In this latest of the posts spotlighting those in our community who are into actively pursuing healthy lifestyles I am happy to bring you a conversation with Comrade Black. Many know that Black is a prolific poster on PE, is actively devoted to animal rights and politically aware. I am happy to bring you Black’s story about fitness and health.
I’ve read that you were into martial arts as a young person, has fitness always been important to you? Or has dedication to physical activity been a more recent occurrence?
Physical fitness has been a big part of my life at some points and not at others. Kinda had an on again off again relationship with fitness for many years to be honest.
I started Judo at 11, in large because I was picked on growing up because I was so small in a town known for sports and jocks (the sign on the way into town actually reads “Western Canada’s Biggest Little Sports Center”). I wanted to be able to defend myself. Turned out Judo wasn’t that useful for that, but once I started I loved it. I competed in tournaments across Saskatewan, and won a few silver and bronze metals. I even went to Judo camp at 15 yrs old where I was lucky enough to train with people like Sensie Hiroshi Nakamura and Ralf Ibanez.
Also when I was really young I was a geeky kid and was super into professional wrestling, and super hero comic books; so I always wanted to be huge and built and strong. I convinced my mom to buy me weights from an auction sale when I was around 11 years old and for a few years I lifted as much as I could. I didn’t really know what I was doing as I had no training but I would read bodybuilding magazines and try to make sense of it. I did get pretty strong, I could almost do an iron cross on the rings when I was in gymnastics in about grade 8, and for a lot of years the only reason I passed gym class each year was gymnastics, weightlifting, and the ne or 2 years we did Olympic style wrestling. Years of Judo helped me with all of those.
I did judo and weight lifting until I was about 16 and started getting to much into traveling and drinking, and left town to live on the streets. When I was around 20 II spent about two taking Muay Thai kickboxing, and submission grappling and later took Jujitsu. After that I ended up back on the streets again. I have also taken a small amount of Ninjitsu here and there.
It has been an on again off again thing throughout those years; but what’s different now is that I really fucked my body up from all of it, so now paying attention to health isn’t an option – it’s fucking necessary just for me to be able to function day to day. If I don’t eat well, sleep well, and keep fit I deal with more pain.
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P.E. How long have you been lifting weights?
Will: Well I’ve been going to the gym regularly since I was about 17 and my routines always involved some kind of weight training but I did not focus primarily on serious lifting until four years ago.
P.E. How did you get into fitness?
Will: Honestly? Poor body image. Like a lot of punks, I was something of a misfit throughout grade school and middle school. I ate poorly, never left the house and primarily just wanted to play video games and be left alone. I was pretty big in middle school and drank and partied a lot through high school. I knew I was entering the prime of my physical health and I just hated the way I looked with my shirt off; I had to change something. Switching to vegetarianism helped quite a bit but I was embarrassed to go to the gym. I thought it would be very “un-punk” of me. But once I got over myself and started doing something personally rewarding, it slowly became a larger and larger piece of who I am.
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This year I’ll be forty years old, and I’m in better shape now that when I was sixteen.
I was 27 when I started taking fitness and health seriously. My son was just born and I was going back to school. I was re-discovering my love of punk and hardcore after leaving the community for a while, so changes coming on anyway. I wanted to be healthy and fit again, but my love of sweets, fried foods and booze had got in the way. Also I’d started eating meat after I met my partner at the time and started eating fast food and with all that I had really let myself go. All those horrible processed foods and empty calories over a period of time had taken its toll.
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