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An Inspiration To Exercise!

I would like to share some stories that have inspired me to continue training, even after all of these years. I think you will feel that inspiration if you decide to read through this. Enjoy.

By: Peter Knopfler

    I wish you the most enjoyable training,
    As mindless as a tree,
    As light as a cloud,
    Fast as a hummingbirds wings,
    Merry as stars twinkle and bright as the morning Sun!
    Trainer's Prayer by Dan Millman.

Dan Millman: World trampoline champion, director of gymnastics at Stanford University wrote: The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior, The Warrior Athlete and my favorite There Are No Ordinary Moments. These books will inspire you.


Inspiration To Exercise

Friday - Finished my morning classes by 7:30 a.m. and the rest of the day was for myself. I decided to hang out on the roof and get some sun before it gets too hot ... around 10:30 a.m, a thought stood out in my mind.

The night before a new client appeared. He was referred by a past client. No history of exercise, poor eating habits, etc. When I told him that I have been training for 40-plus years, he could not believe it until I showed some pictures. Then he asked what kept me going all those years.

This is one of the most common questions: INSPIRATION. How was I inspired over all these years? Most people think exercise is boring, painful and unnecessary (going to die anyways).

During High School and University, I was easily inspired because there was an entire staff to do just that, to direct and inspire. I have noticed that many school athletes stop training once they get away from organized sports and usually lose their good condition.

As the Buddha said in 600 BC: "In the search for wealth we destroy our health" [...]and you see this time and time again.


Mr. Sakata - Inpiration Plus:

    When I left the University, I went back to the YMCA, and played summer basketball leagues and continued my morning lifting. 1972 created a residency in Oahu and close to the office, off of Vineyard blvd., on the corner of Nu'uanu Ave is a large family YMCA. I joined the YMCA as usual, and started my early morning training 5:30 a.m.

    Much to my surprise, the cafeteria was already open; smell the coffee and bacon, and see at least twenty maybe twenty-five guys waiting for the door to the gym to open.

    What a surprise so early ... usually only two to three of us, but here lots more, and the energy was in the air. Upon observing a little closer I realized I was the youngest lifter in the weight room. Looking even closer, everyone seemed to be going through the motions, not energetic movements or power moves, slow, kind of lazy anticipation. What were all these people waiting for?

    It was Monday, squat day (legs), long legged at 6-foot-4, squat is not my favorite but has to be done (unless serious back pain or injuries). Now don't forget I was only 23-years old at 260 pounds. Those days I warmed up with 3 sets of hanging leg raises for 30 reps each set.

    This I still do today, before the squats, (to warm-up my lower back, firm my grip, and develop my abs). I started my squats with 225 pounds for 15 reps. 275 pounds was the next weight for 8 reps. Then as usual three big plates, for 315 pounds, another 8 reps.

    Rest and add another 50 pounds for 365 only 5 reps. Rest longer, up the weight 20 pounds more, for 385 and only 3 reps. REST. The weight now is raised to 405, (four big ones on either side), it did look impressive, only 3 reps for 3 sets. And I was happy to be finished until Friday the next squat day.

    Usually I don't take notice in people watching, but here I got a little more attention, being the new guy in the gym. By now, with all the squats I was literally dripping, sitting on the bench in front of the squat rack with my head in my hands breathing heavy.

    Reminded me of something I had heard, but can't remember where or when.

    "If you're out of breath, dizzy, feel like vomiting,
    can't remember your name, you are on the right road."

    Suddenly someone softly tapped me on the shoulder, I turned to look, and a quiet voice said to me, "When you're finished, leave the weight there."

    I took a closer look and much to my surprise, with my mouth open, "Odd Job," wrestler, actor, Olympic Silver for Olympic lifting. WOW! I asked a stranger nearby, what's his name?

    He said with pride, "That is Mr. Sakata," who has trained here for the last 15 years. This was the anticipation in the air everyone was waiting for "The Man," Mr. Sakata.

    Toshiyuki "Harold" Sakata
    Toshiyuki "Harold" Sakata (July 1, 1920- July 29, 1982) was a film actor most famous for his role as the villain "Oddjob" in the James Bond film Goldfinger.

    Toshiyuki Sakata was born on July 1, 1920, in Holualoa, Hawaii, and is of Japanese descent. When he moved to mainland America he began to go by the more Western name "Harold." He spent his early life training as a weightlifter and won a silver medal for United States at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London by lifting a total of 380 pounds in the Light Heavyweight division. He also did a stint as a professional wrestler under the name Tosh Togo from the early 1950s until the early 1960s.

    As "Oddjob," he was bodyguard to Bond villain Auric Goldfinger, and his sharpened steel-brimmed bowler hat became a famous and much-parodied trademark of the Bond series. He appeared in several other movies in similar roles and took on "Oddjob" as a middle name.

    Mr. Sakata moved the pins down 2 holes, but left the 405 pounds on the bar. In a very relaxed confident manner, he slid under the bar, adjusted his shoulders, squeezed his hands tightly, raised the bar very slowly, steadily, inch by inch until his legs stood up, not quite fully extended (bent slightly at the knee).

    Mr. Sakata took 1/2 a step back and slowly squatted the 405, with the patience of an Angel, he did 10 complete regulation full squats without a belt. Mr. Sakata (Tosh Togo), wrapped a large belt, just under his belly, pulled tightly, and he was ready to go again.

    Two of his friends put 2 more large plates, and now an impressive 495 pounds. I couldn't believe it, "5, piece of pie" reps. This guy is still warming up. He took off his belt while resting, drank water and watched his friends pile on another 2 big plates for 585 pounds, 3 reps, 2 guys spotting.

    The entire gym watched in complete silence - there was no music when Mr. Sakata trains. I was mesmerized, dumbfounded and wildly alive. You couldn't see the tears for the sweat - my skin was going crazy (goose bumps) with inspiration - I felt my body temperature change.

    My mind in my heart aching for more, I couldn't think but I knew that tomorrow's training couldn't come soon enough. I caught a glimpse of the clock on the wall; it tore me out of my stupor ... shower, rushed off to work. I don't know why I didn't tell anyone, but I did a lot of talking to myself that day. It took 5 years of day to day consistent training before I could call Mr. Sakata by his first name, Harold.

    Harold and I became friends and I trained with Harold faithfully until he passed away in 1982. Stomach Cancer tore Harold away from everyone - all of Hawaii cried. He died at Queen's Medical Center; Harold had insisted that no one could visit him because he wanted us to remember him the way he was. Mr. Sakata never got married and died alone, this haunted me for many years. Dear Harold.

    He was a man who never had a negative word for anyone; a man who helped everyone and even if one didn't feel like training that day, one might not do it for oneself, but one would always do it for Harold ... Inspiration Plus! Whenever Harold walked into the room the lights seem to get brighter.

    The gift of memory brings me back to those inspiring moments and when I don't like to do what I have to do in the gym, I remember, and I get off my butt and train some more.


Inspiration Comes To Me In Books & People


Edmond Bordeaux Szekely:

      "Life is short, art is eternal. If we were able to read a dozen books every second, we could not read more than an insignificant fragment of the existing storehouse of noble and valuable books. This fact cannot be over-emphasized. It postulates that the time wasted in reading an inferior book is lost forever and can never be re-utilized to read a superior work. Therefore, whenever we read a mediocre book we sacrifice a great masterpiece, which must remain unread because of the limitedness of our time."

      -Edmond Bordeaux Szekely.

    In 1997, I received a document from a dear friend titled Cosmotherapy by Dr. E.B. Szekely. I was so impressed by the vocabulary, information content and by the philosophy that came through, reading between the lines. I was emotionally moved by this academic giant, that I had never heard of before. Why didn't I know of Dr. Szekely before? And when I asked anyone, no one knew him either!

    It came at a time when my thirst for knowledge was overwhelming and I needed to know more about Dr. Szekely and his writings.

    In the document there was only his name and a P.O. Box number in B.C, Canada. I checked the Internet for an email address or telephone number and there was none. So I used the snail mail, in my best handwriting I wrote a 6-page emotional letter begging for more information about Dr. Szekely.

    Four months went by, didn't hear a word, no response, felt like the letter had been blown into the wind. I stopped thinking about it and said "oh, well."

    Six months later I got in the mail a small obviously personal letter. And the amazing thing is that the letter was written by Dr. Szekely's last wife, Norma Szekely.

    Norma sounded beautiful in the letter and extremely honest. It seems that truth can be felt through her letters. Norma and I became friends through the mail and every so often I send Norma the postage and a little bit of money to send me Dr. Szekely's books.

    Dr. E.B. Szekely earned his Ph.D. degree form the University of Paris, and other degrees from University of Vienna and Leipzig. He also held professorships of Philosophy and Experimental Psychology at the University of Cluj. Dr. Szekely spoke 10 modern languages and five of the ancient, Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Hebrew and old Slovanic. He is the author of more than 80 books, in 26 languages.

    The reason why Edmond is so inspiring, is that he is one of the few academic geniuses that didn't divorce himself from his body, stayed healthy all his long life.

    Dr. Szekely started the first health spa in North America called Rancho La Puerta. The first natural, holistic, Spa, inspired by The Zend Avesta, written by Zarathustra. Dr. Szekely took the ideas from the ancient Sumerians added the Essene lifestyle that he had translated for the Vatican's archives 10 years earlier.

    Rancho La Puerta started in 1937, Baja California. All the major Hollywood stars, went to Edmonds health spa. Years later Debra Szekely, first wife opened the Golden door in San Francisco. There isn't a health spa in the world that hasn't been influenced directly or by his books. Through Dr. Szekely's writings, his natural health formulas, and his spiritual synthesis, a door opened that brings fourth endless knowledge.


The Secret:

    And here comes the secret to inspiration.

    The secret is:

    "That without the thirst of knowledge, inspiration is lost in the wind, never to be found."

    Without the desire to know the unknown, the need to know, without this your mind is dry as a desert wind and all training, reading, attending lectures and seminars, all is temporary, never takes hold and knowledge is only a fleeting moment.

    Most people get two educations, one from the institutions (schools) and the other you give to yourself. Unfortunately most people stop their education when they finish school.

    Inspiration comes always and in many forms. The trick is being available for it. Yes, "he who knocks, the door will open, but it is equally important what you use to knock with." Attitude at the moment of knocking, open, honest desire to know, creates a receptivity where knowledge is King.

    If you're negative, skeptical and closed in heart and mind, you'll get nothing, you'll hear nothing, except your own suffering mind. The Saints all tell you,

    "If you come to me in doubt, doubt is all you'll know. If you come to me with love in your heart, I will show you more than you have ever known."

    -Guru Babaji.

    I just got a flash ... in the world of bodybuilding, historically my time, Sergio Olivia, had the first really large cut body of the modern era. What was missing was showmanship, charisma, mental focus and the ability to communicate knowledge.

    Sergio
    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Sergio Olivia.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger (governor of California) gave bodybuilding "the mind." Arnold can sit in the corner, and with concentrated focus (like meditation), stimulate a pump in his muscles. In other words, he can pump himself up just with his mind. Increase the oxygen and circulation in his muscles, just by thinking.

    Most men can only do this with one body part, you know what I mean, just look down when you're thinking of your girlfriend. Arnold taught himself how to do this with all the body parts. I believe Arnold acquired this gift, meditation through exercise, from the extreme desire to know and do.

    The accumulation effect from all those years of hard training. So Sergio the body, Arnold the mind, And I (Peter) want to reflect the Spirit. Some bodybuilders have made their training an art, Frank Zane, for example, redesigned his physique for successive Mr. Olympia contests, winning world championships with three distinct versions of himself.


    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Frank Zane.

    Zane said he had planned the physique that he wanted for each of the three Mr. Olympia contests he won. Check photos, it is very obvious. Frank was a math teacher, meticulous in his recording of routines and diet.

    American Herb Kirk ran 800 meters in 6 minutes, 3 seconds at the age of 95 years old. At 90 years old Buell Crane (American), threw discus 67 feet, 6 inches, and the hammer 55 ft, 8 inches. Look at Jack La Lane 94 years old. All these are examples of great spirit.

    Look carefully, and you will find many more inspiring examples.


Body Mind & Spirit:

    Body, Mind and Spirit, leave one out and you're less by a third of what you could be. The combination of Body and Mind, can create a consciousness that takes you straight to God, no matter what your religious believes maybe. This is the common denominator among all cultures and religions.

    It is the body-mind connection where love springs fourth, and that is the beginning of World peace. True lifters are lovers at heart. You can go all over the World and find Lifters, and where there are lifters there is love. A common peaceful love and appreciation for other people's hard work. Lift with love in your heart, and I will see you there for another 40 years. Plato in the Timaeus (88);

      "We should not move the body without the soul or the soul without the body, and thus they will be on their guard against each other, and be healthy and well-balanced. And therefore the philosopher, mathematician or any one else whose thoughts are much absorbed in some intellectual pursuit must allow his body also to have due exercise."

    Exercise routines were prescribed at the healing centers of Greek antiquity.


Balance: The Key To Health

All things exist in a state of balance - high and low, in and out, hot and cold, dark and light - the interplay of opposites. Between the polarities rests a balance point, a center.

Health is the reflection of balance between the different aspects of our self, body, mind, spirit, as well as our environment, experiences, associations and our FOOD. There cannot be sickness in any of these categories without its being reflected to some degree in all others. The cornerstone of all natural healing is summarized in this statement: "All healing comes from within and the body heals itself."

"A person will get well when he is tired of being sick."

-Lao Tzu

We put ourselves in situations that cause illness, and therefore create our sickness. The fact is that a bad diet, accidents, self-neglect and other causative factors are themselves a reflection of the sickness we are experiencing. The fool always lights the fire he must one day burn in.

It is essential to realize that every sickness or disease has a positive aspect. The sickness informs us of our resistance and our imbalance and provides the focal point for discovering all the negative energies we have cultivated (nurtured). Sickness gives us the opportunity to reach a higher consciousness. There lies the balance; the process of healing is a reflection of our new awakening.


Yin & Yang:

    The Chinese system of balance is a common-sense approach to health that has survived 5,000 years of human history - yin and yang.

    The general concepts of balance are similar to those used throughout the Orient, East India, Ayurvedic medicine and the Native American Indian.

    The most important concept to the Chinese is to understand the system that involves the ability to diagnose imbalances using the theory of yin and yang. The yin and yang theory is a teaching method, a tool to show the way to develop an intuitive approach to diagnosis and treatment.

    The Yin and the Yang represent the two essential opposites that make up all opposites. They find their psychological, physiological and spiritual roots in the complementary actions of opposites. Treatment is based upon counterbalancing yin - cold, deficient, chronic diseases, with yang - warm, full foods and herbs, and yang - hot, excess, acute disease, with cool, empty foods and herbs.

    What Does The Ying Yang Symbolize?
    This symbol (Yin-Yang) represents the ancient Chinese understanding of how things work.

    The outer circle represents "everything", while the black and white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two energies, called "yin" (black) and "yang" (white), which cause everything to happen. They are not completely black or white, just as things in life are not completely black or white, and they cannot exist without each other.

    While "yin" would be dark, passive, downward, cold, contracting, and weak, "yang" would be bright, active, upward, hot, expanding, and strong. The shape of the yin and yang sections of the symbol, actually gives you a sense of the continual movement of these two energies, yin to yang and yang to yin, causing everything to happen: just as things expand and contract, and temperature changes from hot to cold.

    In the process of diagnosis, one looks for yin-like or yang-like conditions in both the basic constitution of a person and the nature of the ailment.

    Balancing strength with flexibility and analysis with intuition, we can achieve any goal. The dynamic tension between our drives and our fears creates the theater of our life.


Spiritual Contact

We realized that the mind has the ability to advise the body and that many bodily functions are actually signals from the brain; which is the life support system for the mind. We also know that thoughts are subtle forms of energy. And that everything that is man-made came originally from a thought. Can you see thoughts?

Now consider for a moment the material world around us, including our bodies. What is the cause of all that we see? Contemplate who it is that observes and notices all the things around us? Who is that invisible being inside our bodies?

If we examine ourselves - out of this state of investigation - we look at what is most important in our life:

  • Trust
  • Honesty
  • Peace
  • Freedom
  • Loyalty
  • Respect
  • Confidence
  • Courage
  • Humbleness

To most of us all these are very important, yet very invisible or unseen. Even Love goes unseen unless followed by action.

So what is really important to some of us, are the invisible, unseen, nonmaterial, no-things in life. And many times in our lives these no-things become more important than our some-things. This is the beginning of our understanding of spirit. The Spirit has a thought which created the mind; the mind has thoughts which created the body. The spirit is the foundation, this unseen world is the source of all that is visible.

Let us observe ourselves scientifically and we will discover that you are not your own creation. Let's go back to conception, as one drop of human protoplasm, colliding with another, resulting in the form of an embryo - then there you evolved.

If you turn up the magnification in the microscope and look further unto this human protoplasm you'll find atoms, electrons, sub-atomic particles; then further magnification you'll find vibrating waves that come and go, these waves are mostly unseen. The source of all is therefore nothing since it is not in the dimension of the measurable.

Your own creative abilities originate in the unseen mind. In the unseen world of waves and energy called thoughts. So what has all this to do with health?

Many of us try to exercise daily, join a gym, start jogging and attend aerobic classes. And some of us actually try to eat properly and try to stay away from abusive habits. However it seems that with the majority of us the gym and the good nutrition is short-lived.

An Inspiration To Exercise!
the_knopf@hotmail.com

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ShortySquats

Thanks for putting this up, I really enjoyed reading it. But more importantly, I needed a little motivation and inspiration...I'm having trouble with the nutrition side of my new habits. Today was a rough day and I had a pack of six oreos, two already eaten. These articles distracted me and reminded me of my goals especially the one about Mr. Sakata. I put the oreos in the garbage! For me it's the little victories! Thank so much! :) for the perspective and M.O!!!!

Dec 12, 2012 1:47pm | report
 
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