A friend of mine died yesterday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on a remote trail near his home in the Hollywood Hills. It is unfortunately not the first and probably not the last time I will see someone I knew, respected, and related to make such a choice, and will subsequently watch myself think the entire situation into the ground.
In this instance, my friend was a counter-culture pioneer. He concepted and launched wacky, underground clothing brands and grew them from nothing into something- all along the way championing, commiserating with, and even employing many of the misfits and weirdos his brands catered to. He played in great bands, he thought and operated exclusively outside the box, he was driven by discontent, and ultimately (like many of us that never have and never will walk a conventional path) was likely driven mad by it.
The groundedness and relentlessness it requires to stay balanced while constantly swimming upstream, running through the mud, and dusting yourself off after each and every fall, year after year, are lessons that he had learned the hard way times-over, and had almost certainly taken a toll.
Even in my comparatively limited capacity I can relate to the forging (as opposed to the following…) of a path as being an often dangerous game, accompanied by the potential for both great risk and great reward, and demanding a price to play that most are unable and unwilling to pay.
Only a loss of conviction and purpose can allow pain and weakness to gain a foothold; Consider discouragement and discomfort mortal enemies, think of them as a disease. Treat their entry into your life with hostility, and fight them as if they were an intruder in your home;
If you relent, even for a second, the darkness will win…
And it will hold on tight.
We’ve been asked some interesting questions since we put this site up in 2009, and felt it was time to share! We’ve compiled some of the odd ones, the informative ones, and simply the ones we had fun answering into our new Frequently Asked Questions section.
If you’re curious about Wolf Brigade (or simply wondering what people send to our contact email in the middle of the night), please give it a read-through! It will give some insight into both how we do things, and our sense of humor…
Great insight/ reminder from writer Adam Farrah. Replace “Paleo eating and living” with anything challenging that you choose to pursue, and it rings just as true… strength training, martial arts, writing, coaching…
There will forever be those that attempt to drag you down to their level, simply because they are unwilling to put in the effort needed to rise to yours… Never let it happen. -FTW-
The unique look, feel, methods, and details that have drawn so many to Wolf Brigade are products of my eclectic, turbulent, and somewhat unusual background; The weaving together of many of those pieces has created the stand-out product we now offer.
For the curious, some of those origins are narrated in words and pictures here: War of Attrition.
Our group path is fitness, strength & conditioning, and the achievement of a mindset that allows us to transfer the physical and mental skills we earn in training into our day-to-day walk through life. We’ve all found our way here by different road, and we all take different things with us when we leave.
If there is one take-away that transcends previous background or current application, it is simply the acknowledgement that our character is what defines us, while our pursuit of physicality simply assists its development. Training is our vehicle, not our destination.
Greg Walsh, 2014.
Common sense is a dinosaur, public courtesy seems not far behind.
All we can do is look back and laugh.
Well, that’s not all we can do…
There is a truth to pain that few other things in the world can tell;
The self-realization it inflicts in beginning, the humility and gratitude it grants at the end.
Real pain is both truth serum and intoxicant; Both poison and antidote.
It shows the best of the good, and the worst of the evil.
Sometimes it covers you like a blanket, sometimes it pours like water. Sometimes it burns, like fire.
In its hex you feel most human, under its lure you feel clear and sharp, and now it is yours.
In the context above, “low-level variables” include diet, mood, ego, location/ equipment, frustration… All which can be used as convenient excuses to derail or delay progress, and all of which can and must be controlled and navigated properly to move past the beginning stages of physical and/ or mental progress.
A simple way of approaching it is asking “What can and will I accomplish when the situation is ideal?” vs. “What can and will I accomplish when the situation is stacked against me?” Ideal is easy, the other is not.
Making excuses is easy; developing expertise is… not. In answering the two questions above, refer to the concepts a little further above. What you view vs. what you DO… and how often and attentively you do it.
There is no such thing as “Moderate relentlessness”.
There is no value in being “Partially unstoppable”.
High-level progress requires a limiting of low-level variables.
Max reps @ 50-60% of 1RM
Rest as needed between sets, and pause as needed during with weight locked out in the top position. Set ends as soon as failure occurs or bar returns to rack.
Accumulate as many quality reps as possible in 10 minutes, adjusting weight down every 2 minutes of work.
(Ex. Set 1: 79lb., Set 2: 62lb., Set 3: 45lb., Set 4: 35lb., Set 5: 25lb)
Start as heavy as you can, rest briefly as needed, and switch arms as desired. If less than 5 weight adjustments are available/ possible, perform 2 sets each with 2 weights (to make 4), and a single lightest set at the end.
And then, with a partner:
Plot a strategy and complete as quickly as possible (600 total reps). Both partners may work at the same time, but not on the same movement. Focus, hustle, and communicate.
“Evil being the root of mystery, pain is the root of knowledge.”
7 reps @ 60% of 1RM
5 reps @ 75%
3 reps @ 90+%
Rest as needed between sets.
Then, 6 rounds of:
8 Box step @ 3/4 BW
4 L-pull-up/ L-chin-up (or :20 sec. L-sit + 4 attempts + 4 negatives each round)
Box step: Demand upright posture and lots of tension- Drive through the hip and up (not forward) in each step. Today, before scaling weight, change the height of the stepping platform- chosen height should not put the knee above the hip.
7 reps @ 60% of 1RM
3 reps @ 85-90% of 1RM
Rest as needed
Use designated weight until position fails, or sets are interrupted.
If needed, make as minor an adjustment as necessary to continue safely.
Then, 8 rounds of:
Change grip and/ or implement as desired (bar, rings, ropes, handles).
And then, 2 rounds of:
Rest as needed between sets, and adjust weight as needed; If designated weight compromises TGU or arm-bar stretch, scale down immediately.
And then, read:
Switch arms early and often during Turkish Get-up. If designated weight creates/ forces a compromised position, make an immediate adjustment. There is no designated rest between pieces- If needed, keep it short and specific.
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty,
nor weakness weakness.”
Henry David Thoreau (American essayist, poet, and philosopher)
5 Hang power clean @ 75-80% of 1RM
:30 sec. rest
Then, 3 rounds or 15 minutes- whichever comes first:
Goal is completion of the 3, not running out the clock at 15.
Then, 1 Tabata interval (20 sec. work/ 10 sec. rest x 8 ) of:
Today, count total revolutions for score.
And then, immediately, 1 Tabata interval of:
Alternate movements each round (4 rounds each), and work to maintain consistent, high-quality output.
To consider and remember:
In here, speed is never a substitute for form.
We are not interested in getting away with substandard form in favor of “winning” a workout.
(With effort and patience) form and technique will refine, speed will follow, focus and dedication will be the glue that holds it all together.
A focus on composition (over simply completion) creates a strong foundation and paves the way for lasting progress.
The benefit of such mentality will be shown when form, speed, and intensity are required to operate as a unit to overcome an obstacle- whether it be in real life, in competition, or during any physical challenge that presents itself to you.
In true physical culture, shortcuts are most often used by those without the patience or conviction to tread the real path.
In my opinion the song below does so, and I wanted to share it.
The world we’re living in is toxic, and unless you’re willing to stand for something, you’ll fall for anything…
Linked above, and also HERE.
“I don’t wanna live in a world where I can’t keep my children safe.
Sometimes I lie awake in the dark cause I can’t stop thinking about it.
I’m surround by lunatics and racists always trying to test me, trying to test my patience…
I know how hard this life can be. It can be lot harder that it was for me.
What’s the point in trying? Is there and point in trying if you really can’t change a thing?
When I take a look at life I got the answer, it seems quite clear to me.
I don’t wanna live if I can’t be with the people I love and the friends I’ve made.
So let it be known if I die today y’all mean the world to me,
if I die today did I say all the things I had to say?
x 9, followed immediately by:
*2-second overhead swing reaches but does not cross the vertical plane and holds there for a full 2/1000. The count starts when the weight stops moving. Keep a neutral, straight spine and active shoulders at all times. (Keep your back straight and push the weight to the ceiling.)
**”Power swing” ends at chin level and we drag the kettlebell down as viciously as we drive it up. Weight should be light enough that there is a visible difference in speed between regular and power swing.
We post every day outlining what we did, but haven’t posted in a while regarding what we do…
Put simply, we want you to and will show you many effective ways to:
Move your bodyweight safe and fast.
Get your ass off the ground.
Lift heavy shit.
In here, and in our version of fitness, one is no more important than another, and one without the others is incomplete.
We want to be as efficient, learned, and technical as we can in performing all tasks relating to these objectives.
Move more, move faster, get stronger.
Eat, rest, recover, repeat.
As a continuation of the topic we addressed over the weekend, please take the time to read this excellent piece written by one of the best Coaches in the world. It makes some hard-to-articulate and often ignored points very clear, and also offers some excellent reinforcement of many of the philosophies and practices we employ here at Wolf Brigade.
“Concept vs. Execution”
The equipment we have and use is purposeful, and has been accumulated over time- just like the training methods themselves. Each tool is a means to an end; the border to the puzzle but not the body. The goal of training people in high-level generalist fitness needs to remain at the forefront: Improving peoples physical and mental states by making them stronger, faster, safer, healthier, and more confident. Any tool or movement used in the achievement of that objective is simply a means to an end; The equipment is no more the point than the workout name, or even the movements themselves.
A similar focus on reason and rationale needs to be employed by those intending to operating such a facility: Is attending a weekend class, taking out a substantial loan, packing a room full of expensive equipment, and running a Groupon to attract as many members as possible as quickly as possible a sound strategy for developing a stand-out athletic facility? How is that any different than the franchising of a Papa John’s Pizza or a Cold Stone Ice Cream? (One difference is that Cold Stone requires 120 hours of classroom + hands on training TO SERVE PEOPLE ICE CREAM. Not teach them potentially dangerous movements, lifts, and the applications of.)
Neither volume of equipment nor novelty of exercise can make up for deficiencies in training experience, replace commitment to mastering the details of your craft, or mask the ego of trainers focused mostly on their own personal progress. What it CAN do is impress a novice athlete that still believes “more = more”, and lead them to believe that quality of facility = quality of information. It may not be an intentional deception, but (especially from a consumers point of view) it is one that is worthy of note.
Refer here for an excellent quote relating to a portion of the above topic:
Consider/ evaluate where the priority lies in your (potential) training environment; Look closely and question often as to whether volume has moved past substance on your gyms priority list… and whether substance was ever on it in the first place…
The ownership of a high-level fitness, strength, and conditioning facility should not be a virtual turn-key operation that can be executed beginning-to-end in one week. If having money is a stronger motivator than earning money, then one of the franchises mentioned above is likely better suited; Sure, you’re feeding people garbage, but at least you’re not telling them it’s something else.
If teaching “functional fitness” is your chosen path, put skin in the game. Give the gym your last name, start small, train people correctly and meticulously. Know what you know, and know what you don’t, and grow at an manageable pace- never sacrificing quality for quantity or progress for profits. If that all sounds too lengthy and tiresome, then it is simply a testament to how far the apple really has fallen from the tree.
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