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A Timeless Tale
By Donny Shankle

I have an insatiable interest for good stories. You don’t hear good stories much nowadays. Everything is commanded in a quick text message or email. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Luddite, but I do appreciate hearing a good story.

Stories about the underdog, dark horses, lone wolves and heroes who set themselves against the impossible resonate with me. Some of the most enlightening stories are found in mythology such as the 12 labors of Hercules or Thor’s wrestling match against the old woman. Historical stories about Musashi the legendary ronin or Alexander the Great show us the stark parallels between strength and self-esteem. Stories at sea are another favorite of mine. Fictional stories like Moby Dick teaches us revenge is futile while Captains Courageous teaches us to do away with a reluctant spirit and never give up. In addition to being a source of entertainment and wisdom, stories provide a practical knowledge you can apply to your own training.  

Stories teach us about relevance. This lesson will become clearer as you begin to write your own stories and record your own experiences. Your training journals for example are the start to understanding relevance. Over time they show you what works and what does not work.

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own”.
- Bruce Lee

Removing what is irrelevant to a story keeps the story moving. Getting rid of those things which are not pertinent to your success on the platform keeps your training moving. Do not waste your time on irrelevant arguments like whether or not your arms should bend during a Clean or whether you should release your hook grip at the “Receive” of a Snatch. Concentrating too much on details like bar paths, what type of shoe is best, or devoting entire training sessions to technique are all irrelevant to the flow of your training. Get in the gym and lift weights. Adaptation is relevant. Clarity is relevant. Making personal records are relevant. Plot is relevant. Discipline is relevant. The total is relevant.

We still don’t know how much weight can be lifted. As old of a sport as weightlifting is, we still don’t know what a weightlifter’s mind is truly capable of by itself. In order to find out we have to keep lifting and searching for the good story. This is the timeless tale.