Long ago and a time now seemingly forgotten, athletic training and the ‘iron-game’ were vastly different arenas than today. The era, contrary to popular opinion, was far from perfect. Our errors in training were plenty but no photograph can capture the raw brutality of pulsating workouts and the unique aspect of ‘flipping the switch’ when it was time to train.
Well before anyone strolled around town wearing a weight belt, the ‘iron-game’ shared a trait with sport where an athlete knew how to ‘flip the switch’. Akin to the martial arts where absolute discipline and ability to maintain composure and decorum are crucial in the development process, the greats in the iron game that I knew were gentleman first and ruthless athletes when it came time to deliver.
Entering the gym and after handshakes (note not hugs), athletes of that era approached their training with a ruthless tenacity. The change in personality was swift, controlled from ‘cool waters’ to vicious storm and then returned to gentleman the moment the workout finished.
In-fact, there is a great lesson for young athletes as this change of pace accentuates the response and for the matter the effect. As you approach your training, be a calm gentleman. Don’t ‘talk’ about what you are going to do; go out and relentlessly attack your goals.
The sweat stained gyms of champions of countless sports began a slow death spiral as the ‘iron game’ became the ‘health and fitness industry’ in the 1970’s and effectively perished in the pretentious 1980’s but there is no need to allow their great lessons vanish. Maintain absolute composure, embrace order, structure and discipline but when time ‘to deliver’, deliver with a ruthless tenacity.
It’s simple. Be a gentleman, eschew sportsmanship, help teach the great lessons of the ‘iron game’ and when its time to perform; do what you do with all your might.
Prepared by John Davies
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