Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dojos and garages

This is great stuff from Tommy Kono. After it was brought to my attention on the Dan John Q&A forum I read it a few times, digested it and realized that I follow very little of this. Read it first and I'll talk about me later.

If I Had My Way by Tommy Kono

If I had my way, the weightlifting area would be treated like a "dojo" as the martial arts students would use their area and equipment for training.

The entire area would be treated with respect from the bar to the barbell plates, from the chalk box to the platform.

The barbell bars would never have the soles of a lifter's shoe get on it to move or spin it, no more than you would place your shoes on the table top. The bumper plates would never be tossed or stepped on.

The barbell will always be loaded with double bumper plates on each side whenever possible to preserve the bar and the platform. The purpose is to distribute the load over two bumper plates instead of one with an assortment of small iron plates.

The barbell lifted would never be "thrown" down or dropped from overhead except for safety reasons. The hands will guide the bar down in a controlled manner as it is in a contest.

Anger from a failed lift will be controlled so no four-lettered words would be used.

Instead the energy for the anger will be directed for a positive result.

A good Olympic bar will never be used on a squat rack for squatting purpose. There is no need to use the good bar on the squat rack where it could ruin the knurling or cause the bar to be under undue stress, damaging the integrity of the quality of the bar that makes it straight and springy.

When a lifter finishes using the area for training, it would be left neat and clean with the barbell bars and plates properly stored.

Imagine how it would be if you did not have the gym to work out in and had to go to one of the spas, health clubs or fitness gym to practice Olympic lifting.

Imagine if you did not have a "good" Olympic bar and bumper plates for training.

Imagine if all the equipment was your very own and you had to replace it if you or someone damaged it by abuse - the money coming out of your own pocket.

Treat the Olympic barbell bars, bumper plates, platforms and any items used for training or competition with respect.

Development of a strong character begins with respect even for innate objects.

Character Building begins with Respect and Responsibility. 

Once again, I cannot state enough that I agree and admire everything said here. However, my path is different:

My gym is a corner of my garage. It's dusty, cramped and I fight a losing battle with spider webs weekly. I do buy all my own equipment, the nearest gym that offers the equipment I need costs a significant portion of my family's grocery budget. So I scrimp, save and every so often turn an old protein tub full of pocket change into something I need.

Needs are important. I have a bar. I have only one a pair of bumper plates. I have a squat rack. I need these. A plate rack is a luxury. So my plates are stacked, leaned against the wall or piled by the rack.

I have a good Oly bar. Not great, but good. It cost me $300. A power bar to use for benching and squatting is a luxury. So my Oly bar goes on the rack for squats and bench. I only have one pair of bumpers. I can't clean 225 yet (so very close, but other things are more important right now), so I don't need another pair of 45's. 10, 25, and 35 pound bumpers are luxuries. So iron plates go on next to the bumpers. My bar is lifetime guaranteed and the vendor assures me it doesn't matter what plates I use. So I use what I have.

My platform is a concrete floor with horse stall mats on it. I break my platform, I break my house. So I follow Kono's rule and control the bar so it lands flat on the bumpers.

I swear if I miss a lift, but I swear often. I swear when I have to buy gas, when I have to go to meetings at work and when the store runs out of my favorite coffee. So it's not an extreme display of anger. I do my best to remain calm while training. I quit using heavy metal as a training crutch a couple of years ago. Music is still appreciated, but I listen to different artists at a much lower volume now.

I can imagine finding a way to workout without my gym, because I've had to. I've used old cheap power bars with iron plates for Oly lifts, using a few layers of carpet squares over the grass in my backyard as a platform. I've risked injury to avoid making any noise at all lowering heavy cleans in a hidden area of a base gym.

My plates may lie on the floor, I may have to step on or over them to adjust the volume on my radio, but I still respect and appreciate them. Each one came to me through effort, hours of searching classifieds or saving pocket change.

I never skip a workout without good cause. My warm ups are ten hour days. My post work out is whatever the wife and kids are having for dinner. It doesn't matter, I get my reps in.

I don't have a dojo, and neither do you, but we can both still build some character and discipline.