I had a discussion today that made me wonder and self-analyze what exactly is a fighting spirit.
Let's take a look at a few assumptions that are quite popular of what is a fighting spirit:
1. Ability to push through even when you are tired
While this seems like the most logical explanation, fighting spirit is a concept that should go beyond logic. Think about this, the ability to push through could be derived from several sources, none of which are necessarily a fighting spirit. You can push through when tired by using your Ego, saying things like "i will never lose to this punk". Is that fighting spirit? No, it is just your Ego speaking and motivating your movements.
Secondly, you can push through by using anger. "How can i be this pathetic, hell no, I will not give up!" And again, that is not necessarily a fighting spirit since anger and ego can be consciously summoned and used.
How about pushing through without using Ego or anger? For example, "This opponent is strong, he deserves the respect of me giving him all that i have got!". Now this is neither Ego nor anger, it is coming from somewhere else, could this be fighting spirit? Maybe. Let's keep on analyzing.
2. Enjoying the fighting of strong opponents.
You can enjoy fighting strong opponents for several purposes. It cam come from your ego, where you enjoy defeating someone who was perceived as stronger than you. Again, this is not fighting spirit but simply your Ego controlling your purpose for fighting.
You can enjoy fighting due to aggression or anger - for example, if you enjoy when you hit your opponent. This is once more not a fighting spirit that motivates your actions.
The third scenario is where you enjoy landing a technique on stronger opponent EQUALLY as you enjoy getting hit by strong opponent because you realize and recognize the amount of work and skill that it takes to take advantage of specific opportunities in time. It is the feeling of respect, not Ego or anger, that allows you to smile and keep going even when you get hit. Now THIS, I believe, is the real fighting spirit.
It does not come from Ego, it has nothing to do with anger or aggression. It is mutual respect, it is the feeling of LIVING in that instant, and appreciation for your opponent's or even your effort. This is what will make you completely satisfied in the fight even if you lost. Where winning and losing becomes meaningless, but the fight itself is the real purpose. Where you develop an ability to talk through movement. Where instinctive motion becomes controlled, yet not premediated.