I have been a fan of Dan Gable for as long as I can remember. I don’t know if the sporting world will ever see such a dominant athlete again. He wasn’t just a legendary wrestler though. Dan Gable was equally successful at developing other wrestling champions. Such dominance is rarely seen individually as an athlete or coach. To accomplish what he did on both fronts is beyond impressive.
This entry isn’t about Dan Gable’s past success however. Instead, it is about another wrestler who has at least one thing in common with Dan Gable. Willie Burton wrestles with the same heart and determination that Dan Gable possessed throughout his career. The difference is that Willie Burton was born with cerebral palsy.
In the video below, you will see an ESPN E:60 special about Willie that is narrated by Dan Gable. It’s a 12 minute video that a viewer was kind enough to upload from his phone. The footage is a bit shaky at times, but certainly does not take away from the power of this story. If you’ve ever contemplated quitting any difficult task in your life, Willie Burton’s example will offer some powerful perspective. I was literally at a loss for words after watching the video. I can’t recommend it enough.
I only wish I could figure out a way to replicate Willie’s heart. Even the most gifted of athletes would benefit by possessing what he has inside.
A lot of my intensity in wrestling was due to my mental preparation before the matches. I got myself into a different world. – Dan Gable7 comments
One of the obvious themes throughout this site is our ability to exercise with minimal equipment. As I have stated many times before, much of my training is performed with homemade tools or objects that were not initially intended for exercise. I am a firm believer in the simple premise that if you want to exercise, you have everything that you need to get started. It does not matter where you are or what you own, there is always something that can be done.
To convey this point, I naturally use myself to demonstrate the potential of low-tech training. Walking the walk is important to me so I will always practice what I preach. I don’t waste time talking about things that I won’t do or haven’t done. Training with minimal equipment is a way of life for me. There are few things I’d rather do than exercise outdoors and enjoy the fresh air around me.
Fortunately, I am not alone in my quest to spread the potential of outdoor exercise. People from around the world have embraced the concept. For instance, an individual from Slovenia recently passed along the following video of him and a trainer partner. You will see a variety of exercises performed throughout their town. I particularly enjoyed the wooded area that can be seen at the 3 minute mark. That short segment has given me several ideas that I hope to build in the future.
In summary, it is always nice to see people from opposite ends of the world who have embraced the same concept. It doesn’t matter where you live. We are all people. When we learn from each other and share ideas, it doesn’t just benefit us, but also those around us. The downstream effect can be significant.
If more people promoted the potential of outdoor exercise, we’d have more people up and moving. And getting more people to become more active will ultimately benefit everyone. It would be amazing to live in a world where the majority of people were healthy and active. I doubt it will ever happen, but making exercise more cost effective and accessible is certainly a step in the right direction.
Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement. – William Morris3 comments
It has been a few days since the video below went viral. In case you missed it, you’ll see a 50 year old homeless man who exercises on the street and competes as an amateur bodybuilder. He trains primarily with resistance bands and a variety of bodyweight exercises.
When I first saw the video, I knew there would be mixed reactions. Some people would be inspired by the man’s ability to exercise without a gym, while others would question his place in life. What I didn’t expect to see were so many insults directed towards a man who is homeless. I’ve seen this man called everything from a bum to a steroid abusing piece of crap.
When I read these comments, I can’t help but wonder if a homeless poet or artist would elicit such strong reactions. Call it a hunch, but I’m guessing that the haters would have skipped over the story and instead found someone else to bash. For some reason, strong reactions are the norm when discussing a man or woman who exercises. Maybe the haters are jealous that a homeless man has developed an admirable physique. Perhaps they’d rather see him drinking alcohol on the corner rather than buying supplements and exercising. I honestly don’t know. Regardless of the reasons, I’ll never understand why certain people waste so much energy arguing about a man whose life is different from their own.
I make these comments not to suggest that you should be inspired by Jacques Sayagh. I hardly know anything about the man. I don’t know his life story and I’m not here to judge. I do however know some hard working adults who ended up homeless. It wasn’t by choice. Life isn’t always fair or easy. It’s certainly easier to sit behind a keyboard and cast stones without knowing the full story. But once again, what’s the point of criticizing the man? No one benefits.
I actually know a homeless professional boxer. If you’ve ever been to a boxing event in the northeast, you may have seen him. He’s fought on a few of the cards that I’ve worked at in Connecticut. We even shared a dressing room with him a few years ago. He lost that night, but he fought hard and earned the crowd’s respect. He scored a knockdown in the first round against an unbeaten prospect, but eventually lost a decision.
Afterwards, I saw him shaking hands with people in the crowd. I even saw a few kids ask for a picture. He may have lost the fight, but he won over the crowd. No one knew he was homeless, but even if they did, there wouldn’t have been any insults. Most people who insult others online have very little to say when that person is standing in front of them.
In summary, rather than criticize a man like Jacques Sayagh, why not instead use that time to better yourself and others around you. All I take from his story is that it is possible to stay in shape without a fully functional gym. I already knew that to be true, but Jacques certainly provides a unique reminder. As for whether or not he takes steroids, I don’t know and don’t care. Regardless of what he does or doesn’t do, he has clearly developed his physique with minimal equipment. Criticizing other parts of his life won’t benefit anyone, so why bother? How does insulting a man prove to be any more worthwhile than what you have insulted?
Time is limited for us all so don’t waste it stepping on a man or woman who is already down.
Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own. – Bruce Lee14 comments
Below is a link to a new training interview that I recently conducted for a German website. Throughout the interview, I answered a variety of questions that some readers may find useful. A few of the topics include dealing with bad days, mental strength, and strength training for fighters.
As always, if you ever have any other questions, you are welcome to message me directly at [email protected]
Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. – Peter Marshall2 comments
The video below was recently passed along to me and it is certainly worthy of a look.
The basic premise does not receive nearly as much attention as it deserves. Whenever health and fitness is discussed, the conversation typically focuses on those activities that are performed as part of a formal workout. Little attention is directed towards the remaining 23+ hours each day. Consequently, there are people in today’s world who exercise more frequently than those from previous generations, yet still perform less overall movement.
I make this point not to diminish the potential of brief workouts, but instead to remind you that there is more to movement than exercise. I know all about being busy with work, parenting, and life in general. I could be the poster child for the effectiveness of short workouts. Much of my training is performed via brief, mini-sessions. Like many busy adults, I don’t always have extended periods of time that I can dedicate to exercise. Thus, during those hectic times, I make the most of shorter blocks at various points throughout the day.
I do not limit my movement to exercise however. I am a big believer in getting up to move as often as possible. Whether I am walking my dog, wrestling with my kids, splitting wood, shoveling snow, raking leaves, or mowing the lawn, there are always opportunities to include movement within the week.
Sadly, regular movement seems to be shifting towards the exception, not the rule. As I stated in past entry, the average person spends 4.4 hours of leisure time in front of a computer, tablet, or phone screen. And unfortunately, the 4.4 hour estimate comes from data collected a few years ago. Call it a hunch, but I’m willing to bet that the time spent in front of a screen has already increased and will continue to do so.
As a parent, I am also seeing more and more kids with smart phones and tablets. Kids learn by watching their parents. If a parent is always browsing his or her phone whenever they have a moment of free time, how can we expect children to act any differently? Kids learn by what you do, not by what you say to do.
When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to get home from school so I could head outside to play. Nowadays, there are kids who rush home to download a new app. The world has certainly changed, and much of the change has not been for the better. Our population as a whole continues to move less, and that is a problem.
The human body has evolved to move. Let’s not allow technology to change that. Most people could benefit from more movement throughout the day. Even many exercise enthusiasts could benefit by following some of the suggestions presented in the video above. Movement is medicine and everyone needs a regular dose. And please note, I am not suggesting that you live in the woods without electricity. I am simply encouraging you to budget in more time to get up and move. Your body will thank you for it as the years pass.
Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it. – Plato8 comments