Sorry for taking so long--I can imagine that you must've thought I forgot about you, but I remember that you asked for a copy of Scott Sonnon's classic knuckledragger thread. Unfortunately, I can't find the copy I thought I might have saved. I had kept a lot of old saved threads from this site (dating as far back as 1999) on an old zip disk but I can't seem to find it. I must've saved a hundred threads--maybe two hundred. It's a really tremendous loss.
I'll make an attempt here at recapping the main points of that thread.
Scott shared with us an anecdote about having bent a railroad spike in one hand in a demonstration for a group of college kids. A great portion of the thread was dedicated to what was going through his mind as he did this and he spoke of where his strength to do this feat came from ("The Tribe"--you'll have to ask him about this since I wouldn't presume to speak for the guy).
To me, Scott's anecdote seemed to illustrate the point of the quote you see when you go to his Q&A: "It's not what you fight with, but what you fight FOR
that makes a warrior."
I remember once (after having read the knuckledragger thread) when I went to Scott's Q&A to share with him a quote that I liked (and that struck me as "knuckledragger-ish") which said "The best exercise for strengthening the heart is reaching down and lifting people up" (which I've later learned was said by a fellow named Ernest Blevins--never heard of him). I was confused at first that Scott didn't seem to like that quote as much as I did and he shared different one in its place (which, of course, I can't remember since it's among those lost threads I mentioned) for me to consider.
I thought to myself about why he didn't seem to like it and I realized that the Blevins quote treated "lifting people up" (ie, helping people) as a MEANS to an end of "strengthening" when one might argue that helping people should be the end in and of itself for the truly strong. In other words, the needs of your family/tribe/people/beliefs don't exist to strengthen you. Your strength exists TO SERVE THEM. Therein is a paradox, because the person with truly great strength didn't get it because he sought it, but because he sought to serve or fight for something greater than himself.
I should offer the caveat that what I said in the previous paragraph isn't what Scott said (since I don't presume to speak for him), but rather what I came away with from reading that original thread and having discussions with him on the forum and via an e-mail or two since then. Also, even though I must've reread that knuckledragger thread dozens of times, but as I've been getting older, more cynical, and less idealistic, I find myself disagreeing with all of this (both that thread and what I wrote here) more and more. Still, I'm very glad to have read it and doubly sorry that I can't share it with the forum again.
Man, I had no idea when I started writing this that I'd drone on this long. My apologies to the forum for the lengthy, off-topic message. I can delete it later if need be.
I'm pretty sure I have it on my home computer, I'll post it when I get home.
No problem sir. I'm glad you got something out of my spontanteous ramblings. :)
Thanks a bunch!
Alternatively, you might just consider sending the thread to stickgrappler (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that he can put it in his archive (http://stickgrappler.tripod.com) and you could post the direct URL to the article after he puts it up on his site.
The reason I say this is that reposting an old thread often looks sort of "ugly." But if you'd prefer to just repost it to this forum, then I'd be happy to archive it. It's totally up to you man, and thanks again!
Man, I had no idea when I started writing this that I'd drone on this long. My apologies to the forum for the lengthy, off-topic message. I can delete it later if need be.Brother, quit being so anal! Take a look at all the stupid threads that have filled this place up and quit worrying that your contributions aren't needed. SCRAPP.S. Drop me an email when you get a chance.
You have mail, bro.
I included those last two sentences in my original post because I know how obnoxious it can be when a person seems to just be posting because he likes to "hear" himself "talk" (we all know people with that personality type). That's why I proceed cautiously when I go off-topic like this so as to not come off in any sort of a narcissistic fashion.
Sorry for the delay gents:
Date: 20-Aug-00 | 11:25 AM
Energy is neither internal nor external, but is a RELATIONSHIP.
This is what I have discussed many times in the past, calling it MORALE.
"Combat is a trial of moral and physical forces, by means of the latter. One might say that the physical seems little more than the wooden hilt, while the moral factors are the precious metal, the real weapon, the finely-honed blade."
On War, Carl Von Clausewitz
MORALE is the foundation to all development through the R.O.S.S. Training System, and why people have become often confused that R.O.S.S. seems to be less about physical skill acquisition and more upon tribal strengthening.
I want to stop any polemic from beginning... I am offering an alternative path. I don't attempt nor desire to "teach" energy, because it SHOULD and can ONLY be a by-product of natural training for a proper cause. As I have said, to the chagrin of many "rugged individualists" – it is NOT what your fight WITH, but what you fight FOR that makes a warrior.
Energy is a by-product of Vision and Passion.
I'll share this through a story... of when I recently bent a 24 penny spike for a demonstration at a local university.
One of the AARMACS staff, Scott Fabel, recently taught a French Camp for a local university, and was explaining to the audience that no matter how strong a person is if you relax the strike's effect will be diminished... so after an impressive demonstration of R.O.S.S. Shock Absorption, Scott explained that I can bend spikes in my hands. They didn't believe him. Why should they?
So at the end of Scott's fantastic presentation, everyone was clapping tremendously... and then one meek girl said, in French, "can we see the spike bend?" Scott looked at me and echoed, "can we?"
I thought to myself, "gods, I hope so." I thought this because... well, this spike bending thing is "door-opening" - inspiring others to reclaim confidence and autonomy in their lives. This happens when one sees something that one previously thought impossible.
I cautiously agreed, as I stood, circling my wrists checking to see if they had recovered from bending two spikes the day prior. They were a little tender at one point in the range of motion, but they seemed okay. Scott circulated the spike so that everyone had the opportunity to attempt to bend it on his or her own. Of course, no one could budge the metal, because they thought it was impossible (because they tried to bend the spoon, for you Matrix fans). Most people firstly, try to bend it like they were breaking a piece of celery - with their thumbs pushing away, snapping it in the middle. The leverage just isn't there. It's not a miracle, nor is it a "gag" – It's a trick, just like demonstrating a combat trick (which equally requires the correct attribute development.)
Scott explained how I had to wrap the head and tail of the spike with cloth because they in the past have left ugly bruises, and poked through my skin, because the bend happens faster than the tensile strength of my skin (That is, right now for that will change!)
This isn't magic, but it IS magical to someone who sees an impossible event become possible... cognitive dissonance can be euphoric. I knew that I had to make this a little melodramatic, to make best use of the demonstration, so I got into position, and the crowd hushed. I tried to focus, but not really; meaning I tried to look like I was concentrating, and I did a few ROSS exhalations (for those that know, these alone can be startling). The camera is filming. I place one leg forward and bend slightly over to prepare to bend the spike, and just stay there motionless for about 15 seconds... waiting for the tension to build... and the skepticism: for the greater the skepticism, the greater the transformative effect upon the audience.
Then, I earnestly gained my focus, and allowed my nervousness to build. I thought about how much they needed me to bend this spike, how important and indelible the event would be in their young lives. How much it would be spoken of to their friends and family... (they were college students from around the country).
The spike bent as if it were rubber. I mean, it bent as if I were folding a wash cloth. Fast, effortless.
Instantly I realized something so incredibly important.
THEIR NEED TO SEE THE SPIKE BEND BENT THE SPIKE.
That was my motivation.
And I have proven that without that motivation, the spike is unbending. (I can equally tell you stories of "attempts" to bend spikes that did not have the proper SOURCE of motivation. Egotistical "self-ish" motivation NEVER has chutzpah, and is essentially cannibalizing.)
It is NECESSITY - Desperation, if you will, that bends the spike.
Maybe I like it said better this way, so that it makes it concrete:
Their need to see the spike bend was greater than the strength of the spike's need to retain its structural integrity.
And this is the funny part...
I felt like a conduit, like a prism, as their collective energy was focused in me and that is what bends the spike.... Here it is: All those centuries all those masters doing amazing feats described things similarly as I have just above... but the people that heard this assumed that the "energy" was real... that the "energy" was the thing.
THE ENERGY IS JUST A METAPHOR, an analogue for the true force: tribal necessity.
Firstly, the pressure is psychosocial, not like the diminutive peer pressure that we hear all the time, this negative connotation. Positive peer pressure is something not about feel-good "me" therapies, but it is the unified collective desire to achieve a goal or complete a task.
Now the social pressure is not sufficient.
I said I felt like a prism.
What is the prism?
What am I?
I am a member of my tribe. In the words of the Yoruba, "I am because we are."
So I am merely a physical manifestation of our tribal values. The prism is that uniquely arranged collection of tribal values, which we can say is our tribal vision.
The social pressure is focused through that prism, producing a highly charged beam of energy. Remember, like I said, when I write "energy" it is an ANALOGY. (Here's where all whack-job psychic network go straight-jacket time.)
Our tribal vision includes demonstrating to those that desire the feats of our tribe, the strength of our tribe. We do this to open doors so that others may come to us, or go a different, but parallel path, Beyond Civilization (Daniel Quinn). This is part of our Vision, which intensifies the DEMAND to bend the spike. We need it to bend as much as they need it to... we need it to bend to show them that there are alternatives... better, healthier cultural alternatives to civilization, with its diseased self-oriented philosophy.
The spike bent from the social pressure (necessity) focused through our tribal vision (represented by me at the time).
Never did a spike crumple so quickly. I wish I could have seen the surprise on my face. But I looked up to see a completely astounded open-mouthed crowd of people, still silent. I winked and smiled and gave the bent spike to Scott who circulated it showing how the metal was still hot. Everyone tried to unbend it, while the murmurs gave was to a raucous of applause.
The fascinating part of this was this discovery: the energy is an analogy for the by-product of natural tribal strength; it is the special combination of social pressure (externally generated) and tribal vision (internally oriented) that creates the miraculous feats. Just like biomechanics are the movement between, "energy" is a metaphor for the by-product of the RELATIONSHIP between... for the Cause, for the Passion, for the Vision... be it for the Love, Liberty or Life of one's tribe.
Any educated individual knows that strength conditioning is a matter of neurological efficiency, but this runs very deep, much deeper than I understand at this point in my life development. Intramuscular recruitment is really a matter of "faith" (stimulated by one's tribal conviction and necessity, and trained by proper visualization and physiological performance goals) and interjoint coordination ("grace") is a matter of "confidence" (relaxed, suppleness)...
Events like spike bending must be a matter of imagined urgency... and that urgency is spawned from tribal relationship. Basically, if you don't have much to live for, if you don't risk loving till it hurts, you don't have any inspiration. And it is this ephemeral, ineffable quality of inspiration that engenders faith, grace and confidence.
I hope this is a satisfactory response and representation of my perspective.