest level decided, and the first to come back to ground level, showing relatively less signs of fatigue than the rest of the group. I later learnt that was Johan Olav Koss. Killer instinct symbols in competition days, still doing it with class years later in civilian life in business and humanitarian ventures.
During the annual World Ski Championships at Holmenkollen that year I’m sitting at home watching the various events on TV. Without exception the cameras zoom onto the ski-flyers’ faces seconds before they begin the roll down. Although I had neither heard of, nor seen him before, there was something immediately distinctive about Espen Bredesen’s demeanour as his face filled the TV screen. I knew instantly, WINNER! And he won. Killer instinct in action!
Killing is unidirectional. It’s final. Death. Punktum. At the most primitive level I will define instinct is an inherent quality in living organisms to behave in certain specific and predictable ways in response to specific stimulus or a series of stimuli. In animals higher up the food chain, instinct can further be strategically trained and fine-tuned towards attainment of specific goals more effectively, and more efficiently. This is how champions are made. This is how leaders are formed; natural awareness of own killer instinct, its constant nurture and sustenance, keep rulers alive and on top of things a very long time.
Functionally, therefore, killer instinct is a state of mind; it’s an attitude. Killer instinct is a function and manifestation of a purposeful, deterministic, and change-oriented mind. As a defensive mechanism though, killer instinct can also be used to maintain the status quo. Wrongly applied for wrong motives, killer instinct can be a most destructive force. This is the making of losers, makers of dark human history. When you know it, you see it; killer instinct, for better or for worse, does have physiological aspects. It can merge fantasy and reality, creating a new unstoppable force to make things happen towards achievement of set goals, or realization of dreams and desires.
So, I had to stop this man. After enduring at least three days of bashing of my person as well as other African Black people by this White Black Man from England, fate would have it that we are drawn against each other in an open class fighting category. We were at a major pan-European Karate Championship in Greece many years ago. He stood head and shoulders above me, and was a heavy weight fighter. I stand at 1.6m, and I weighed 65kg at that time. He was not only big and strong, but he was very supple as well. Any experienced Karate fighter will acknowledge that a big man who can kick is a small man’s nightmare opponent; worse so if the giant is agile, and is good at reach advantage exploitation.
Soon as we squared off after the referee’s HAJIME! command the giant seemed to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time; such that in no time at all he had scored two successive points with kicks to my head. I most certainly felt the hits, but never saw the kicks coming. I think this inflated his ego some more, confirming to himself his assumed superiority over my African Black people and I. He relaxed his guard, danced almost like a butterfly having fun; I woke up. And before he knew it I had equalized with two rapid punches to the body. In sudden death extra time we are both very tired, each aiming for the one deciding point.
I just had to win this fight for African Black people’s honour. At this thought I recall I felt like ceasing to dance. As I stopped, the giant seemed to be taken aback, and I knew I had him. Two images formed in my head simultaneously: A choo-choo train seemed to emerge from my body, moving at awesomely high speed straight onto the giant; at the same time the giant seemed to transform into a pulsating mountain in constant growth at every beat. As I saw the tail of the train I turned and twisted on my left leg to take off and glide onto the side of the mountain, landing with a right leg mawashi geri just under the heart. I heard the thump resonating in the indoor stadium, the referee yelled, YAME! The crowd went wild as I was declared winner; the mountain crumbled to the floor. My honour, my sense of pride and dignity were restored. Afterwards Jake and I became the best of friends. Later on in the evening at the official dinner we ate our fill, got ourselves thoroughly drunk on retsina and ouzo. During my sleep, all of Africa visited me and we danced all night long in joy and glory. We had killed an evil in man. Killer instinct can also save lost souls.
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August 19, 2012