Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 263

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 263

It’s been a delightful few days here at home. As you read this, I will be cooking my first of two turkeys for Thanksgiving. My brother-in-law, Craig, got a free turkey and donated it to our party.
We end up with a lot of people for Thanksgiving.  I, and this comes to no surprise to people who read my work, love Thanksgiving. I always have; it’s a gathering with very little (for America) commercialism.
I got a new book from Chip Conrad this week, Are You Useful? Chip and I have done many workshops together and we originally met at Josh Vert’s 21 Grams Gym years ago. You can see the DVD overview here.
Chip always makes me smile when I read his work. His insight on “how all of this this happens” comes from South Park. The episode, you can see it here, gives us this great insight about how things in our field, like how lifting gets you bigger and more powerful, are due to the great discovery of “???.”
Well, I like his book. A lot. Chip has an ability to see through the clutter in training people. He keeps it simple…and fun.
 I have been reading a lot lately. Anthony Renna has a new fine book and I also read John Berardi’s new book on business for fitness people. I do my best to read everything that comes up in the area of fitness and performance…within reason. It’s nice to see people still writing new and important work.
I’m working on some new materials myself. My 2020 workshop is “Bounce, Squeeze and Stay Tall” and I think, besides being a good topic for a talk, might be book, too. I keep noticing that when I first work on something it takes me a while to really figure out all that encompasses a topic. For example, I have believed in teaching people to fall and recover since I learned this in Judo back in the 1960s.
For long-term health, learning to fall and recover is a skill that saves lives and serious complications. But, as Taylor Lewis taught me years ago, NOT falling is just as important and he got me in the direction of “stumble proofing.” Later, Peter Wilkens, a coach at Connaught Rugby, emphasized the important of “bouncing” up and back into the play. So, now, I try to teach things with the three steps:

1. Stumble Proof (balance, stability work, and strength work)
2. Break the Fall
3. Bounce back up!
It’s true in finance (among many other things), too:

1. Emergency Fund
2. Debt-Free
3. Fortune Fund
In almost every area of fitness, health, longevity and performance, I tend to find…over time…that the great insight of Coach Ralph Maughan, “Little and often over the long haul,” is a truth in all things and all goals.
This week with Pat Flynn went well. I discussed being sore after taking a month off of weightlifting. And, as a bonus, you get to hear me continue complaining about my cold.
I have a workshop coming up at Mike’s place in DC. The details:

Saturday December 14, 2019
12:00 to 02:30 PM
Exclusive preview to Dan’s next book: Bounce, Squeeze and Stay Tall!
This Lecture
The basics of lifting all too often reflect the basics of life. In this workshop, we will discuss resilience in all its forms: we will learn to bounce back from adversity, slippery ice and aggressive football blocking. We will learn from dance masters, special operation’s instructors, and financial advisors to relearn how to be strive for “pretty good” in almost every area of life.
Note: There will be exercise demonstrations that you are invited to join in, although your participation is voluntary.
When  Saturday December 14, 2019
Time    12:00 to 02:30 pm
Where CrossFit Koncepts
16720 Oakmont Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Cost     $120/person; attendees must pre-register in order to attend
Register  Contact Mike Krivka at cfkoncepts@gmail.com or 301/404-2571
Note: Space limited to the first 25 people who pre-register; no exceptions.
This week on danjohnworkouts.com:
Episode 12 of the podcast was a really good one. Dan gave us some nice commentary on how he would pick exercises for Easy Strength today as well as finding motivation and building effective habits. He answers lots of good questions as well, so if you haven’t listened to it yet, here’s the link: www.danjohnworkouts.com/podcast.
New essays posted in the member’s area this week:
More Easy Strength
The Eagle
The Five Pillars of Training
I have a small favor this week. We’ve done our best to incorporate as many features you have requested on the site as possible, but we’re always trying to improve it for you. What would make the site better in your eyes? More Bus Bench programs, more essays, member’s only videos, anything else? We made this site for you and want to make sure it continues to meet your needs.
Have a great week!
Looking around the internet this week, I found this article that I think is spot on.


Jonathan Ogden, widely regarded as one of the greatest tackles in NFL history, once dreamed of being an Olympic shot putter. He played both sports at UCLA, and he actually saw the shot put to be the greater test of his athleticism. “I think that more (true) athletes throw the shot put,” Ogden told the Daily Bruin in 1996. “I don’t think that all offensive linemen could throw the shot put …but I think a big shot putter could play football.” The footwork, power and functional strength Ogden built inside the throwing ring helped him become an immovable force on the football field.
Tracking Football, a scouting service that stresses the value of multi-sport athletes in football recruiting, writes that “the ability to throw the shot put is a great indicator of short area power and footwork. Typically shot put ability transfers over well to the football field, particularly for linemen and linebackers.”
If you’ve never actually watched a shot put competition, the finals at the 2016 Rio Olympics will give you a good idea of what it takes to be successful in the sport. These guys are behemoths with the feet of ballet dancers:

End quote
This article ties in, at least in my mind, with the previous article. I use lots of materials from golfers to coach the throws.


I asked a rhetorical question the other day if a baseball swing is “using the ground” in the same manner the Modern Golf Swing proponents say you get power by leaving the ground.
I also used a javelin throw – but silly me, it seems the way you’re supposed to get power is by emulating the track & field event known as the shot put!
I kid you not, my friends – I just read an article that tells you, for more power and longer drives, to “squat, twist & jump.”
It’s in Golf.com online, entitled, How To Coil Like A Tour Pro (Even With Limited Flexibility) and offers such wisdom as the following, in part:
    – Set up as normal, but with your feet closer together and your left foot flared. Congrats! You have full range of motion,
    – As you take the club back, think “squat” instead of “lift” … it should feel like a squat.
    – Flex & Jump. Now you can spring up from the ground at impact, clearing space for your arms to fire through impact with increased velocity and power.

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This is a sport you might not yet know, but it is “blowing up” here in Utah. It’s a lot of fun.

Still, despite the sudden rise in popularity, you might fairly ask: So… what is pickleball? Perhaps the easiest way to explain it is as a hybrid of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. (It also has elements in common with paddle tennis and racquetball, all of these being related sports. Yes, it gets confusing.)
Pickleball is played on a court like tennis, but the court is smaller—the same size as in badminton. (Many pickleball courts, like Hermosa Beach’s, are redrawn tennis courts, and enthusiasts are constantly pushing cities to add more to keep up with demand. On the day I visited Hermosa’s courts, the pickleball area was completely full, but the adjacent tennis courts were empty.)
You hit a light plastic ball similar to a wiffle ball with a paddle rather than a racquet across a net. You must serve underhanded, but then you can switch it up. You can hit the ball forcefully or with a soft touch, depending on your strategy, and the point system is much like tennis. You can play singles or doubles, but just about everyone plays doubles, further limiting the required movement. When you hit that ball just so, however, it has all the thrill of a tennis victory.

End quote
I just love this kind of article and I agree with all of it.


“Our public library in Independence had about three or four thousand volumes, including the encyclopedias,” he once wrote. “Believe it or not I read ’em all… Maybe I was a damn fool, but it served me well when my terrible trial came.”
General James Mattis — an avid reader who often brought books with him to his far-flung commands in the Marines — recently wrote how unconscionable it is for a military leader to be “filling body bags” while they learn by trial and error. They owe it to their soldiers, he said, to learn as much as humanly possible from the experiences of history before trying to learn on their own. To not pick up a book is a dereliction of duty.
Thankfully, most of us will never face stakes as high as those encountered by Truman or Mattis, but the point stands. How can we possibly justify — to our employees, to our investors, to our spouses, to our friends, to our fellow citizens, or to ourselves — learning slowly, by experience or trial and error, what we can easily pick up in a book?

End quote
I enjoyed the selections this week. I don’t often go back and reread the articles I post here, but I went through each and every one again this week. I hope you enjoy them.
And, until next week, keep on lifting and learning.


For your quick access link, here’s Dan’s full OTP page, including all of his articles, books, lectures and videos, all in one place.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 116

Chapter XVI

The Wart got up early next morning. He made a determined effort the moment he woke, threw off the great bearskin rug under which he slept, and plunged his body into the biting air. He dressed furiously, trembling, skipping about to keep warm, and hissing blue breaths to himself as if he were grooming a horse. He broke the ice in a basin and dipped his face in it with a grimace like eating something sour, said A-a-ah, and rubbed his stinging cheeks vigorously with a towel. Then he felt quite warm again and scampered off to the emergency kennels, to watch the King’s huntsman making his last arrangements.
Master William Twyti turned out in daylight to be a shrivelled, harassed-looking man, with an expression of melancholy on his face. All his life he had been forced to pursue various animals for the royal table, and, when he had caught them, to cut them up into proper joints. He was more than half a butcher. He had to know what parts the hounds should eat, and what parts should be given to his assistants. He had to cut everything up handsomely, leaving two vertebrae on the tail to make the chine look attractive, and almost ever since he could remember he had been either pursuing a hart or cutting it up into helpings.
He was not particularly fond of doing this. The harts and hinds in their herds, the boars in their singulars, the skulks of foxes, the richesses of martens, the bevies of roes, the cetes of badgers and the routs of wolves—all came to him more or less as something which you either skinned or flayed and then took home to cook. You could talk to him about os and argos, suet and grease, croteys, fewmets and fiants, but he only looked polite. He knew that you were showing off your knowledge of these words, which were to him a business. You could talk about a mighty boar which had nearly slashed you last winter, but he only stared at you with his distant eyes. He had been slashed sixteen times by mighty boars, and his legs had white weals of shiny flesh that stretched right up to his ribs. While you talked, he got on with whatever part of his profession he had in hand. There was only one thing which could move Master William Twyti. Summer or winter, snow or shine, he was running or galloping after boars and harts, and all the time his soul was somewhere else. Mention a hare to Master Twyti and, although he would still go on galloping after the wretched hart which seemed to be his destiny, he would gallop with one eye over his shoulder yearning for puss. It was the only thing he ever talked about. He was always being sent to one castle or another, all over England, and when he was there the local servants would fête him and keep his glass filled and ask him about his greatest hunts. He would answer distractedly in monosyllables. But if anybody mentioned a huske of hares he was all attention, and then he would thump his glass upon the table and discourse upon the marvels of this astonishing beast, declaring that you could never blow a menee for it, because the same hare could at one time be male and another time female, while it carried grease and croteyed and gnawed, which things no beast in the earth did except it.

End quote

I wish I would have used the dictionary more the first few times I read The Sword in the Stone. I have to tell you that as a fourteen-year-old I would be using the terms “Fewmets,” “Croteys,”  and “Fiants” in much of my conversations. They all mean excrement (poop!) and beg to be used in a school setting. “You Fewmet-face bowl of Crotey” seems a great thing to say to a receiver after a play.
The vocabulary in this chapter is really important and I finally decided to just share the section from A Glossary of Names, Allusions, and Technical Terms in T. H. White’s The Once and Future King and The Book of Merlyn by Michael Anderson (Editor) and John William Sutton (Editor) from The Camelot Project 2003.

 A Glossary of Names, Allusions, and Technical Terms in T. H. White’s The Once and Future King and The Book of Merlyn | Robbins Library Digital Projects
A Glossary of Names, Allusions, and Technical Terms in T. H. White’s The…
alaunts, p.145 – “allans or allauntes, a large hound.” (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 282)
beagling, p.148 – “hare hunting when the field follows on foot.” (OED)
coverts, p.133 – A covert in this context is a “place which gives shelter to wild animals or game; esp. a thicket.” (OED)
croteys, p.142 – excrements.
cy sa avaunt, p.148 – “a hunting cry, forward.” (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 283)
fewmets, p.23 – “the droppings of the beast pursued.”
fiants, p.142 – “excrements of the wild boar.” (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 187)
gorgeaunts, p.133 – “wild boar in his second year.” (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 288)
gralloch, p.260 – “The viscera of a dead deer.” (OED)
grease, p.142 – “the fat of certain animals.” (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 288)
harborer, p.23 – To harbor – “to trace the deer to its lair.” (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 9)
hogsteers, p.133 – “hoggaster, wild boar is his third year, App.” (Baillie-Grohman ad Baillie-Grohman 289)
huske of hares, p.143 – “a number of hares, App.” (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 289)
lesses, p.146 – “excrements of boars and wolves.” (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 290)
mark to ground, p.11 – “Hounds indicate that a fox has gone to ground by giving tongue and digging (worrying) at an earth.” (foxhunting.freeservers.com)
mask, p.149 – “Hunting. [T]he head-skin of any ‘game’.” (OED)
meet, p.134 – The hunt.
menee, p.143 – “note sounded on a horn; also the baying of a hound hunting.” (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 291)
M.F.H., p.43 – The Master of Fox Hounds, the person in charge of the hounds in a fox hunt. (www.equestrianconnection.net)
mort, p.9 – a horn-note signaling that the quarry is killed. (Moran 24)
os, p.142 – The dew-claws of the stag and hind. (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 292)
prise, p.152 – “A horn signal . . . in England for the hart and buck after the kill.” (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 293)
recheats, p.140 – a. “The act of calling together the hounds to begin or continue the chase of a stag.” b. “The series of notes sounded on the horn for . . . these purposes.” (OED)
sounders (of boars), p.18 – “What men call a trip of tame swine is called of wild swine a sounder, that is to say if there be passed five or six together.” (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 53)
suet, p.142 – “The fat of the red-deer and the fallow-deer.” (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 296)
swef, p.148 – “a hunting cry, meaning gently or softly.” (Baillie-Grohman and Baillie-Grohman 296)
undoing, p.9 – “the flaying and butchering of the animal.” (also the unmaking or breaking) (Cummins 41)
venery, p.134 – “derived in one sense from the Latin venari, ‘to hunt’.” (Cummins 81)
warrantable, p.23 – “Applied to a stag which is of an age to be hunted.” (OED)
bevies of roes, p.142 – a group of small deer.
Master Twyti’s interest in the hares always brings me back to the story of my dad and Wilt Chamberlain (see earlier WWs for the whole story). I’ve noted before that when I go out with famous strength coaches, we don’t tend to talk about five sets of two or kipping pull ups. We talk about wine, life and laughs.
Remember Twyti next time you to try to impress someone!

DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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