Monday, June 24, 2013

My dad can beat up your dad!

"My dad can beat up your dad!"

Remember when kids used to taunt each other with sayings like that? I used to find the above statement absolutely hilarious. Maybe it's because my dad didn't live with me growing up so I just didn't have the same kind of pride projected on him that other kids had on their dads. Or maybe it's because my dad was so old that it just never occurred to me that he could beat up anybody.

That's him holding my oldest daughter (she's eight now) with my brother and me in the background. I think he was 79 at the time. He died shortly after his 80th birthday. My brother is, I believe, four years younger than I am and we're the youngest and second youngest of 11.

Apparently my dad was quite the scrapper in his day, growing up in various orphanages and foster homes in Nova Scotia and doing manual labour jobs most of his life. He actually had a lot of interesting stories that I may or may not save for another post someday. But you can deduce from the above picture that his fighting days were clearly well before my time. I do remember him hitting me with his cane once. He was like a fencer with that cane when he wanted to be.

Anyway, I was thinking earlier today that I wonder if kids even use that expression anymore, "My dad can beat up your dad." First of all, how many kids even have "dads" anymore? The survey I live in is mostly single moms who are on welfare. I could count on one hand the number of dads I've seen around here and I know I'm the only one with a job. Secondly, how many kids' dads these days even invoke the kind of manliness that would make their children think they can even fight, never mind beat anyone up?

What will become the equivalent of "My dad can beat up your dad" in the future?
A few possibilities might be:

My dad's watched more UFC than your dad!
My dad would P\/\/N3d your dad at Call Of Duty! (face to face conflict on the schoolyard will be a thing of the past. All arguments will most likely be texted)
My dad's meme posts get more Likes than your dad's!
My dad's vlog get's more hits than your dad's!
My dad has more Twitter followers than your dad!
My dad can memorise more song titles than your dad!
My dad's more of a geek than your dad!

Fuck all that. I might just start encouraging my kids to tell all their schoolmates that their dad can beat up anybody else' dad. What's the worst that can happen? Some drunk welfare bum shows up on my porch one night looking to get knocked out? Like I give a fuck.

The Dad Who Beats Up Other Dads
And his cardio is fucking solid too
The dad who buries women in the ground and then stands on them
The dad who will hook a goat right in the face
The dad who picks up barrels and carries them around in the bar
All other dads pale in comparison
Somebody else' dad


  1. That's a good short read. My brother is about twelve years older than me and got into fights a lot so I used to say that he could beat up anybody else's brother. My father's about forty years older than me but from round about puberty until I was nineteen or twenty I realised that he would still batter me in a fight.
    I was working in his bar when a fight broke out between me and a bunch of football (soccer) players. When it was all over I was expecting to be chastised but he just advised me that if people see blood they sometimes run off.

  2. My dad had somewhat similar advice with regard to fighting. Being short and wiry, his philosophies on the subject were far more pragmatic than macho. He used to say to aim for the nose first. Not because it was some magical fight-ender but because the nose bleeds easily and that could change the tide of a confrontation. He also said when you're attacked by a group, go for the guy you know you can take first. Macho guys will always say to go for the biggest guy first, but in real life the fact is the biggest guy might just kick your ass. Pick the guy you know you can beat and make a good mess of him and again, you might just change the tide of things.

    Later on my taekwondo coach would tell me pretty much the same things. He'd been a fighter in South Korea when he was younger and had served in the Marines over there. I think military service is mandatory in South Korea though so all those Korean instructors have served at one point and as much as taekwondo gets shit on all over the Internet and in MMA circles, those old Koreans are as tough as nails.

    They're not necessarily ideas that you can brag about to impress anyone at the bar just by talking about them, but they're realistic ideas and that's all that matters when you really think about it.

    1. Our fathers are sounding more similar still. Unless I'm really going to learn from it, he also downplays or denies every incident or almost anything he's ever done, so although we are both grown men I have to wait for somebody else to tell me a story about him. He sure as fuck doesn't post beast-mode photos on facebook.

  3. This shit was hilarious and true, it made me think. I wish you'd write long posts like this one more often. You can do whatever the fuck you want, of course, it's your fucking blog and I'm thankful I get to read whatever you feel like writing.

  4. Great post, man. My dad has been doing Judo for many decades, and his cardio is absurd, so he could probably beat up quite a few of my friends' dads. I really wondered, as a kid, why all the dads I saw didn't do the shit my dad did (martial arts, making sure his kids knew martial arts, keeping up his cardio + strength, etc). All the other dads I saw were physical wrecks, for the most part.

  5. Also, randomly asking this here:
    I saw on some really old Chaos+Pain article that you said to not listen to anything Brooks Kubik says.

    I've had my doubts about some of the info he puts out, and the manner in which he does it - he's often a guest on this site (terrible), and he overcharges for his books.
    I've read a copy of dino training, and I thought some of it was pretty inspirational, as far as a training manual goes, but there were also some ideas which struck me as odd (like relying on low set singles, like 1x1, for the majority of one's training).

    Any thoughts?

  6. When I first started using the Internet back in the late 90s I had already been lifting for a few years. I already liked using singles and lifting odd objects because I used to watch the World's Strongest Man contests on TSN. So Dinosaur Training really appealed to me at the time because it reflected the way I was already training, more or less. I had also read an article about Dinosaur Training in a martial arts magazine so I gave in to my curiosity, ordered it and have read it many times. My brother borrowed it several years ago and I haven't seen it since.

    Brooks Kubik used to post very regularly on a forum called Old School Strength Training. Everyone on there kissed his ass and sucked up to him constantly. If you said anything to him or about him that wasn't 100% complimentary it would be deleted. If you searched that forum enough, you could have found just as much, if not more, than you would find in the book. Brooks would constantly warn everyone about all the bullshitters in the fitness industry and how they were all after your money. He would joke that if you came across one of these types you shit hit him over the head with a dumbbell and run. Dinosaur Training started to become a cult. You were either with Brooks, or against him, and that's not an exaggeration. He started putting out more material on his website. A few VHS videos that were something like $40 apiece, and a "notebook" that was just a hardcopy collection of his forum posts for about $20. The videos are mostly just him lecturing on and on like a college professor in his wordy, repetitive style about how this is the way you need to train and blah blah blah. For what they were, his post Dinosaur Training products were pretty overpriced. That sort of thing was common in the late 90s though. Guys like Matt Furey, Pavel Tsatsouline and Brooks Kubik were filming workouts and exercises and, even if it was stuff they had just learned and weren't even that good at, touting themselves as experts. They got away with it at the time simply because their target audiences were new to the Internet (the Internet was still pretty rare back then) and this all seemed like a whole new world opening up.


    1. Tsatsouline's stuff was always pretty expensive but Furey and Kubik were more or less reasonably priced when they first came on the scene. Combat Conditioning and Dinosaur Training were both about $20 and they were both really good at the time. Within a few years, Furey jumped his prices by a shitload. Everything new he released was suddenly priced at more than $100. Most of the "dinosaurs" turned on him. After all, he'd become exactly what Brooks had been warning them against.

      A few years later, during the early 2000s, Brooks disappeared. No more posts on the Old School Strength Training forum. No more updates to his website. No more email newsletters. He just seemed to be gone from the Internet altogether. In his absence, the Westside system became all the rage and guys were starting to realise that there were other ways to get strong other than Dinosaur Training. They started to realise that there were more effective ways to get strong other than Dinosaur Training and that you could train more than two or three times a week and for more than an hour at a time without killing yourself or having to use steroids. Most of us who actually enjoyed lifting weights put Kubik in the same category as Stuart McRobert. A good author to recommend for beginners and people who trained like complete fags but not much more.

      Then all of a sudden Brooks was back! His newsletters startd showing up in the emails again. He started doing podcast interviews. Very little mention of bodyweight training but he was saying that a new product was coming out and t was going to blow us all away. And then it hit; Dinosaur Bodyweight Training. With a $200 price tag and that was just the beginning. I think with all the extras and membership to his "inner circle" it went as high as $700. Brooks Kubik had become the exact kind of huckster that he himself had warned us against years before. It was a joke. Once his new course was released it was only a matter of weeks before the PDF was getting shared all over the place for free and it was, for the most part, not very good. Sure there were a few good ideas within it on grip training and the mental side of things but most of us who were already into that sort of thing honestly didn't need it. Grip training in general was nothing new at that point and frankly, we had outgrown his lectures.

      In the mid to late 90s he was the right person at the right time and the original Dinosaur Training became legendary. But 10 or so years later he was just another guy selling overpriced shit on the Internet.

      I don't remember saying that you shouldn't listen to anything he says but the fact is that his status as the number one guru in strength training was gone and it was never coming back. He shot himself in the foot pricing that bodyweight course so high.

      Some good things to take from him:
      Hard, heavy training with free weights and bodyweight more than machines
      Training you grip
      Getting as strong as you can without drugs
      Nutrition before supplementation
      Performance over aesthetics

    2. I can't actually find your original comment now, but I think it was on Chaos and Pain on some old entry. Anyhow, thanks for the reply! As a newer guy lifting (I've only been in it for 2 years, and I'm 19), I like knowing some of the background info on these gurus - stuff I might have missed while being a toddler who couldn't operate a computer ahahah.
      A lot of these gurus set off some alarms for me, and I think for younger guys like myself, they can actually get in the way of progress.

      You should make your comments a blog post - it's about as long as most of the ones you put up, and it's a solid message, to boot.

      Happy Canada Day! (I'm in a different time zone right now, so it's already July 1st here)

  7. Dinosaur Training was one of the first books I read when I started lifting properly and it was fantastic. I'd never considered the mental element of getting stronger before and it was a revelation. The concept of odd objects blew my mind also. I still flick through it now and then. I think his principles are sound for a good few years of strength training but he's dogmatic in his attitude toward work capacity which is wrong. He seems to have a massive boner for olympic lifting these days. I think he only does power snatches too which is only a warmup/minor accessory move in the sport if used at all. I did it for two years and the only thing olympic lifts make you stronger at is olympic lifts.

    1. Believe it or not, when he first came on the scene he was a big fan of Hammer Strength equipment. He changed his tune on that shortly after Bill Starr laughed at him for it. And it wasn't much longer after that that his obsession with Olympic lifting started. I'm actually surprised he's never spoken much about continental style lifting. If anything, the continental style is even more old school than the clean style and should have been right up his alley. Fuck him anyway, with his long pauses for emphasis and his RANDOM CAPITALIZATION. He's a douchebag.

      I think it was between the early 1900s and the 1920s that there was actually kind of a battle of wills between whether the "new" clean style of lifting or the older continental style would be the future of competitive weightlifting. Obviously we can see now which side eventually won since most people have no idea what the continental style even is anymore.

      A clean lift is called "clean" because it doesn't touch the body during its motion from the ground to the shoulders. And it gets there in one movement. A continental lift was brought to the shoulders in several movements. The bar might have stopped and been rested on the lifter's thighs, his belt, his belly, maybe even all three.

      It was argued that the clean style was more athletic while the old continental style (which was called that because it was still used in Europe) was based purely on brute force and sheer strength. Back then it was common for continental lifters to be lifting heavier weights and considered stronger than clean lifters.

      I don't think the continental style is even allowed in weightlifting anymore. Even if it was I don't think you'd ever see it. It would be more rare than a squat style jerk or a split style snatch. Weightlifting technique has been so studied and perfected that the continental style might as well be dead. The only place you'll see it anymore is in strongman and that's because trying to clean a heavy axle in one movement is extremely difficult and cleaning a heavy log in one movement is not even possible so far as I know.

      My interest in the continental style of lifting to the shoulders is only a recent thing so I'm not an expert on it by any means. It came about because my only barbell is two inches thick so I figured I might as well start practicing it. And I might very well be wrong but I think there will be more carryover to real life once I develop some actual skill at it than I ever got from the power or squat clean.

      Not that I'm against the clean at all. I'm purely self-taught when it comes to Olympic lifting. I had to learn them by recording the world championships on TV while I was a teenager and watching the lifts over and over in slow motion. There were also a lot of good books on the subject in the library. My desire to learn them came from, of all things, playing the video game World Games on Commodore 64. My mom has a dropped ceiling in her basement and I used to smash it with my weights all the time.

      What were we talking about again? Brooks Kubik? Yeah, fuck him.

  8. Someone who has no access to a club or coach could do a lot worse than getting a copy of Tommy Kono's "Weightlifting Olympic Style". You can get it on his website and its dirt cheap considering the quality of the book. Very simple to understand his instructions for performing the lifts. Although he doesn't like "bouncing" the bar on the thighs which is a common method now. Kono liked the two or three times a week routine, workouts lasting 60-90 mins, only 3-4 exercises. At my club training 5-6 times a week was encouraged. However, the only routine that was emailed to anyone who was interested was tailored for a 17 year old kid called Sonny Webster who was a prospect for London 2012. He didn't make the cut but his lifts were impressive for his age and a 77kg lifter: 130kg-ish snatch and 165kg c+j. He trained twice a day 5 days a week. He couldn't deadlift 170kg though funnily enough. And don't even mention pullups.
    You're right about the continental lift, totally unacceptable now. Split snatches are fine although only older lifters use them and they'd be considered a joke in competition. Squat jerks, (or chinese jerks as we called them) are considered awesome.