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Wednesday, August 29, 2012


A towel over your head song.

Wake and train, train and sleep.  Repeat.  Slam your bar, breaking the necks of all your inner demons.  Rewind, and then repeat.  When you feel the pain from training, drink more coffee, throw it up, rewind, then repeat.  Drink coffee when sad thoughts pass through your mind while you wait for the bar to wheel you around the gym while drool drips from your fucken mouth.  Ask the bar for a straw, drink and repeat.  Drink more coffee when you miss your dad, drink more coffee when you wish you could go back in time and treat your step dad better.  Drink, throw up, slam bars, rewind and repeat.  

The towel that drapes over my head in training means leave me alone, or better yet, leave me the fuck alone. Stay away while I focus on the task at hand.  Others go to school; I sit in a chair while an occasional tear drips down my masked face of "crazy energetic Jon North".  I lift a bar while coach leashes me with his eyes, and keeps the world of training just dark enough from his beard keeping the outside light out.  Get close while the camera tilts to the side trying to peak at what lies under that shaded cave I stay resting under.  Bad idea, the lion's nest is always a bad idea.  My white eyes turn to the lens, and my long fanged teeth bite the neck of the wanderlust filmer, drawing blood instantly, and then letting the rest drain into my coffee cup.  

Animals is what we are, freaks with athletic abilities that give us a pass.  Outcasts that have found a place to fit in.  A certain shade casts down your face from the towel hiding you away from the mother fuckers in this world.  A shadow that really speaks to you, blankets you with comfort, all while keeping you tucked away deep in your childhood memory of the light blue house with the long swordfish attached to the wall. That one side eye winks at you when standing up from a successful lift.   The fish keeps you calm, the fish is always there with you no matter how old you become.  I sometimes think of that cold Easter weekend, wondering about the big house with so much..... well, wanderlust.  Maybe my obsession with wanderlust started in this ever so off setting house.   All the sounds turn into echoes, and all the others training look as if I'm watching an old movie. My eyes move back and forth while I stay hidden under the towel.  My sweat doesn't seem to bother me, in fact, I like the cool drips of half coffee half blood water skiing down my emotionless face.  The face that if you look closely screams help, get me out of this summer camp of weird creepy camp leaders and odd activities.  Fucken save me from the carousel that has my vision blurry from life passing me by.  A weightlifter's face screams run, but never moves. 

Eat, coffee, train, eat, coffee, train, nap, coffee, squat, eat, call your mom, try to go out and do something which is always pointless considering the fact that about 20 minutes into your freedom adventure your tired mind starts pulling on your shirt while pointing back at your recovery tank, aka bed.  Repeat.  

A small state of depression has now been broken from my lips separating, sending out a bright light of seething teeth ready to bite into a fucken bar.  Now I am jacked up. Now I am ready to kill anyone or any weight in my way.  Now I will show the world how to slam a bar, yell, scream, Shankle fist pump, smoke a lift, win a meet, represent my country, bang my chest and jump up and down.  Now the shirt is off and the crackin' has been released.  The champ is coming! The champ is here! I have been filled up with hate and sadness from my black cave, and now it's time to light this gym on fire.  I pour my coffee over my head letting the long drips fall into my mouth only to spit them back out in my competitor's face.  If you are looking for good sportsmanship, this is not the blog for you.  I want my snickers bar.  I want my dad to pat me on the back again saying, "Good job son, way to push him back".  I'll take my demons and use them for strength.  I have a whole deck of magic cards, and they are all bad, but isn't bad good?  I play all of them all the time.  I walk to the chalk bucket like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.  Get off me bro. I'm going ham on this shit.  Sometimes an overwhelming confidence takes over me, giving me the power to trick my mind into becoming someone or something else.  This pisses some people off, and others like it.  I don't really have an opinion, that guy seems cool to me.  That monster seems fucken crazy at times, but hey, this sport is fucken crazy, we are all a little crazy.  Look at Ilya, he is the best, he is the craziest.  There is a monster living in that man, just like in me, just like in you.  The same monster that lives in the Dark Orchestra.

Funny how confident I can become, while being the most insecure person on the face of the earth.  This sport will never make sense.  Its powers are amazing.  Salute.  

Snicker Bar 2016

Monday, August 27, 2012

Everyday Max Out

Thank you Brian J. Terpak for your kind words.  You have no idea how much your blog means to myself, my wife, and my family.  It was a pleasure meeting you, training with you and slamming bars with you.  Congrats on both your PR's!!  Next time, don't drop me when I jump on you!! Lol.  Also, thank you to Crossfit South Philly for hosting a very successful 12th ATTITUDE NATION CERT! And last but not least, thank you to Ryan Eastin for making this seminar come to life!  Thank you Ryan for all your support and overall badassness! Thank you for serving this great Country in the Navy.  You are a great person and an even better friend, so thank you. PLEASE FOLLOW Brian J. Terpak's blog called "The Movement Program".  Brian's blog is the Attitude Nation's brother!   Salute, and hope to see my new good friends Brian and Ryan again soon.      

The Following passage is from Brian J. Terpak's blog.   Plus max out video below.  


While this post recounts my day’s adventures in weightlifting (that’s Olympic Lifting to everyone else), it is not just me grandstanding and spurting out nonsense about how I did this or how I did that.  On the contrary, it is about the important life lessons that were reinforced today by the conductor of the Dark Orchestra, Jon North.

“Attitude Nation, Salute!”

New Recruits for the Attitude Nation’s Armed Forces.
Today, Fearless Athletics in South Philly hosted Jon and Jessica (Jon’s wife) North’s “Attitude Nation” Olympic Weightlifting Seminar.  We spent the day going over drills like the “Hit and Catch” and the vaunted “Superman Pull” that would help us put up bigger numbers on our snatch and clean and jerk.  But this post is not going to be about those drills and the weight that was lifted.  (For the record I walked away with new PRs on the snatch and clean…)  On the contrary, this post will be about an essential truth to life that I again noticed from this all day weightlifting bonanza.  This seminar proved, once again, my belief that the barbell (and all of those associated it with unlocking its secrets) is one of the greatest teachers life can offer.

Where to start?  The start is obvious:  Jon North.  A free bird to put it simply, North marches to the beat of his own coffee-fueled drum and that’s what was awesome about him.  Opening up the seminar with a rant and rave about the current frustrating state of weightlifting in America, you could tell that this guy was passionate about bringing American weightlifters out of the Dark Ages.  North is much like the late Bruce Lee, a challenger of orthodoxy, a questioner who prods and tests the old guard as to why we do the things we do.  The seminar was a culmination of many hours of consulting coaches across the world, observing world class athletes, and then analyzing his hunches with his wife back at the gym into the wee hours of the night, after practice was over and their teammates have snuggled up under the covers.  An intuitive coach, North made the complex simple, yet paradoxically exposed the simplest movements as more complex, demanding the athlete’s attention to minutiae.  We, therefore, spent a tremendous amount of time  breaking down and focusing on each phase of the lifts.

Not only was the coaching excellent, but North was one of the most energetic and humorous coaches with whom I have worked.  North was never to be found physically or mentally still,  always pacing about the room offering words of encouragement to each athlete and ALWAYS quick with a joke and doling out knicknames!  (Apparently I reminded him of Tom Petty…so that was my name for the day!)  I don’t think I have laughed so much at an athletic seminar!   Every athlete got a mouthful from him and every time it was nothing but positive.
So, if the numbers and weights lifted aren’t what’s important, than what the hell is this post really about?  A plug for Jon and Jessica North?  Well, yes, the last point is true.  I do highly recommend every lifter serious about improving his or her weightlifting to attend an Attitude Nation weightlifting seminar.  However, the real take away from this seminar is this:  successful people exude passion.

I don’t care what job you hope to garner when you get done with trade school or college, hell, even high school, but do a job without passion and success is all but NEVER guaranteed.  People are intuitively wired to be drawn towards others who love what they do.  Passion is almost infectious and obsessive.  To most people who are passionate about something it seems like nothing else matters.  (My family can attest to my enthusiasm for all things CrossFit and weightlifting.  It seems to be the jam in my donut these days.)  Passion means focus and focus means a 100% commitment to the activity of your choice.    Why go to a doctor who you sense does not care about you or what it is they are doing?  Why buy a cake from a baker who seemingly hates his job and, subsequently, the world?  (You can taste hatred, by the way…)  Why buy a wedding dress from someone who sews only to make a dollar and not to express a piece of herself?
Long story short:  Be passionate about what you do.  Obviously, we all must do things that we don’t want to do (i.e. school) in order to do the things that we want to do (CrossFit, music, etc), but find something that you truly love to do and makes you happy and then figure out a way how you can share it with the world.  Remember, it’s not “money makes me happy” but rather “happy makes me money.”
I think Jon and Jessica North would agree…
A pose off with Ryan Eastin.  I think he got me! That son of a bitch! 

The MAX OUT FRIDAY video!  PS: sorry for not posting the last few days. I am now back in The Dark Orchestra.  

Brian and Ryan 2016

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I lift weights to blanket the pain.  Every weight I lift lifts my middle finger higher and higher for all to see.  See this Oregon, see this finger middle school bully, see this teacher, see this hater, do you see this weight above my head counselor?  See how much it is?  Look... no Ritalin. You can't drug me up now.  What do you know about my parents and their divorce?  Nothing.  See how I have the world over my fucken head, and how I'm about to slam it? Well, this is what I think about their divorce. This is how I feel.  I slam it while blood drains from my veins and I scream at the dark trees that look like monsters at night.  You know when you were a kid, they were damn scary.  Monsters that I would gladly take over the ones I met later on in life.  Slam it down while I cry an ocean, downing all.   See who I am now, and what I have done?  No sir, no ma'am, no more room 2 for me.  No more special classes and pats on the back for me. This outcast now slams bars for a living.  All day, all damn day long.  I don't want to attend your party. I should have never attended your party in the first place, it's the worst memory I have, and it haunts me to this day.  I have my own party now, a big fucken party with lots of people, people who slam bars with me, throw chalk in their eyes and bleed all over the bar with me.  My new home away from home.  A camp ground of emotional basket cases who hold on tight while our bar takes us through a land called candy.  A hold my hand land, and enter hell with me land.  Fuck who you were in the past land, and let's lift this weight land, making us better people land.  A Johnny Cash land of AC UP WINDOWS DOWN LAND! No more backing down to the bully.  No more backing down to society.  No more walking their line, talking their talk, and listening to their bar low expectations.  See me now, for I am a wolf.  A giant hungry wolf who strays the land with other giant hungry wolfs.  Wolfs who eat sheep, sheep like you home town.

I mix my coffee in this room where I write to you while my legs shake from today's training.  As the bar keeps rising and Americans get closer, I find myself drinking more and more coffee.  More and more smokes as I pace my deck outside.  My body has these random twitches that I can't seem to control, and  have no real understanding of what they are.  I find myself going to bed later and later for no real apparent reason.  The negativity that leaks off the websites and forums keeps me from getting online.  There is always hype coming from a new lifter. I don't care, and I don't want to know.  They come and go.  I will be at Americans and I will lift what coach tells me to lift.  I wake up earlier and earlier sitting outside on my deck.  My deck has become my new hang out spot, and again.... I have no idea why.  Maybe I feel hidden out there, away from it all.  Or maybe it's to attempt to collect my thoughts of what the hell has happened to me the last few years.  Getting to know and understand this new man can be very hard and taunting.  I like me now. I like the man I see now, and getting to know him has been a pleasure.

I squat low to stay hidden from my past demons.  I move fast to stay 10 steps away from the smoke filled motel rooms.  My up all night eyes are now wide open from up all day training.  Crushed Vicodin has been replaced by chalk, and rooms full of skeletons have been replaced by friends and family aka weight room warriors.  Strong s.o.b's and even stronger minded.  Hot or cold, this is how I have lived my whole life. I have never been in the middle.  Now I am all in and all out crazy with the weights.  I guess this dreadful problem I have had my whole life paid off, funny how that works.  Funny how one minute all you want is a drink, and the next is a bar.  One day you want a hit, and the next you want a win.  It's interesting to me how you can change so fast that it takes time for you to get to know you.  Salute.

My Deck 2016

Monday, August 20, 2012

Up Is Back

Up is back.  Not over but behind.  Not squat but drop.  Catch the bar low is wrong, catch the bar even lower is right.  When do you lose your hook grip?  Shit I have no idea, good question.  My best answer to this head scratching curve ball is to just lose it, don't worry...... in this sport we all lose it after a while.  We are all training towards the crazy hospital.  Bang, slap, slam is no longer the sounds of weightlifting, but your head meeting the white wall.  Lift with me and never leave the gym with me.  Train with me and on the day of the meet win with me.  Drink three bottles of NyQuil with me and let all your emotions poor out with me.  You have heard some of mine, now it's my time to hear yours.  Damn... this is supposed to be a technique blog, and here I am getting off track talking about getting high off NyQuil.

Elbows toward the wall behind you on the finish, not up, always back. The bar should never rise higher than your belly button on the finish. The only time the bar will tuck you into bed is when you are pulling.... or wait, better yet, guiding yourself under the bar.  Drop your body like a bad habit.  Drop your body like someone cut the cable from the elevator.  Pull yourself under the bar like a gymnast, because at that point you are.  The bar is not going up or down, it just is.  The bar is just there, floating, defying gravity.  The bar might as well be connected to the wall, and now it's time to play around on the jungle gym.  But please hurry, recess ends soon, the clock is ticking, soon the bar has other plans, fast plans, at times mean plans, but hopefully winning plans.  We can only hope, hope the bar lands on the little shelf we have made for it.  We can only hope the bar, like the solid foundation we have built our home on, will stay a while.

I wonder what happens in life before that bar drops.  I bet something cool happens, like a baby being born, or a baby horse walking for the first time.  I bet magical things happen as that bar just hangs for that eye blinking second.  Mitt Romney combs his beautiful hair, Shankle tells a cool war story, Leo makes another bad ass movie, Coach dreams about Texas, and Chuck Norris round house kicks someone.  Bar back not up, Arched Angel back and beautiful like always, never vertical like a unattractive scarecrow.  She is sexy not strawy.  She is sweat tea on a hot Carolina day, and I could watch her all damn day.  She is the American records, she is mine forever soon enough.  Miss Brown eyes will have to share.

A very long but fun weekend. Thank you Crossfit Warwick for having us, it was a mother f'in blast.  If a cop pulls you over then just show them the Attitude Nation Cert and you are all good in the hood.  Lol.  Now it's time to play Zombies with Jared Enderton, eat lots of steak, drink lots of chocolate milk, maybe watch a few Mike Tyson videos to get ready for tomorrow's training, and then sleep, good old fashion sleep. Salute, I fucken love you all.

PS: Special shout out to my friend Ryan Grady.  You are the Dark Orchestra, you are the Attitude Nation, thank you for being such a bad ass.  Nice job on your PR, and thank you for all your support.  Salute.

Sleep 2016

Friday, August 17, 2012

Double Knee Bend

Perfect song after a hard day of training.  It gets good at 1:40 and on.

Knees back.... then "crack"!  Extend them like a long stay at a 20 dollar motel in a rainy city called Eugene.  "Release the Crackin!" Release the double knee bend only when it's time.  The longer Superman flies, the longer the knees glide back, well...... the more, let's say, bang for your buck you're going to get in the ever so lovely Arched Angel (finish).  The Superman (pull) and the Arched Angel are like a family, that may at times separate for training purposes, but always meet back up for a glass of warm eggnog during the cold and windy time of Christmas.  A family who works like dominoes, a family who depends on each other to make the lift complete.  Once the weight breaks and the sun rises, they all rise, one after another.  Raising their hands high while miss brown eyes pumps through their blood singing the song your mother always sang you in the morning, "good morning to you, good morning to you, you look like a monkey and smell like one too." You know the saying, "Don't bring bent knees into a weightlifting fight".  You better have those knees pushed back and almost extended.  If you want a full tank of gas then this must happen.  Your pull..... wait, I hate this word. Your set up for the finish, must take patience and timing.  I say set up because that's all the pull is, nothing more, nothing less.

Yes, this is art, and yes, it's a sight to see, but even more of a sight to witness.  NASA has nothing on his always double powered bend, creating the Angel we call Arch.  Yes, double is her father, and his tear stained brown leather jacket can show proof of their feelings to one another.   This brown jacket I speak of has much meaning and importance to me, but I won't go into it in this blog, maybe another time.  I have been writing too much about my father lately.  I don't want to be "that guy".  But back to what I was saying.  Just like this song that sings into my ears while we bath in a pond of coffee like childhood memories of summer camping with the family.  It's like the high hang, once you know the man and his mustache, then you easily welcome him into your home.  But the double knee bend is left out in the rain, not welcome for chat.  It is the backbone that goes unnoticed and covers his head with a newspaper and walks off.  The double knee bend is there, and always carries his mighty and powerful self around with a smile, but he never gets invited to the social parties that others like the Arched Angel and the Superman pull get to attend.  Mr. double spends most of his time reading up on the good he does in this sport at his local pancake house.  The waitress he smiles at so nicely fills his coffee cup up for the fourth time.  Hmm a movie, this could be a movie.  I should write a movie.  A movie about a lonely man, the end.  It's perfect. It's my kind of movie.  Nothing fancy, just an emotional picture of a man that does so much, but for some reason has gone unnoticed.  But then again maybe it's the double knee bend's fault.  Every time he gets mentioned nothing good comes of it.  Athletes start thinking too much.  When athletes think too much, or at all, things go south, and fast.  I guess he is like the, "Which foot do I jerk with?" asking person.   The jerk foot has no say, the athlete will step correctly without even thinking.  Bam.... correct.  Bam boom now slam the bar.  Now grab your gold medal and run down the middle of the street free as a bird.  Isn't this thought alone why we do this?  Freedom?

Push your knees back even more, even more, go on....yes...even more.  Now release the hell you have kept inside you for all these years.  Patience is the hardest part of this sport.  Hands down.  Game over.  Mixing your mashed potatoes with your green beans is bad.  Just like in the pull and finish.  The pull and finish are two different sports.  Don't combine them, never.  Set up, then attack.  A bike chain plays in my mind as I take another chug of this coffee, while half of it drips down the side of my mouth.  I say bike chain because everything should move in the pull like it's connected to a chain, moving all together.  Then once you have reached the end of your cul de sac and you parents won't let you wonder any farther, it's time for the finish.

I write to you tonight about this because it's something that has been bothering me.  Knees are not being pushed back enough, creating a "fish out of water finish". A pull and pray finish that only leads to lose teeth and up all nights.  I write you about this because to be honest, I haven't written a technique blog in quite some time, and I guess I feel the need to throw out my two cents.  I don't want to bore you with too many of my personal stories and emotional blogs about drugs, fathers, and coffee. I love technique. I love studying technique and improving my craft everyday.  I love painting a picture of a perfect weightlifter.... or at least trying to paint it.   I find this sport memorizing, intriguing, and fascinating.  The way our bodies move to achieve something so simple, is far from simple.  A ballet of muscles. A double knee bend lifestyle.

I have much more to say about technique, much, much more.  I am sick and tired of seeing how all these crossfiters and weightlifters are being taught how to lift.  It's a scam.  That's why I have taken my mad scientist briefcase, notes, and travel size coffee cup with me all over the world to spread the way one should snatch and clean and jerk.  It is not the 1930's anymore.  Salute.

Incase you missed the live show, here is the link below to listen in to this weeks Weightlifting Talk with guest appearances Travis Cooper and Tom Sroka.  

RIO 2016

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Seattle Space Needle

I sleep on my back dreaming about the red balloon movie we used to watch when we were kids. You know, the one about the kid who chases a red balloon all around town. I don't remember how the movie ends. Hopefully he finds it. A sleeping mind and body is the best thing God ever invented. I want to go on record on this. Right behind going to the bathroom when you really have to go. Thank you, Lord. No NyQuil tonight, no sleeping pills, just good old fashion natural sleep.  A place where even the toughest of warriors like to spend their time.  2 am, a time where your house comes alive, giving you enough time to escape to the top of the Seattle Space Needle with your dad. A dream that never gets old. My arms spread wide to a once called father. A man that was once my everything. A father who would make my world from just one look of approval.   His masterful presence grew my eyes 10 feet wide.  His voice gave me instant comfort, and his smell gave me a feeling of safety I cannot explain through this damp key board.   A man that has left me with a stomach of sadness. Pain that drips down the back of my throat like the cocaine "drip" after a long night of forgetting. I closed my eyes from excitement as I started to laugh for no reason before we hugged on that cold and windy space needle. Why do we laugh for no reason as kids? Maybe from the overwhelming excitement.  Right before we hugged, I woke up fast in a sweaty panic. I looked around the my room trying to make sense of things. I was sweating so much that it looked as if I wet the bed.  My dad and I must have splashed into each other before I woke, because I started throwing up all over myself.   I ran to the bathroom and bundled around the toilet as my wife played with my hair.  Hours and hours of vomiting. Hours of trying to figure out what my dream meant.  Sicker than a dog, sicker than a kid who misses his father. They are calling what I have the flu, but I think it's much more than that. My skin is pale, my body weight has dropped, and the cold sweats actually feel good against my hot skin. I have been wanting to write the last few days, but my mind has been nothing but mush.  24 hours of sleep and dreams.  24 hours of no recollection on what day or time it is.

I rolled out of bed and brewed a pot of tea..... yes, tea.  I don't want miss brown eyes seeing me like this. Now I am writing to you in my robe with black circles around my eyes. This is why I will not be on the live feed today.  This is why I have nothing motivating to write about.  I am just glad I have enough energy to join you again in this black hole we call the Dark Orchestra.  Without training, I feel empty.  I feel alone with no purpose. Take weightlifting away and I am nothing.  Just a schmuck that now has to tuck his tail and walk in line with the rest of the herd.  I must bleed 2016, for the Olympics cannot wait a another day. I must get better asap.  Again, I am sorry for my absence the last three days. I guess no matter how many squats you do, the flu can still get to you. Well, I am off to bed again. I just wanted to take whatever energy I have to say, hi. Yes, I guess this is somewhat of a sympathy post. Of course it is, everyone knows that when you are sick you have the right to mope around and feel sorry for yourself.   I guess if we look at the glass half full, being sick has its benefits. At the end of the day, chicken noodle soup and orange juice delivered to you in bed while your hot bath is being drawn is not such a bad thing after all.  Don't worry coach, I will be back stronger than ever on Friday.  Let the rookies on the team know that their last few days on top of the hill will soon be over. 

I got shot by the Sniper in this video. I went for 140kg hang snatch for a set of five, but on the last rep he got a head shot. Damn snipers.

Rio 2016

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sweet, Sweet Love

I am writing to you from the airport in Phoenix, while on lay over to San Jose where the 10th Attitude Nation Certification is taking place tomorrow! I have been waiting for this video to get uploaded so I could share this over whelming training day with you, my best of friend, here in the Dark Orchestra. (video below)  This Friday, the fire was hot, so I had no choice but to roast marshmallows!  Miss Brown Eyes wanted to make love, and the bar wanted to dance!  Coach was looking extra dapper with his hair styled back and beard so black and promising.  As I started to oil up my tin man body before training, my favorite techno song came skipping along right into my ears down deep into my Weightlifting Soul.  I knew it was going to be a good day, a great day, a day that makes this hell hole of a sport all worth it.  A day of "mom I don't want to leave summer camp, I want to stay longer and play with all the other kids" day.  A day that screams WHEN IS AMERICANS!!   I CAN'T WAIT TO WIN GOLD, MAKE WORLDS, AND BREAK THE AMERICAN RECORDS!!  I feel like a little kid in a candy shop stomping my Ali feet pulling on coaches shirt while whining about how 4 months is too far away.  Screw it, F it, the more I think about it the more I welcome the weight.  It just gives the Attitude Nation more time "PAY OUR TAXES, LOVE OUR WOMEN, AND CRUSH CLEAN AND JERKS"! - Donny Shankle.  

All time PR total!  163kg snatch / 190kg c&j / 353kg total.   Missed 167kg snatch behind me, which is 2 kilos over the American record.  The video doesn't show the second one, but I went after that son of a gun.  Travis Cooper is now officially part of the MDUSA team!  And many more athletes have already signed and are moving out as we speak.  It's going to get crazy!  Salute! 

Miss Brown Eyes 2016

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I almost broke my keyboard to this bad boy

Let's see where it takes me. we go.  Fuck....buckle your seat belts and lock your doors.  Hold your favorite stuffed animals tight, because the song Shankle gave me today is too much.  Too much to hold back.  Once I flood my body with life juice, fists can fly and emotions can run even higher.  Alice in Wonderland thoughts and Johnny Cash feeling's can get me in trouble.  Stop reading this blog if you don't like to grab life by the throat and hold him high for every one to see!  Stop reading this fucken blog if you don't like ripping the heads off lions!  Raise your glasses and make love to your dreams.  We shall slam our bars all together at the same damn time, creating a more massive shake than the protein in your shaker cup! SLAM YOUR BARS so the normal folks above us can be reminded that our power bellies still move up and down at a fast pace.... .breath, breath, breath....we still live.

Miss brown eyes just grew Batman wings, and the little green monsters are flowing onto my key board like the opening scene in The Lion King.  Wave after wave of sugar sweat people fall from the sky into my mouth.  The taste is electrifying, the rush is heart pumping and cocaine feeling.  I am jacked. I am gone. I am no longer tired.  I am wide awake and ready to kill. I cut the slow people in line to get to the front.  Move, you're in my way.  More sugar!  More caffeine!  More life!  More training!  More Shankle!!!  More you and more medals.  More bloody hands as we wave to all the people who hate us.  Hello to you all!  I wave with a smile as they all throw garbage and rocks through my computer screen, only to be blocked by the bat wing of coffee. The happier we are, the more angry they become.  Who are they? I'll tell you. They are the ones who missed training yesterday.  They are the ones who transform their smooth shiny hands into a cup shaped bowl.  Prisoners of the world! Move out of our way!  I buy milk like it's a sport.  I push the cart to by milk like it's a race.  I park my car, to push my cart, to buy milk like a damn pro.  I get ready at home to park my car, to push my cart, to buy my milk like I am getting ready for a Weightlifting meet. 

We slowly wake. We wake from the once cold, now warm floor of the Dark stage, while the Orchestra of skeletons stand and play songs that lift us from our puddles of tears and depression.  A happy day in the Dark Orchestra, a day of dancing and singing.  A day of heaven, before training casts its hell over us once again.  Before the fog sets in, let's climb the green grassy hill and draw pictures for our mothers.  Pictures of family members holding hands.  Pictures of past dogs and memories that boost our motivation to keep the right stepping and the left following.  Let's fight! Let's have a good day!  No, no, let's have a great fucking day! It's a great day to be alive. Enjoy the happy while it still lasts, before the lights dim, and the trees lose their leaves.  Before the ash will fall, and the music changes from grassy fields to bloody hands and barbells of doom. Enjoy this moment, because training starts soon. 

Batman 2016

Monday, August 6, 2012


The song that brought this old race horse to peace 

I am on empty.  I am tired and half confused.  I am beat up and half asleep.  I have buried my head in the sand to see nothing but dark, here nothing but the soulful music of Clint Mansell, and mostly to hide away from the man who makes my body hurt from his name alone, Coach.  Hopefully he wont find me, because if I have to lift another weight I think my body will vanish into a cloud of chalk, never being able to yell Shankle again, or slam a bar down with built up rage and anger.  I am slowly and gently pressing these little black keys while listening to this beautiful song that has my body swaying back and forth like I was playing the piano.  Today was an average Joe day, a put your head down and get through the workout day.  Glory fell short from today's painful escape from reality, as we all took turns lifting like hamsters in a cage fighting over the wheel. The wheel that never damn ends. 

Its raining outside now, which makes the Dark Orchestra that much more peaceful and relaxing.  I needed this, this time with you, this time with miss brown eyes.  So thank you for joining me on such short notice.  Here, I bought you a coffee, drink her down and feel all your stresses and frustrations seep out of your body. Let her take complete control over you, let her wipe away your sadness and anger.  Lean on her when times get hard, drink her when you feel like waving that white flag.  Something the white flag crosses my mind from time to time.  I am not going to lie.  This is a hard sport, a hard lifestyle, a strict and never forgiving world we live in.  Live like others and then some world.  Raise your kids like a pro, make money for your family, and then go above and beyond by beating yourself up on your own free will in a cold gym everyday damn night after dinner.  While others sit back and work on their model ships, watch the night time news,  we throw ourselves down a flight of fucken stairs.  Every damn day we punch ourselves in the head, while others say "ouch" we smile with pride. While others say "stop" we keep going under that bar that knock us back over and over again.  Under, under, under, under, fucken under and then under some more.  It never ends, the pain never leaves, the heartache of wanting something so bad never seems to lighten up. The alien looks at your local grocery store that try so hard to figure out why you have white dust all over your body gets old and fast. Somedays I feel like pulling the Al Pacino bad guy speech on em.  Freaks I tell yea, a group of odd ducks that swim up river not down.  An Orchestra of emotions that beats to our own drumb. 

Its so beautiful outside this green jungle window.  You should see my view right now.  Its one of these nights where the rain has stopped, but the streets are still coverd in water.  Its just dark enough where all the parking lot lights and street lights are reflecting off the wet road, giving the night a blury mix of colors and reflections.  Its a very Christmas December feeling that has come over me.  Fuck I am glad to be alive.  The white flag will never be waved, we are born fighters, period.  Even though I sometimes imagine how life would be if I waved that weak liberal flag.  What would we become if we just quit lifting?  I wonder what life would be like, and how our world would change. What if we stopped beating ourselves up?  Would life then take the bars place and beat us up?  I would much rather be beaten by the always strong bar, than fall pray to this game of life.  would you?  I feel that sometimes doing nothing is something.  I feel that laying around after training tomorrow and watching 10 movies while drooling at the TV screen in my sleeping shorts, eating cheesey puffs, is something this old race horse needs.  I need a nothing day, maybe you do to.  A call in sick day...well after training of course, we don't want to fall victim to the devil in the red dress.  But after training we need to stop, stop for a day and shut the mind and body off.  No emotions, no energy, don't make your bed, don't take the trash out, don't wash your car, just do nothing.  Yes, this is what we need.  This should be a monthly holiday for us warriors, for us old race horses. Let me know how your day of nothing goes, I would love to know. I know this is short notice, so if you cant tomorrow than do it soon.  But then again Attitude what you want. AC up! windows down!.....  That would have been a great line to end this blog on, but nope, I guess miss brown eyes has more to say. 

How do I go from a 160 190 day on Friday, and today a everything past 70 damn kilos feels like a semi truck day?  It's like my bar had too much pasta last night and she gained 100 pounds.  I swear this sport makes no sense.  The day you try to figure out this sport is the day you will lose your mind.  Take my word for it.  I have tried, and the next thing I knew I was sleeping in my car talking to myself while popping vicodin pills left and right.  I am so tired.  My wife asked me before I left to come chat with you in the green jungle, "why don't you just relax here and rest your tired body"? I responded with drowsy eyes and rolled over shoulders, while grabbing my right elbow from the massive tendinitis it has.  I said "sweetie, I must write, I must play my violin in the dark hidden from reality world with people who get me, the people who understand what it means to bang your head against a wall all day and then cry while at the same time smiling.  I love you, be back soon."  I love my wife so much I want to cut her head off and carry it around with me everywhere I go.

Well I should probably get back home and enter a dream world full of non weightlifting, full of non existing coaches yelling at me, know body pain, and know white flag thoughts.  Dreams of my mom smiling and laughing.  My mother happy is heaven.  Love you mom, goodnight. 

Mom 2016 

Saturday, August 4, 2012


A true story. A story that I just had to re-post. An important story that raises awareness to all athletes. A must tell story that one day could possibly save my life and yours. Don't be "Him". Don't fall for the trick. Don't fall for her beauty. Slam fucking bars and overdose on coffee. Salute. 
It was sad to watch him leave. It truly broke my heart. I wanted to run up behind him and catch him before he disappeared through the front door. The way his head hung low with his droopy eyes and rolled over shoulders showed defeat; he knew it, and I knew it. He is now just another weightlifter who has been killed by rest. Another soldier who has been taken down by the brutal training that will either make you or brake you. Another soldier down. It was as if the sharp rays of the sun striking through the door were pulling him towards the bright outside.

Training was finally over and all the weightlifters seemed to gravitate toward the bench presses and free weights. Lots of grab-assing, laughing, and all around tom-foolery was taking place at this time. Coach joined in and gave a lecture about how we weren't pushing ourselves hard enough in training if we still had all this bull crap energy to fool around with this "curls for the girls" type crap. Everyone laughed and so did coach, but me, I had my eyes and emotions wrapped up in him, him being the soldier who desperately needed a hug. You would of thought I was a part of the crazy loud crowd by the bench, but I really wasn't. I wasn't laughing or grab-assing. I wasn't talking about how big my chest "pump" was, or showing everyone how much I can bench press. I was lost in the lost world of "him." I watched his every move. It has only been a week since he flew into train with us, yes, training has been beyond hell, but already? Is he already breaking down? Is the imagination and temptation of rest getting to him? These were the thoughts that were racing through my head as I watched him slowly walk around the gym picking up his stuff one by one as if he was a prisoner on the chain gang. He grabbed his back with his right hand as if someone just shot him with a paint ball gun. His eyes closed as his pain flowed though the air and hit me right in the face. I felt his pain, as I was once like him. He reminded me so much of myself at that moment, he reminded me of the hell my mind and body went through when I first joined the team and had to adapt to the training. His pain seemed to leave his body as he bent over supporting his weight by resting his hands on his knees. Sweat was dripping down his face like a waterfall. In the first few days of his arrival he was talkative, outgoing, and definitely would have been down here by the bench press messing around. But no, not that day, that day he only had one thing on his mind, and that was rest.

Then it happened, the most amazing thing I have ever seen happened right in front of my chalky face. Rest walked in the front door with her beauty blinding the room with light and love. In shock, I started hitting Tom next to me keeping my eyes locked onto her beauty. I told Tom to "Look, look Tom." But instead of the reaction I though he would give, he simply told me to stop hitting him in the arm and to leave him alone. To my surprise, no one in the gym saw her. They were going on with their everyday business as if nothing was happening. She wasn't walking, but floating across the gym straight toward "him." I stood there like a deer in the head lights, watching rest float across the gym with her smile, comfort, and ease. He saw her and broke down into tears of joy. He put his arms out like a kid wanting to be picked up by his mother. His smile was long and desperate, desperate to be saved by her, desperately wanting to leave this cold dark world that us weightlifters call home. She put out her open hand, and he took it. His eyes were wide open, completely focused on her every move. She smiled at him while pointing at the door behind her. He nodded and returned the smile. Rest started to lead him toward the front door and I knew I would never see him again. He is with rest now. She will take good care of him, or so he thinks. I wanted to say something, or even run up behind him and tell him no, stay with us, don't fall for her beauty. But no, I did nothing. I just stood there watching what others for some reason could not see. I thought for sure he would see her long red pointy tail. I guess her tail blended in well with the color of her red dress, because he did not see it. Then he was gone. He vanished outside into the bright sun never to be seen again. The light vanished and a second later hundreds of rusty black prison bars fell from the sky all around the gym. I was thinking about going with him, but I guess there is no getting out of this hell.

Goodbye him, farewell my friend, it was nice training with you for that short time. Tell rest hi for me and let her know that she might have gotten you, but fuck it, she will never get me.

PR TRAINING TOTAL BELOW!  160kg snatch, 190kg c&j on this Friday's max out day! Oh boy, I can't wait 'til Americans this year.  Oh boy, I want that WORLD TEAM NEXT YEAR!!!!!  More coffee! More training!

In case you missed the last show I threw it up on YouTube.  Steroid talk, more movie talk, lots of weightlifting talk, Shankle speeches made of gold talk, off the block talk, ego talk, and much more talk below. Tune in live every Thursday at 1:00 est. 

AC lifestyle 2016

Thursday, August 2, 2012

7 UP

Shankle and I go head to head!  Superman pull + Miss Brown Eyes + Techno music + The Dark Orchestra + Attitude Nation =  PR150kg double from the high hang!  PR 182kg clean pull hang clean and jerk!  This new MDUSA video is awesome!  (below)

The Dark Knight Rises + Steroids + Ego + What is the meaning of being a Champion? + Depression + Support + Lazy boy + Military + Donny imitating Bane + 7 UP + and MORE!  (link below)

Weightlifting Talk 08/02 by Weightlifting Talk0 | Blog Talk Radio

Coach Pendlay put together this very awesome and interesting video below.  Just another reason why MR Superman pull smokes lifters that out squat me by 30kg. Salute!

7 UP 2016

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gym York

Gym York.
A coffee grave yard that lays rest on the outskirts of this dream town of dirt. 
A city full of lifters and teachers.  Athletes called life drifters.
Addicted green monsters and restless sleepers run the streets full of gifted and motivated believers.
Poisoned by the bar of hopeless thinkers, and bloody hand wishers.
Day dreamers run the town like fucken gangsters who take pray on anyone who stands in their way.
Business meetings settled over who can lift the most weight, move the most weight, and who can handle the most weight.
Board meetings discussed in chalky rooms while three white stripes run down only the people who wear the nicest of suits.
Street lights that always change to white lights, never red.
PR's have replaced money, and bar slamming has replaced anger management classes.
Women aren't the only ones who wear heels. Now the sound of tapping throughout the hallways has doubled. 
Shots of coffee have made driving much safer, while miss brown eyes smiles from all the lives she has saved.
Meth addicts have turned to a new drug called N.O. Explode, that now runs through the black market like a virus, giving the bums and tweekers much more energy to get a fucken job.
All stairs have been replaced by elevators. Why? Well like my first coach Jackie Mah always said, "Weightlifters always take the elevator".
Yes coach!
Dimas now rides high on the Charging Wall Street Bull, as he ever so confidently waves one finger high in the air, while looking off to the side with an ever so bad ass smile.
Everyday is a beautiful day in Gym York.
A great place to live and to grow a family.
A prospering city full of big PR's and lots of opportunity.
A city full of milk parks, protein pools, and coffee lakes.
Techno music plays under the streets, pounding the city with energy and rhythm.
Klokov has eaten the morning rooster then lets out a giant Klokov roar during the morning sunrise; always giving the town's people a boost of morning energy before the techno music starts to pump through their blood.
Rain has been replaced by ash, ash from the many weightlifters who have been burnt alive from this, at times, unforgiving lifestyle.
It is always a sad day when their ashes fall from the sky, landing on our platforms.
A reminder that those ashes could be ours, and the hot flames from this sport could burn us out with no warning at all. 
Always a sad day, but always a move forward day; an on to the next day day.
A weightlifter's day is always filled with a next rep day, a let's fucken do it day, an attack day, a fuck the weak day and let's get strong day. 
A gym zoo full of hungry vampires who don't eat food, but drink the blood from the red kilo plates. 
We are monsters.
We have been abandoned for too long.
This is why my blog must come true, and we must start our own world.
A weightlifters world. 
A city called Gym York world. 
Kendrick Farris 2012
Sarah Robles 2012
Holly Mangold 2012