Friday, June 28, 2013

Powerful Functional Legs




             It is one of the most solid foundations to have strong, agile, functional and powerful legs. If you’re in a sport, your legs are your carryover. You can’t kick a soccer ball, score a touchdown, jump shoot a basketball or run the bases in baseball without the use of your legs. It is important to have the best legs possible, not just in sports but in real life, if you’re in law enforcement you might need to run down a suspect, if you’re a strongman you might need to use your legs for certain feats like bending or maybe pulling a large object like a truck possibly. You see way too many guys in the gym that have flamingo legs meaning large upper body and bird legs. Never fall for this.

            Having a powerful lower body is essential to the many things life offers but power doesn't always mean super strong, it’s crucial to also have flexible and supple joints, tendons and ligaments. I know this all too well because of the recovery from my accident 8 years ago. I started out with squats but as I learned flexibility training it became more important. Stretching is a key to lifelong health so it’s important to find the best ways to keep you from having burned out legs as you get older. Remember to learn to relax as you stretch, the key is to release tension because the more relaxed you are, you can be more explosive and powerful later on.

            We all know the key to superhuman legs is squats but that’s not the only exercise that builds them. Squats are usually the straight up and down exercise but what about directional movements or isometric holds for different directions. When you lift odd objects, your legs aren't always going to go up and down, you need to move in different patterns to lift certain things like Rocks, kegs, logs and furniture. You want to keep strong in every direction possible. Think of it like wrestling; you don’t always shoot in for the kill, you need to shift the body for certain moves or holds that require flexibility otherwise you’re just going to be stiff and you’re down for the count.


            The single most important reason the legs need to be super strong is because they also build crazy lung power which amps up your conditioning. I have repeated it so many times but certain people need to get this planted into their brain, the late Karl Gotch has said “Conditioning is your best hold.” This means the more conditioned you are, the longer you can go and can stay in the game. This goes for everything. Endurance is essential and yes it’s possible to have big legs and still have insane stamina (Great Gama anyone). You don’t always need high volume training to build endurance and certain things won’t build lung power the way you might think. Powerful muscle and endurance go hand in hand. Keep your legs strong, supple and crazy powerful because you never know when they might come in handy when the time calls for them. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Developing Meditative Power

           

               Exercising doesn't always have to be physical or moving. A lot of people firmly believe if you go hardcore, that’s all you need but in reality the opposite is true. In meditation practices, the most powerful ways to gain inner strength is just by not moving and by relaxing (not loose and lazy) and strengthening the power of your mind and strengthening your organs. Shaolin Monks are one of the prime examples of developing super power in a meditative state. We've all seen how great they are with jumping abilities, breaking bricks and they’re crazy endurance but where do you think all that power comes from? Sure from practicing those things but it’s the power of chi or life force that brings all of those things together.

            A great meditation practice especially if you’re going after a goal or want to be better at something is to think, see, and feel as if you’re in a movie theater, just you watching a movie on the big screen. You’re watching your accomplishments unfold in front of your eyes, your past and future goals come alive and with love and celebration you’re starting to see it as if it was your favorite movie. You’re the hero vanquishing the villains (aka negative and dark energies) that want you to fail but you don’t give in. Each time you watch that movie, it becomes more powerful, clearer, more alive and before you know it, it jumps right out of the screen and that movie becomes your reality. You’re excited, invigorated and far stronger than you ever were before. Something within you becomes something Superhuman and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.

            Powerful meditation usually pits you in an offensive strategy but not so much in a defensive position. Ever heard the expression a great defense is a great offense? That’s like teaching people to swing the bat and hit a homerun but where’s the pitcher, the catcher and the outfield? That batter might be your dark energy and you don’t want him on base or having him soar that ball over the fence. Your team is on the defense and you can’t let the other team score. Sometimes you throw a fastball or a curve ball and they might get on base but they haven’t scored yet. If you learn to feel and know it, you realize you still have the best defensive team on that field, picture having the greatest players at their position on your team like a bunch of all-stars working together. See guys like Satchel Paige as your pitcher, Josh Gibson at Catcher, Lou Gehrig at First, Rogers Hornsby at Second, Cal Ripken Jr. at Shortstop, Brooks Robinson at Third and your Outfielders are second to none with names like Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Rickey Henderson. Its one hell of a strategy don’t you think?

            This is just an example and you can name other players of your choice but the principle stays the same and there are other ways to use defensive strategies in meditation. It’s like building a giant bubble over you and no one can get to it, or in this case using Baseball analogy you cover the wall of the field as one massive bubble so there’s no way they can hit it out of the park and your players get an out more than a good number of times, hell you can make the batter strike out cause the moment you throw that ball, it’s so fast he can’t see it and it’s right in the catcher’s glove before he knows what hit him. Make it work for you.

            The physical side to meditation is a useful tool more than you think. In Qi Gong; you learn to harness your energy through movements that flow with energy and smooth harmony. Tai Chi is the same thing just in a different format of energy flow but yet it’s still there and the more you harness that energy, the more powerful you become. Another look at physical meditation is through the use of CoreForce Energy; the ability to harness strength and speed using sound, torquing points and cutting edge power with the mind and body working together. It is used in any situation whether it’s through exercise, talking, writing, playing an instrument or whatever it is you want to do, it’s harnessing that inner power that generates strength in all its aspects.

            There are more ways to develop meditative powers so learn and find what works best for you, make it a habit to meditate the best way possible and be less resistant as possible. This world does have it’s beautiful side but it’s up to us how we see things and how we can our lives richer in health and well being. See what you can find, it’s a great way to make life that much sweeter.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Isometric Conditioning

            





              I seriously believe and quite a few others believe this to is that Isometrics really are the ultimate anytime, anywhere fitness program. Why do I believe this? For good reason, you can’t really bring a barbell into a grocery store, you can’t really do jumping jacks in the middle of a movie at a movie theater and you certainly don’t want to be doing aerobics during dinner but you can do Isometrics during all those times and if you’re smart, no one will ever know. In reality, Isometrics give you that power you can’t get anywhere else and its fun to do even with simple exercises.

            When it comes down to it, Isometrics give you that tendon strength, the strength you need the most. Muscle building is great to do but it can only take you so far, tendon strength moves you far forward and the more you do it right, the stronger you’ll be in many areas. Sure it’s tough to find what to work on because Isometrics focus on that positional strength but with the right mindset, you can find a way to get that strength that will give you an edge beyond your competition. In sports, injuries happen all the time but the most common ones are on the tendons and it’s because they’re not trained enough, if they were the less chance you’ll get injured.

            Conditioning in this manner you won’t be able to get from much else because even though it’s different directions, you still won’t have that speed power. We all move in various directions but at times we get stuck in a certain position that is just tough to do, whether it’s from a certain number of push-ups, or that last rep in a Bench Press hell even curling a Dumbbell can be tough but if you worked on that tough position to gain speed wouldn't you want to get it going? Hell yeah you would.

            Isometrics go as far back as ancient Egypt, the golden era of Greece & Rome, Asia and other cultures around the world. One of the great examples of Isometrics was for practicing warfare believe it or not because when soldiers were preparing for battle when at a time when the Bow & Arrow was the most fierce weapon, they’d have men pull a bow they couldn't possibly pull hard enough to shoot so when they used the bows in battle, that pulling speed strength would have the advantage and can shoot faster than their counterparts. Even in Japan where Sumo Wrestling is as old as the culture itself, you’d have these big guys pressed up against pillars pushing and pulling for long periods of time and you wonder why they’re so strong in that position. Isometrics have a long and rich history that it’s almost forgotten today even though there are some things here and there.

              

            To keep the great level of Isometrics going today isn't easy but we can all take part in learning, showing each other different ways to do them and what can we do to prevent the wrong ways of doing them (trust me they’re there) and help others show the way to keep fit, healthy and vibrant throughout their lives at any age. This type of training is a healing form of training and can help rehab old injuries and build stronger bones, tendons and ligaments. You don’t need to exercise for hours on end, most you’ll need really is like 10-20 min. at best and you can spread that out throughout the day without having to do it all at once. Be open minded, learn and practice different styles to find what works for you. If there’s a way to make the world healthier and living a pain-free life, let’s help teach the wonderful and powerful ways of Isometric Conditioning.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Why Learn Your History

               In the world of fitness, you learn a few things here and there but not many want to learn where certain things started or how they got there in the first place. In just about every program there’s a historical significance to it. Say you wanted to learn about Barbells and Dumbbells so you can get strong and usually the first people they learn about is Arnold Schwarzenegger or a today’s Ronnie Coleman or Jay Cutler. There’s a difference between lifting strength and bodybuilding. If you really want to learn about those two pieces of equipment you could really learn from guys like Reg Park, John Davis, Doug Hepburn, Arthur Saxon and quite possibly the strongest of them all Louis Cyr. The more you glimpse of what lifting’s history the more you’ll want to take it up.

            Strength Training dates back thousands of years as far as ancient India with the wrestling sport of Kushti where you learned to wrestle, run, swim, swing clubs and the mace which were used as weapons during a period when battles required the utmost of strength. In the golden eras of Greece and Rome, they had to train harder than most can fathom today and especially as soldiers because they learned how to handle a heavy sword or shoot tough arrows so they used a style of Isometrics in order to increase the strength and speed of the arrows in battle. Here’s something you may not have known but in the time of Leonardo da Vinci at a young age he was quite the athlete and even had strength to bend horseshoes.  You see, fitness and exercise ends up in places you didn't think were possible. Some of these vary same things are what makes training today even though mainstream training has become a nuisance.

            We've all seen records broken right after another but there are records that most people don’t even know exists. We've all heard at one point in sports like Basketball where the Boston Celtics won what 8 straight titles but what about one man who went 15 years undefeated in weightlifting in three different decades 1938-1953, that man was the legendary John Davis. How about another record that most likely will never be broken, The great Gama won 5000 matches in wrestling and not lost once, you know what record is more popular than that, Rocky Marciano’s Boxing record of being undefeated. Records come and go all the time and whenever we see one today there’s not much of big thing about it but think about what record breaking was like back in the 20’s, even when the 1900’s rolled in, it was huge. How about this, did you know that back in the early 20th century, pressing more than 350 lbs. overhead was unheard of and was the talks of the town, now imagine that weight being pressed overhead with one arm, got nothing to say now huh?


            No matter what you’re in whether its sports, music, weight lifting, Archeology or even certain types of science, learn the history, educate yourself. Continue to use your mind and you’ll soon understand why using the mind and body work together, not just in exercising but with everything. Something always started somewhere, learn where it came from and learn about the people that made those things happen. I just wish they can put the history of Physical Culture as an academic curriculum in schools such as High School and College. There’s a lot to be learned in this world and the more educated you are with the right tools of mind and body working together, you’re on the right path. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Phoenix: The Story Of The Rising Generation




My name is Jarell Lindsey, age 20 circa August 16th. Strength has been a lifestyle for me since youth. It may not have been my strength, and it may not have been physical, but strength was always surrounding me. My father was a man who had great endurance; he worked long hours in order to provide for my brother and I, albeit there was not always enough to sustain us properly. Even when suffering a series of strokes and heart attacks, he kept his naturally sarcastic demeanor and vitality. He was my hero, and I looked to him for my own strength. Even when he passed (I was age 10), I felt that his pure endurance kept his spirit around to protect my brother and I. 

My mother was a woman who had great mental strength. She possesses a series of unfortunate ailments, the most distinguished being diabetes and multiple sclerosis. By the time I reached age 4, her legs could no longer support her and she had to use a wheelchair. Steadily, she lost the ability to write or feed herself, her speech deteriorated, and her overall health just went south. Yet her mind, amidst all the turmoil she faced, stayed fresh. There was rarely a moment when you could not catch her smiling. All other troubles began to feel trivial to me; what troubles, I wondered, could I truly have when this woman has looked multiple times in the eyes of the reaper and smiled! All of her intelligence, incredible memory, and wisdom stays with her even to this day.

My brother-in-law and uncle were men of great physical strength. My brother-in-law is a man of average stature (around 5'10”, 180) with the capability to lift the rear of a car, perform incredible sets of pushups without a notion of tiring, and enduring a baseball bat strike to head and shaking it off. He refused to allow limits to be associated with him. He actually introduced me to some isometric exercises young, way before I knew what they were or their capabilities. Furthermore, my uncle is a man of almost equal stature. He performs morning runs often, and has the capability to bench press upwards of 240 lbs. He is also 80 years old this day. He refused to allow the supposed limitations of age prevent him from having the strength and physique he desired. 

So what did this mean for me? I was not the weak and sickly child turned superman. My entry into this world was rather lucky; I was a month premature and suffered from chronic sleep apnea and asthma, but I grew out of both into an averagely healthy young child. Yet, seeing such instances of strength around me, even in sickness, gave me the drive to pursue the world of physical culture. But, where would I begin?
When living with my uncle, I attended the local YMCA with him quite often. I would lift weights there, but I disliked that I would perform such taxing exercises with very gradual strength development. I put my all into the exercises, but I felt that there could be more. I did as any kind in the modern era would do for a problem: I consulted my friend Google. The results that I found were endless, but I understood what I wanted; I wished to have a great level of strength without adding too much bulk to my stature. Reading about Bruce Lee gave a lot of insight on having a small stature, yet with power and strength. 

My uncle taught me to search for the definition of words I didn't understand, so I did so for this one word I saw: isometrics. I couldn't fathom the results I found. A man named Alexander Zass could snap chains across his chest? This diminutive fellow called the Mighty Atom could drive nails with his hands? There was an Indian catch wrestler with over 5000 matches, no losses? Considering all of these men performed isometrics, I felt as though I'd found a jackpot. It didn't seem I even needed to spend money I didn't have on training equipment for this. By coming across Paul “Batman” O' Brien's website (Isometric-Training.com), I was able to learn many training methods and transform my physique in a short amount of time. Yet I sought more. I read Chinese philosophy texts. I read Shaolin training manuals. I read the Yi Jin Jing and qigong books. I even came across Maxick (my personal favorite strongman) who possessed complete control over every ounce of muscle at his disposal. Upon discovering the Power and Might blog, I learned about all of these things and more at once, fueling my thirst for knowledge even further.

Perhaps I have performed more knowledge amassing than actual training, as my physique is nowhere near my goal in strength (having a similar level of muscular control as Maxick). However, if I can manifest just a fraction of the strength of the people who have impacted my life, I'm sure that those goals are less than impossible. If you have any interest in learning the things I've learned along my strength journey, visit my website at www.muscularstrengthsystem.com
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at jarell@muscularstrengthsystem.com

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Breathe While You Train

             I've said it before and I’ll repeat till you get it through your thick skull, learn to breathe while you train. It is the single most important aspect of physical and mental conditioning. It is the one thing that keeps us alive more than anything else. You can go days without water, weeks without food but a few minutes without breathing is killing you. The power of the breath is essential as it can help you stay in the game far longer than if you just started hyperventilating in the first couple minutes.

            Breathing helps you conserve energy and the more you practice it, the more energy is reserved. Its power can be used any way you want if you know how to use it. It can be used to help you in a strength exercise or it can help your endurance over a period of time. Different athletes use different breathing patterns for how they stay in their sport but the principles stay the same, if you can’t conserve your energy, you won’t last very long. Learn to breathe and learn when to use it to your advantage.

            Deep breathing is an awesome way to keep your energy intact and granted sometimes if you’re in a fight or in a match against another opponent or team your breathing tends to be tested which is a good thing because you learn how to handle it when it’s time to make it count. Even in a training session in the gym or your home workouts, you want to learn how to breathe while you exercise and while you’re in between sets because after a while it takes a toll on you so you learn to keep your breathing as best as possible to keep going.  It’s the reason it keeps you focused no matter what you’re doing.

            There are tricks to help your breathing while you train. When I do my deck of cards training, sometimes once I get to a certain part of the deck I have to keep my breathing intact because it becomes so intense you have to take in as much air as you can. After you do a set of push-ups or squats for example, although you want to keep going without much rest as possible there’s that other part you can use where you take in as many breaths as the number of reps for the next set, that way you’re not taking up too much rest and you’re conserving your energy. You can use this method for different exercises and different areas of fitness. Another great trick I learned to keep your breathing at bay is what I learned called the Hoffman Walk which was termed in Brooks Kubik’s books on the adventures of the old-time strongmen Legacy Of Iron series, after you do a set of an exercise, you walk and breathe deeply till you’re ready to tackle the next set, you’re not sitting down and you keep moving without stopping so this helps with your endurance.

            Get the concept of breathing and how it can help you in any endeavor and it doesn't always have to be training, it can be how you prepare for meetings or conferences in business, or how you handle shopping without tiring out before you get to your car (this happens with a lot of people believe it or not) and it can help you stay in the game in your sport so you can keep up that reserved power to stay driven and help your team keep going. Breathing is life and life is breathing. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

It’s Hard Being Alone

            Some people like to train alongside someone, others prefer training alone and some even make the choice to be alone. Why is that, is it better or is it more distracting when you have someone training with you? Certain people train alone because there’s more freedom, do what you want, unless you’re in a gym and you have that issue waiting on someone but yet when you’re really alone in your workouts, there are no distractions, you’re the king/queen of your own challenges and the only thing that stops you is you.

            Every once in a blue moon, I train with other people, very rarely these days since I’m not much of a gym guy and there’s an extreme few who actually want to put in the work instead of walking around like a zombie. Friends however can be the best thing about your training, if they have a similar enthusiasm and love for training, they’ll be there to kick your ass and push you to levels you couldn't do on your own. In my own experiences I've been around enough guys that just made me want to be better and be tougher when I do get to be on my own because I’ll be hearing them in my head.

            When you are alone, it’s tough but it makes you learn things about yourself that is different than just training with other people. You learn that you’re the only competition and there’s no one to tell you any different. Self reliance is one of the keys to finding out what you’re best at and what to do when things don’t work. You can always ask for guidance but in the end, it comes down to you and how you want to make things happen. Challenges go deeper, your thinking is different and the way you push yourself goes far beyond anything else. You’re competing with yourself and when you fail, you can’t blame anyone but yourself.


            If you truly think you’re alone when you train, in most cases you’re not. Yes you have no one physically around to get you going but remember Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio, you have that conscience within you to help guide you to whatever it is that you want to achieve. If you listen closely, it can be your best friend or your greatest enemy but if you learned to use your mind and use your imagination, you can have the greatest workout without anyone there but in your mind, someone was there all along cheering you on, telling you to keep going, driving harder and taking you on a roller coaster ride that doesn't always want to end. It’s always great when you train with friends but when you train by yourself with that little piece of imagination it can create a major impact and show you the true meaning of Training.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Earning Your Keep

            





            In order to get what you truly desire, you got to earn it. There are so many things people are just handed to, cell phones, ipads, a new car for your kid’s 16th birthday, even in certain sports like Wrestling for example; they just want to learn takedowns, holds and escapes but they don’t want to put in the work to get there. Not everybody is like this and no matter how hard certain people work certain things won’t come or they get turned down for the things they want to get and it’s a shame.

            With training, a lot of people just want results at the drop of a hat but won’t put in the effort to get there. Some people are gifted and results come in very easily but for the general population especially those over 40 needs to put in a great deal of effort to make results come true. Now granted those who put in the effort but are unhappy with the results are so overwhelmed by it that they just quit and make excuses.

            You can enjoy what you put into it. It’s very easy to train like it’s a punishment and you just move along until you’re burned out and you just hate what your results look like. On the other hand, if you enjoy going after a goal even at times when it’s at its hardest, you can accept the outcome because you didn't quit. If your results didn't come the way you planned, that’s ok you still made an effort and might have to switch gears to make it happen next time. Whatever you put into, you have earned those results and you strive to be better.

            What’s the ultimate competition when it comes to getting what you want? It’s you versus the person you see in the mirror everyday. Comparing yourself to others is like comparing apples to oranges, it’s not the same fruit and neither is you being the same person they are. If you really want true competition, it’s going up against yourself. You started out with certain things you can’t possibly do at an advanced stage but you work your way up, as you get better you’re beating what you couldn't do before, you’re climbing that mountain when that part of you at first couldn't grasp it.

            Imagine this for a minute, you’re below a mountain that is so high up it just seems impossible to get there yet there’s someone else up there just having a ball, you grab the binoculars and you edge the lens to zoom in who’s just have the time of his life and out of all things to see, you see yourself and wonder “how the hell did I get up there.” He sees you and he has the power to zoom in without any help and waves at you. He wants you to come up and if you look closely you can read the lips “You can do it. I’m right here waiting.”

            You want to see how far you’re willing to go. You start to climb the mountain and there’s obstacles standing in your way and it’s tough for you to fight them but that part of you won’t let go of the fact that there’s someone holding your spot at the top. It takes a while and you are tested in ways you couldn't possibly imagine before and you struggle at times but there’s that piece of life left to keep going. Sometimes you have to take a break because let’s face it; this mountain has some crazy ass trails. There are times where it’s so overwhelming that you just feel like you can’t go any further and that’s when that person starts coming down the mountain with ease with a smile on his face, looks at you from a distance and says “you’re almost there, smile. It’s beautiful up there and it’s all for you.” You get that second wind and keep driving, seeing the top a little closer and closer, that last piece of the mountain is so steep it’s just begging you to fall but you climb it anyway come hell or high water you want to get up there so damn bad you can just feel the wind brushing you back and the air is at it’s best.


            You’re mere inches away and that last form of struggle won’t let you go but you fight it anyway. You have beaten it, you climbed up to the top and you see yourself standing right in front of you and he says “Welcome, I knew you can do it, I’m proud of you.” He disappears into the earth and you’re standing at the top just by yourself, you've covered more ground than you possibly imagined and only 5 words come to mind “Damn it’s beautiful up here.” 



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Monday, June 10, 2013

Being Sore Doesn’t Mean You Get A Day Off

           Training is apart of life no matter what. It takes guts to keep going day after day, week after week, and year after year but in the end its all how you make it be. People assume because you’re sore you overdid it and you need a break when in reality that’s where the fun begins. You've worked out hard and you wake up the next day and you’re aching what do you do? You can either rest or not do any type of training or you can adjust and focus on something else to train on till you’re fully recovered.

            The late Karl Gotch once said “you must adapt and improvise” and what does he mean by this? From my point of view and personal experiences, you learn to adjust your training by how you feel and how you can switch things around. In this case of being sore, you don’t have to go hardcore but you can change things up like for example…Say you exercised with a deck of cards and all you did was push-ups and squats, you’re very sore the next day from going through that whole deck, instead of moaning and bitching just do a little bit of stretching and work on little exercises throughout the day to keep your blood flowing and keeping the body loose while you recover.

            You can always do something. I've seen a lot of guys in the gym who go all out one day and the next they don’t show up because they’re sore, give me a break. I've also seen other guys who have pushed to their limits and the next day came back looking to do something else to help them recover. Taking a break from your regular routine is a good thing but it doesn't mean you’re out of the woods. Focus on something that keeps you active, ride your bike if you have one, take a nice walk around the neighborhood, do some deep breathing to open up the lungs and work on other muscles and tendons that didn't get worked. Have a little fun with it. Go out and move like a wild animal even if it’s a few steps, juggle kettlebells who knows, make something work for you till you’re ready to go full blast again.


            Recovery is very important, there’s no question about that. Sure you get it that muscles get torn down and need some down time but its also important to stay active, keep on your toes, keep your blood flowing, your body is like a machine and can go more than you can expect. Your body will heal itself and the better shape you’re in; the more you can keep active without being so sore. Keep that in mind and rest if you need to but don’t just lay around like a chump, do something that makes you happy, have fun and get in the habit of improvising your exercise. Be smart, train hard and keep at it. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Technology Has It’s Purpose To A Degree

            In the world of modern technology, it’s everywhere from computers to cell phones, satellites all over the globe, little robots that can do certain things, apps that have just about every single piece of information you can find and it’s all mostly unnecessary in the fitness world. There are ways to work around that however. There was a time when there was no internet, no cell phones, no computers to give us the slightest bit of info and the closest to entertainment you found was in a movie theater, the radio, Burlesque shows, Vaudeville and the Circus. You actually had to find a way to make life interesting whether it was working on a farm, wrestling with many sparring partners at a YMCA and sometimes the nearest town was miles away and had to ride a horse or in a carriage.

            Machines today have their reason and some of them are good to use but when it comes to exercise, most machines don’t really do anything for you because of how fixated they are. Some people can use technology to their advantage in their training; I was never fond of the treadmill but somehow certain people like them and use them in the gym or their home. To take advantage of this while being productive there has been ways of people getting fit from a treadmill while working at the same time. A great friend of mine Tyler from Garage Warrior has his laptop attached to his treadmill so while he’s doing emails and writing up articles, he can get in a brisk walk at the same time so he’s making something useful.

            To be fit in my opinion is to be as old school about it as possible with as limited machining and technology as possible. Learn to be more wild-like and open to getting strong, certain people like lat pulldowns for the back muscles but in the end if you want a great powerful back stick to basic exercises like Pull-ups, Chin-ups, Deadlifts and DB/BB Rows. When you move a barbell/dumbbell or even your own bodyweight, it’s a different feel; you’re part of a tradition in a modern era that is overrun by microwaves and technological distractions. Learn how the old-timers trained, you don’t have to be exactly like them but learn to use their example of how being fit and strong really is. Lift odd objects to find out how your muscles work in an awkward and unstable position, learn to use your body like an animal seeing how you move with constant change and direction.

            Since there are so many freaking apps for fitness there are only two or three I've ever found that is truly useful, the Tabata apps and the Deck Of Cards. Tabata training is basically an interval training system where you do 4 minutes of intense exercise with 20 sec. on and 10 sec. off ratio, this app can be great for short and timed training. I use it for animal type training. The deck of cards app is by far the very best one I have found that gives you a workout that is never the same and it’s an unlimited deck where you can do an infinite number of cards. You can pick up to 4 exercises that you can type in and you’re off and running, after you do a certain exercise on the card, press a button to go to the next one and it’ll tell you how many reps to do for that particular card, sucks it doesn't have jokers though.


            We can use technology to our advantage in the way we train but you have to be smart about it, let it work for you. Stick to the basics as best as you can and have a kick ass time with them but don’t let technology run your whole way of training, overall its best to turn off your computer, cell phone, radio and just be free to do whatever you want. It’s all about how you find things that work best for you.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Catching If You Can

             




              In the realm of Martial Arts there are those few that a not practiced often today but yet one has become a dying art with a little heart beat left and that’s the sport of Catch As Catch Can Wrestling. It is a style of wrestling that requires great practice (as does most Martial Arts) but yet it has a scientific feel for it, it’s a mind game like Physical Chess, you have to think certain moves ahead in order to defeat an opponent but it never gets easy. It may be a dying art but it hasn't sunk into the grave yet and has been rising in the last decade. This is the pinnacle of Submission Wrestling.

            The first rule of Catch is to get into the best condition possible. The reason why is because if you’re in a fight and you have your technique down but don’t last too long, you’re a goner before you can say “Damn.” Before you ever step on a mat, you should train with great intensity to become a conditioned individual. No one knew this better than the great Karl Gotch. To be able to get something, you have to earn it. I've heard about a lot of guys that love wrestling but never get down to condition because they don’t care about the work that goes into it. You want it bad enough; get your ass into gear.

            There aren't many who are left to teach the sport of CACC because most of them are gone including the late Karl Gotch but there are those that are out there that can help bring the sport back from the dead with the new generation. The one that sticks out the most now is the legendary Wigan wrestler Billy Robinson who coaches and helps out with seminars around the country with Scientific Wrestling front-runner Jake Shannon. Learn from who you can because it’s not everyday you learn about wrestling from the old school ways.

            Catch Wrestling has been around for decades has its roots in England, Eastern Europe and even in America with greats like Frank Gotch, George Hackenshmidt, Tom Jenkins, Farmer Burns, Fred Grubmyer and possibly the greatest American wrestler Ed “Strangler” Lewis aka (Robert Julius Fredrick). It is important to learn about our roots about mankind’s oldest sport and how it became what it is today. It is man’s birthright to wrestle, you didn't start out with a ball or a track or a racket, you started by getting your man to the ground and making him cry uncle to be the dominant man. You didn't have the Romans duel to the death by shooting a basketball, you certainly didn't have the Mongolians take down half the world by scoring touchdowns, they fought with powerful weaponry and the might of their body to wrestle and kill if needed to. From my understanding Catch is probably at the top of the list of being the great self-defense program and if you can strike, kick and wrestle masterfully, you’d be a dynamo.

            Not many want to earn their place because of how tough it is to get there. Look at this from a perspective, the conditioning is actually the easy part, it’s the consistency to keep it up and wrestle over a period of time is the hard part but that’s the beauty of it. Training is a constant state of motion and yeah it takes guts and the balls to get through it but at the same time it’s a preparation to help you stay in the game. Very few see that perspective and the rest bitch that they can’t handle it so they just up and run away like a scared mutt. I love wrestling and I've learned that if I want to be good at it, I have to earn my way to get there just like when I had my accident, I wanted so bad to train and walk again but I had to earn it through progression, drive and the will to get what I wanted and I made it happen. If I want to wrestle and learn the holds, I have to go through the trenches first to get there and if it means getting up to 500 Squats and 250 push-ups consistently so be it.


            To learn Catch Wrestling, you have to catch yourself and grab a hold of your conditioning and your will to get to where you want to be, if you want it bad enough, you won’t turn it into a nightmare, you’ll turn it into a dream you’re making come true and knock down the metaphorical brick wall to make that happen. Get at it and catch that light that is Catch As Catch Can Wrestling. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Training Philosophy 101: A-to-DBZ








Hello My Friends!

Our friend and comrade in physical culture, Benjamin Bergman, has been kind enough to yield the stage to me for the moment.  You might be asking who I am.  I shall not labor the introduction, but I tell you that I am a martial artist of nearly two decades, beginning my formal training in April of 1995, and a life long fan and mimic before that.  I have studied several arts, and it is through that study that I came into the world of physical culture.  Martial arts has little meaning without a vital body behind it.

So today, I would like to talk to you about this very connection between training for violence and training for vitality.  To aid me in this, I shall pass it through the lens of popular the popular anime Dragon Ball Z.

Let us first discuss the exemplary characters.  While the world of DBZ is populated by many characters, many noble, and many villainous, we shall focus on three:  Goku, Vegeta, and Piccolo.  It is true that Gohan, Goku's son, is technically the most powerful character in the series (for a time) and has the greatest potential, but because his training is sporadic, and usually forced upon him, we will exclude him from this discussion.  Without further ado, we shall briefly list Training, Fighting, and Characteristics of each character:

Goku:  Innocent and simple, he has an incredible natural talent for martial arts and physical training.  His training style varies depending on his teacher at the moment, everything from strongman type training to traditional martial arts training to intense spiritual training.  He is generally happy-go-lucky, but has an incredible battle joy, and an intense drive for constant personal development.  The quote that could define his attitude best comes from the first Dragonball series [Episode 59], Goku says, “This is great!  I'll be better at everything once I go up there.” To which his friend Upa replies, “Do not get your hopes up, my young friend, it may only be a legend.”  Goku contests, “Oh. I want to try it anyway.”  Upa protests, “But you're already strong.” And Goku has the final word, “I'm not the strongest, though, so it's still worth a chance.  Yeah.  It's definitely worth it. To be the best!”

Vegeta:  Pride and heritage drive him.  His was—IS--The prince of all Saiyans.  He is nearly as powerful as Goku, but grew up quite privileged.  It can be assumed that he is of average talent, but because of superior training early on, and being in constant battle since he was young, insisting on the hardest missions, being on the front lines, and having access to the best science and medicine of the Saiyan race (and beyond!) he was able to develop as only a privileged lord could.  He could never accept anyone being better than him at anything.  Greatness was his birthright.  He tends to be arrogant and extremely aggressive.  Prone to rage.  His training is the hardest, and self imposed.  He must constantly prove that he can do more, that he can do better than anyone else.  Competition and singularity drives him.  Very regimented and military in nature, always pushing for more, he is really Goku's antithesis.  The quote that describes him best is from Dragon Ball Z [Episode 214] “Imagine my shock, to see the undeniable proof, to discover no matter how hard I try, I would never be able to catch you.  A warrior-prince forever living in the shadow of a low level clown.  So that's when I secretly made up my mind...Yes, I saw the power of Babadi's magic at the World Martial Arts Tournament, those two henchmen he sent.  The people who had seen those fighters in the previous tournament couldn't understand how they had become so powerful.  But you and I know, don't we? It was Babadi's magic, and I knew what his magic had done for those fighters it could also do for me.  I knew that if I allowed myself to fall under his control, the difference in our power would disappear.  I'm quite pleased with the results.  Even if they do come at a price.  I'd say the end more than justifies the means...'cause I wanted him to reawaken the evil in my heart.  I wanted him to return me to the way I was before!  I was the perfect warrior; cold and ruthless.  I lived by my strength alone, uninhibited by foolish emotion.  But slowly, over the years, I became one of you.  My quest for greatness gradually giving way to this life of mediocrity.  I awoke one day to find that I had settled down, formed a family.  I had even grown quite fond of them.  Would you believe I was starting to think the Earth was a nice place to live?  Do you understand now, Kakkarot?  That's why I needed Babadi; to set me free by releasing the evil in my heart.  He has freed me of these petty attachments, and I'd have to say it feels pretty good.”

Piccolo:  A loner and tactical genius.  He seems to train for personal development, and to explore the depths of his potential.  As a Namek, he enjoys a unique biological makeup, including a diet of solely water, size changing ability, regeneration, and high psychic potential.  He is very much a cerebral, calculating type.  He looks at all the evidence, and makes decisions based on data rather than gut feelings.  This, of course, leaves him feeling alien and cold much of the time, but without his keen sense of timing and leverage, the Z Fighters would have lost many battles, and many lives.  His training is mostly psychic/internal as his biology is so completely different.  The quote that best describes his training potential comes from Dragon Ball GT [Episode 44] (Yes, I know it's non-cannon, but it sums up his attitude nonetheless!), “The powers of a Namekian have many uncharted avenues.” (In response to why and how he went to Hell to help out Goku.)  And this followup in the following episode [Episode 45] after he got Goku out of Hell, “Well, as long as I'm stuck in this dump, I might as well get in some target practice.”

Now that you have an idea of the characters and their styles, we can discuss the benefits of each when training for Violence and Vitality.  We'll call Goku's method the “Natural”.  When training “Naturally” you tend to follow your whims.  Whatever seems to be bugging you.  A new skill, a dodgy rep, just a bit of fun, etc.  You may find yourself hefting stones one day, and walking on your hands the next.  This fractal kind of practice does a couple of things.  It keeps you from getting bored with static routines, and it constantly challenges you with something new, never letting you get too comfortable with anything.  Of course, all this self experimentation can lead to mistakes and imbalances.  But Goku's training wasn't always whimsical.  No, he studied under many masters who had him do repetitions of fundamental principles over and over again.  But then this is what amateurs and naturals do as well, now isn't it?  They go off in a focused manner just plugging away until they “get” it, and then they move on to the next thing.  This is, in fact, the beginning point, and the end point.  It is where space time curves around back on itself, and we realize after all those years of learning, we just want to play.  Some of the real-world established systems that work well with this are Strong Man competition, Parkour and MovNat, as well as fundamental, natural martial arts practice like Shaolin Kung Fu, or Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling.

Next we have what I'd like to call the “Professional”.  This is Vegeta.  He was born to it, and lived it as an occupation until he joined up with Goku and his lot, and then it was an obsession and a charitable need, as he helped save the Earth many times.  This professional attitude is like many athletes and soldiers.  They have coaches/drill instructors, and are fed their routines, nutrition, and recovery, and have access to the best medical and scientific advancements.  This regimented training can take someone less than average, and put them into the top 5% quickly.  The benefits of training like this is the utter focus.  You don't have to stress over anything but the next rep because it's all laid out for you, and you know you're in expert hands.  It also means there will be fewer mistakes along the way because of the constant supervision.  This is the path to glory, but rarely ever to autonomy.  Real-world examples of this type of training obviously are reflected in military training, but also in popular systems like Crossfit and TacFit.  More systematized martial arts, perhaps like Shotokan Karate or Brazilian Jiujitsu.

Finally, Piccolo's style we will call the “Scholar”.  The Scholar is a collector and studier of training information.  They gather all the data and make informed decisions.  They focus on form and and function, timing and leverage.  They are the academics of training.  Ever vigilant, looking for new data, new observations, testing theories, and eventually coaching others in their wisdom.  Of course, one cannot solely collect information without ever moving a muscle.  That would be devastating in the long term.  It can also lead to paralysis by analysis, meaning having to filter through too much information and delaying the decision to act.  Piccolo never had this problem, but then he's not human.  The accumulation of knowledge and the wisdom of how to apply it is quite obviously beneficial.  The real-world correlation is not in any particular program, but rather in researching all programs.  It is the journal articles, and coaching programs, the clinics, the certifications, the ranks, the titles and degrees.  One would be best served finding a mentor in an area of interest, and studying as a disciple.  Less that, there is a world of information available in the form of books, videos, and seminars.  Pick a few that sound interesting and follow along until you are satisfied.


In closing, you may find that one or another of these styles calls out to you, but each one carries a drawback.  The stability and focus of the Professional is appealing, but I like being autonomous.  I am certainly the Scholar, a collector of knowledge, with experience in a literal dozen martial arts, and nearly equal that in fitness regimens.  However, I have to be constantly aware of what path I am on, otherwise I start muddling my training into something less effective.  And of course, as a true kid at heart, I love to just play.  Playing the natural, and just doing whimsical activities here and there helps me stay sane and play with things that are left out of my advanced routines.  How about you?  What is your balance?  Listen, thank you all for sitting in on this discussion.  I now return the stage to Benjamin.  Feel free to look me up, wherever you may find The Black Sun Renaissance.  Good Journey.

Pushing Your Limits

            Every once in a while you have that workout where it becomes a challenge, you want to take it as far as you can possibly, shooting beyond the realm of your capabilities. It’s great to have something to shoot for but it’s also important to understand progression, recovery and rest because if you try to do this every time, your body will burn out and you’re going to set up for injury. This doesn't mean you stop training.

            We all want to find out what we’re capable of but we never strive to actually find out what that really is. Workouts come and go and we always try to do better than the last but what’s really doing better? Do you do more reps/sets, does your tempo change or do you vary the position to make it harder or easier? In the end its best to what your capable of but one time, rather a week, month or year go as far as your body will take you and make your recovery period as long as it takes.

            Most don’t cross that threshold of pushing the realm of hardcore to one insane way to take your body to the limit. The reason why because they’re afraid of injuring themselves, overtraining, doing this more than that and never finding out their true potential. I've had my fair share of taking it to the limit but by my own way, you don’t push it like other people, you push it by yourself. There’s a lot of guys out there that can’t handle what I do but at the same time there are others I can’t match no matter what I do and I've learned to accept that. You’re no better than the next guy but he’s also no better than you are, it’s a matter of how you’re willing to go beyond yourself.


            All of us have plateaus to conquer, but the majority never hit that part of the hill because they’re afraid. In the movie Pumping Iron, one of the bodybuilders is talking to Arnold and the other Muscle Beach bums and says that the wolf on the hill isn't as hungry as the other wolf climbing the hill. It’s all about perspective and how far you’re willing to push yourself to climb to the top of your mountain. No one should climb someone else’s hill but their own, you don’t have to better or stronger or faster than the next guy but to be more of those things for yourself. Conquer your own hill, every little step doesn’t get easier but when you hit that hill at the top, it’ll make things all that much worth it.