Living as a Warrior: Strength & Honor: 2014

This updated version of this old article of mine is dedicated to Chris Young. Chris is beginning the biggest battle of his life and I KNOW he will win!! Chris, I KNOW you have the intelligence, strength and power to not only defeat, but become STRONGER through your current battle!! I love you like a brother, man!!

Being a warrior requires having a strategic path. It also means that to achieve your goal, you must be committed and change or adjust your activities to further that commitment to your goals. This goes for achieving a great lift, competing in your first meet, or pushing forward through chemo. “Not everyone will have the [guts] to take it. The warriors path is demanding and calls for its travelers to reorganize their actions, thoughts, feelings, and perceptions in ways that will make them different from most of the people around them” (Robert L. Spencer).

We as powerlifters, and strength athletes are a minority in this fat and lazy culture. We think that everyone works out because we are always in gyms or at competitions where they surround us. Now, narrow down that sub-culture even more. How many of the people you see in your gym are actually training?

What made Ed Coan a legend and the greatest powerlifting champion ever? Ed had a warrior mentality, planned out his workouts to the exact poundage, and utilized animal intensity when he trained. Yes you are right, genetics always play a role, but it was only through his intelligence and intense training that he was able to realize his full genetic potential. He seemed mysterious yet still humble when you were in his presence. He commanded respect without even saying a word! He did not whine and cry about this and that, he just did his job and became a legend. Just like with the GOAT, it is your dedication, consistency, and relentless goal of strength that will help you achieve all of your goal to your potential. In essence it is what makes you a modern day warrior.

True warriors do not blindly throw weight around and eat haphazardly. They have a plan and stick to it. When an ancient soldier went to battle and only practiced movements with his weapon that were easy, or just “felt right”, this same soldier was usually the first to lose. Bruce Lee hits the nail on the head with this quote, “When you drop a pebble into a pool of water, the pebble starts a series of ripples that expand until they encompass the whole pool. This is exactly what will happen when I give my ideas a definite plan of action. Right now I can project my thoughts into the future. I can see ahead of me. I dream (remember that practical dreamers never quit)…I am not easily discouraged, readily visualize myself overcoming obstacles, winning out over setbacks, achieving ‘impossible’ objectives.” Yeah, I know that was a pretty deep quote, and what does that have to do with my bench press or arm size? Well I think it has everything to do with your current training. Your persistence, dedication, and the fire inside of you will get you the results you desire.

Wow! All this free motivational stuff and I did not even have to pay Anthony Robbins $2000.00 dollars for one of his useless seminars! Seriously, all warriors have a plan and a deep desire to capture and conquer their goals. Another quote from Bruce Lee that I personally think fits this discussion; “Don’t fear failure. – Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” Basically it means don’t be afraid to give something your all out effort! Pushing yourself to your own limits will get you what you want in the gym. Remember true warriors were and still are both intelligent and disciplined.

Being a warrior also has more to do with other strengths aside from battle and fighting. Becoming an “inner warrior” is what it’s all about. Don’t have a closed mind; be open to new ideas and information. When a person thinks that he has learned it all, it is then that he is doomed for failure.

Whether you are training in the gym, studying at home, working, or even on a date, only focus only on the task at hand – not everyone else around you. Train with a purpose; unleash your true strength and power! Unleashing your inner power while working out does not mean acting like an idiot, yelling, screaming, throwing weights around, and basically being obnoxious does not make you a warrior. It makes you an ass! We’ve all seen these clowns. Keep your internal energy to yourself. Walking around the gym with imaginary air lat syndrome is not being a warrior. This also makes you an ass. We’ve seen those wannabe bodybuilders walking around the lobby at a show with their arms all sticking out…but I digress. Anyway, being a true warrior does not mean becoming an uncontrollable maniac while you train. Well, unless you were the Barbarian Brothers from the 1980’s, they were pretty cool.

Samurai were not just barbarians who chopped off their enemy’s heads. They also had to master the arts of flower arranging and the tea ceremony. These extra abilities taught them discipline, and to look inside themselves for answers. (Plus, I’m sure decapitating your sworn enemy must have also been pretty cool.)

A favorite author of mine, Robert L. Spencer, sums up being a warrior very well, “The warrior trains daily. Physical conditioning, technical proficiency, tactical fluency, spiritual strength, emotional control – These are the substance of his goals and the weapons of his arsenal…Some days he pushes himself to the limits of his capability in one or more [areas] to test his progress”. No, I’m not saying you need to climb up a mountain and become a monk or something. Although some days that does not sound like a bad option! Basically if you are going to do something, do it right and do it with excitement and commitment. Utilize your own personal intelligence and growing knowledge not only in your training but in your everyday life.

To sum up on becoming a warrior:

  1. Focus more.
  2. Keep an open mind.
  3. Train with controlled ferocity.
  4. Discipline yourself.
  5. Control emotions.
  6. Always keep learning more.
  7. Of course – NEVER GIVE UP!!

I’ll leave you with this awesome quote:

“We have this life to live, and we can choose to live like slaves or like Warriors”.