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2012 October - Meeting Mighty Joe - Eric Milfield


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Joe and I go back to the second Show of Hands Grip Cup I hosted in 2008, and in all that time I had yet to visit his grip museum and training facility... until last night. His grip and iron history collection was more than worth the two hour drive, but my first visit's main purpose was to get some much needed guidance with arm wrestling. About the only thing I knew about the sport prior to locking grips with Joe was I didn't know anything. But after a few minutes of instruction I realized that was an overestimation of my knowledge. :laugh If I wasn't hooked on the idea of becoming an arm wrestler prior to my visit, Joe's contagious enthusiasm has certainly solidified my intent. The technical component of the sport is intriguing, if not a bit overwhelming. I drew a lot of parallels with arm wrestling's techniques, subtleties, and strategies with the jiu jitsu I used to train. Overall, it was a very humbling experience, but Joe was nice enough to suggest I had potential, so I intend to push forward. I can't imagine trying to learn it without a knowledgeable coach, especially if you intend to stay injury-free. And Joe really is a walking encyclopedia of all things arm wrestling: from biomechanics and injury prevention and treatment to history and everything in between. I count myself very fortunate to have Joe as a resource, because at 44 I don't have a lot of time, nor recuperative ability, to learn everything the slow and painful way like he did.

Once again, thanks a million Joe! You're a great coach, and despite my "deer in the headlights" stare I think I actually soaked a few things up. Now I have a much better feel for the mechanics of the top roll and gripping up. And really, if I can keep my bravado in check I have no legitimate excuse to be injuring myself, and I know that must sound like an oxymoron in the world of arm wrestling. But your less is more approach to actual hard table training certainly makes sense. If any of you guys, especially the newer pullers, are lucky enough to be offered some mentoring from a knowledgeable and experienced competitor I wouldn't hesitate to go out of your way to make it happen. The real eye opener for me was realizing in short order that all the internet "coaching" and video studying I've been doing lately wasn't worth five minutes of being told "no, not like that, this way".

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Great write up Eric! I'm finding the same thing myself on all accounts and have been fortunate enough to find a good teacher. I'm doing my 2 hours of driving every week as well :D

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Thanks for sharing your experience, Eric, and keep pulling :)

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Thanks for the encouragement, Jason and Florian! Jason, your tag line cracks me up.

Michael, the main thing I remember about your visit was that trick you did where it actually appeared that you were performing a one arm pullup on a Rolling Thunder.

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Haha, I wish I was the one to do that crazy stunt. Michael is Ivarboneless on here, this is David R.

Lol! My bad, David. I was wondering why I couldn't recall pulling Michael, but I didn't want all the board members to know how senile I am. Now they know anyways.

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I apologize for my late response here but I can't express in words just how much I enjoyed teaching and sharing

some of my experience in arm wrestling and arm wrestling training with Eric!!!

First off, it felt kind of weird me teaching Eric anything! For those that don't know Eric Milfeld , about all I can

say is that his knowledge of weight training, grip, bending, martial arts,etc. is impressive to say the least! One good

thing about his visit is that due to his already substantial knowledge of key training concepts and principals I didn't have

to re-educate him on nearly any of those areas as is with most of the people I train or coach.

I could turn this response into a very long post but instead I will just say that I strongly believe now that I've worked with Eric he does indeed have a huge potential in AW'ing! I sensed certain areas that he will succeed at once he grooves these motor patterns and the movements become instinctive and not thought out. The anatomical structure of his upper body makes him an ideal candidate for a top roller extreme!

My main objective with Eric and any future trainees I coach in AW'ing is to avoid all the mistakes I made in past which

were mainly trial and error type lessons. I've learned over the years that in AW'ing training "less seems to be more" specially to avoid injuries and set backs. I don't have the time to go over my entire training methodology in AW'ing but

I will say that there's so many technical aspects to the sport that it can seem overwhelming to a newbie. The main thing

I tried to convey to Eric is patience and listening to your body. Groove motor patterns first and then strengthen them, not the other way around. Quality of movement is far more important than quantity of movement. Working a movement and not the muscle is key in AW'ing training. Correctly working the movement will strengthen the correct muscles at the right angles and positions.

I'm trying to teach Eric that training various ROM's in AW'ing is crucial and essential to the health of your joints and to get as strong as one possibly can. We are strength training the shorter ROM's (AW'ing specific positions) and using full

ROM's under lighter tension for muscle and joint health.

I look forward to our next session where we'll review the last session and systematically add what's needed based

on his own strengths and weaknesses. Eric's wrist tends to go to ulnar deviation almost automatically (makes sense as a Bender). His fingers are no doubt strong but they have to be strengthened in a different position than he's accustomed to. His shoulder mobility/flexibility is lacking and can easily be brought up to par with consistent mobility drills I taught him. A couple of good things he has going for him is that he knows how to load his already very strong last! This is a huge plus! His wrist are incredibly strong but he's learning a different angle to apply his strength. Fingers are strong as well but not extended (flat).

I predict that if Eric will listen to his body and follow my suggestions he can excel at competitive arm wrestling and become a Master's Champion in several weight classes if he chooses.

I will keep everyone up to date on his progress with each one of his visits!

BTW, Eric donated the first ever "Bastard Bend" FBBC to my Grip Wall of Fame! I certainly appreciate this from Eric

and I will proudly display this bend in it's own unique way!

Thanks for reading guys!!!

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