Neil deGrasse Tyson: “We Wrestle Because It’s Hard”

“Anyone who has wrested knows that it’s the hardest thing in the world to do. Anyone who says something else is the hardest thing has never wrestled. That’s what I have found. When I think of the frontiers of astrophysics…I don’t do astrophysics because it’s easy. I do it because it’s hard. I juxtapose the two in my mind, body, and soul all of the time. – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson wrestling

Although far too many nerds are muscle haters, the fact is that a strong mind that exists in a weak body is nothing but a ghost. A fully developed man is one with his body. He moves, thinks, and lives with purpose. Life itself is a martial art.

As the Romans said, Mens sana in corpore sano: “A sound mind in a healthy body.”

Plato meant “big chest” in Greek, and many of the greatest philosophers actively engaged in physical culture. Socrates himself said, “No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

Despite being plagued with health problems that few of us could comprehend, Nietzsche enjoyed brisk mountain walks.

Add Neil deGrasse Tyson to the list of brilliant men who believe that neglect of the physical body is sinful and that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and wrestling are the apex of human athleticism.

Read more: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

  • Hans Dix

    NDT is a class act and straight up hoss. Always has inspiring things to say.

  • XCSkierBen

    Wrestling is dam hard. I tried it for awhile in jr. high and realized I was not good enough for the sport, or probably at that time, I didn’t want to work at it. When I was younger, I only liked things that I was good at such as football, baseball and basketball. I shied away from sports that were tough. Wrestling is tough on you physically and more importantly, it is tough on you mentally. If you don’t train your mind along with your body, you won’t be a complete wrestler. I have seen inferior wrestlers get into the head of better wrestlers and take them down because they understood the mind game of wrestling. It is a tough sport.

    Like I said, I did the easier sports as a youngster, then I found cross-country skiing in my junior year of high school. And it was hard, but I had an excellent coach. Contrary to popular belief, it is a very tough sport. Anyone can strap on a pair of skis and shuffle along, but to really pursue it in it’s truest form, in other words, to do it correctly, it is very difficult. It can take years to become a very skilled skier. There is a mental challenge to it as well. A strong will comes in handy when you are long into a race and want to quit at the halfway point. I think most tough sports are ones that train you for life as well.

  • dcl

    This is great. I am a huge NDT fan. I had know idea he wrestled.
    I wrestled all throughout high-school. This post really resonates with me. You have inspired me to write a future post on it.
    Thanks for sharing. -dcl

  • Myles Davis

    Ever since starting jits I’ve found more of an inner peace and have been in the best shape of my life. The fusion of raw athleticism and high level thinking that it takes to be successful in jiu jitsu is nuts and something I heard and read about before, yet didn’t fully realize until I started training.

  • WellBuiltStyle

    It was Marcus Aurelius (famous Roman philosopher-king) who said, “The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.”

    I tend to agree.

  • Hollentunder

    I swear it upon Zeus an outstanding runner cannot be the equal of an average wrestler! -Socrates

  • John Leopold

    This plays perfectly into a concept I’ve been playing with for a while (2 years or so). I call it the Human Trinity: Mind, Body, Spirit. I use to be one of those people who thought that the mind was the most important. Eventually, I tried to take care of my spirit some by getting spiritual, but since I’m not to spiritual naturally, that just messed up my emotions a lot. So, I learned to take care of my spirit without spirituality. Finally, I learned to take care of my body. I’ve always eaten well, thanks to my parents, but I started working out. And I have never been happier. You can get a better idea of what I mean at:
    I have always been impressed with NDT. It seems like a lot of these public intellectuals aren’t known so much for their fields of research, but for the vast and varying fields of knowledge. And that they are willing to share their insights with the world is such a great thing.

  • rocco pilsner

    Jits is good. But nothing matches the physical intensity of s good wresler. If you watch UFC, you see over and over again wrestlers doninate. Sure they do so with cross training but point is,you take a high level wrestler and teach him a year or two of Jits and he’ll be giving Bjj black belts a hell kf a time if not beating them well. Of course this is no-gi or MMA and Gi Bjj is another thing..but poi t remains wreslters dont just have good technique from wrestling moves themselves, they also have tremendous work ethic and a competitive ‘never count me out’ attitude. All the good wreslters (I was decent not great) never backed it a fight a foot race a fucking beer chugging competition etc…the knowledge of self that tells you in your own mind you will give 100% is ther and its bred through years od blood and sweat on that training room matt.