The Barbell is Your Sword

29 Sep The Barbell is Your Sword

The Barbell is The Sword



The sword was once passed down from one generation to the next from all different cultures and places. Ancient tribal cultures, the Spartan warrior race, the Samurai who lived for honor, and even the medieval Knights who lived and acted from a code, passed down the sword from father to son and from master to student.

Passing the sword from generation to generation led to unneeded violence, but it also brought with it lessons of discipline, mastery, and respect.  It taught the young men (and women in some cultures) how to channel aggression and undirected passion into a pursuit.  And in many cases it was used to defend or pursue and overrun forces that needed to be stopped.

Those that lived by the sword also lived with the reminder that death could come at any time. I kept them present. It kept them focused on learning their craft. They needed this discipline not as a hobby, but as a means to defend, to fight and, in some form, hunt for food.


Wasting a Life with No Pursuit

How many people do you know who live day to day with no consistent practice, pursuit, or passion? Maybe you’re like this. I was.

Not being bound by any obligation or principle or trade. We call this freedom. But we don’t understand the word anymore. We’ve trapped ourselves in our own heads, with our own inner nagging voice narrating the world we see with a damaged psyche that cares only to jump for one fleeting pleasure to the next. Chasing this pleasure doesn’t make us happy though. Instead, it leaves us without a sense of fulfillment, accomplishment, and lasting peace in confidence with who truly are and what we’re truly doing with out time on this blue dot.

Today, young men and women have no pursuit of any degree of mastery and many no real struggle to use to discover more of themselves. There’s no singular task in their lives to channel aggression and focus efforts and passion into. Without this, many miss out on a life free of their own childish ego.

The craft, pursuit, trade, or whatever word you’d like to use for it can be a reflection of who we are and what we’re capable of. We can learn more about ourselves and of what deeply moves us from the pursuit of some external task than we can just sitting with our own thoughts actively trying to figure ourselves out.


Live and Die

How much time have you already wasted today? It’s only 8 a.m. as I’m writing this and honestly, I’ve already wasted a good hour on unneeded little tasks that I felt like I had to do before I could sit down to write. I’ve read random bits of articles and blogs on the internet that won’t have a lasting impact on me.

I wasn’t living with the truth that death could come at any time. This idea shouldn’t sound morbid but instead empowering and liberating.

At the end of my life I want to look back and say, “Wow, that was fantastic.” Part of this, at least for me, includes accomplishing what I set out to master and adding real value to other like-minded people along the way. Truth is, even if I never become a true master of my craft, this process and this journey is what really will have set me free from the mundane and the distracted mind and gave me peace that I lived a life of purpose.

For me, the barbell is one, although not the only, practice I use as reflection. If you’re reading this blog, I bet you use the barbell like this as well, whether you realize it or not.


The Truth In The Pursuit

Those that lived by the sword were constantly tested to see if they had mastered their craft or not. The degree of discipline and focus that they had in training would show in combat. If they weren’t diligent, well you can guess what may have happened when they faced an opponent who was.

Anyone who has competed in strength sports or someone who just constantly challenges himself to keep getting stronger or more fit for a task, appreciates the constant. The barbell is objective. The weight you load onto it is the same regardless of what day it is. The barbell doesn’t go easy on you because you have a bad day and feel like crap. It also doesn’t change and yield when you feel like you can take on the world. The weight is constant. It’s never harder or easier, heavier or lighter. If you load the same weight on the barbell every day for and entire month, the weight remains the same. Only your perception of it changes from day to day. And this is the beauty in it.

The barbell shows you how easily we can be shaken and how inconstant we are. It shows how easily we let ourselves be tossed around by the changes in our life.

The stakes were much higher for the sword, but the process of mastering the barbell reveals life to us just the same.


The Lesson In Deeper Understanding

The pursuit of physically lifting the barbell will teach me resiliency, both physical and mental. By observing how I relate to the barbell in the midst of my changing moods, I’ll become more conscious of myself and of the constantly changing world around me.

But my pursuit includes more than just lifting the barbell. I also want to understand all of the processes behind the physical mastery of the barbell. To me, this includes the ideas of how to balance the stresses of training. Understanding the science, the physiology, and the art of arranging a training plan training to continue improvements in myself and those I coach when others stagnate and fall away is big part of mastering this trade.

The barbell is one thing we can use as our sword to forge discipline and mastery of a single task. This task can and will teach us to live with more purpose and passion by showing us a different state of mind. One focused on the present, not distractions.

If you want more ideas on what to do to treat your training as a time of discipline and focus just as past generations treated their time with the sword, leave your e-mail in the box to the left above and sign up for Our Ancestral Clan’s Training System and I’ll send you some ideas I’ve learned from the best, free of charge.



Your turn. Have anything to add to this idea? Do it in the comments. 


Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam.(Thanks toTim Ferriss and  Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)


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