Monday, October 24, 2016

At 74, She Is the Oldest Practitioner of an Indian Martial Art

Very interesting. She has about 12 years on me and I am not as flexible or mobile. I like the fact that all ages from the very young to the older, both men and women, are practicing this. It is a true life long activity. Great stuff.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

More Dimas #4

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Here is the next installment. Must see for serious lifters.....

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Monday, October 17, 2016

"It Ain't Over Until It's Over"

Orrin Whaley completing a Snatch in competition a few years ago.

Here in the United States the collegiate football season is winding down and this is the time of the season when the contests become very important. Watching football over the Thanksgiving holiday is a widespread American tradition. At least for the men, their wives are often out shopping for Christmas while the husbands sit in front of the TV. Crazy world. Anyway, this weekend there were several amazing examples of how maintaining enthusiasm and hope led to success when victory seemed impossible. Auburn was down 27 points at half-time and seemed to have nothing going and came back to beat a really talented Alabama team. Boise State was beaten by Nevada after leading by 24 points, and of course our Cougars gave up a 13 point lead after 3 quarters to fall 17-16 to our rival Utes. I've say, my hat's off to the Utes this season, they didn't quit when we had them beaten. They played to the very end and won it on the last play.
This weekend really reinforced the adage uttered by the great American philosopher, Rocky Balboa,"It ain't over until it's over." (I think he was actually quoting Yogi Berra, another great philosopher. "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded.") At any rate, as long as there is a spark of enthusiasm, there is hope.It seems to me that they go together. Enthusiasm is the embodiment of hope, while hope sparks enthusiasm, and they feed one another. I received an e-mail this morning from an old friend who stated that he has "more enthusiasm than intellect." As I thought about that, it reminded me that enthusiasm is the catalyst for great performance.
What I love about throwing is that it only takes one good throw. As long as the thrower doesn't give up mentally, he has a chance. Bad timing, off balance, foul, all can be corrected on the next attempt if the throwers doesn't allow it to get into their head and dampen their enthusiasm and hope. Last month my son was talking with me about lifting and he said that he much preferred Weightlifting to Powerlifting as Weightlifting required greater technical skill and therefore more options for improvement.
He mentioned that when you get buried by a heavy squat, there is not much hope for success on a repeat attempt. Sure there are times when a technical fault may be corrected, but usually the problem in a lift like that is pure strength. You either have it or you don't. After getting buried, it is hard to muster enthusiasm or hope for another try. In the snatch however, there are many variables and you have much more hope for success after a missed attempt. Little did we know at the time, but his opinion would be tested soon. The next week we were entered in a Weightlifting meet and he missed his 1st attempt in the Snatch. He had never missed an opener before so I wondered how he would react. He told me that it was too light, but I didn't see it that way and had him repeat. It was a weight that should have been easy as he had routinely done it in training and more. He missed the 2nd attempt also. The problem was timing, not strength. Hope and enthusiasm were still alive. We focused on staying over the bar longer and being patient and he made his 3rd attempt easily and used the momentum to PR in the Clean and Jerk. The throws are similar, keeping a clear head, keeping enthusiasm and hope, one can make corrections and pull out a good throw in spite of a bad start.It ain't over until it's over. Enjoy the journey.
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One of the great competitors of all time!
4 Olympic gold medals!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Mario Martinez, One of America's Best Ever

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One of my all time favorite lifters is a guy that most have never heard of in spite of a long list of great accomplishments.How about a career spanning 23 years that included 10 national championships, 3 olympics including a silver medal and a 4th place finish,3 Pan Am medals,and the first American to both snatch over 400lb. and clean & jerk over 500 lb. in a meet. Try googling Mario Martinez and you'll have trouble finding much.
Raised on a remote Salinas, California ranch, Mario trained under a tree with a non-revolving exercise bar and an assortment of weights, some that he would tie on with rope. Mario Martinez got so strong that he’d bend his lifting bars, but no problem because Mario would straighten them out with a hammer and keep training. He developed a rough, but workable technique, but was famous for his bent-arm pulling style throughout his career.He racked his cleans with only his finger tips on the bar and had to regrip for the jerk. Sometimes his hands would slip off and he would have to regrasp the bar.
After several years of training this way, he traveled to San Francisco to view a competition. He entered the next one and soon was training under the watchful eye of Jim Schmitz. Even then he kept his independence.Here is how Jim tells it,"A little side story here is there was a time when Mario's training wasn't going as well as he would have liked and he thought he would like to do his own program. He still wanted to train with Ken Clark, John Bergman, Tom Hirtz, and Butch Curry, who were all following my program and coaching, but he wanted to do his own programming. To make a long story short, he would get to the gym before those guys, check out their programs—particularly Ken Clark's—and then train with Ken and John doing the same exercises, but with 10, 15, or 20 kilos more. He just didn't like to see his workouts written down, he thought it limited him." While he was a large and big boned man, with strong ligaments and tendons, he was never a huge superheavy and at times lifted in the 110 kg class. At the end of his career, I had the opportunity to meet him when we hosted the American Open in Flagstaff, Arizona. I assisted with the scoreboard and was honored to meet Mario. This may have been his last national level meet as he was closing in on 40 years old. He still managed something in the range of 160 kg. snatch and 200 clean and jerk if my memory is correct. Very impressive. Rich McClure, NAU strength coach at the time and the meet director, had Mario sign the competition platform as a memorial and inspiration to all who would lift on it in the future.
He was the last American man to medal in the Olympics in weightlifting with his silver in 1984 in L.A. He went 6 for 6 and thought he had the Gold wrapped up when the Australian tuna fisherman, Dean Lukin, pulled the lift of his life and did 240 to take the Gold. A few weeks later Mario had his Volkswagon Rabbit reposessed while he was in the gym training. Ironically, Marylou Rhetton, who won gold in gymnastics in the same olympics was given a brand new corvette by her sponsors. Mario who worked 40 hours a week as a mechanic to support his family had to take time off without pay in order to compete, then had his car reposessed. Such is the life of an American weightlifter. Unsung Mario is among the best. He is now carrying on with his family life and restores old autos as a hobby. All the best Mario and thanks for the memories.

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Mario was known for his bent arms pulling style which he used very effectively.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

6 Ways Katie Ledecky Thinks Differently: The Psychology of Success

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A very interesting article on the mindset of a winner......

6 Ways Katie Ledecky Thinks Differently: The Psychology of Success

She doesn't just win--she crushes. How? It all starts with how she thinks -- just like your success will start with how you think.

By Jeff Haden

Katie Ledecky is different--and not just because she's arguably the most dominant athlete in the world. (How does never losing an international final sound to you?) She wins many of her races not by fractions but by 1 or 2 percent--which doesn't sound like much until you realize that a similar margin would mean Chris Froome would win the Tour de France by about forty minutes.

So yeah, she's different in terms of results--but she's also different in the way she thinks. Like most Olympic athletes, the thought truly is father to the deeds that lead to her success--and yours.

1. She does the work ...

You can be good with a little effort. You can be really good with a little more effort.

But you can't be great--at anything--unless you put in an incredible amount of focused effort.

Here's a glimpse of a normal day for Ledecky (thanks ESPN):
•Wakes up at 4:05 a.m.
•Eats two pieces of toast with peanut butter, plus a banana or apple.
•Trains from 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., swimming between 6,000 and 6,500 yards.
•Naps at 8 a.m.
•Goes to dry land training three days a week from 11 a.m. to noon.
•Trains again from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., swimming between 7,000 and 8,000 yards.
•Goes to bed between 9 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.

Scratch the surface of any person with rare skills and you'll find a person who has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.

There are no shortcuts. There are no overnight successes. Everyone has heard about the 10,000 hours principle but no one follows it ... except incredibly successful people.

So start doing the work now. Time is wasting.

2.  ... and she does a lot more work.

Sure, there are plenty of Sheryl Sandberg "I leave every day at 5:30" stories. I'm sure she does. But she's not you.

Every extremely successful entrepreneur I know (personally) works more hours than the average person -- a lot more. They have long lists of things they want to get done. So they have to put in lots of time.

Better yet, they want to put in lots of time.

If you don't embrace a workload others would consider crazy, then your goal doesn't mean that much to you -- or it's not particularly difficult to achieve. Either way you won't be incredibly successful.

3. She doesn't make back-up plans.

Back-up plans can help you sleep easier at night. Back-up plans can also create an easy out when times get tough.

Ledecky doesn't have a backup plan. She isn't a person who swims. She's a swimmer.

You'll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. You'll work harder and longer if you think of yourself not as a person who sometimes performs a certain task but as a person who has embraced everything about a pursuit. Don't just start businesses -- be an entrepreneur. Don't just jog in the evenings -- be a marathoner.

Total commitment--without a safety net--will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.

If somehow the worst does happen (and the "worst" is never as bad as you think), trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, you always will.

4. She avoids the crowds.

Conventional wisdom yields conventional results. Joining the crowd--no matter how trendy the crowd or "hot" the opportunity--is a recipe for mediocrity.

Take the way Ledecky trains. She trains at near race pace, targeting a stroke rate magic number is 1.36 seconds. The target stroke rate she uses in practice is significantly higher than most other swimmers use.

And as her coach says, "Other swimmers, they either lose [their stroke rate] or they don't have the confidence to start out with it. You've seen her dive in, and by the time the race is 100 meters in, it's over. Why can she do that? She can do that because she practices it -- over and over and over again. Every day, twice a day a lot of days."

Remarkably successful people make a habit of doing what other people won't do. They go where others won't go ... because when they do, there's a greater chance for failure, but also a much greater chance of success.

5. She starts at the end ...

Average success is often based on setting average goals. Ledecky doesn't just want to win. She wants to set world records. She wants to win every race.

Scratch that. She doesn't just want to--she wants to. As her teammates say, in practice she's the nicest person ever ... but in meets, she's scary.

Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest, whatever. Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up. That is your goal.

Then you can work backward and lay out every step along the way.

Never start small where goals are concerned. You'll make better decisions--and find it much easier to work a lot harder--when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.

6. ... and she doesn't stop there.

Achieving a goal--no matter how huge--isn't the finish line for highly successful people. Achieving one huge goal just creates a launching pad for achieving another huge goal.

Ledecky won gold medals at the London Olympics. She's winning gold medals in Rio. And while she doesn't say it out loud, it's clear her goal is to be the best swimmer--not just the best female swimmer, but the best swimmer, period--ever.

Maybe you want to create a $100 million business; once you do you can leverage your contacts and influence to create a charitable foundation for a cause you believe in. Then your business and humanitarian success can create a platform for speaking, writing, and thought leadership. Then ...

The process of becoming  successful in one field will give you the skills and network to be even more successful in that field--and successful in many other fields.

Incredibly successful people don't try to win just one race. They expect and plan to win many more races.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

What are College Coaches looking for?

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BYU football players are generally not the highest rated in athletic ability but they try to compensate with character and team work. It doesn't always work, but they've had a lot of success over the years with that formula.

On the topic of preparing for a college scholarship in athletics, here is some more great advice....

College coaches don’t really have to look too hard at the top 100 recruits in the country to be interested in them. Determining the other recruits to pursue is where they earn their pay. College coaches all evaluate players a little differently, but every college coach considers the entire package for every potential recruit.

If a college coach is seriously interested, they will evaluate you from the time you get off the bus for a game until you get on again. They watch how you react to adversity, how you interact with your teammates, and if you give 100 percent on every play. College coaches want players who play hard, are passionate about their sport, and who fight to the end.

Once a coach is sold on a player athletically, they want some assurances on the rest of the package. They will check your social media accounts and talk with your coaches not only about your ability, but about your character and work ethic. Offering a scholarship to a high school athlete is a big investment for a coach and they do their homework on every player before a decision is made.

If you understand what coaches are really looking for, you will be a step ahead of your competition. Here are my top 5 things college coaches are really looking for in a potential recruit.

Athletic ability

Athletic ability is certainly the first factor college coaches look at in a recruit. Only the very best athletes play at the intercollegiate level and high school athletes need to understand that playing in college at any level is a tremendous accomplishment. Given that fact, if you want to play your sport in college, you have to pursue colleges that match your abilities to be successful.

Every potential recruit needs an objective, honest evaluation of his or her abilities. Not every high school football player can make the roster at Alabama and not every softball player will make the cut at Oklahoma. If you aren’t one of the best players on your team (or in your district) then pursuing a scholarship at an elite Division I program is like going to McDonalds and ordering filet mignon. You won’t get what you are asking for.

Mental and Physical Toughness

Every college coach in the country wants a roster full of players who are mentally and physically tough. They want focused, aggressive competitors. College coaches notice attributes like effort, fearlessness, and confidence.

They also want players who don’t let a mistake affect them. Guess what? College coaches all played the game. They weren’t perfect and they know you aren’t either. Don’t worry if you make a mistake in front of a college coach. They actually want to see how you react to that situation. Your reaction when you give up a goal, miss a layup, or strikeout tells so much more about you as a player than the mistake itself. Do you throw a fit, or forget about the last play and focus on the next one? Make the next play and the one after that. Great athletes play with confidence and have a short memory.


There are many reasons why coaches value academics so much in the college recruiting process:
•First, students with good grades and high standardized test scores often qualify for academic scholarships and in-state tuition, potentially saving the athletic department scholarship money.
•Second, a good GPA and SAT/ACT score indicates to coaches that a student will most likely achieve the minimum college GPA needed to maintain athletic eligibility.
•Third, good grades and test scores are an indication of a student’s work ethic and achievement standards for all areas of their lives.

Not only are your academic qualifications and achievements important to coaches, they can be beneficial to you. The more colleges you qualify for academically, the more college options you will have athletically. Your grades and test scores can expand or limit your ability to find a scholarship.

Last year a coach from Georgetown told one of our guys at a camp that he wished all the recruits had their grade point average on the front of their shirt. That makes my point pretty well!


The dictionary definition of coachable is “capable of being easily taught and trained to do something better.” Almost every athlete is coachable when they start their career. I’m not sure why, but that changes over time for some.

So, what does it take to be coachable?
•Be thankful someone is willing to take their time to help you improve
•Be open to honest feedback
•Be willing to work hard
•Be willing to change bad habits
•Be humble

College coaches want players who are coachable. It doesn’t take long for a coach to spot an uncoachable player and very rarely can a coach make a player coachable. Being a coachable athlete will go a long way with your current coach and prospective college coaches. Being coachable also means having a strong work ethic. Players that work hard in practice generally are more successful in games.


College coaches want players who will represent their team and the university in a positive light every day of the week and twice on Sunday. They aren’t interested in babysitting their players or explaining their behavior. For that reason, a player’s character is an important consideration for a coach.

An athlete’s character is always on display. You can count on the fact that coaches will be monitoring your social media accounts and making the assumption that the way you act on social media now is the way you will act on campus. They will certainly talk to your coach and perhaps even to your teammates. If you don’t pass the test on your character then don’t expect a scholarship.

Here’s the deal

The world of college athletic recruiting is extremely competitive. There are thousands of players looking for a roster spot. You really need to know what college coaches are looking for to have a leg up on your competition
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