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"More on Indian
Physical Culture"

Good advice never gets old, though it does often get tucked away in the back of some dark closet, waiting to be discovered again when the time is right. It is truly amazing just how valuable much of the old-time strength training material really is.

And why is this material valuable?

Because in most cases, this material is simple, straightforward, and effective...in short, it is built on common sense. As long as YOU supply the hard work and allow for the proper recovery, you'll get results.

For those with the potential for it, the results of a properly performed, consistent program can, at times, defy belief. Regardless of your individual potential, everyone can improve from where they are right now which is as fair a trade as you can find anywhere.

The thing is that many people don't want "simple," they want "new," they want "flashy," they want complexity in their routines since those “old” routines are "too simple" to be any good.

Interesting in theory but worthless in practice.

Some of the places this concept is unfortunately at work in are the Akharas or traditional wrestling gymnasiums of India and Southeast Asia

Where there used to be several hundred Akharas in most big cities, most are lucky to have a dozen currently in operation. The ancient training methods are being lost to the sands of time as many youngsters are abandoning the traditional Jori (Heavy Club) and Gada (Mace) swinging for more modern gyms and “modern“ training techniques (Chrome and ferns, can you believe it?) ...fortunately there are still a few places keeping the ancient traditions alive.

Indian Physical Culture Indian Physical Culture
Here are a few selected passages from the Encyclopedia of Indian Physical Culture, an exceedingly rare book published back when Elvis was still singing for Sun Records (1950) It does go to show you how good advice really is timeless:

"There is only one way to get strong and that is through exercise - real exercise. You must exert your strength in order to build strength and the amount you build and keep will be in proportion to the amount that you expend.

You cannot become alive in every sense without developing the muscles of your body. You cannot retain that aliveness, which makes life really worth while, unless you continue the use of your muscles at reasonably regular periods throughout your life.

There are some who strongly condemn all forms of systematic exercises in Gymnasiums and favor only recreational types of exercises, (playing of games.) A novice, no doubt may feel the routine Gymnasium a bore but if he sticks to his health and strengthening program religiously and if he follows a scientifically arranged set of exercises, he is sure to become more enthusiastic and interested as time goes on, because he will see before his very eyes that he is getting results…

... In order to get the desired results from exercise, it is necessary to have resistance of one kind or another to the action of muscles. The resistance thus offered may be through apparati, your own body-weight or by muscles of another individual. The important thing is resistance and the amount of strength that you develop will be in proportion to the amount of resistance that you habitually overcome in your exercise. You were meant to have a fine looking, strong and super healthy body...

Activity is life, while stagnation is death. Exercise brings healthful activity to every organ, gland and cell of the body; it makes the entire body actively and radiantly alive with a feeling, energy and well-being that make one so buoyant and alert that you feel like running and jumping…

... Lastly, exercise builds confidence, for there is no road to supreme confidence as sure as the knowledge of ones's physical and mental abilities and efforts. It cultivates power of will and determination; it gives you complete mastery over your physical and mental self, it promotes personal efficiency and all desirable mental characteristics."
Simple? Oh yes.

Right on the money? No doubt.

Profound? You bet...in a "Being There" kind of way - much of the confusion in today's strength world comes from the fact that some people simply aren't told otherwise and are fed a bunch of BS from the usual sources.

Simple exercises, trained hard, are the key to super strength and yes, despite this simple message, everyone, including yours truly still needs to be reminded of it from time to time.

Train hard,
John Wood signature
John Wood

P.S. To find out more about Indian Physical Culture and the traditional Indian Training methods, you'll want to check out The Physical Body - Indian Wrestling and Physical Culture DVD.


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