Thursday, June 12, 2008

Country folks can survive...

A few weeks ago some of the folks from the Ballard BJJ all got together to watch UFC 84. One of the guys was making small talk while all the pre-fight blah-dee-blah was going on, and asked the wife and I "If you were a fighter, what would be your walk out song?" The wife couldn't decide, but without hesitation I said "Hank Jr.-Country boy can survive." A couple people laughed (it is Seattle after all), but I was dead serious. That song, one is bad ass, two it reminds me of my grandfather, and everything he taught me about being tough.
My dad grew up in a town of 80 people, about 50 of them are related to us (no that's not a joke about incest, my great-great-grandfather sired 25 kids from 3 wives, I've got a lot of family down there). When my dad was young my grandfather worked at a saw mill. After some time, the mill burned down, and the guy that owned it just cashed in his chips and closed up shop. Since the town (and a good number of our relations) depended on the mill as the only source of income, my grandfather built a new mill on his own property. The mill was about the size of a basketball court. It was a corrugated metal building on a concrete slab with three huge saws inside. In the mill there was no conditioned air, and no heat. Only the wail of the saws, the sting of sawdust, and the smell of hickory. In the summer it would get well over 120 in the mill, and in the winter it might get up around freezing. If something broke, my grandpa would fix it. He worked in the mill six days a week into his sixties. He could hunt and fish as well as anyone I ever heard of. He smoked lucky strike unfiltered while chewing skoal. He was hard to impress, and wasn't too concerned that you were. He knew how to do every and anything a man should, and he'd do it cracking jokes.
That song reminds me so much of him, and makes me feel that he's a part of me. That attitude of: what the preacher man, and the stock market say don't mean much because I've got my own life to live things to get done, and if it broke.. I've got to get to fixin it. I won't run, or hide. I have friends in New York city, if you're not like me I don't give a damn. That's the real secret to every truly tough guy (or gal) I've ever met: they do what it takes. It's not about how big or bad they are, but what needs doin' gets done. That is how I've always approached sport, do the hard work and you'll win. It's better to be a winning plow horse than a losing Thoroughbred. I like to think that a reminder of that on the way to the ring would help.
Last week at UFC 85 we were getting ready to watch the headlining fight, and just before Matt Hughes comes out, the song starts.. yup that song. I've always liked Matt Hughes. I can't really explain it. He reminds me of a lot of the guys I knew on the wrestling team when I was in high school (and that's not a good thing) his politics and religous beliefs are completely different from mine, but at the same time he's from the same region that I am, a small town guy, and most importantly he looks at fighting the way that I do: it's tactical, not personal. If you get beat, then either you're not good enough, or you didn't work hard or smart enough. Figure it out and go again. It's not personal, it's not a "war." War is horrible, people die, get dismembered, set traps and mines for each other, this is a contest of skill.
Hughes got beat, and that's too bad. I am afraid the 50 odd fights he's had may be taking their toll. He set up a gym in Granite City across the river from St. Louis, and maybe he's spending too much time coaching. I have no idea, I'm not even sure he does, but the guy is a legend, and one of my favorite fighters, and the song.. I love that song: country folks can survive, we may not win, but we'll survive.

As an aside I got an email from Tony G. Apparently some of you folks have been clicking on the link to the right, and he noticed in his trackbacks, and dropped a note to thank me. A class move in an internet fairily short on class moves. If you haven't checked out Tony's blog I recommend you do so, even if he is a yankee.

Tonight's workout:
Stiff legged deads:
worked up to 6 @ 315

2x3@ bw+45
2x2@ bw+45

worked up to 2 @ 225

rows (3 point 1 arm):
4x4/4 @ 110

grip and neck work.


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