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11 October 2017

Fustigation Fury- Training To Fight From The Primeval To The Present, Part 1

Notorious (and somehow illiterate in a developed Western nation) Irish Traveller Paddy Doherty does little more than speak an unintelligible patois of Hiberno-English, Irish, and German, commit petty crime, and fight.

Humans have fought since time immemorial- we're an ornery lot.  Like other apes, men have fought to establish their position in the pecking order or to kill, but they've also fought for money and glory.  Over the years, humans have invented more ways to fuck each other up than one could count, ranging in scope and intensity from the on-its-face-ludicrous-but-apparently brutal Russian slap fighting to atomizing each other with nuclear weapons, but they all have one thing in common- the desire to inflict pain and damage upon one's opponent.

If WSM wanted to get super hardcore, they could always add the knives-strapped-to-the-triceps gambit to the axe hold... I have a feeling there'd be a lot of records broken the first day they used the Enter the 36 Chambers method.

Humans being the apex predators and unrepentant destructive psychotics that we are, have learned over the years that simply practicing technique is not enough when one must stand toe-to-toe with their opponent and attempt to impose their will on them- physical fitness, stamina, and strength are also key elements to victory.  As such, just about every style of combat ever developed has a concomitant training program that compliments and enhances it, just like good lube does for violent anal fisting.

Before we jump into strength and conditioning training for fighting, however, I'd like to clue you guys into some badass fighting styles that aren't often discussed, which is tragic because these styles are more awesome than a tandem blowjob from Tegan and Sara (or for the ladies... being doublestuffed by John Cena and the Rock?).

  • Russian Fist Fight.  This Russian martial art usually consists of two teams of Russian psychopaths pairing off and beating the everloving fuck out of each other, because vodka and Siberia and general evil are the prime motivators in everyday Russian life.  This sport is apparently the progenitor of the fight rule everyone thinks of as American as apple pie, the "don't hit 'em when they're down," which is an oddly pragmatic rule for a people seemingly obsessed with being little more than drunken villains from James Bond films.  Check out this awesome Little Big video that highlights this incredibly brutal Russian tradition.

    • Purring.  Also known as shin-kicking, this English martial art began as part of the Cotswold Olimpick Games in or around 1622.  One of several games so fucking weird that they could only have been the produce of bets between people so drunk that locomotion was a distant memory and in which double vision would be considered 20/20.  These games included a bizarre dance competition that featured the village retard as a referee called dwile flonking, piano smashing (I am not making that up). and sledgehammer throwing, so purring must have seemed like an event dreamt up by Michael Bolton while masturbating to the tune of Christopher Cross's horrific, worthy-of-being-sent-to-the-camps song "Best That You Can Do."  The sport, and I use that term very loosely, was a favorite pastime of the notoriously tough and insane Cornish miners grab each other by the collar and proceed to kick the ever-loving fuck out of each other's shins until one person quits.  Somehow, these fights are determined by the winner of two out of three matches, though I cannot envision how drunk one would have to be to do that more than once.  I would guess drunker than Robert Downey Jr when he broke into a neighbor's house and passed out in their kid's bed, which would leave me to believe this sport has its roots in drunks trying to liven each other up for the walk home after an epic day of drinking. 

    • Bartitsu.  This hundred-plus year old hybrid martial art has recently had a resurgence (possibly due to its popularization by the Art of Manliness website) and was mentioned several times in Sherlock Holmes stories.  Invented at the turn of the 20th Century by Edward William Barton-Wright, bartitsu was designed as a method of combat for English gentlemen that made use of stupid shit the English dandies of the time carried, like canes and umbrellas.  Equal parts jujitsu, schwingen (Swiss folk wrestling consisting mostly of giving your opponent a gnarly wedgie), savate, canne de combat, judo, and boxing.
    With that out of the way, onto training to fight, because knowing how to fight isn't worth shit if you're too weak and winded to impose your will on your opponent.

    Ancient Greek Pankratiasts
    Anyone else miss the old UFC/Vale Tudo rules?  Holy shit they ruled.  Everything permitted except eye gouging, fishhooking, and heatbutting?  YAAASSSSSS.  It was a time when Marco Rua used a foot stomp to win a fight, when people used to break their hands pounding their opponents into bloody hamburger, Wanderlei Silva earned his nickname "The Axe Murderer" for headbutting his way through an entire fight and had the ring looking like a scene from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and dumbass felon Kimo carried a massive cross to the cage.  Well, if you were to put much more skilled fighters like you'd see in vale tudo into that cage and less like those you saw in the first couple of UFCs, you'd have the sport pankration, introduced to the Olympics in 673 BC and well known for being the most brutal thing going in the ancient world.  It was a sport so fucking vicious that it enabled the Spartans to slaughter Persians with nothing more than their bare hands, teeth, and shattered lances at Thermopylae, and it made the Greek hoplites into some of the most fearsome fighters in human history.

    This Richard Simmons-lookalike, bizarrely enough, is apparently the world's foremost authority on one of the hardest styles of martial arts ever invented.

    Pankration matches were essentially slaughterfests, as crawling away from a fight crippled or dropping dead in the midst of a fight were about as common as shit-filled underwear after a trip to all-you-can-eat Indian restaurants.  Pankratists weren't simply more vicious than a rabid dog with its nuts caught in a mousetrap, either- they were fucking strong, and many could kick straight through a 16 lb bronze and oak aspis (hoplite shield).  Given that this shield essentially turned the hoplite into a tank, kicking through one was no small feat, and receiving a kick with that kind of force could be fatal if you caught one in the chest.

    Secure in the knowledge that in order to be bone-shatteringly strong, the hyperviolent death machines of ancient Greece heaved around some weights in addition to training techniques and sparring balls out for hours a day.  Stone lifting and throwing were two of the favorite strength tests and methods for building the type of strength that would allow them to snap limbs even as they were being strangled to death, ancient Greek fighters, as was the use of proto-dumbbells called halteres.  Additionally, they spent a hell of a lot of time stretching, running, shadowboxing, and training their "core" (oh, how I fucking loathe that term).  For the latter, they had a method worth mentioning because it deserves to be featured in Rocky 48- they would strike a punching bag as hard as possible, then tense their body for impact as the rebounding bag would slam into them like a 19 ton truck into a crowd of unsuspecting Europeans (Nurse).  Compounding that would be the events of their daily lives, which often included military training and hard physical labor.  To develop their strength even further, the athletes of ancient Greece would run at the end of the day and perform rigorous bodyweight exercises to transform their bodies even further into unstoppable, Terminator-esque death machines... which they then used to conquer the known world and defeat the largest army ever assembled to that point (Brown).

    Indian Pehlwani
    I've written an entire series about how the Indians trained and dieted to become some of the most badass wrestlers and strongmen in the world from the dawn of recorded history until the British ripped their balls off and fed them to the Indians like some fucking kobayashi.  Rather than rehash it, I'll just link it: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.  That might be the most comprehensive analysis of badass, old school, sweat-your-fucking-balls-off-and-eat-ghee-like-you're-getting-paid-to Indian pehlwan training ever written. Matt Furey's got nothing on me.  You're welcome.

    If you want the TLDR version, you need look no further than the epic Indian wrestling badass, a man so fucking tough that wrestling him was akin to attempting to fuck up King Kong while afflicted with turf toe, gingivitis, and full-blownsies AIDS- the Great Gama.  Gama was fucking jacked, especially for turn of the 20th century and a region now known for spindly limbs and potbellies.  Born in the Punjab in 1878, this one-man-wrecking-crew of mustachioed wrestling glory came to prominence in his very first public match at age 17, in which he fought a literal giant with enough wins under his belt to make Goldberg's record look less fanciful.  Though the match ended in a draw, Gama defeated him in a rematch and was then touted as the next champion and proceeded to lay waste to everyone in India except the Indian champion.

    After a quick trip to Europe to trash all of the wrestlers on the continent (his first match was against Benjamin Roller, who had defeated Farmer Burns and Ed "the Strangler" Lewis among others, and Gama pinned Roller in a minute forty), defeated 12 wrestlers in a single day, won a forfeit by legendary strongman and 2-time world champion Stanislaus Zbysko (whom he later beat in under a minute), and then returned to India to mangle the World Champion there.  By the time he was 48, Gama held the belt for the World Champion in the United States and India, and retired having fought to a couple of draws but never having been defeated, even when he wrestled over a dozen men in a single day. Among his victories, Gama counted wins over strongman, Olympic Weightlifter and strongman Maurice Deriaz (who once defeated 44 opponents in a single wrestling tournament), ripped Swiss champion and all-around badass Johan Lemm, a bunch of judo and jujitsu practitioners, and the greatest wrestlers (and some of the largest humans on the planet) in India.

    Undefeated for over 50 years, the Great Gama was renowned for his strength and even fitness fanatic Bruce Lee was reportedly a rabid fanboy of Gama's workout routine.  When I say renowned, I mean he was Mountain-from-GoT-strong.  At one point, Gama allegedly lifted a 2.5 foot tall stone weighing 2645 pounds in a bear hug, and his even the strongest of the European strongman wrestlers claimed the Great Gama was the strongest man they had ever faced.  Gama was strong in the way a tyrannosaur was strong- his levels of strength and strength endurance seem hardly possible.
    "To give you the scope of his commanding physical presence, Gama had 30-inch thighs and a 56-inch chest.  His daily routine is said to have included 3,000 bethaks (free squats), 1,500 dands (jackknifing pushups), and a one-mile run with a 120-pound stone ring around his neck.  In 1908, two years before he went to London to compete for the world championship belt, Gama's regimen was increased to 5,000 bethaks and 3,000 dands.  Every morning he would also work out by wrestling with 40 compatriot wrestlers in the roayl court.  He also began listing with a 100-pound grndstone and a santola (a wooden barbell made from a tree trunik).  His phenomenal diet and exercise regimen were meant to develop a pervasive  and subtle energy rather than just the kinetic power of particular muscle groups.  Even at the age of 50, Gama was still doing 6,000 bethaks and 4,000 dands every day and wrestling with 80 compatriots in the royal court" (Shannon 159-160).
    To fuel these lunacy-tinged training days, Gama reportedly drank two gallons of milk and ate one and a half pounds of crushed almonds a day,a dn by the time he moved to England, he was eating a hell of a lot of animal products as well. 
    "As he grew older his training routine was intensified and his diet upgraded to include meat, butter, clarified butter, and yakhi, which Alter describes as a "boiled down glutinous extract of bones, joints, and tendons, which is regarded by many Muslim wrestlers as being a source of great strength, and being particularly good for the development of knees, ankles, and other joints." The amounts eaten by the Indian champions were prodigious, and Barkat Ali gives, with what truth I don’t know, the mature Gama’s daily diet as six chickens or an extract of eleven pounds of mutton mixed with a quarter pound of clarified butter, ten litres of milk, half a litre of clarified butter, a pound and a half of crushed almond paste made into a tonic drink, along with fruit juice and other ingredients to promote good digestion" (Noble).
    In short, he trained like his hair was on fire and his ass was catching and ate his fucking face off, and in the end his win-loss record reflected his insane work ethic and prodigious appetite.

    I might even get the scoop on how these chicks train.

    Up next, more wacky and wild martial arts, plus catch-as-catch can / no holds barred training and the strength training methods of karateka.  Additionally, I'll be publishing a "Chaos and Pain Reads It So You Don't Have To" article summarizing the best of what training magazines have to offer these days, and then the conclusion to the fight training series, which will feature the training methods of boxers throughout the ages, the training methods of judoka, and whatever else I decide to throw in there.  Until then, get your ass in the gym and do something epic.

    Brown, Eric.  Ancient Greek athletic training.  Livestrong. 11 Sep 2017.  Web.  24 Sep 2017.

    Dileep, Srikanth.  A forgotten wrestling legend: Perhaps the greatest of them all.

    The Great Gama.  Wikipedia.  Web.  11 Oct 2017.

    Noble, Graham.  The lion of the Punjab- Gama in England, 1910.  Journal of Alternative Perspectives.  May 2002.  Web.  17 Oct 2017.

    Nurse, Paul McMichael.  Pankration: Martial Art of Classical Greece.  Fighting Arts.  Web.  23 Sep 2017.

    Shannon, Jake.  Say Uncle!: Catch-As-Catch Can Wrestling and the Roots of Ultimate Fighting, Pro Wrestling, and Modern Grappling.  Toronto: ECW Press, 2011.


    1. Replies
      1. Glad you liked it- the series is going to get deep with the next installment.

    2. Lol, that article about Arrichion is odd. Maybe I missed it, but while they were doing all their theorizing on how he died, they seem to have forgotten the basic "short choke". Radial bone across the trachea, clasp hands, squeeze. Apparently doesn't take absurd amounts of strength to crush the cartilage. I'm sure the injury itself and the swelling that would result is more than enough to restrict airflow and kill someone. As for the other guy's ankle - there is this lock...

      And another in which the choker's foot is pinched behind the knee of the man being choked (think hamstring curl motion), and then the man being choked thrusts his hips forward and arches his back violently. It ends up with a bit of a reverse heel hook motion. Couldn't find a video but I didn't look very hard either.

      1. In the explanations I've read, it was a straight up "crush the larynx between thumb and first two fingers of your hand" vs. a fairly typical straight ankle lock.

    3. That Paddy Doherty was a nutter. Not sure if you have it on US Netflix, but there is a show called Danny Dyer's Deadliest Men; in one of the episodes he goes to live with Paddy for a week. Pretty interesting show, even if Dyer does come off as a complete pansy in the presence of some of those guys haha.

      1. The pansy bit was the reason I didn't like the show- as I recall he was piss scared in most of the episodes.

    4. Hey Jamie - kudos on another great article!

      I do have two questions both pertaining to training however.

      With your desire to return and retake the PL world by force has your training methodology shifted at all? Or do you still hold to the C&P pillars of a constant adaptive state via rotating big money movements done with high intensity (85%+), volume and frequency and back filled with assistance and bodyweight work? Would you be able to give us a summary or snapshot of your current training?

      My other questions bleeds out from the previous one a bit but... in regards to your ebook "Destroy the Oppostion" do you still stand by the books programming or if you decided to publish a 2nd edition are there any aspects you would change?

      Oh, and Merry Friday the 13th!

      1. Jamie trains exclusively with a Bullworker now, as do all of the best lifters at Westside Barbell. Weights are only brought in about a week before a contest, basically to get the technique down.

      2. My training methodology has changed somewhat, but it mostly remains the same. I actually incorporate more machines now, just for something different to do. I'm going to be writing a lot about new training and diet methodologies in the coming months, but in short, it's 1-3 reps on the big movements with a lot of high volume machine work to backstop it. I'm a really big fan of very high rep (20-30 reps) on cable rows and face pulls for conditioning and overal back strength.

      3. One of the things I changed was rest periods. Some sessions I like a blistering pace, and do emom or just run through complexes. But when I am training strength, I now use a full 3mins 30 secs timer and knock out ten sets of triples. Usually last couple of sets end up being doubles. I think there is an important point here, it is not just about training really hard (which emom and complexes give) but also in a way that makes you stronger. I also include a fair bit of rowing and skipping and sprinting nowadays to get the cardio effect that log rest periods negate.

      4. Thanks Jamie for taking the time to respond back - will be looking forward to those future articles. Until then I'm gonna go Behind the Neck Push Jerk and Rack Shrug until my eyes bleed but I'll make sure to throw in some high rep face pulls somewhere in there too, haha.

      5. Steve- it's a tricky balance between workout density and maximizing strength, eh?

        Ronin- No worries, mate. I think you'll like the blend of ultra-high and ultra-low rep work.

    5. Great Gama may be an exception,his awesomeness gives him an excuse not to give a funk, but short people don't want to build up their legs too much if they care about looking just look even dwarfier (my new comparative).

    6. Glad to see porn and violence again. Great write up Jamie. We need less GymShark, more Great Gama in this world.

      1. I've never heard of Gymshark. I'll have to google that.

    7. Great article Jamie, it is gleefully reminiscent of your 2010-2011 articles...keep up the fucking great work.

      1. His 2010 article's give me the most inspiration.

      2. I'm reading his ebook nutrition psycho right now it's best thing I've read on diet. Hands down.

      3. Thanks man. I'm working hard to bring you guys some epic shit.

    8. Just to make it clear that Great Gama was no bloody vegetarian:

      "The amounts eaten by the Indian champions were prodigious, and Barkat Ali gives, with what truth I don’t know, the mature Gama’s daily diet as six chickens or an extract of eleven pounds of mutton mixed with a quarter pound of clarified butter, ten litres of milk, half a litre of clarified butter, a pound and a half of crushed almond paste made into a tonic drink, along with fruit juice and other ingredients to promote good digestion."


      1. I'll add that to this article- thanks! I actually did an article about the fact that the Indians were not vegetarians until after the Brits clipped their nuts a couple of years ago.

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