How did students of Cus D’Amato switch to the state of a predatory animal?

The history of world boxing knows a huge number of champions. Their names one can find in the boxing halls of fame, on the official websites of international boxing associations. However, there are names that even today evoke a keen interest not less than it was 20-30 years ago. Mike Tyson is one of such example. The youngest world heavyweight champion. So far, there is no one who has succeeded to repeat his achievement of 1986.

Perhaps, Tyson was the best student of Cus D’Amato, the legendary coach who was first to introduce the scientific approach in boxing and achieve phenomenal results in the form of three world champions: Floyd Patterson, Jose Torres and Mike Tyson. In this article, we do not set the task of conducting a comprehensive analysis of Cus D’Amato’s style, which was labeled by journalists as the “Peekaboo” style. In some way, this article is going to become a scientific excursion and reveal one of the most important mysteries of the style, namely, how did South-Italian coach “switched” his fighters into the state of a predatory animal before the fight?

“When Mike Tyson was only 16 years old, even on trainings in the ring there were big problems, it was hard to find an opponent, a sparring partner for him; yes and yes, fighters did not want to get with Mike Tyson in the ring, even for $ 1000 they did not want to go for three rounds.”(Tom Patti, Ph.D. Oleg Maltsev)

Steve Lott
(author: Steve Lott.  Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)


In this fragment of the book “Non-compromised pendulum” the outcomes of Cus D’Amato’s method application are vividly described. Tyson and his coach were not interested in anything except knockouts. During one of the interviews, Steve Lott, who was in Cus D’Amato’s teach in the 80’s said that if the 16 year old Tyson got in the ring with Muhammed Ali without spectators and other emotional pressure, than fight would end prematurely in the first round in favor of Iron Mike. Tyson’s goal was not just to win, he wanted to inflict maximum amount of physical damage to his opponents. Teddy Atlas, being an assistant of Cus D’Amato, writes in his book “From the streets to the ring: a son’s struggle to become a man”, “Cus was a Frankenstein, creating a monster from Tyson, whatever it would cost other people.”

If someone believes that Tyson was a tough guy right from his birth, then they should read Larry Sloman and Tyson’s book “Iron Ambition”, as well as “Confusing the Enemy” by Dr. Scott Weiss and Page Stover. Mike was rather a shy child who grew up in a criminal environment. All he could do was cheat, steal, rob and lie. The role of Cus in Tyson’s personality transformation is the key one. It was this grumpy Italian old man with Apulian roots who was the architect of the future world champion.

“Cus took the weak and made them strong” (Mike Tyson)

Between December 1st and 16th, 2017 with the guidance of the head of the Memory Institute, PhD Oleg Maltsev scientific expedition to the homeland of Cus D’Amato to the southern Italy took place. Italy. The task which was set before the expeditionary team was to investigate the origin of Cus D’Amato’s boxing style, who had nurtured three world boxing champions.

He expeditionary teach in 16 days, with scientists, financiers, journalists and specialists in the field of martial arts overcame more than a thousand kilometers. The expedition route began in Munich and passed through such cities as Genoa, Bari, Toritto, Bisceglie and Fiumefreddo Brucio. The final point of the expedition was the city of Palermo. In the scientific study there were 8 types of data analysis used: starting from the historical research and the fate analysis area to the forensic and psychological analysis areas. As a result, the genealogical tree of the D’Amato line was fully restored and it is scientifically proven that the root system of Cus D’Amato’s style is the Neapolitan style of Spanish fencing. The “core component” of the Cus’s style is consistent with the Neapolitan style of Spanish fencing in 57 points. The archetypal structure of the style and the technique of Cus D’Amato’s training also proved to be identical to the Neapolitan fencing.

Here is the logical model of Neapolitan fencing, which was, not accidentally, considered to be the most effective martial art in the period from the XVII to the XIX century, that passed through the hearth of Spanish wars. In his book, Nicolo Terracusa y Ventura openly states that Neapolitan fencing is the “flower of all nations”. The key elements of this model are archetypes of four animals: a rhinoceros, a wolf, a tiger and a bird of prey. If one looks closely to how Tyson moves on the ring, “manifestation” of each of these archetypes will be evident. Remember how all these animals look and how they fight in the wild. A rhinoceros is about absolute protection and a direct blow that strictly corresponds to a straight thrust and a direct jab in the Neapolitan fencing, around which the whole system of Cus D’Amato is built. A wolf is about a blow or an attack from the side, just as a wolf pounces and bites his fangs into his prey. This archetype determines the ability to fight, both alone and in a group. In the beginning, Tyson used to deliver blows from one side, and then rapidly would take position on the opposite side, delivering new blows to his enemy. Thus, the enemy did not manage to dodge on time and weave to a side from these attacks. The tiger hunts from an ambush. It “contacts” like a spring and shoots clearly to the target. Not coincidentally, it was found in the books of Larry Sloman and Dr. Scott Weiss that Cus D’Amato considered the cat to be an “ideal fighter”. The fourth archetype is a bird of prey. In Neapolitan fencing it is an eagle that comes from the Norman tradition. The bird of prey is the embodiment of the “system which allows to construct in the motion”. Bird has a beak to strike paws to snap, and wings that can be used both attacking ad defending itself. In order to use these archetypes in Neapolitan fencing one has to employ a certain technique that makes it possible to switch to a so-called “pre-reflex state”, which provides failure free actions on the basis of the archetype. In order to shift to this “pre-reflex state” Cus D’Amato used hypnosis and a block of working procedures.

Boxing fans will have a possibility to get acquainted with the technique of Cus D’Amato in more detail, in the book “Lighting rod that strikes faster than lighting itself” Ph.D. Oleg Maltsev, which is going to be released in 2018 and will be freely available for general usage. Again, let us repeat that we did not set ourselves the task in the given article to provide a full description of techniques of the brilliant coach. This excursion creates a certain orientation system for readers in regard of the scientific part of the Cus D’Amato’s system. Evidently, by application of this kind of a scientific approach, one may even turn an ordinary guy from the criminal district of Brooklyn into a legend of world boxing.

Author: Sergio Kaz