Strengthcamp, May 2012

“FUCK YOU!  FUCK YOU!  I HATE YOU!  FUCK YOU!” I am screaming at the top of my lungs.  With every shout I am hitting a padded massage table with a tennis racket, as hard as I can. After several minutes of doing ungodly violence to the table with the racket I switch to pumping my elbows behind me, with force and velocity.  A violent shrugging meant to do harm, “GET OFF MY BACK!  FUCK YOU!  GET OFF MY BACK!”  Again this goes on for an uncomfortably long time.  Part of me wonders what the guys deadlifting in the other room… Read More »

Harold Terry Hall November 28, 1948-April 27, 2011

Today marks the one year anniversary of my father’s death. One year ago today, while the rest of the state was reeling from the first of two of the worst tornadoes we have seen in years, I was sitting in a nursing home in Forestdale holding my father’s hand as he slipped away. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you may have noticed my profile picture going through a series of changes.  Over the past week I’ve treated my face like a Wooly Willy toy, slowly whittling my beard down to it’s present state. Back in March I decided… Read More »

Muscle Memory

**This is a guest post from my dear friend and writing coach, Glenny Brock.** Pain is a signal. If ever knew that, I’d forgotten. What I remembered was Brush-Knee-Push-Step, Repulse the Monkey and Wave Hands Like Clouds — three of the 24 moves in the Yang Short-Form Tai Chi. Last Saturday morning, for the first time in about 10 years, I found myself standing behind Dave Hall, doing my damnedest to mimic and mirror him as we went through the form. I marveled that I remembered the slow dance of it all — when to “empty” my legs and feet,… Read More »

Why I train

I got to play hero again yesterday. Thalia’s fourth grade class was having a camp out up in Steele, Alabama.  We showed up later than most, around threeish.  Most everyone was already settled.  The kids were a little wild and the parents a little scattered.  After unloading the firewood I brought, exploring the camp ground a little and finishing my first beer I realized I needed to pee. The property where we were staying had a cabin with a bathroom.  It seemed more appropriate for me to find a semi private spot and just go outdoors.  There was enough traffic… Read More »

Play. Play often.

Play.It’s something most of us have forgotten how to do. We tell our kids, “Go play,” because we want them out of our hair. “Mama’s got things she’s gotta do now, go play.” “I’m sorry, baby, Daddy’s busy, go play.” We tell our kids, “Go play, ” because somebody somewhere told us it was good for them, an essential part of their development. “They won’t be functional as adults or learn as well if they don’t play.”Of course, we all know that last bit is falling by the wayside. Current educational paradigms tell us that scores are down and that… Read More »

Eyes Closed

Every teacher worth her salt knows that teaching is a learning experience.  In fact it’s the ‘dirty little secret’ of all teachers.  I mean, after all, you, as the student, pay us for our tutelage, but often we end up learning as much if not more from you. We learn about our art, or subject. It’s absolutely true you do not fully understand a concept, art, system, program, style, whatever until you have taught it.  That’s one of the reason’s why in most traditional martial arts programs each belt rank teaches the rank below it.  In other words you spend… Read More »

Attitude is Everything

We’ve seen this slogan everywhere. Attitude is everything. Many of us are turned off by it. Part of the reason is that it’s often associated with winning and the attitude of being a winner. Which of course means that there must be a loser and for some of us that’s just too much conflict. Yes, winning and losing are consistent concepts of life and we move in and out of these states in an ever flowing dance and as such becoming too attached to one state or the other only invites its opposite. Just not in the way we might… Read More »

Strengthology 101: Part IV

Often when someone returns from a trip abroad or somewhere significant we want to know things like, “What was your most memorable moment?” or “What was the coolest thing you saw?” I think a better question is, “How have you changed?” or “What’s different now that you’re back?” It’s cool to go away and see stuff we’ve never seen before, go places we’ve never been but the experience itself is fleeting.  Once it’s gone it’s gone, no matter how many pictures you take.  So the real take away from travel or any other similar experience is how that experience has… Read More »

Strengthology 101: Part III

It’s Thursday morning after the cert and my forearms are healing. It kinda makes me sad. Stone loading does quite a number of the soft (virginal, in my case) skin of your forearms. I came home with two three inch long scrapes, badges of honor, that everyone wanted to know about. “What did you do to your arms?” I felt like Caine from Kung Fu after he moves the brazier to leave the temple, a dragon and a tiger permanently branded into his forearms. I had a mark that set me apart and spoke of my accomplishments. Oh well, that’s… Read More »

Strengthology 101: Part II

This is the second time I’ve been in St. Petersburg. Both times I’ve been struck by the people I met and the relationships I’ve built. As a trainer and a massage therapist I’ve attended several certs and workshops hosted by a variety of experts, each with a substantial following. Never do I see the excitement and connection that takes place with Elliott’s followers. It’s not just that we’re all in the same field and have similar interests. I have that with other trainers and therapists. At those certs we enjoy each other’s company but once the cert is over it’s… Read More »

Strengthology 101: Part I

The soreness is starting to settle in and with it a profound sense of accomplishment. I spent this past weekend with my mentor, Elliott Hulse, at his gym in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was a wild ride of knowledge, lifting, brotherhood, alpha males and Ireland. The reason I was in St. Petersburg was Elliott’s Strengthology 101 certification. This is the first of several posts about this weekend. I’m eager to get this out so I will just let it flow, stream of consciousness style, and as such I have no idea how many parts this will have. I’ll let you… Read More »

Tai Chi’s Back

First, an announcement. Beginning this Saturday, February 11, 2012, I am starting up a new Tai Chi Chuan (taijiquan) class. Many of you may know that I’ve taught tai chi for many years and those of you who know me better will know that it was tai chi that started my fitness and personal growth career. It is only in the last year that I’ve not taught a class of some kind. I stopped last year when my father was sick, as I needed more time to devote to him and his care. Since his death it has taken me… Read More »