US versus them

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Max Force Development for today will be…

Front Squats! I know, pretty exciting huh? Set a new PR for 2009, like Matt in the video above.

Combo Catch o’ the Day: Bertrand Russell. 1 pair of dumbbells, lots of sweat and crying. Looks like this, but hopefully not as silly…


Look, being worshiped is cool. This isn’t experience speaking, but it just seems that we should strive with all we have to be The Shit, yo! Sure, it will probably only last a few months, maybe a couple years at best, but darn it, being an idol for superficial reasons sure seems like a win/win scenario; since most of us have nothing better to do than fret about our favorite pop or sport star’s stats and gossip, then it gives us something to do when we’re not texting everyone (or even while we’re texting everyone), while they rake in the cash, provide little in real inspiration, and eventually fade into obscurity before anyone notices. Everyone comes out ahead. Stronger and better for the experience.

And that is how a Tribe grows, at least in my drippingly sarcastic scenario.

Mel Siff and i had a conversation many years ago about competition. Siff was a friend of many of the Iron Curtain and Eastern European lifters, like Serge Redding and, of course, exercise scientist Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky, and saw some glaring differences between the U.S. and the, well, non-U.S. in how we viewed competition.

Both Tribes saw winning as a elevation in status, but we embraced winning (and still do, despite my use of past tense) as fame, fortune, babes and endorsements. They saw winning as the elevation of the State, competition being a bettering of the self to also better the society. They were an inspiration of what their Tribe was capable of (granted, it was totalitarianism… but still) as opposed to bragging rights for the individual. Winning only for personal glory (babes, bling and Wheaties box covers) was sort of viewed as a selfish luxury that didn’t benefit the Tribe. Now if we strip away the fact that doing ANYTHING for personal satisfaction or glory was considered a selfish luxury to this extremist regime, the middle ground isn’t a bad place to be.

If competition existed to empower and better ourselves, and subsequently the tribe, we might start understanding not only ourselves a little better, but the concept of Community. Ego drives the quest to dominate others, but the tribal concept of competition is motivated by the drive for actualization of both person and community. We’re fucked up enough without having to worry about the constant time waste of having to conquer people for some sort of fleeting fame in our silly little sport wars. Challenge yourself, and compete against others as a way for all competitors to rise. Win or lose, we should all learn and grow.

It isn’t a horrible thing that you might pick up a big screen TV along the way, but defining yourself by your stuff is too often the pathetic motivation behind competition. If your goal is to be top dog, any pack leader will tell you that the support and security of the pack is job one, not showing off the thumping Escalade trying to attract the bitches.

Learn, win, lose, grow, share. We might just then survive as a species.


Other stuff

Washington DC beckons. It will be cold, and possibly the busiest weekend in the city’s expansive and impressive history. But a historic synagogue on 6th and I streets, appropriately called the 6th and I Synagogue, will be hosting a musical event featuring a bunch of interesting songs about presidents written by interesting people and performed by more interesting people. Why will I be there? Simply because I’m a high school buddy of one of the songwriters and he takes pity on me. Figuring that hiding me behind a drumset would be the safest place, I get to stare out at the audience and pray I don’t crash a cymbal before I’m supposed to.

Since you’re probably not in DC, chances are you are so worked up and excited about this project that you’re wondering who you have to kill to be part of this event. Well the good news is that NPR will be showcasing the newest song of the project, the title of which isn’t known yet (I just call it the Obama song) on Friday the 16th (in about 4 days).

Post Potluck Reflections

By the way, the potluck leftovers STILL fill my plate every night. Thank you everyone for showing up and joining the official-erasing-of-the-PR-board (and we’ve already got a few 2009 personal records on it), but if I knew the goal was to fatten me up…. well, I’d hold a potluck every weekend.


The next gatherings on our schedule are the Pull Up Programming workshop this Saturday, in which trainer Allyson will show anyone and everyone her very successful pullup progression, getting anyone even closer to their pullup goals. Saturday from 10-noon, followed by a new member orientation for new folks wanting to experience our little brand of weirdness


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Showing 8 comments
  • Ed Pierini

    Chip, how much weight were you using in that Bertrand Russell combo?

    Any suggestions for DB weight selection such as a % of BW?

    Thanks in advance.

  • chip

    GO LIGHT! It is more taxing than anyone can expect. I have yet to see the whole thing done with more than 40 pounders, with maybe 25 pounders being a tough average for guys, 15 for women.

  • Zac

    So Matt’s insane front squat PR is my victory too, just a little bit? w00t!

  • chip

    See? You’re getting it! We are all empowered through Matt’s mad skills.

  • Zac

    I’m still a little freaked out by it, however… Such a wee lad for such a big front squat.

  • chip

    Yup. I think he maybe tops out at 220 after a few super huge meals.

  • Erica

    Chip. This combo rocks! I just did it with the sunset and it was all beautiful. Have a great trip.

  • Chris

    I’ve been out of the BT loop for a little while. Working on bringing some balance back to my muscle chain. Eliminating some instability in my upper body. Progress is looking very good, and I have learned vast things about my body in the process. Have had some limitations, but they are reducing every week now. Still not doing overhead work yet, but not very far away. The Bertrand Russell drill looks like a lot of fun. I’ll have to hold off on those presses with the squats for right now though. Anyway trying to get back in the loop. Been getting back into drills as I have less limitations now. Just wanted to give a Arcata hello. Don’t know if I will make it in early March, but I plan visits this year to the tribe in person. If that’s cool. Enjoying the blog entries. Keep up the positive work.

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