Principles & Approach
Through his deep immersion in the martial arts, John literally lived its principles of how inner disciplining strengthens and sharpens both the mind and body, imbuing us with the power to demolish our self-restricting boundaries.
The East’s culture of ‘less is more’, as seen in even their daily activities (such as martial arts, making tea, calligraphy and arranging flowers) means they perform ‘in the most skillful way possibly to express themselves with maximum efficiency and minimum strain. Through this efficient, adroit, and creative performance, they arrive at art. But if they continue to delve even more deeply into their art, they discover principles that are truly universal, principles relating to life itself.’ (H.E. Davey)
And then, there is John’s fascination with the ‘Old Time Strongmen’ and the intriguing Victorian phenomenon of ‘Vaudeville’ – a bohemianesque theatrical genre of extreme, bizarre and exotic ‘variety entertainment’ which strung together the performance of feats of strength by the genre’s famed Strongmen along with contortionists, bearded ladies, burlesque, comics, trapeze artists, magicians, fire eaters and musicians.
Man’s existential obsession with those who possess extraordinary strength is an ancient and persistent one – and by the 19th Century, those who chose to spend their time developing their strength and musculature were generally considered ‘freaks’ and would perform in circuses and Vaudeville events, always attracting excitedly curious crowds. These men (and women!) earned themselves the title of ‘old-time strongman’, performing superhuman feats of strength. They lifted weights, anchors, barrels, people, horses and even cars – also bending thick iron bars, horseshoes and thick slabs of wood. This is remarkably reminiscent of the martial arts’ discipline of competitive ‘breaking’ (typically wood) which is based on artistic impression, number of items broken in a given amount of time, number of items broken with a single strike, or time to break a number of items.
The parallelism between the principles and philosophy of the East’s martial arts and the West’s Strongmen expresses the universal human need for inner and outer strength and excellence – which we can each attain if we choose to – by employing our unique abilities, learning new and highly challenging skills, and practicing with tenacious, hardcore discipline. These are the foundational principles of high performance and success; they are universal and applicable across all of life’s segments – from sports to art to business.
By applying these principles to his own life, and helping others to do the same, John undeniably demonstrates that his forging together of the martial arts’ and Strongmen principles is a unique but universally applicable way to live. He believes it is a powerful blueprint on which we can rebuild our selves, bodies and businesses to effect incredible change and brilliance of progress.