Is heart something that you are born with or is it something that can be attained? I would say you either have it or you don't, but then again everyone has a little or else they wouldn't even get out of bed in the morning. When it comes to fighting it's very apparent who does and who does not have it. Granted it takes balls to get in the ring no matter what but that will only get you so far. To the uneducated eye a lot of fighters get away with pretending to have heart but real fighters know the difference. When someone gets poked in the eye, cut, hit low, etc and the ref comes over asking if they're OK. This is that moment where someone with no heart has a way out without having to actually quit but in reality that's exactly what they are doing. It's easy to spot that difference, the fighter who truly has heart is going to beg to keep fighting no matter what, whereas the one without might take a little longer to answer the doctors questions or really play out the “injury”.
Most have more heart than they ever could have imagined but unfortunately it usually takes an extreme situation for us to realize our true potential. A mother of 4 that is suddenly left single and has to work 4 jobs, a fighter that breaks a hand in the 1st round and has to decide if they should quit or go on, a power lifter that is moments away from lifting their personal best but they are barely hanging on to the bar by their fingertips and start feeling their muscles tear...hell just watch this video
So can heart be taught, not really, as I said you either have it or you don't. One thing that can be taught however is that you have more than you ever realized. The only catch is that you have to go through a situation where having heart is the only option and from that you learn how big your heart really is, or you learn that you have none. Most don't realize how much of our training, even though it's physical, really plays into the mental aspect of when we actually are in the ring. When your trainer is pushing you beyond your limits, only you know whether or not you are truly giving it your all or not. It's easy to pass things off as giving 100%, it's easy to even make yourself believe that you gave it your all, it's usually not until afterward that we realize how much more we had left. Take this for example; if I asked you to start doing push ups until you literally could do no more you would start knocking them out and really give it your all. But guaranteed, 99% of the time, you are going to quit before your body truly can't function anymore. Let's just say you did 100, now lets do that same thing but this time I tell you that if you don't give me 200 then I'm going to kill your entire family, think you could do them all then? The thing is most of us quit mentally before our physical bodies can actually do no more. And the more times you give in to that the easier it gets the next time. So for me I really try and pay attention to those things as I'm leading up to a fight, and not just things in the gym. All things in life can lead to us weakening ourselves unknowingly. Any little moment of weakness, even if it's something as insignificant as eating a little piece of candy when you know you shouldn't, ultimately will lead to you being that much weaker when it truly matters. Obviously that's an extreme example but it's usually not one big thing that ultimately ruins us, it's a series of seemingly insignificant ones.
Now what is it that separates those with heart from those without? The ones with heart are willing to die in order to achieve their dreams. Some might say “well it's just not worth it, I'm not going to end up handicapped or worse just to win a fight.” And to them I wouldn't try and change their minds, but that's the thing that separates one fighter to the next. The one that is willing to go that extra mile, the one that is willing to keep pushing through pain and serious injury, the one that will never quit no matter what is happening, is the one that will reach heights that others never dreamed.
People are either born with heart or they are not, but that doesn't mean we all can't grow and strengthen the heart that we do have. Whether it's in your day to day lives, in the gym, in the ring, or anywhere else for that matter, take the time to recognize those moments where you can either strengthen or weaken yourself. And realize that when it truly matters, those small, insignificant moments are the ones that will help strengthen you in the end when it truly matters.