Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Warrior's Way.

I've never been a soldier or been to battle but I've been a warrior for most of my life. At least by my definition. To me a warrior is one who takes up the call and goes to battle, regardless of who or what the enemy is.Or the challenge. One who is undaunted by the challenge they have ahead of them and pushes on despite great pain, fear,mistakes, setbacks or whatever else is in their path to their stated goal or mission.
I broke my knee in my junior year of high school and was back competing at the start of senior year. I destroyed my shoulder in college , then learned to run and ran a marathon six months later.I'm not that special but I am a warrior. I will find a way. I'm not afraid of pain or effort.
And sometimes the warrior chooses the mission and sometimes the mission chooses them. Doesnt matter, the warrior goes forth and does their best, and the outcome is the outcome.Not being attatched to the outcome is classic Zen buddhist philosophy.
Samurai warriors studied Zen Buddhism and did Zen meditation to lose their egos and to learn how to be totally in the moment.The last thing a Samurai wanted in the heat of battle was to try to save their own life or to be concerned for the future. That , in their mind, would guarantee defeat and most certain death. Only if they were 'already dead' in their minds, could they give themselves totally to the moment and do whatever was necessary to defeat their opponent. Any hesitation would give their opponent a huge advantage.
To be able to give oneself totally to the moment, no matter how painful or uncomfortable it is is crucial, again in my opinion, to be able to succeed in the gym, or in life for that matter.
To me most people fall into two categories, workers and pleasure seekers. Workers just want to know what it is that is required of them to meet their goals and they will push on,towards that goal. They may, and most probably will, fail, perhaps again and again, gets pushed down or over but they get back up and try again. Pleasure seekers really want their goal too but when it gets tough or too hard, or too boring they cave, fold like melted cheese sandwhiches and inevitably try to find a way around the obstacle, instead of going through it, as they should. I'm a worker, I know no other way.
As Bikram says, the right way is the Hard Way; and if you can you Must. I agree.
Not that it doesnt suck but it doesnt matter. Find a way. You gotta do the work. that bell ain't gonna swing itself.
And usually that way involves letting the pain happen, not trying to get away, accepting it,not reveling in it like a masochist but letting it happen and waiting; waiting for it to transform, as it will, as it must, as it does; into something better, something greater, something stronger.Making you stronger in the process. Into more of who you really are.

So what does that have to do with my training this morning,lol?
Well I really, really, really didnt want to do max vo2 this morning. My schedule is completely screwed. BOth training partners are gone, the stability and regularity I crave is gone.Everything's different. I have to drive down to Girya and train too early, I have to try and keep up with the Swing Queen and not be too embarassed, Saturday is no longer heavy and slow day. Boo hoo hoo.Cry me a river Rif.
But I did it and it was fine. I let Tracy drag me kicking, but not screaming to the gym and used her and Meg as inspiration to get my head out of my ass and do the work. To let it hurt and just go through it, and NOT try to 'sneak up on the bar" as the Big Chief Jim McGoldrick used to say about my deadlift style. GO through, not around.

Snatch Vo2
16 kg
30 sets of 7
20 sets of 8
370 reps
13,320 lbs

I was only going to do 15 sets of 8's as it was early and i was tired and waah waah waah, and then I realized both Tracy and Meg were using the 16 kg, same as me,were doing SIXTY sets and planned on doing 10 sets of 8 at the end.Shit. I had to man up.And it was fine.Not expecting it to be easy makes it easier. weird.
Biceps were tight from the 180 snatches heavy on wednesday and it took awhile to fine the best groove but that's the deal. Deal with it and get it done.

Two clubbell swipes
10 lbs x 20
15 lbs x 20, 15,13, 12,12

these were good and just the ticket for stretching out my tight elbow flexors. I love this move and have done 300 continous reps with the 10's and 150 continuous with the 15's. havent been able to tolerate it for awhile because of my back but I think that's done.
Pressed on wedneday and want to give that a break.

Handstands( against wall)
5 sets of 20 seconds( really working to open up shoulders
Shoulder stretch on chin bar as superset.
these got much easier with each set.Determined to get these back strong again. still need way more shoulder flexibility but it's coming.

datsit. going to double up today and do a bikrams class with my love in one hour.More opportunity to man up.



Diana said...

One can have so many "things" in their lives besides training. Each person has a "warrior" inside them, they just have to get at it. Whatever it takes to get that person out. For some it's a loss of family member, friend, or even a pet. For some it's a loss of a job, or a house, or basic day to day necessities. It's just too bad that, for most of us, it takes something really "big" to get us to find our inner warrior! I have gone through a lot in my 47 years and I'm sure there is a lot more to go through, but let me tell ya this......THIS warrior is ready for it all.....and THAT includes the RKC! Well, OK, I'm not ready, today, for the RKC, but then this moment I'm trying to achieve by my words would be ruined! LOL
My training is strong, I feel, because of the "other" crap I've gone through in my life! Hell, to come home after a 12 hour shift of working on people who no longer care about themselves to then pick up my bell and swing and snatch is easy. People ask me how I can workout after work. Well, I say, because it's JUST THAT IMPORTANT TO ME! It is my #1 priority!

guy said...


If I may ask, how long has Zen been an influence in your life? I was hooked when I read a book by Eugene Herigel, given to me by my brother, and 1st archery instructor. I usually do a breath meditation period right before a VWC practice ( started L.A.T protocol today) Zen meditation, like your blog writings, has been a great help to me, in pursuit of my VWC goals.
I feel that one of the best warrior sayings that I have ever read is "Who must do the difficult tasks in life?" "He who can."

Mark Reifkind said...


that is so true. it has nothing to do with 'training' per se. there are so many battles one has to deal with in life and so many are invisible to most others. the concepts still apply.and as you say, it's all about what's really important to you. that's what always gets done, no matter what. thanks for the comment.

Mark Reifkind said...


I started reading about Zen when I was 14 or so. I was completely influenced by the Japanese gymnasts and I started studying all things about Japanese culture.The gymnasts considered themselves Samurai and went about their training and life as such.
Zen and the Art of Archery was one of my favorite books.thanks for the comment and very interesting stuff.

Mark Reifkind said...


one more thing. of course not everyone 'needs' to train, specifically. but imho one must have some kind of 'practice', some kind of mental and physical discipline to get's way to easy to go easy and never make oneself as strong as one needs to be to deal with the challenges life brings to us regularly. ready or not.

Rob O'Brien said...


Finally got my "Bruiser" this week and took it for a test run. it is crazy heavy! But I need to refocus on MVow to get to 50kD is Feb, 3. That is my goal but with 11,400 to go I need to get moving today!

Keep up the good work!


Sandra said...

Great Post!