I have doing exercise since I was a little kid in PE and first got a taste of Weight Training when I was an early teen. After High School I joined a gym and learned from a few guys here and there but never made a big impact with them and just didn't get it. After my accident back in 2005, I began learning just a few things from a book called Combat Conditioning by Matt Furey. When I began walking again and was cleared to train, I dedicated myself to get stronger and healthier and it just happens that one of my good friends lived only literally a couple doors down, we call him the Duke but to a lot of people today you know him as the Garage Warrior Tyler Bramlett. He was the first guy that taught me real conditioning and mental toughness. This was my stepping stone into Physical Culture.
One of the guys Tyler had me research on was Karl Gotch, the man who’s considered the God of Pro Wrestling in Japan, one of the first things I learned was how to use bodyweight exercises on a deeper level. I had already done some work on the deck of cards workouts but another thing I learned later on was “You think you know, you’re dead.” Getting that stuck in my head I understood that if you want to be great, you got to keep learning. Just because you know a thing or two doesn't make you a superior expert, you keep testing yourself and when you pass your knowledge onto others you want them to succeed more than you did, if you don’t than you’re not a good coach and you haven’t learned a damn thing.
Another great wrestler of the old days was Billy Robinson who has quoted saying “You learn how to learn” by this he means no matter what you do in life or in training you keep filling your head like a sponge and although you could be a master later on, you will always be the student. Understanding this isn't easy because you've done so many things in your life and yet you feel there’s nothing left but only have touched the surface. In nearly 8 years of being in the Physical Culture world, I have learned more than most guys my age have learned in their entire life and yet I haven’t even peaked the mountain. Constantly learning helps you become more successful, doing things one day at a time.
Taking foundations from different elements of training gives you variety and teaches you which ones to work with and not to work with. Taking from Tyler and other guys it is essential to build your style and learn how to maximize them with different parts from different people. If you just do the same stuff over and over and expect something different to happen you’re on your way to be insane (literally). The ability to find your own style makes you unique and although most people don’t like change it’ll make them think twice about what they do.
A golden rule in the Physical Culture world that made me learn the hard way with a few guys is the level of respect. Respecting others who have made big impacts, small ones and even crossed in the middle should be respected. I’m not saying you should like everything someone puts out, hell I can’t stand some of the crap that’s out today but I give those men and women credit for doing what they think is best. There’s guys out there who hate weights but love bodyweight, some loathe bodyweight and embrace weights and then there’s guys who are caught in the middle like me, Tyler, Bud Jeffries, Logan Christopher and many of the old-timers. We all have our own opinions of what works, what doesn't and what can be improved but in the end you learn respect not just to them but yourself because the moment you learn to respect that you are as a person and/or athlete, the bigger your opportunities will be.
There’s always going to be debates on who’s the best of the best but in my opinion there’s no such person. Each Physical Culturist over the last 100+ years has had something that made them successful and they’re the best at it. I’m not going to compare who’s great at what and who’s the most successful because come on that’s just a waste of time and you’re not going to accomplish much. There’s a lot of great strongmen, wrestlers, steel benders, hand balancers, bodybuilders and others that are no different than you and me, just have something special about them that you can also find within yourself.
To truly understand Physical Culture it’s a lifelong journey from your beginnings up until the day you die, there’s no real destination. You constantly learn, take things from different places and mold them together creating your own jigsaw puzzle so do speak. It’s finding who you are as a person physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.