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The Warrior Poet with John Lovell | Starting Strength Radio #24

Mark Rippetoe | October 04, 2019

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Mark Wulfe:
From The Aasgaard Company studios in beautiful Wichita Falls, Texas... From the finest mind in the modern fitness industry... The one true voice in the strength and conditioning profession... The most important podcast on the internet... Ladies and gentlemen...Starting Strength Radio.

Mark Rippetoe:
Welcome back to Starting Strength Radio. We're here with our friend John Lovell from Warrior Poe Society and we've been squatting and deadlifting today. And we thought we'd sit John down and talk with him about some stuff.

John Lovell:
I've been squatting and deadlifting.

Mark Rippetoe:
I've been standing around on my ass.

John Lovell:
Rip's just been telling me I've been doing everything wrong. So...

Mark Rippetoe:
Isn't it interesting that you have been, but now you know how to do it right,

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok. So John and I are really in the same business. We we have determined that we we are not in... I am not in the business of dealing with elite powerlifters. I'm in the business of dealing with elite powerlifter's grandmothers and grandfathers and uncles. And John is not in the business of competition shooting. John is in the business of teaching people how to defend themselves with weapons.

John Lovell:
Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, that's interesting.

John Lovell:
Yeah, I like that because I immediately came to you. I was interested in gaining some strength, getting on a new fitness route. I have some personal goals. I really didn't want to get hurt either as I was making these gains. And in my quest to be a better defender and pass that knowledge on I really want to be able to bring the fitness on and the tactics and the gear and the skills, all the pieces together. And so I wanted to come to you for those purposes, but I really like that Rip was after the common man.

John Lovell:
And from the defensive standpoint. I'm not trying to teach to swat teams anymore. I did that for quite a number of years. Now I'm really after the common man. Just you tuning in, your mom or your well, whoever you know, grandma, whatever. So just the common person to kind of raise that awareness, that kind of gun weapon culture as well, to make a safer world for us, right?

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah. Yeah. And what we're we're doing is exactly the same thing. We're not we're not concerned with elite powerlifters. We are not concerned with elite Olympic weightlifters. We're concerned with bringing effective strength training to everybody else. One thing you'll find and John's found the same thing when you deal with elite level people like that it's... they don't appreciate what you're trying to tell them because they already know this. We got this, right? This is this is the attitude that a lot of them bring to the table.

Mark Rippetoe:
And what's interesting about both of our professions is that in the course of dealing with the common man, we have learned things that could benefit those elite level people. We've we've learned things that we've we've discovered things in teaching... in teaching this material that they don't actually know. And we've thought about it more. And we process this and we've constantly evaluated and what doesn't work, we discard. And what does work, we keep. What we learn from the people we teach, we keep. And after having done this for two or three decades, we know some things that could benefit elite level people. But the chances of them listening to us are low.

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't know why that is, but a lot of those people... "We got this.".

John Lovell:
Yeah. For the elites, my experience - I come from a special operations background - and it is two different types of personality. Yeah. Personalities I've run into. One is kind of the natural stud. They really just excel at everything, physically fit, just always coming out on top. And sometimes something that came along with that is they weren't very teachable. They were kind of.. they were cut above the rest, but they were usually about as good as they were ever going to get. They never really got better. They were great shooting, but as soon as everybody else gets starting, get trained and brought along and they're listening and learning. Those guys oftentimes get passed up in.

John Lovell:
Oftentimes I think it's the humble person that's just, "hey, I'm here to learn." Maybe I don't know anything and maybe I know a few things already regardless. Maybe you know a lot. But regardless, it's that I think the teachable spirit in there. I think the you have elite and some of the elites are closed off. They stopped learning a long time ago.

Mark Rippetoe:
Because once they knew was good enough.

John Lovell:
They were resting on their laurels or natural abilities. But there is also inside that elite who is truly elite and keeps going, is the one who never stops learning and maintains an attitude of humility. And so there is that, they're just far more rare.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. Some people remain teachable. Some people get satisfied with what they already know.

John Lovell:
Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
And the ones that remain teachable are far more pleasurable to work with. They're there because... They're there because they think you can teach them something and they want to know that. They may well know more about some of these things than you do, but they're there for the piece that they can grab and use that you have to offer them.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah. And you know, that's not all of them are that way. A lot of them were perfectly satisfied what they already know. And they're just patronizing you by being there. False humility, right? False sense of humility. It's really irritating. And it's but a lot of these guys that the more elite the unit is. It's been my experience and we're lead the unit is the better those guys are about being teachable. Yeah, it really is.

John Lovell:
Absolutely.

Mark Rippetoe:
Their selection process doesn't select for self-satisfied assholes. They know that they don't do well.

John Lovell:
In those units, may have them, but they'll wash out pretty quick.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, yeah. Because nobody can stand to be around him.

John Lovell:
Yeah.

Mark Rippetoe:
Those guys all know that they learn from each other.

John Lovell:
And they all that attitude ultimately destroys itself. It self-destruct.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. Right. It is the the the most effective unit at the very high level are all composed of extremely talented athletes who are also extremely intelligent - very, very intelligent people - that bring a set of skills, an individual set of skills. It's not a it's not a bunch of robots, not not a bunch of uniform automatons.

John Lovell:
You sound like a warrior poet there.

Mark Rippetoe:
They're a bunch of individuals.

John Lovell:
Look at you bringing this stuff together. I mean, like, that's what we do.

Mark Rippetoe:
Really good. Good.

John Lovell:
Brimming with pride.

Mark Rippetoe:
Brimming with competence, irritating self-reliance, toxic competence. You like that don't you?

John Lovell:
I think so. I'd like more if I'd like you to unpack that. Irritate... the first part I like a little bit more than the second.

Mark Rippetoe:
Toxic competence.

John Lovell:
Yeah.

Mark Rippetoe:
When you're real, real... you're toxically competent. It pisses people off to be around people that are so much better at things than they are. They perceive it as toxic. We're talking about what other people say.

John Lovell:
Got it. So tt's toxic, not because you are competent, it's because they're jealous.

Mark Rippetoe:
That's right.

John Lovell:
Oh, okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
That's right. It's irritating that you're so damn self-reliant because they want you to be a member of the collective.

John Lovell:
Yeah. What is it about the human machine that wants to rip everyone else down so that we don't feel small.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's mediocrity. Mediocrity does that. Mediocrity commands.

John Lovell:
I know. But I mean, it's not even them. It's me as well. I guess I want to feel good. And if everyone else is doing better than me, I feel like a moron.

Mark Rippetoe:
But you just respond to that by upping your game.

John Lovell:
Right. But I just hate that it's part of me. Like, I'd like to be a better human. And it's irritating that I'm not to where I want to be. It's a character flaw that I'm owning and saying...

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't think it's character flaw. I think it's a it's a attribute. I think it's a good thing that drives people toward competence. If that's what motivates you, then enjoy the results. I mean, people that acom... All right. People that are competent and intelligent and have thought about things and have developed an opinion are always, always perceived as assholes to you. And that's true, isn't it. And you know, it's true. I get called an asshole all the time. He gets called an asshole all the time. Yeager gets called an asshole all the time.

John Lovell:
Wait! Who's calling me that?

Mark Rippetoe:
You don't know?

John Lovell:
What did I do to you people?

Mark Rippetoe:
You don't know? They're not. They're on staff.

John Lovell:
We're not names, comments, but your address and an apology letter. You're not on my Christmas. I'm cancelling your Christmas.

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, God. He's expected a lot from the bottom three percent isn't he?

Mark Rippetoe:
Our joke here is the bottom 3 percent are the YouTube commenters.

John Lovell:
Gotcha.

Mark Rippetoe:
YouTube commenters. The bottom 3 percent of humanity. They're the ones that aren't yet in prison.

John Lovell:
You have... I haven't visited your comments section. Is that true? It's rough?

Mark Rippetoe:
It's pretty bad. Let me show you something...

John Lovell:
On our YouTube we've got some rough stuff, but we also have a lot... I learn.

Mark Rippetoe:
We normally run a section called Comments From the Haters! And we'll put reverb behind everything. And I'll just read YouTube comments.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Here's our favorite one.

John Lovell:
I can't wait.

Mark Rippetoe:
Why are Mark's nipples hard?

John Lovell:
I did. Wait. No, I wanted to know...

Mark Rippetoe:
Is he some kind of pervert?

John Lovell:
No, I'm with that guy. I'm actually. It's the burning. We were all... quit looking...

Mark Rippetoe:
Your nipples are hard too.

John Lovell:
Get out of here, bro. Get out here.

Mark Rippetoe:
Your nipples are just as hard as mine are.

John Lovell:
All right I'm done with them...

Mark Rippetoe:
Don't give me that pervert thing.

John Lovell:
I didn't sign up for this. Now everyone's just..

Mark Rippetoe:
All right, John, I want you to tell us... I want you to tell us your history and training experience. What did you do to get here? What were you doing when you were 17 and what have you done in the ensuing 20 years?

John Lovell:
Sure. So thanks for asking. I was really big into wrestling that kind of started me down the warrior's path - that is ever so truly a martial art, wrestling is. I was just....

Mark Rippetoe:
The earliest martial art.

John Lovell:
Yeah, absolutely. That and boxing. Anyway, I just really punished myself. I accomplished some good stuff in wrestling. I was kind of known for it. My identity was wrapped up in it and wrestling was a real big part of me.

John Lovell:
I later went into the military, ended up joining second range battalion of the Seventy Fifth Ranger Regiment, deployed a whole bunch of times overseas to the Afcrapistan and Iraq and whatnot. So there was that.

John Lovell:
Once I got out of the military, I had picked up jujitsu there, never got really, really far. Pretty decent. But anyway I picked up jujitsu and you start seeing that I'm just always I'm always fighting in some some aspect.

Mark Rippetoe:
So it was really the chess that drew me to it more than just any desire toward violence, which I'm actually not drawn toward violence. More of the chess and the adrenaline of it all.

Mark Rippetoe:
The physical problem solving.

John Lovell:
So, yes, somewhat oo and maybe maybe I do have an inordinate attraction to, I guess, some adrenaline stuff, but there is also more of that. I do think there was a dose of desire to serve - love of country, protection of fellow man, being part of something greater than yourself. That's how Warrior Poet Society. That's kind of what we're doing now as well. It's an extension of that. Got all the military, but I still want to serve. And so there's that.

John Lovell:
Then I got into the training world and really worked more for tactical teams doing that stuff, did a bunch of night vision stuff, some low light stuff, rifle, pistol, all that stuff. Now in Warrior Poet Society we do training as well.

John Lovell:
We also do a lot of free online training through our YouTube channel online or on our website - we're at warriorpoetsociety.us. So we do stuff like that. But I'm also physically training. I'm here in Texas to meet with you. But after that, we got four days of training, some tactical pistol and rifle classes, and it's just the common man that we're after now. So, yeah.

Mark Rippetoe:
So you don't market to high end tactical people, to SWAT, to the military. You market toward guys like me. How many times do you find that elite people show up?

John Lovell:
A lot of times. So it's interesting - my introduction to pistol class, my pistol one class - it is not uncommon when a third or fourth of the class is firearms instructors or dudes who are like in charge of training on their SWAT team. And so those guys will come, but it will also be like husband and wife teams. And then there's there's a grandpa over here and then there's, you know, just you got all kinds of folks. But a lot of people, they're business owners, doctors, lawyers, engineers, mechanics. It's just normal people is the the normal kind of thing. Lots of EMS folks, cops.

John Lovell:
And so we get everyone. And frankly, it makes more fun for me. I did a lot of the lot of training of federal agents, not just SWAT team stuff. Lots of that stuff. And that's great. But really, in this season of life, I'm enjoying just the common man. That's who I'm after and that's who I am right now.

Mark Rippetoe:
So. Well, that's probably not true, but.

John Lovell:
Well, what you said is true is that.

Mark Rippetoe:
You're not the common man, John. No one believes that. You don't believe it either. You're getting to the false humility thing.

John Lovell:
No, I think...

Mark Rippetoe:
That you and I both hate.

John Lovell:
No what I'm saying is I'm not in the military. I'm not part of a tactical team. I'm not EMS.

Mark Rippetoe:
I see what you're saying. You're John the instructor. You've learned from being an in in elite situations.

John Lovell:
Sure, but now I'm a dude. I'm a dad. I'm a husband. I'm a normal guy in terms of that.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right.

John Lovell:
But yeah, I don't. Come on, man don't throw me under the bus.

Mark Rippetoe:
[Mimes throwing John under] It's what we do.

Mark Rippetoe:
So you seem to be interested in getting stronger.

John Lovell:
I am, definitely.

Mark Rippetoe:
Why? What did you realize?

John Lovell:
First off, I feel there's a tacit insinuation that I'm not already strong.

Mark Rippetoe:
You're not that strong, but neither am I. So.

John Lovell:
Oh great. We're all lost. They're all lost. Cancel this

Mark Rippetoe:
Neither am I.

Mark Rippetoe:
I think you need to get... I think you need to get your deadlift up to 475. And what is... What are the PRs you've done in squat, deadlift, and bench press?

John Lovell:
Sure, so the very first thing before I jump into that is I do want to get strong. Mostly I don't want to get hurt. I've got all kinds of just injuries and little quirks and it takes me about three hours in the morning to sort out my skeletal system.

Mark Rippetoe:
He's got kind of a noisy back.

John Lovell:
Yeah. So I'm doing squats in there and there's like eight pops for every repetition. So anyway, I don't want to get hurt and I do want to make some strength gains.

John Lovell:
I think really I got tuned on to your stuff. A friend put me on Starting Strength. I found out who you were and started educating myself about 10 months ago. Prior to this, I had never done any squats other than an injury I had, unfortunately, in high school, never done a deadlift before in my life then.

John Lovell:
So that was 10 months ago. When I first started the program, I was terrified that a lower back injury was just going to - my back was going to snap in half. I'm like, there's no way... Sometimes I throw out my back laughing or picking up a pencil. There's no way I'm gonna bend down and pick up weight.

John Lovell:
But with some technique against all of my initial thoughts, prejudices and really fears - and I think that a lot of that was merited. It was.. granted because I didn't know how to do it, I was going to get hurt. And so with proper technique, 10 months later, I was doing stuff I never thought.

John Lovell:
So I started out on my my squat, maybe 150 and my legs, I mean, like that was kind of shaking. I'm so embarrassed to say to my guys, sorry. But anyway, I was.

Mark Rippetoe:
But you're a lot stronger now.

John Lovell:
I'd never done it.

Mark Rippetoe:
Having gone through the process of just adding five pounds to the workout.

John Lovell:
Right in and so the last one I did right before I came and saw you, I did 285, 290 for five reps and it felt pretty good. So that's up - way over... that's well over 100 pounds gained in 10 months. And I wasn't completely religious. I'm traveling constantly for training on the road had to kinda...

Mark Rippetoe:
You know if you're out of pocket all the time it really makes a long productive novice progression impossible to do. It really does. So you could try to find the conditions to train on the road, but nobody's got the right equipment. And it's... you don't know what the bar weighs, you don't know what their plates weigh. Can't control a five pound increase because you don't know what's on the bar. Because you're not familiar with the equipment. It's hard to do that. But even if it's not done at optimal levels of efficiency, it still works, you just make more weight go up and down.

John Lovell:
Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
And that results in an accumulation of this change we call strength increase. And it works every time it's tried.

John Lovell:
Right. I was pulling... I started out at just 150. Deadlift was the most scary of all the lifts because I'm like, that's the that's the one that's gonna break me. So I started out at like 135 and I felt very uncomfortable with that. Before I came to you, came to see you, I pulled 340 three times. Sorry, I failed, sorry. I failed. That 340, I did it three times.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah, you're a failure, John.

Mark Rippetoe:
So let's talk about strength and in jujitsu. Now we've got people around here that do jujitsu. We've got a lot of Starting Strength coaches that do this. Jujitsu has taken over the martial arts world. Right. This is specifically when we say jui jitsu, we mean Brazilian jujitsu. And the UFC taught us that it worked a long time ago and everybody's gotten interested in it. And judo is kind of a minor concern for most people now. The jui jitsu is the primary game sport in the United States.

Mark Rippetoe:
We've got a lot of coaches that are pretty high level jujitsu guys, and all of them will tell us the same thing is that strength is extremely beneficial.

John Lovell:
Yes.

Mark Rippetoe:
And a strong guy is harder to execute techniques on than a guy that's not as strong.

John Lovell:
You know, without question.

Mark Rippetoe:
And let's talk about Mr. Lopez. You've got a good story.

John Lovell:
Yeah.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, let's hear it.

John Lovell:
OK. Very good. So this is one of our very first YouTube videos to kind of go big viral. So when I say viral, be like over a million views. So know it's just me sitting in a chair telling a story about a soccer coach at a high school that I went to many years ago. His name was Mr. Lopez and he just looked kind of middle aged, thick rimmed glasses, not in the most amazing shape. So...

Mark Rippetoe:
He looked like me, but I've got contacts.

John Lovell:
He looked like Rip, but he was far more attractive. So just like kind of a normal person...

Mark Rippetoe:
Who isn't.

John Lovell:
Oh, burn.

John Lovell:
So anyway, Mr. Lopez was martial arts instructor and I was kind of the school's wrestler. And I was I was good. I was a force to be reckoned with.

John Lovell:
Well, one day Mr. Lopez came in and he was sparring kind of with me. And so he's just doing wrestling. He's not doing his combat sambo or anything else like that. And he's just chatting with me. And little does he know is like he's really hard for me to wrestle with in. Like even when people are far bigger than me, I could wrestle with the heavy eights and beat the heavyweights even as I - one hundred and thirty pound guy. I was quick. I was good. But Lopez, he was - this man was this middle aged, kind of roundish man. He was taking me apart and casually chatting.

John Lovell:
He didn't know I was giving it my all. He was just crushing me, annihilating me. And the ease with which he was just... it wasn't like he was throwing an exotic stuff. He was using my stuff. He was just doing it better than me. He had a whole repository of neck breaking things that I didn't even know about.

John Lovell:
But anyway, it was it was amazing. He was faster than me somehow. He was smooth. And everything he did of like everything was just where it needed to be. It was just impossible to get in on anything.

Mark Rippetoe:
So what do you think he weighed?

John Lovell:
He outweighed me by about forty pounds probably.

Mark Rippetoe:
So he's about 200 pounds.

John Lovell:
No was about 170.

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, you were. You were weighing what?

John Lovell:
I was around 130 right at the time. But for me to beat somebody far bigger than me is nothing.

Mark Rippetoe:
But not a this guy.

John Lovell:
Not this guy again our heavyweights were way over 225. And you could look at them next to Mr. Lopez and be like, oh, yeah, the heavyweight is far bigger, far stronger. But Mr. Lopez, his technique was first off, it was perfect. So...

Mark Rippetoe:
Do you think maybe he was real strong?

John Lovell:
Yeah, I think he was because he could take a soccer ball and pop it.

Mark Rippetoe:
That's some good hands. There was a whole bunch of other strength behind his hands too.

John Lovell:
Right. So. Yeah.

Mark Rippetoe:
Did you have the feeling that when you when you tried to move him, he just wouldn't agree?

John Lovell:
He was so fluid as well. The moment you pulled against something, he would give in and be something else. He was he was amazingly fast. He was slippery smooth. He was very strong when he grabbed onto something. There was no chance you were going to get that back until he chose to give it to. So obnoxious. Your your point is.

Mark Rippetoe:
My point is that the man was strong.

John Lovell:
He was very strong. But he was also given...

Mark Rippetoe:
In addition to being good, he was strong. But but my point is, I don't understand why there is so much resistance in the BJJ community, in the MMA community of... as a whole the idea that all we want you guys to do is get stronger than you are right now, five pounds at a time and accumulate a strength adaptation over the next six months.

Mark Rippetoe:
How is it possible that you guys are so - the coaches now I'm talking about - are so jealous of the control of this territory that you can't let go of some of it so that your athletes can get stronger? I know you don't know how to teach them, but it's stupid for you to tell them that they don't need to learn to be stronger. They don't need to get stronger. That's just turf defense.

John Lovell:
Well...

Mark Rippetoe:
And I that's that. I don't like it.

John Lovell:
But how do you feel about it?

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, you know, like I'm neither here nor there.

John Lovell:
You just. Whatever.

Mark Rippetoe:
Look, people. People can do all the stupid shit they want to do. That doesn't bother me a bit. But I'm just I'm just I'm curious about... In fact, I'm... Let's just expand that discussion into sports coaches in general.

Mark Rippetoe:
I am not generally impressed with football coaches, with basketball coaches, strength - well, strength coaching is another matter entirely - but sports coaches in general are difficult people to deal with. They're very difficult people to deal with. They won't give up control. They won't. They interpret you making their athlete stronger as taking something away from them.

Mark Rippetoe:
And that is that's that... That's not an intelligent person's position.

John Lovell:
Sure.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know what I mean? I mean, we've already discussed elites and how the best of them are teachable. They're not jealous of the territory. Special materials expert comes in to a high level unit, those guys want to know what you know. They may not take all of it away from you, but they'll be something they learn from you and they know going in that they can't.

Mark Rippetoe:
But sports coaches are are not that way. Sports coaches are extremely defensive of their way of doing stuff. And it's you're not doing your kids any favors by acting like that.

John Lovell:
And some sports coaches out there, surely there are a few...

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, I am talking about..

John Lovell:
There always one.

Mark Rippetoe:
There are exceptions, but as a general rule, head football coaches are difficult people to deal with.

John Lovell:
I think one is to reduce another person to just logic of like that's that's illogical. So ergo, you're an idiot. Like most people, I don't know that people are rational. I think we're carnal. I think we're visceral.

Mark Rippetoe:
None of us are rational.

John Lovell:
Sometimes we employ logic to our cause when it suits us.

Mark Rippetoe:
When it suits us.

John Lovell:
I think it probably like everything else it's how you craft the argument of like, hey, you're doing a crushing, awesome, good job. I think everyone everything would run better if everyone gained a few more pounds of just solid strength muscle. I've got some plans just to come alongside what you're already doing and therefore you sidestep their ego. There's a proverb - literally from the Book of Proverbs in the Bible - and it says - some people just clicked off, I'm sure -

Mark Rippetoe:
I doubt it.

John Lovell:
It says an offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city. An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortied city.

Mark Rippetoe:
That is a very good point. That's a very good point.

John Lovell:
The moment I say "You're an idiot. And you're teaching the wrong thing." You're like, what? And everyone just loses their mind.

Mark Rippetoe:
I could be better at being more diplomatic.

John Lovell:
Well, if you want to influence more people you must be more diplomatic.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. And I just gotten to the point where...

John Lovell:
It's shame on them...

Mark Rippetoe:
Right, no I understand.

John Lovell:
...to say, well, I'm not going to go to them they have to all come to me. You're not. It's not going to happen. You have to tippy toe around the ego so that we can help them, because the moment you excite someone's pride and challenge their turf all learning stops. And you can say you need to get your act together so I can help you. I don't think they're ever going to do that. And so if we do want to help them as trainers and instructors - because I have to do this with firearms all the time.

John Lovell:
People have been shooting for 30 years. And then they'll come to me and I'll tell them of like, well, if you're just here, here, change this here and you know, and they give me the whole I've been doing it this way. I'm like, what did you come here to learn or to do what you've already been doing? Why did you come to me? And if they'll just trust, the process will be good to go.

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't get any arguments from people who come to our seminars, but I am long past the point where - because it hasn't been productive - where I'm trying to convince other people that I know what I'm doing.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know you are too. You know you're too - because it's so it's a waste of time. It's a waste of time.

Mark Rippetoe:
I could be writing an article or or teaching somebody that wants to learn, instead of trying to convince a high school football coach that I know more about strength training than he does. It's not a good use of time.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I could probably figure out a way to go over here. Rider High School in Wichita Falls and convince the strength and conditioning staff. If I was that there really, really, they're doing this right, but if they would just like, you know, have the kids warm up for the one rep max, that things might be better.

John Lovell:
And what max? We're doing bench press. It's a it is nice in high school sports programming. All you have to do is like, guys I have a new snazzy strength program. We're gonna do bench press maxes. We're good at every day we come to the gym, sets of one. And that's it. It's at least simpler.

Mark Rippetoe:
It is it is quite a bit more tangible, you know, to every question. And there's always a simple answer that's probably wrong. Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I'm just I'm just not to the... You know, if I was younger, if I was less irritable, if I was, you know, not hurting all over all the time, I might be a little bit more receptive to the idea that I need to be more diplomatic. But I.

John Lovell:
Yeah, but part of your grumpy irritability is part of your charm. Of like, you know...

Mark Rippetoe:
I never heard it called charm before.

John Lovell:
It is it's it's endearing. It's an endearing trait of like - people adore disliking you.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yes, that is certainly true.

John Lovell:
And so I can't help myself either off like, man, I'm here because I respect you. I know that you know a ton. I came here because I've already benefited from what you have taught and I came here to learn more, but I just couldn't help myself poking the bear in there. Purposefully making him angry, and then he'd miss it because he'd be so into what he was doing. And his staff would laugh of like, yeah get him good, John. Because you're a fun guy to irritate.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's a lot of people have tried to do it. That's why I don't read YouTube comments. Except here on the show. I'll do it here. But that's all that was. You can comment on YouTube all you want, but I'm not looking.

John Lovell:
I want you to check the comments because I'm going a troll this video. I'm going to blow it up and I'm going to downvote it. And then I'm gonna comment on the downvote, my own comment.

John Lovell:
I'm going to interact with you guys. And if you guys want to interact in comments, Warrior Poet channel, we have a lively, lively discussion there, too.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, it'll be interesting to see a nice guy like you trolls.

John Lovell:
Oh, I would not be nice. I'm not nice when not when I'm in troll mode. I'm full on. I'm going to go after your family. Kidding. Just kidding. Just kidding, just kidding. But I'll go I'll go after character. I'm going to I'm going to make it personal.

Mark Rippetoe:
The most the most common trolls we get ask us, how am I supposed to beat off to this video? That's every ...that's universal. They do that to him. They have to do it to him, don't they? Well, I'm going beat off.... Yeah. With a gun, I guess. I don't know. Got it. What a weird bunch of people these guys are.

John Lovell:
Buehler.

Mark Rippetoe:
So what are your... when you go into a class and you've got a whole bunch of just absolute newbies in a class. You got housewives. You've got people that have never even considered before the idea of having to defend themselves with deadly force, because that's what we're talking about.

Mark Rippetoe:
What do you what do you do to their brain? What do you how do you get in there and address this? What will be a very major change in their psychology? What do you what do you do?

John Lovell:
First thing is set my mind right. I disappear for a few moments and think if this was the only training they ever got, did I give them my best shot at actually moving the needle toward prevailing in a fight for them?

John Lovell:
The very first thing I want to do is I want them to see the whole picture. The 30000 foot view of where you're at. How a bad guy actually might attack in different situations and what skills - fitness, tactics, martial art, guns, gear. What what types of things do I need to be doing? What types of skill based or tactics based training? All of that. How do you lay out the end goal and all the little steps to get there? I need to adjust their fighting philosophy and then back up reverse engineer their training philosophy and we do that pretty quick.

Mark Rippetoe:
But really my question is what if they don't have a fighting philosophy?

John Lovell:
I'll give them one.

Mark Rippetoe:
How do you do that?

John Lovell:
Yeah. So basically we start with the idea that the impetus there there for a purpose because they want to be better defenders. And if they they've already thought about it at some level. Right. And so the very first thing is understanding how bad guys attack when, where and how. You're not training to to fight me, Rip. I'm never going to attack you. You're training to know how a bad guy might attack and whatever kind of context.

John Lovell:
And so I'll have to adjust this for law enforcement, for civilian or for military, depending on my audience. But the very first thing is you've got to understand how the bad guy attacks. You are probably one of the places in the in the whole lethal force area that this is most misused is probably the knife fighting world that I see. These people are always trying to learn these beautiful fluid kata regarding edged weaponry. And it's great, you know, looks amazing. It's really fun. Really amazing. You can see it working in dojos.

John Lovell:
But the problem is, is look at any surveillance footage of how bad guys attack with blades. No one ever, ever, ever attacks like you guys are sparring in a dojo. Never. And so that's the whole problem of like, are you training to win a fight in a dojo? Are you training to fight the dude who's going to run you up against a wall? You don't see him. They take a shiv, stab you in the back eight times and, you know, like that's who you're up against.

John Lovell:
So how do we fix that problem? And so we start with the problem. And then once everyone has that gravitas moment, then we back in of like. All right. Now let's talk skills. Just skills no one's coming to to, you know, slit your throat or anything. It's just we're gonna shoot this 3 inch circle at seven yards. Do not miss. No time constraints. I'm not yelling at you.

John Lovell:
And so then we just reverse engineer and we take everything in its own time where we gear up to the fight. Ultimately, we got to get him to fight, though. The only way to get better fighting is to actually fight. Not cardboard, not steel. None of the stress. You have to literally fight someone. And I have ways to do that with force on force training scenario, best training. But that's kind of a culmination.

Mark Rippetoe:
So you couldn't.... say guy brings his wife. That happens all the time in your classes.

John Lovell:
We'll separate them.

Mark Rippetoe:
She has. She has. But she has never once in her life considered the idea that she might have to shoot someone and that that person as a result of being shot, might die. Right. What do you tell her?

John Lovell:
Usually the first thing I'll ask is, do they have kids? Like if you have kids, imagine that we know someone's breaking in. And if they don't... If you don't stop them, it's rape for you and death for kids. If it's that kind of stuff of consider the stakes here. Your kids are going to die.

Mark Rippetoe:
Make them aware that these scenarios occur.

John Lovell:
And then I apologize for trying to be dramatic. That's not going to happen, but it happens. It might happen somewhere. Why couldn't it be to you? And so, you know, like I've got clients who've come to me, that kind of stuff has happened to them. And so scary stuff.

John Lovell:
It's happening around the U.S. It's happening right now. It's happening all over the world for sure. And so violence can come to anyone's door and we need to be able to be ready for it.

John Lovell:
And so but a lot of times that question has already been resolved. Meaning they they are - not resolved - they already come primed with that question. They're like, great we think, you know, the world is a dangerous place. We want to be ready for whatever comes our way. How do we do that?

Mark Rippetoe:
So they've already made part of that decision. Right. And you're just giving them to the mechanics?

John Lovell:
The mechanics, I'll greatly help fight our minds. I care a lot about mindset and I care a lot about tactics. Skill is also important. I care -- shoot fast and accurate. That's important. But all these things are very important.

John Lovell:
It's kind of like I used the metaphor of the goal here is to read, love, and understand good old Bill Shakespeare. I call him Bill just...

Mark Rippetoe:
Because you all are buds.

John Lovell:
We're pretty tight. Warrior Poet, you know. So anyway, the goal is to love Shakespeare. But you can't do that without an alphabet. You got to know the alphabet. Here we go. A and B. And not to condescend, but it's saying the skills are like the alphabet. Now, the goal of the skill isn't to be the best at the alphabet. The goal is to be able to shoot fast and accurate. Check that off. Good. Now let's go on to tactics. Fighting is progressive.

Mark Rippetoe:
All of this is accumulated. It's it's progressive just like strength. It starts where we are today. And then we add a little and we add a little and we add a little. And at the end - if there is ever really an end to the process, and it really is not - but at some point in the process, we have made enough progress and accumulated enough training, enough skill, enough adaptation to look back at the trail and see that it's been a hill.

Mark Rippetoe:
That we've come up a long way for sure and the mechanisms are exactly the same. We start where we are and then we add a little bit every time and we get better. And it's a process that takes place over time. And you don't tell anybody in your in your weekend seminar product, just like we don't tell anybody in ours that we're going to create a coach or a lifter. We're going to give you the tools to go home and accumulate the experience that you'll need and accumulate the strength and accumulate the practice, accumulate the skill, the accuracy and precision that comes along with that defined skill that that's the result, a practice that when they leave, they're better than when they got there.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. But they're not a coach. They're not a fighter. They're not a gunfighter when they leave. Now, a lot of people in our industry will... the common scenario is that you go to a coaching certification course and it lasts oh, it's six hours on Sunday, six hours on Saturday, six hours on Sunday. And you leave with a piece of paper that says your coach.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you believe that, you're just... you're just a fool.

John Lovell:
Diplomacy!

Mark Rippetoe:
You got sold, you got sold something.

Mark Rippetoe:
And it's it's not anymore true for you than it is for us. And we recognize the fact that that we're there to provide some tools that the people can go home with and accumulate experience - in our case, accumulate strength. And be better as a result of being equipped with a process to do it.

John Lovell:
Yeah, I dig that. That sounds good. I've got nothing to add to that. That's sounds great.

Mark Rippetoe:
Thanks for being here, John.

John Lovell:
Thanks for having me.

Mark Rippetoe:
We enjoyed it. We really did.

John Lovell:
Thanks. I going to put on a few LBs for you right here. Dude, it's gonna be all right. Here's some KFC, KFC. You didn't say how I needed to gain.

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't care.

John Lovell:
You don't care?

Mark Rippetoe:
Chocolate milk.

John Lovell:
Really? I likeyour diet plan.

Mark Rippetoe:
And thank you for being here this week on Starting Strength Radio. See you next time.

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Mark Rippetoe and John Lovell from Warrior Poet Society discuss strength training, teaching, and what it means to be a Warrior Poet.

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 00:47 Strength & Defense for the Common Man
  • 03:54 Being teachable
  • 10:14 Comments from the Haters!
  • 10:55 John's history and experience
  • 13:21 WPS training
  • 15:12 Why get strong?
  • 19:07 Strength in jui jitsu
  • 26:34 Being diplomatic
  • 30:25 Poking the bear
  • 31:31 Troll this video
  • 32:37 Fighting & training mindset
  • 37:58 Building skills - Bill Shakespeare
  • 41:42 Adding L-Bs

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