By: David DeLuca
If you are going to grow, you must go through hell.
In the 7th Century BCE, Spartan training was famous for being so brutal that, when the Spartan warriors went to war, they felt like they were taking a vacation.
In 12th Century Japan, samurai trained their minds by living every minute as if it were their last — leaving no room for regret. They hardened their spirits by braving the elements, standing naked, waist-deep in snow, sitting under icy waterfalls, or going for days without food, water, or sleep.
Today, a small group of monks who call themselves Tendai require new members to undergo a trial that lasts one hundred days. On each of those one hundred days, he or she must perform a kaihogyo, which means, “circling the mountain.”
The mountain is Mt. Hiei (HEE-EYE). The path around it is 50 miles long.
Once a monk has completed 100 days of kaihogyo, he or she is said to have become one with Acala (AH-kuh-luh), a powerful, wrathful deity in the Buddhist tradition. In ancient paintings, Acala appears perched on a massive boulder, wrapped in an aura of flames, and holding a flaming sword.
The name “Acala” in Sanskrit means “immovable.”
As the Tendai monks take step after step after step (in wooden sandals), they become like steel forged under a hammer. Every step is another powerful blow to the molten metal of their spirits: it shapes them, hardens them, and refines them until finally, they reach a state of spiritual invincibility.
These traditions lives on in us now.
The Spartan DELTA is a symbol of change. It takes all of the blood, sweat, and tears you gave, and it gives them back to you in unbreakable steel.
There are many ways to complete a Spartan DELTA, but the perfect DELTA requires a person to run the gauntlet — complete every Spartan challenge.
Like a hammer to a bullet of molten steel, the pressure of mile after mile and obstacle after obstacle of Spartan endurance transforms an ordinary Spartan into an unbreakable, unified whole of body, mind and spirit — a true Spartan warrior.
The volcanic intensity of the Sprint, the pounding, thundering deluge of the Super and the Beast, the staggering weight of the Ultra Beast, the brutal winds of the Hurricane Heat and its 12-Hour brother, and, finally, the Agoge — where the body is broken and the spirit takes its final form beneath the pounding sledge of your own mind.
To complete a Spartan DELTA takes more than a body that can endure and a mind that can dare — it takes an immovable warrior spirit, a spirit that never dies. It takes a willingness not only to change, but to grit through the pain, and to be transformed by unimaginable challenges.
After the DELTA, a person is changed forever. The DELTA is our Spartan rite of passage. It is how we learn, with unshakable certainty, who we really are.
Whether in Ancient Spartan training, or Samurai, or the brutal rites of passage for monks, the transformation into a higher self takes relentless, grueling work. The immovable spirits of the Tendai monks of Mt. Hiei have inspired a powerful new tradition on the other side of the world. Here, in the West, we Spartans stand before a blaze. We can either walk through the fire, or we can turn away.
What will you do?
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Start your Spartan DELTA today.
To sharpen your mind as you train your body, take SPARTAN X, an online educational course we designed based on more than 1,000 interviews with experts on success.