Skip to main content

Profile in Human Ability by Mark Hatmaker


So, how many pull-ups can you do before you have to come off of the bar?

How about one-arm pull-ups, can you do even one with zero assist from the free-hand?

Prior to the 20th Century the record for one-arm pull-ups was 12 by an Englishman named Cutler performed in 1878.

Flash-Forward to 1918, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Mermann’s Gym, a gathering place for old-school gymnasts and physical culturists.

Veteran circus-performer Lillian Leitzel arrives at Mermann’s to refine some work with some acrobats. Leitzel was a noted aerialist [and notorious for her fierce competitive spirit and less than becoming temper.] She causally lets it drop that she could smash the one-arm chin-up record.

Asked to put proof to her claims she steps up to the bar, places her left hand behind her back, grips the bar with her right and knocks out 27 reps.

That not good enough?

Well, how’s this? She comes off the bar, shakes it out and then grabs it with her left hand and hits 19 reps.

At the time Lillian was 4’9” tall, 95 pounds and 36-years-old.

If anyone wants to scoff, “Well, at that bodyweight who couldn’t?”

I’ll tell you who couldn’t, most every human I’ve ever met at that bodyweight, and I’ll counter with, why at your own bodyweight can’t you do one?

Lillian Leitzel, was one strong hombre.

[Big thanks to Robert Lewis Taylor’s volume on circus history Center Ring, 1958.]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Warrior Awareness Drills by Mark Hatmaker

THE Primary Factor in self-protection/self-defense is situational awareness. Keeping in mind that crime is, more often than not, a product of opportunity, if we take steps to reduce opportunity to as close to nil as we can manage we have gone a long way to rendering our physical tactical training needless [that’s a good thing.]
Yes, having defensive tactical skills in the back-pocket is a great ace to carry day-to-day but all the more useful to saving your life or the lives of loved ones is a honed awareness, a ready alertness to what is occurring around you every single day.
Here’s the problem, maintaining such awareness is a Tough job with a capital T as most of our daily lives are safe and mundane [also a good thing] and this very safety allows us to backslide in good awareness practices. Without daily danger-stressors we easily fall into default comfort mode.
A useful practice to return awareness/alertness to the fore is to gamify your awareness, that is, to use a series of specific…

Walk Like a Warrior by Mark Hatmaker

In reading contemporary historical accounts written by soldiers (cavalry and dragoon), settlers, scouts, pioneers, and other citizens of the American frontier 1680s-1880s, I find mention that Native Americans (“Indians” or “Savages” in the accounts) did not walk like “white men.”
Their gait, stride, and foot placement is described often in poetic terms as “light” or “light-footed,” “fleet”, “gliding”, and often times “springy” or “spring-like.” These terms while descriptive of the effect do little to tell us the how or why of the gait.
We can find clues in accounts given by trackers in any of the myriad “Indian Wars” or skirmishes that riddled the continent in the first few centuries of the settling of the nation. The obvious telltale barefoot or soft impression of a moccasin is often a giveaway that you have a Native American track but this is less so in the moccasined foot as more and more Anglo backwoodsmen adopted this footwear.
But there are a few accounts that mention how you can …

Surviving a Suicide Bomber: Snowball in Hell Version by Mark Hatmaker

First and foremost, it is a goddamn shame that any human being has to take the time to seriously write an article with the above title, but the world not conforming to decency and honor at all times---here it is.
The very nature of the chosen environments for the majority of suicide bombings [crowded venues] and the added aspect of the scum not caring at all about being able to leave the scene of the crime makes specific measures and predictions tough tough tough to implement.
There are a few general guidelines to keep in mind. We will divide these into three tiers: 80/20 Scanning, Alarmed But Uncertain, Full-On.
80/20 Scanning
If you are in any crowded venue, whether that be sporting event, concert, farmer’s market, airport, mall, hell, all things in life where good people congregate to go about living and having fun, we’ve got to admit the possibility that bad things could potentially happen.
This is not an advocacy of shunning all events that would draw a crowd or living scared, but it …