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Are You Sharpening Your Blade? – Michael Aichholzer

Old man strength is more than physical strength. Like a sword it is the result of a long process by skilled craftsmen to turn raw material into a weapon that can be used to both protect and destroy.

While other techniques have historically been used to create swords, the most common has arguably been forging the sword from the raw materials, either by themselves or in combination.  The raw material is repeatedly heated, hammered and cooled to create a weapon that is hard, strong, flexible and balanced. Once the sword has taken shape, it is polished and finished to give it character and a sharp edge.  This process is long and tedious, incorporating the skills of a variety of craftsmen to produce and weapon that is not only functional, but one that is also often an object of great beauty and value.

Like the sword, physical strength is the product of long hours of training in the discipline of choice. Whether the athlete spends their time running, lifting, grappling, riding, rowing, fighting or any combination of these and other pursuits, the end result will be greater physical strength. More often than not, a range of skilled professionals will be engaged to provide advice on techniques, diet and strategies to improve strength and technical ability in the chosen discipline. The combination of the individual’s dedication to their sport, the amount of effort they put into their training, and the guidance provided by professionals along the way result in physical strength that is functional, but not yet old man strength.

Mental Strength is Key

The sword is fundamentally an implement, a tool that requires someone to wield it for its intended purpose. Anyone can pick up a sword and use it in a rudimentary fashion, but it takes a trained swordsman to use it to its full potential. No one becomes a master of the sword overnight. It takes years of training and experience to become a true master. This journey will include setbacks and mistakes, however a true master will learn from these and turn them to their advantage in becoming ever better at their art.

Similarly, physical strength develops over time. Years of training and experience produces strength that goes beyond the physical. Injuries, setbacks and the myriad of challenges life throws in the athlete’s path help to develop a mental strength that serves to control and focus the physical strength in a way that makes it more effective. Athletes with old man strength are those who know from experience how to harness their physical strength to maximise the results they achieve in their chosen sport. They understand the pitfalls of allowing their ego to drive their actions. They are more in tune with their bodies and the feedback they are receiving from them. They have also learned the “hacks” than enable them to out-with and out-perform athletes much younger than them. This knowledge and experience provides the foundation for mental strength.

Strength brings Leadership and Responsibility

It is not until the sword is in the hand of an experienced swordsman that it reaches its full potential. The master swordsman is not only skilled in all aspects of the swords use, but is also the one who directs how and where the sword is used. In the wrong hand, a sword can be used to intimidate, destroy or subjugate. On the other hand, a swordsman acting with honour will use the sword to protect and create a peaceful environment where others can thrive. A sword used with honour embodies the moral strength of its user.  Moral strength combines with physical and mental strength to create the troika that is Old Man Strength, strength that is not used merely for personal gain, but is turned to supporting others.

Old Man Strength enables those who have achieved it to act as a lighthouse; illuminating the way for those who seek to follow the path to Old Man Strength themselves. It brings with it a responsibility act as role models and leaders within the various strength communities that strong old men work and train in. Others will look to those with Old Man Strength as lighthouses; illuminating the way so they too can progress along the path to Old Man Strength.  Sharpening the sword takes time, precsision and committment. Are you up for the challenge of Old Man Strength?

Michael Aichholzer