The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Facing Ali" (2010)

A documentary told from the POV of some of Ali's greatest opponents, including Frazier, Foreman, Norton, and Chuvalo. Why didn't anyone think of this before? All I can say is thank goodness it was done now. Documentarian Pete McCormick truly extracts some incredible interviews from these men. What becomes clear is that Ali was simply a level above other boxers, other athletes, in some critical ways. His skills, his incredible sex drive (!), his capacity to promote himself and his fights, his symbolism to an entire racial community...and ultimately, his willingness to stand by his spiritual beliefs even at the cost of his career. It is absurd to think Ali refused to go into the Army because of fear--he never would have seen a day of combat, and he knew it. Ali would have been a showpiece, giving boxing demonstrations for troop morale. And he refused. And it cost him dearly, quite possibly leading to the Parkinson's we see today. Even Frazier, notorious Ali-hater that he has been over the decades, finally lets his mask slip. These men, every one of them, know that the high point, the turning point in their lives was stepping into the ring with this phenomenal figure who was, and is, by many measurements the most famous human being who ever lived. It isn't even really love-hate. It is transcendence, sport carried to the level of moral theater, theater carried to the level of a life lived as art. He was, and is, simply magnificent, a reminder of who and what we really are as human beings...if we are willing to die to fully live. An "A."


Voice a little hoarse today. Finished the basic recording for the "Hero's Journey" program. Whoa. Can't believe all the work, the planning, the research. Next, I have to do seven relaxation/visualization exercises to integrate the material and remove specific energy blockages. Then, I'm done. If you're interested, check it out over at


I'm also doing something a little different with "Diamond Hour." I had an insight that many people lie to themselves about not having time (not even five minutes? You expect me to believe you have time to surf the web, but don't have five minutes? What a joke.) So on my new mailing list, I'm going to actually start each missive with a time management tip. You can sign up over at if you're interested.

And just out of curiosity...what are your favorite time management techniques?


Tananarive and I are creating a Young Adult series out of one of our joint short stories. More on that as we get the proposal together. The idea is hot, and Hollywood is always looking...and unlike New York, they really do steal ideas.


One of my coaching clients wants to compete in a banjo competition, and wanted a suggestion about the best way to practice. The best idea I have on the subject is to take his breathing practice--which has become rather strong--and combine it with his Five Minute Miracle practice and his banjo work. In other words, to identify the type of breathing that takes him deepest into Flow during banjo practice. Now fold it all together and practice banjo, just two songs, five times a day while simultaneously holding the power breathing pattern. He loved the idea. The beautiful thing is that when you do this, you are not working on banjo...or yoga...or whatever. You are sophisticating your most basic efficiency as a human being.


Coach Sonnon's new TacFit program has an unexpected benefit: a free copy of the "Flow State Performance Spiral" Audio that initially completed my model of the body/mind connection. Frankly, I'd pay the cost of the entire program just to get my hands on it.

You can learn more HERE. Again, yes this is a marketing thing. But Scott has never, ever, ever let me down, and he is doing something unique in the body/mind arena: real, intense fitness that acts as a sophisticated yoga. He's also figured out a way to work pulling muscles without equipment of any kind. Twenty minutes, three times a week, no equipment, and the whole thing can be done in the room you need to lay down? Unreal. Incredibly smart. If this even remotely sounds like your kind of thing, Jo Bob says check it out.


Marty S said...

Of all the prominent athletes the one I most admire as a man is Ali. From what I have read about him not only did he have the courage of his convictions on the draft thing, but he was also generous in helping this less fortunate.

Shady_Grady said...

I had not heard of Chuvalo before so his story was interesting, expecially the parts about his parents and the Nation of Islam-Chicago Outfit spat that got Chuvalo his fight with Ali.

It was captivating to see these old fighters suddenly transported back 40 years and start suddenly throwing combinations as they described things.

Anonymous said...

Steve, is that TacFit link you provided correct? I'm getting a ClickBank vendor login page.

Anonymous said...

OK, figured out the problem - there is a missing period. The link should be:

which takes you to the main TacFit site.

Ethiopian_Infidel said...

Despite my contempt of the Religion and Nation of Islam, I've tremendous admiration for Muhammad Ali, whose strength, integrity and conviction are beyond reproach and inspirations to all. Truly THE CHAMP!!