(Disclaimer: This is not professional or legal advice. If it were, the article would be followed with an invoice. Do not expect to win any social media arguments by hyperlinking my articles. Chances are, we are both wrong).
I am unabashedly a huge nerd. I like the things I like, and when they intersect from time to time, I get excited. Here is an excellent example of that: Star Wars and the sport of wrestling. I'm sure this blog entry is written for no one but myself, but I like to pull from the philosophies of fictional warriors. The first up is the Sith, the villains of the Star Wars franchise.
WHO ARE THE SITH?
The Sith Order is an archaic religious order of Force-wielders committed to the dark side of the Force. Guided by their emotions, the Sith were enthralled with accumulating power no matter the cost. The Order reached the height of its control under Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith, who got his Order's goal of galactic domination after a millennium of plotting. Regardless, the deaths of Sidious and Darth Vader within a generation would mark the end of the Order of Sith Lords.
HISTORY OF THE SITH
With thousands of years of history at our disposal, I have tried to create a concise fictional account of the Sith Order to understand their philosophy better.
Thousands of years before the Clone Wars, the Jedi Order was splintered by a division that began when a Jedi and his followers turned away from the light side of the Force, regarding the dark side as the way to absolute power—having resettled to the planet Korriban in the Outer Rim Territories. Eventually, the Sith was governed by a new creed dictating that only two Sith Lords—a Sith Master and a Sith apprentice—could live at any given moment. As a by-product, the galaxy forgot the Sith while the Jedi concentrated their exertions on keeping the new age of peace under the modern Galactic Republic.
The Sith stayed in hiding for a millennium until the rise of Darth Sidious and Darth Maul. Sidious, instructed by Darth Plagueis, hid in plain view as Senator Sheev Palpatine of Naboo. Over the next decade, Sidious planted the seeds of discontentment within the galactic people. The Clone Wars began with the First Battle of Geonosis, after which whole brigades of battle droids and clone troopers deployed across the galaxy, making war and destruction expected for the first time since the building of the Republic.
In the final months of the Clone Wars, Sidious had a plot to turn Anakin Skywalker, the Jedi Order's foretold Chosen One, to the dark side. Playing on Anakin Skywalker's apprehension of losing his secret wife, Senator Padmé Amidala, Palpatine divulged his facade and true identity while asserting that the dark side was the way to immortality. Pulled between his faith in the Jedi and the fate he envisioned for his wife, Skywalker eventually chose the Sith by backstabbing the Jedi Order. Anakin died and was reborn as a Sith Lord Darth Vader.
The Sith's rule of the galaxy stayed somewhat unchallenged for a generation until the birth of the Galactic Civil War. Having sensed a disturbance in the Force, the Emperor realized that his apprentice's long-lost son, Luke Skywalker, was preparing to become Jedi. Mindful of the potential Luke inherited from his father, the Emperor anticipated the prospect of his defeat but was determined to turn the young man to the dark side as he did with Vader. Overpowered by his son's empathy for him, Vader decides to save Luke by killing his Master.
Roughly thirty years after the last battle in the Galactic Civil War, the First Order arose from the Unknown Regions, aiming to recycle the legacy of the Empire by overpowering the New Republic. At this time, a new generation of dark side wielders emerged; Supreme Leader Snoke and his dark apprentice Kylo Ren, the grandson of the late Darth Vader, oversaw the First Order's armies, the Knights of Ren.
Sidious's emergence from hiding resulted in a desperate final battle with the Resistance. The Jedi Rey Skywalker band together with a redeemed Ben Solo to eliminate Sidious, stopping the rebirth of the Sith. Backed by the Sith cultists of the Sith Eternal on Exegol, the mythical secret world of the Sith, Sidious declared his return to the galaxy and displayed the Final Order.
Exploiting the failure of others is the way of the Sith - Darth Sidious.
CODE OF THE SITH
The Code of the Sith is a mantra that defines the core convictions of the Sith. It was an inversion of the Jedi Code, a collection of statutes for constituents of the Jedi Order. It notably instructed its devotees that it is for the powerful to eradicate the feeble. It goes as follows:
"Peace is a lie. There is only Passion.
Through Passion, I gain Strength.
Through Strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain Victory.
Through Victory, my chains are Broken.
The Force shall free me."
Going line through line, much can be gleaned in an athletic context. But the heart of success comes from being ardent about wrestling.
Peace is a lie- one should never stagnate. Also, look to improve.
There is only Passion- It's easy to lose yourself in training. A clique in the sports world would be to "remember your why."
Through Passion, I gain Strength- People that focus on their goals tend to be resolute. That gives wrestlers grit, a skill that a coach cannot teach.
Through Strength, I gain power- No brainer here. The stronger you are mentally and physically, the more likely you can overpower adversaries on the wrestling mat.
Through power, I gain Victory- See above.
Through Victory, my chains are Broken- The idea that you cannot advance or are not good enough gives wrestlers the confidence they will need to be a champion.
STRIKING FROM THE SHADOWS
"The Sith of old brazenly and publicly announced their superiority. In this, they were correct. They were mistaken, though, if they thought no legion of enemies would rise against them." - Darth Bane.
"Rulers seek to control information. The powerful will do anything to hoard their power. And if something is forbidden, it is likely to be worth knowing." -Darth Sidious
The Sith rose to power in the Star Wars universe because they used their advantage by staying hidden from their rivals. In secret, they were free to scheme and plan their plan while training to defeat overwhelming numbers of Jedi. In our modern era, it is almost impossible to imagine doing a workout at the gym and not posting about it. If a rival sees you working out, it only encourages them to match you in an exercise arms race. Social media, while giving us validation by posting workout selfies, reals our machinations to our opponents.
The Sith would recommend remaining in the shadows and do not reveal the steps you are taking to reach your goals. Let your enemies keep guessing. An example is Cael Sanderson and his Penn State wrestling team. The program is notoriously clandestine, so there are no all-access documentaries to supply a look into what's so special about the Nittany Lions' game plan. All that is left is for other coaching staffs to scratch their heads and wonder how he has won 9 national titles.
THE RULE OF TWO
"The Force is not fire; it is venom." -Darth Bane
In the Book of Sith, Darth Bane explains that power is easily diluted the more you give to everyone. The Jedi believe that the Force (power) is like a fire; the more it touches, the more it spreads. The Sith believe that the Force (power) is venom. If it is poured into many cups, it loses its potency until it becomes so diluted it is just an annoyance. Yet pour those cups back into a single vessel, and you will have the power to stop any opponent.
The Rule of Two decreed that only two Sith Lords must exist at any given time: a master to represent the power of the dark side of the Force and an apprentice to crave it and train under the Master and to one day kill him and assume the master role. For example, before the Clone Wars, Darth Sidious was the Master, and his apprentice was Darth Maul.
Now, as you can gather, the Sith have trust issues. Generally, there were never REALLY two Sith at the time. For example, Darth Sidious had Darth Tyranus (Count Dooku) as his apprentice during the Clone Wars. Still, Tyrannus secretly trained his apprentice in Asajj Ventress to overtake his Master. Or during the Galactic Civil War, The Emperor (Darth Sidious) had Darth Vader as his student, but Vader himself took a student with Starkiller (Galen Marek). My point is that this is a long-winded way to say that a wrestler (or person overall) should always serve two roles, as a student and as a teacher.
When looking for training partners, follow the Rule of Two (Three). Find one person that can dominate you in a match, whether a teammate or coach. This will give you humility and a launching pad for how you need to grow. You will also need to find a workout partner that you can easily defeat, which shows promise. Someone willing to put in the time to learn and want to improve themselves. Feel free to interchange partners as often as possible to achieve a constant classroom mentality. Keep in mind this student/teacher dynamic should not be static. Eventually, you should outgrow who you learn from, and your student should make gains on you and finally be a struggle to beat.
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Ryan Lancaster wears many hats. Dive into his website to learn about history, sports, and more!