Monday Bacon: Witches Brew


Bigg and I watched the Disney movie, “Brave” this weekend. It was on, we had nothing better to do, and he had never seen it so there ya go. It’s a cute one, a better story line than most. The Princess doesn’t need to be saved by a man, in fact, it’s the very thing she’s fighting.

Anyways. Not the point of today. One scene in the movie had me chuckling however even though it had nothing to do with the movie’s plot. It was a scene in which a witch (which/witch) was running around gathering items to put into her cauldron to work up a spell for the Princess. Huh, I thought. Ya know, that’s a lot like this throwing stuff.

We have our cauldron, and in the beginning of our “career” (that’s a stretch but couldn’t think of another word that applies) it’s filled with water. Hopefully it has a nice fire underneath keeping it boiling but it could just be lukewarm to start. As we hit more and more Highland Games, we finally start adding some ingredients to the pot. An “arm up”  here or a “push”  there. Bits and pieces of advice or experience that we throw in to the pot and hopefully something will be brewed to help us along. But really, at this point, we’re just throwing everything in. There is no recipe, it’s all in there. The good with the bad. The useful along with the useless, filling our pot to the brim but without solid substance to whip up a spell for consistent throwing.


Enter year 2. Now we’re a little bit more aware of what we want to throw out. Throwing or lifting concept on Games Days: Out damn spot! Out I say! Learning that keeping things OUT of our cauldron is just as important as what we put in. Many pieces of advice may be useful IF we understood how to move through a trig but since many of us don’t, they’re not. OUT. We become more selective in which ingredients we put in. If it’s processed correctly where applying it consistently will result in better throwing, IN. If not? Out. We’re still putting in more than we should, but we’re not experienced enough to know better. Things are starting to click in some areas and others are still a mystery. We just don’t have the right mix yet. But we’re getting there.


On to year three. Ahhhhhhh, now we are starting to see things happening. There are sparks coming out of our cauldrons. At times the earth will shift before going back to silence. We are becoming better at deciphering which ingredients do what and are able to even give a little attention to the spices of the brew. Those items that will give the last 5% of a good throw. We know where to look for help, we seek it out and if are lucky enough, the best of the best will allow us to put their words in before we stir. We look at videos and add nuggets of knowledge where the contributors may not even know it. But we stir and we stir and we know that those flashes are becoming brighter and brighter, sharper and sharper, stronger and stronger. We keep adding and removing, finely balancing our potions so that the energy given envelopes us when we most need it.

And beyond?

Steaming cauldron

We allow our cauldrons to simmer. For years. We do not expect the results of those that have more talent or more time in the trig. We are patient, knowing the day will come when the brew will be exactly right and also knowing that it can turn sour at any moment. Never let up, never let it get cold. Heat and stir, heat and stir. We meet our fellow athletes each Games day as equals, for they have been stirring their pots also through the years. We have no need for game playing, or shit talking (trash talking is entirely different and a necessary part of the Highland Games.) We are confident in our cauldrons and encourage our equals to play their hardest and play their best. For we will do the same.

Fair is foul, and foul is fair.

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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