4 Fighting Spirit Takeaways From a 2000-year-old Statue To Win At Life

By George Longovitis

January 10, 2024   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

No matter how humans have evolved, there is a fighter within everyone. We all have personal battles to take, directly correlated with the quality of our lives.

Although there is a different arena for everyone, some ethos and codes apply in most cases and battles.

Here are 4 fighting values a 2000-year-old bronze warrior can teach you for conquering your arena.

Statue’s History & Characteristics

The “Boxer at rest” statue (aka Terme Boxer, Seated Boxer, Defeated Boxer, or Boxer of the Quirinal) was discovered in 1885, on the slopes of the Quirinal Hill, northeast of the center of Rome, Italy.

It is noteworthy to mention what Rodolfo Lanciani, an archaeologist who was present at the sculpture’s discovery, wrote:

I have witnessed, in my long career in the active field of archaeology, many discoveries;
I have experienced surprise after surprise;
I have sometimes and most unexpectedly met with real masterpieces;
but I have never felt such an extraordinary impression as the one created by the sight of this magnificent specimen of a semi-barbaric athlete, coming slowly out of the ground, as if awakening from a long repose after his gallant fights.

This bronze statue depicts a sitting boxer at rest, still wearing his caestus (the boxing gloves of ancient times).

Although experts suggest various dates in the period of 330 to 50 BC, we can tell for sure that its style does not follow the ideal, perfect patterns we are used to seeing from ancient times.

Unlike other statues that show the ideal physiques of heroes and gods, the Boxer’s body is not symmetrical.

The Boxer’s anatomy reflects a movement far from perfectionism or superhuman qualities and into more realistic and emotional explorations. Also, the sculpture has molded details of a recent fight, like his cauliflower ears, swollen nose, and mouth suggesting broken teeth.

Now it is time for the inspiration from this 2000-year-old Boxer.

The 4 Fighting Spirit Takeaways

1. Your body as a tool

As mentioned above, the Boxer’s body is not symmetrical.
It was not built to impress.
It was built to fight.

If the statue depicts an actual athlete of ancient times (and some experts claim this case), he would have devoted most of his time and energy to the arena, training hard to become the best possible version of himself.

In the Sport’s Universe, things haven’t changed a lot since then. Today’s athletes focus on constant improvement of their skills, agility, strength, technique, stamina, and so on.

Whether you are a professional athlete or not, what matters, is that your body is yours. So take care of it, and use it the best way possible to your wellness.

As a friend likes to say,
“I don’t like the training, but I do like what is in training;
The chance to find yourself and become a better man!”

Check here on how to create a sustainable workout routine

2. The Undefeatable Spirit

Some people conceive the statue as a defeated boxer, not being at rest.
Maybe because of his swollen face from the beat-up.
Or because of his bowed stance from the exhaustion.
His scars are an indicator of a life filled with struggle, fights, and injuries.
His facial expressions maybe indicate defeat and fear.

Well, as Hemingway said, “But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”

We all have seen movies of the underdog fighting and getting up again and again until he thrives.

Maybe the Boxer is afraid. And this is normal.
True courage lies in facing your fears, not ignoring them.

And that leads us to the next point.

3. The necessary villain

There are great quotes related to the necessity of hardships, the tough situations in our lives, and the opportunities for growth through uncomfortable experiences:

A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.
A knight in shining armor is a man who’s never had his metal truly tested.
Every struggle in your life has shaped you into the person you are today. Be thankful for the hard times; they can only make you stronger.
Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. Weak men create hard times.

Imagine a world where your favorite superhero had no villains to fight. Due to various reasons, there was no criminality, and world peace was a real thing.

Or, imagine this scenario.
For some reason, they forbid professional boxing.
How would legendary fighters like Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, or Mani Pacquiao rise to their glory without any opponents or fights?

Back to our case, yes, an opponent gave a hard time to our Boxer. Maybe the opponent won, or maybe he lost. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that these two had their fight.

So this leads us to two Musings:

1) Be absolutely ruthless in picking your fights.

As mentioned above, Hemingway said that we are not made for defeat. So do not choose the fights that will destroy you because you weren’t ready or, even worse, those that waste your time.

2) Be grateful (even) for your adversities.
If you picked up your fights wisely, it is now the time to better yourself through learning and winning.

With these two musings, the motto “life doesn’t get easier, you become stronger” looks like it makes more sense.

4. Life Goes On

Until we find any reference from ancient times, we won’t be sure if our Boxer won or lost. We can be only sure that he is seated and injured.
Far away from the ideal realm of gods, the Boxer is at rest in the unforgiving world of the ancient arena. He is injured, and his scars show that this is not the first time he fought.

Yet, he is still there. He will get up once again and move on with his life.

With no spoiler intentions, I am quoting one of my favorite lines of the MadMen series:
I’ve started over a lot, Lane. This is the worst part.
2000 year old boxer meditating

Life goes on, with or without us.

Many centuries before the creation of the statue, humanity moved forward with the same, no-matter-what mentality.

So, no matter how broken, bruised, scarred, and bloody we might be, we have to move on our journey. You can find more info here for protecting your energy and taking care of your mental, spiritual, and emotional health through our uncertain times


Considering that they used to melt any bronze crafts for various repurposes in older times, we are lucky to still have this statue. Moreover, the Boxer’s excavation revealed that its predecessors buried it with such care to protect it from any future looting, destruction, or vandalism.

No matter the original date of creation, this fighter is still a fighter after two Millenials and, although at rest, ready to rise and fight.

We can learn from anything and anyone, and if we listen carefully, everyone is the guru—even a 2000-year-old statue.

If you want to learn more from warriors’ wisdom, you can check here the Life Lessons learned from Po and the other fantastic characters of the Kung Fu Panda.

George Longovitis

Direct Response Copywriter and Wellness enthusiast. Passionate about finding ways to enjoy life more, smile more, and contribute more to people's lives. Say hi @ https://www.georgelongovitis.com/

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