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68 And Still Bending"


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#1 OFFLINE   1stCoC

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 06:47 AM

I just want to personally tip my hat to Sonny Barry a man that has been bending steel or the past 30 years and seems each time I see I'm to get better. He works his heart out doing max bends for the AOBS crowd just goes to the well every time. Mentored by Slim the Hammer Man and the up and coming Chris Rider Sonny is a credit to bending AND his age. Arms and wrists of steel. Much appreciated effort!!!!
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#2 OFFLINE   Jedd Johnson

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 06:08 AM

Dude is a monster.



#3 OFFLINE   Josh O'Dell

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 07:12 AM

The penny bend is amazing.

#4 OFFLINE   Josh O'Dell

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 07:30 AM

Im sorry i was thinking of stanless steels penny bend with his hands.

#5 OFFLINE   Sabertooth

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 12:03 PM

Check out his youtube channel, lots of great feats done:



#6 OFFLINE   Hubgeezer

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 05:28 PM

I am not sure why, but Sonny Barry has grown on me more than anyone at AOBS. I agree completely with Richard. I think I first saw him in 2006 or 2007, and he gets stronger every time. At the dinner, he bent a 9 inch long 1/2 inch thick carriage bolt into a U. At the Age of 68.

His hands are not naturally big the way some Pro Strongmen's are, but his fingers are extremely thick from the feats he does. Doesn't have much to do with anything, but between his physical "toughness", and what he knows in martial arts, I think I would put him up against just about any person alive. Nice guy, but you would really want him on your side. Be a great character in a Clint Eastwood movie...



#7 Guest_al smith_*

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 02:49 AM

68?

Hmmm..

He's got me by 6 years.

I can tell you something about a person's grip.  A person's grip power is just about the last thing to go.  There are no muscles in a person's hands so the strength comes from the muscles in the forearm and the adjoining tendons.  Actually, a person's grip is accumulative.  So, as long as one stays healthy, I'm not surprised at this person's powerful grip. 

 

This "bending sport" has got my attention.  This is the first time I ever heard about it.

I once was a champion arm wrestler; winning titles in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania for nearly a decade,so I'm all in for trying this.

I stopped competing due to a nasty case of tendinitis but haven't stopped strength training.  I wonder if there is "technique" involved?

​Before I got tendinitis I used to entertain people by ripping telephone books in half.  Yes, it requires strength but also there's a "trick" in doing that stunt.

I need look into this and find out just what i can "bend."

Very interesting..!



#8 OFFLINE   3Crusher

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 04:14 AM

Sonny is a very impressive individual and anybody would be foolish to mess with him.  He is also a very nice guy who is willing to share his knowledge as well. 



#9 Guest_al smith_*

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 05:03 AM

As I mentioned in prior posts,not only am I a "newbie" to "bending" but I really never even heard of it.  

I think it's a fascinating demanding sport.  Unfortunately for me though, my attempts at bending were very disappointing.:(  After many various attempts at bending various things my greatest effort proved capable of only being able to bend a 10" 1/4" diameter screwdriver; hardly worthy of mentioning.  I did however learn what is required to be a Sonny Barry or a Slim the Hammer.  

Is it that I lack the strength...the "grip?"  Hardly.  There's no way under the sun I could become more powerful or get a stronger grip. Yes, I weigh only around 160lbs but, even at that weight and considering I am a grandpa nearly 62 years old, I can "cheat" curl 200lbs and still bench over 360lbs.  And, I;ve yet to ever meet anyone besides myself able to do a one-handed chin-up/pull-up from a dead hang with the other hand behind their back.  And without doubt there would be no "gripper" that would contest my gripping power.  No one, in any gym I attended or any place else has ever made me "quit" in a hand to hand grip contest.  My grip is strong and very enduring.  

 

So?  Why is it those as a Sonny Barry, who even has 6 years on me, makes me look like a puny weakling?  

 

Allow me to give my perspective on this.  Lol, please be kind to me;  remember to "respect"-or at least humor- your elders.  Keep in mind, I do have 50 years of weight training experience, and, experience is a great teacher.

 

I will relate what I believe is required at being a "Sonny Barry" to what makes one a great arm-wrestler.  During the 70's-early 80's I dominated arm-wrestling in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the under 150lb weight class; even winning titles in the 170lb class.  Was it due to my strong forearm,my wrist.  Yes, to a point it was.  But, I used the power of my pectorals to literally "push" rather than "pull" my opponents down to defeat.  I also learned how to use my triceps, biceps and deltoids all at once. But,what really made me hard to beat was my ability to utilize my strongest muscle group→ my pectorals.  I even to some extent, used my "lats" to overcome my opponents.

 

How does this apply to "bending?"

 

Let me explain.  You can use grippers of any tension to your hearts content and they won't make you a Sonny Barry.  Oh, sure, grippers will build you a strong forearm, but the forearm isn't the most important muscle in bending.  Keep in mind that there aren't any muscles in your fingers nor wrist and therefore one can't "develop" their fingers or wrist.  Your fingers are merely "puppets" being controlled by the tendons within your forearm and your wrist is a "connector".  {if you doubt that just look at your forearm as your close your fingers into a fist}   From my bending attempts I found that the most significant muscle groups in bending are the pectorals,triceps,biceps,forearms,and deltoids; in that order.  Should you only work upon developing power in your forearm you'll have a mighty handshake but never be a top-notch bender. 

 

So, let's get back to a Sonny Barry or a Slim the Hammer.  Just what makes them so amazing ?  From my 50 years of experience I ascertain it's their ability to be able to incorporate the highly powerful muscles of their forearms biceps,triceps,deltoids pectorals and "lats"  all at ONCE to accomplish the dazzling bending feats they preform.  Same as I was able to incorporate  numerous muscle groups to win arm-wrestling contests; they do so in bending.  Just how are they able to do that?   How have the "trained" their brain in doing so?  Well, that's the $64,000 question!  Also,it surely helps if one is born with what is called a "large frame" and have thick finger-bones to be able to withstand the stress that bending seemingly impossible things exerts upon the fingers.  

Me?  I have "delicate" "small-boned "fingers and even if I could incorporate all the muscle groups needed to bend mighty things, my fingers would not be capable of the stress.  Doing exercises to develop the mentioned muscle groups is a must...AND, some how, learn to use their power in one mighty attempt!

Yes, hats off to Sonny Barry!

Keep bending!!!

 



#10 OFFLINE   Hubgeezer

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 01:38 PM

If you really wanted to learn to bend, you can. Of course there is the risk of injury. Some of us are "slow learners" when it come to bending, then we use age and risk of injury as an excuse, and we drop it, or even the idea or possibility of ever doing it. That's what I did. I have seen others take to it right away, guys not nearly as strong as you are. At AOBS 8 days ago, saw a guy a few days short of 60 bending, and he took it up in his mid-50s. No, you will never be a Sonny Barry, as he started 30 years ago, and Slim bent his first nail 60 years ago. I am not advocating bending by any means, but you absolutely could do it if it meant that much to you. It's not like dunking a basketball at age 60...



#11 OFFLINE   climber511

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 02:59 PM

I was well into my late 50's before even trying my first bend.  And yes there is a lot of technique (and required flexibility) to do it properly and without an undue chance of injury.  I mostly scroll these days, do some odd object braced bending still, and do very little unbraced bending.  My inability to reach a proper (read safe) double overhand position makes that style more dangerous than I am willing to accept considering my current goals.  I can still reverse but am off my best of course. 



#12 Guest_al smith_*

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 02:58 AM

I just don't get it.  No, not at ALL..!

:huh:

I viewed  Wade Gillingham's post and experimented with the exercises shown on his you tube.  True, the 2-45lbs plate "pinch" around the back did pose somewhat of a challenge but the other ones as the "blob" I handled fairly easily.

 

However!!!  

 

When I make an attempt at bending say a "ten-penny" nail {being a newbie to bending I am assuming that bending such a nail is a "worthy" bend} I am only capable of putting a tiny bend to it; surely not enough of a bend that would qualify as an "official" bend.  

What am I  doing wrong?

:shutup:  I always thought my grip was strong....people tell me I have a strong grip...{ Lol I "impress" people by bending bottle caps with 2 fingers} but apparently, compared to guys like Wade Gillingham and some others on this site, my grip is not strong enough to even come close to the ability these guys have in bending things. :(

 

It can't be I  lack power.  After 50 years of strength training I doubt very much I can gain any MORE power.  True, I'm not very heavy, only weighing around 160lbs, but I'm able to barbell curl 200lbs and bench pressi 360lbs.  Heck, there aren't many that can even bench press 260lbs.  As far as "grippers" go I've tried all sorts of various tensions and repetitions when I trained for arm wrestling contests and none of them were "hard" for me to do.  And, being a competitive wrestler in high school and college and also being a competitive arm wrestler has given me a "competitive and focused" mind set. And yes, I do have a positive attitude

So?.But?

 

Help!

 

I really would like to improve my bending ability.  

What's my problem?  Why is it that I can do Wade's exercises without needing to fully use all my strength... BUT when it comes to bending anything considered worthy I'm a seemingly total weakling!!

ade Gillingham

#13 OFFLINE   John McCarter

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 05:06 AM

 

I just don't get it.  No, not at ALL..!

:huh:

I viewed  Wade Gillingham's post and experimented with the exercises shown on his you tube.  True, the 2-45lbs plate "pinch" around the back did pose somewhat of a challenge but the other ones as the "blob" I handled fairly easily.

 

However!!!  

 

When I make an attempt at bending say a "ten-penny" nail {being a newbie to bending I am assuming that bending such a nail is a "worthy" bend} I am only capable of putting a tiny bend to it; surely not enough of a bend that would qualify as an "official" bend.  

What am I  doing wrong?

:shutup:  I always thought my grip was strong....people tell me I have a strong grip...{ Lol I "impress" people by bending bottle caps with 2 fingers} but apparently, compared to guys like Wade Gillingham and some others on this site, my grip is not strong enough to even come close to the ability these guys have in bending things. :(

 

It can't be I  lack power.  After 50 years of strength training I doubt very much I can gain any MORE power.  True, I'm not very heavy, only weighing around 160lbs, but I'm able to barbell curl 200lbs and bench pressi 360lbs.  Heck, there aren't many that can even bench press 260lbs.  As far as "grippers" go I've tried all sorts of various tensions and repetitions when I trained for arm wrestling contests and none of them were "hard" for me to do.  And, being a competitive wrestler in high school and college and also being a competitive arm wrestler has given me a "competitive and focused" mind set. And yes, I do have a positive attitude

So?.But?

 

Help!

 

I really would like to improve my bending ability.  

What's my problem?  Why is it that I can do Wade's exercises without needing to fully use all my strength... BUT when it comes to bending anything considered worthy I'm a seemingly total weakling!!

ade Gillingham

 

 

If you're looking for help in steel bending there are a few people who could point you in the right direction of improvement. Justin "J.T." Straussner, Tommy Jennings aka Mudhutmasher, Jedd Johnson (who wrote an e-book on the subject and has many more products on his website) are people you could get in contact with on proper technique and form required for bending steel and what types of bars would be best suited.

 

Remember, strength is developed over a period of time, which you should know very well with your vast years of strength training under your belt; while "somethings" do come fast, other times there will need to be a progression of what you wish to achieve. Steel bending is no different than any other forms of strength training.


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#14 OFFLINE   climber511

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 05:47 AM

I'm sure it took you years to develop the skills to be a high level arm wrestler - what makes you think bending is going to be any different?  Having strength and being able to exhibit it in specific ways are two different things.  Take the time to learn "how" to bend and you'll be fine.  My two cents is the best way to do it will be to hook up with someone good and pay them a visit in person - a good coaching session and you'll make some major progress - and learn enough to continue towards the better bends.  Try the different styles also - reverse for example takes less flexibility and may work better for you.  I never found personally that bending was a "grip" test as much as a more all over strength test.   

Start with leather pads no matter what you plan to use later on.  It will let you toughen up tissues that haven't been worked in this way before.

Work positions constantly - this is what stops most people - the good benders all have good positions.

Start slow - and build gradually.

Jedd Johnson's bending ebook is very good - drop the few bucks to get it.  I also see you live in Pa - call Jedd and go visit - you'll learn more in a couple hours with him (or another good bender) than in months on your own. 


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#15 OFFLINE   Hubgeezer

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 08:32 AM

 

Jedd Johnson's bending ebook is very good - drop the few bucks to get it.  I also see you live in Pa - call Jedd and go visit - you'll learn more in a couple hours with him (or another good bender) than in months on your own. 

Eight years ago, my son received 20 minutes of bending lessons from Clay Edgin. He was bending 60 penny nails in a week, Grade 5 Bolts in a month. No substitute, none, for one-on-one instruction when you first begin.



#16 OFFLINE   climber511

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 10:01 AM

 

 

Jedd Johnson's bending ebook is very good - drop the few bucks to get it.  I also see you live in Pa - call Jedd and go visit - you'll learn more in a couple hours with him (or another good bender) than in months on your own. 

Eight years ago, my son received 20 minutes of bending lessons from Clay Edgin. He was bending 60 penny nails in a week, Grade 5 Bolts in a month. No substitute, none, for one-on-one instruction when you first begin.

 

I was struggling with 60d's when Frank Henritzi showed up at my place for a visit - an hour later I did my first grade 8.  It's a skill that probably is very natural for some and not so much for others.  



#17 OFFLINE   Hubgeezer

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 12:28 PM

 

 

 

Jedd Johnson's bending ebook is very good - drop the few bucks to get it.  I also see you live in Pa - call Jedd and go visit - you'll learn more in a couple hours with him (or another good bender) than in months on your own. 

Eight years ago, my son received 20 minutes of bending lessons from Clay Edgin. He was bending 60 penny nails in a week, Grade 5 Bolts in a month. No substitute, none, for one-on-one instruction when you first begin.

 

I was struggling with 60d's when Frank Henritzi showed up at my place for a visit - an hour later I did my first grade 8.  It's a skill that probably is very natural for some and not so much for others.  

 

Put me in the "others" category. In 2010, Dennis Rogers, at a small AOBS workshop, was bringing up novice guys to the front of the room, and they were bending nails. I almost ruined his act and had to sit down, failing after a half dozen attempts. I was not doing it properly. I believe I was the only failure of the group. That's when I 100% decided I would never try to bend even a timber tie for the rest of my life... :)



#18 OFFLINE   Buccos1

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 01:16 PM

 

I just don't get it.  No, not at ALL..!  ... What am I  doing wrong?

 

Like others have already said, try to hook up with someone knowledgeable, to glean proper technique, hand placement, and all of the other intangibles.  If you can't do this, look up bending videos on this site, www.steelbenders.org, or on YouTube.  (There are so many "instructional" vids out there now, many of which have popped up within the past few years.)  Bottom line: There is a TON of good information out there now for anyone to get started into steel bending, and ultimately, what direction to take.  Very few people are just going to be able to jump in this and have immediate success. 

 

Find which (main) style initially suits you best (double overhand, double underhand, or reverse) and work on it from the ground-up.  Start with easy 3/16" cold-rolled steel, at lengths of 6 or 7 inches.  Move on to 1/4" x 6/7" hot rolled steel, and then 1/4 x 6/7" cold rolled steel.  Part of the fun of the first month of bending (IMO) is the experimentation involved.

 

 

It can't be I  lack power. 

 

If you're benching 360, then it is definitely not a "lack of power."  From my own experience, benching power translates very well to the double overhand style.  But DO-style is very technique- and flexibility-dependent.  When my bench was good, I noticed a major difference in my ability to slam the initial kink, which carried right through the sweep portion of the bend. 

 

All styles of bending are fun but take a considerable amount of time to master and improve with.  Some people will find they "master" a certain style early-on, with most tending to focus on that style elusively.  Don't let yourself get frustrated.  Look at it as a more long-term thing.