Sunday, November 22, 2009
Last night while sleeping I had a dream about my viking ancestors raiding and pillaging the English 1000 years ago. I woke up feeling like I wanted to go lift and go crazy. Since this blog is about warrior strength I thought I would talk a little bit about the vikings and what we can learn from them to apply into training. Dubbed the "Hell's Angels of the Middle Ages," the Vikings were seafaring warriors who emerged in 8th century Scandinavia and over the next 300 years pillaged and plundered their way through parts of Europe and North America. At the beginning of this era, there was no single Viking kingdom, but instead a collection of small, warring chiefdoms whose male citizens mastered their naval combat skills by fighting each other. Boats were so valuable to the Vikings that they sought to capture, rather than destroy, enemy vessels. By the 9th century, the Vikings, driven in part by food shortages in Scandinavia, as well as the desire for new trade routes and sources of wealth, began launching raids on foreign shores. Armed with spears, axes, swords and shields, the Vikings became so feared that their victims would frequently give up without a fight and hand over whatever these brutal warriors demanded. They were the most feared warriors in Europe for their time. The fiercest Vikings were known as berserkers. They howled, wore bear or wolf skins, bit their shields and worked themselves into a rage intended to frighten their enemies. During battle, berserkers could allegedly withstand enormous pain. The actual fit of madness the berserker experienced was referred to as bärsärkar-gång ("going berserk"). This condition has been described as follows:
"This fury, which was called berserkergang, occurred not only in the heat of battle, but also during laborious work. Men who were thus seized performed things which otherwise seemed impossible for human power. This condition is said to have begun with shivering, chattering of the teeth, and chill in the body, and then the face swelled and changed its colour. With this was connected a great hot-headedness, which at last gave over into a great rage, under which they howled as wild animals, bit the edge of their shields, and cut down everything they met without discriminating between friend or foe. When this condition ceased, a great dulling of the mind and feebleness followed, which could last for one or several days."
Nothing bothers me more than seeing people lift or train with an attitude of a little girl. Athletes should lift with an intensity and determination that drives them to lift more than they normally could. There have been days where I felt like crap and dreaded the day's workout but with the help of others and my personal determination, I have been able to go beyond what I thought I could do. Now, we don't have to be as crazy as the beserkers and bite barbells and lift with bear skins on, but we can all lift with a little bit more intensity, determination, focus, and maybe a little bit more craziness to push us beyond our limits and improve.
Here is a brief clip about another viking warrior who showed great intensity in the weight room.....
Posted by Oliver Whaley at 1:28 PM