Live or die, baby. Ain’t no in-between.
We’ve all got to eat a little shit every now and again, that’s life, but we have a choice of how much shit we have to eat.
Regular Joe eats a shit sandwich for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Winner Wolf makes a vow to never eat shit again. You go to work for someone else, you enrich someone else, you give your time to someone else, and for what? More shit for dessert.
“Oh, but I don’t have a choice! I have bills to pay!”
You have bills to pay because you chose them. You’ve got debt because you chose it. You eat shit because you went to the all you can eat buffet of life and instead of eating the Ribeye that takes 10 minutes to cook you settled for shit.
You want something more you have to work for it. End of story. You want something you have to go and get it, and all the bullshitting and excuse making in the world won’t give it to you. You want it? Go take it. You’ll probably have to suffer a little bit until you get it. So what.
Everybody gets to eat shit. Shit is free for anyone who wants to eat it. But then again all you have to do is spit it out. You get crybaby whiners whining about how they don’t have step by step instructions to remove the shit from their mouths. It don’t work like that, bub. It’s a choice you make and that’s all it is.
Write a note to yourself: “Live or die“, and sign it in blood.
In 1982 a reporter went to a hotel to interview a young South Korean boxer named Duk Koo Kim. Kim was in town to fight a championship bout with the American champ Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini. Kim was the #1 contender but he had never faced an opponent as tough as Mancini. The reporter noted that Kim had written on the bathroom mirror, in blood, “Live or Die”.
The fight lasted 14 rounds out of the scheduled 15 rounds. Duk Koo Kim surprised the boxing world by going toe to toe with Ray Mancini for 12 rounds. In the 13th round Mancini hit Kim 39 times without Kim being able to hit back. But Kim did not give up. In his culture stepping back was shameful. In the 14th round Mancini knocked Kim down twice, the second time Kim was knocked down he was able to pull himself back up but the referee stopped the fight and declared Mancini the winner. Duk Koo Kim was taken to the hospital. He lay in a coma for 4 days and then died.
After Kim’s death they found his journal, as read by his fiance, Mae Lee:
Describing the early days of her romance with Kim, Lee says, “It was love at first sight for him, so he used to chase after me. At first he asked me for a cup of tea, and after that he called for dates. That was in the fall of 1981, so the memory is not so clear. In the beginning I didn’t like him too much because he was a boxer. He was serious, but I wasn’t ready for a relationship. He kept on calling, but I turned him down. Finally he wrote me a letter.”
She finds the letter and says, “It begins, ‘When a man cries because his heart aches, the whole world cries.’ Eventually I began to like his personality. He was very strong, very brave, manly and well-mannered. I visited where he lived—it was a poor area.” He lived with a friend, the boxer Bong Sang Lee, in a room where Kim hung framed pictures of his fights on the wall and kept a scrapbook, his most valued possession. He also wrote slogans and pinned them up. One of them read, POVERTY IS MY TEACHER. It was written in blood. Lee says, “He showed me his journal.”
The journal, which he was keeping at the time of his death in 1982, began with an apology. “With a mixed feeling of fear and excitement, I am afraid that, hardly knowing how to spell, I may become a laughingstock for writing this story…. On my second birthday my father passed away. Soon after, I suffered a disease which almost killed me…. My mother, Yang Sun Nyo, was a woman of great misfortune; she married four times…. Leaving me in her sister’s care in Seoul when I was only an infant, she took all sorts of jobs, including a housemaid, but without much success. Come to think of it, she was only 25. No one can blame her for trying to seek happiness by remarrying. My childhood dream was having a bowl of hot rice.”
Lee read how Kim’s mother left her third husband, a bean curd peddler, because his grown son was cruel to her. Taking her two young sons, she walked a great distance and finally arrived in a fishing village, where she begged for food for her boys. There she met and married her fourth husband. He had three sons, who became Kim’s brothers. Kim wrote, “One new brother used to drag me around, forcing me to fight with other village kids. The older kids enjoyed watching our fights, and I despise them even today for it. At the age of six I was learning to fight…. In those childhood days I could see the red sun rising from the ocean’s horizon. I planned my future while watching the sunrise and the bright sunlight. I always repeated to myself that I shall live to make it big…. I used to catch and eat scallop and fish and swim out far, far away…. When autumn came, we used to catch locust to fry and eat…. In winter we’d go wild-rabbit hunting. With a stick in our hands, we’d climb a snow-covered hill where there were so many wild rabbits. Or we’d go sledding on frozen rice paddies. But there were more days of hardship than fun.”…
…When I was ignored or humiliated,” he wrote, “I felt an unbearable anger. Even these days, I simply cannot stand being looked down on. Back then, I was not thinking about the consequences of my action. I never had a happy home, and I was deeply unsatisfied. And every now and then, I would become uncontrollably angry.”
“I know I cannot afford to be lazy…. I must create ‘something’ in order to realize my great dream…. I never liked my mother very much as a kid. I had wanted her to raise me on her own. I guess I was too young to know…. But now I understand my mother and feel sorry for her. That’s why I want to be a good son and bring her happiness. In order to do that, I must reach the top…. A country boy named Kim Duk Koo will show the world something…. I shall run and fight until I am covered with blood and sweat.
Duk Koo Kim died but he died with honor and dignity. He made up his mind, Live or Die, and he meant it. He never backed down, he only moved forward. No one thought he was a great fighter, even his coach didn’t believe in him at first, but Kim won 14 of his 15 pro fights and earned the top spot to fight for the championship and he did it through will and spirit. He lasted 14 rounds with Ray Mancini, he had never fought such a long fight before, through will and spirit and determination and the last time he was knocked down (and basically killed) he STILL GOT UP. Kim wasn’t really ready for the fight, but when that chance comes along saying “no” is impossible. Live or die 100%.
I used to drive around in my Chevy pickup truck listening to a song called Duk Koo Kim by a band called Sun Kil Moon.
It’s a 14 minute song so I’d find myself taking the long way home to finish the song. One line in particular I just couldn’t get out of my head.
“I’d rather leave this world forever, baby, than let life go the way it’s going“.
So I made the change. I made the decision to stop eating shit. The decision to only go for what I want and never take a job, never do any bullshit I don’t want to do. I’ll sooner die than go back to the shit-eaters world. Simple as that. And I never had it as tough as this Korean fella Duk Koo Kim.
out of the air, out of nowhere”
It’s just a decision, friend. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it don’t. But we all die and that’s our only guarantee. But how you will live and what you will accomplish, that’s what counts.
See you next time.
Read more about Duk Koo Kim: