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Thread: Respect the Sport?

  1. #1
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    Respect the Sport?

    TL;DR: Asian countries are replacing Easter European countries as the most dominant lifters and don't tend to follow old-school rules like not dropping the bar, keeping quiet, no using their feet, etc while training which some people to this day say are signs of disrespect and lack of seriousness amongst other training populations.

    I've said a few times on this sub in a few different threads I've never been a fan of the "Iron Samurai" esque approach some people have to weightlifting. Its just picking up a bar, we're not monks in a temple. Though I do not begrudge people who have their rules of respect for their gym or equipment, I do however dislike when its pushed upon other people as an all or nothing situation and if you don't follow these sorts of arbitrary rules its why youre not good and you don't respect the sport(hence the title).

    The 'rules' of respect being; don't touch the bar with your foot, don't walk over the bar, don't drop the bar with no weight or light weight, don't shout or yell, be quiet when another person is lifting, no idle chatting, playing around, and I'm sure there are others but that's off the top of my head. These rules are then backed up with how a lot of Eastern European countries behave in training and for awhile they were the most dominant forces in weightlifting so people appealed to the authority and said "Look theyre the best and do this, if you don't behave this way youre not serious enough". But now the most dominant lifters in the world tend to be Asian (Iran, China, Taiwan) and very good lifters are produced in neighboring countries like Japan, Korea, Indonesia, etc. These countries don't seem to follow these rules at all, watch any number of videos and you get lots of shouting during lifts and while watching their teammates, you see bar drops galore no mattter the weight, they kick and move the bar with whatever limb they want, there are videos of them shooting the shit during training, and few funny videos of them doing weird stuff for fun to break up the monotony of being a professional athlete.

    With these athletes taking center stage, I think its very hard to defend the opinion that you don't respect the sport if you don't follow arbitrary gym rules. Though again if its a matter of just protecting your own personal equipment from damage thats not what I'm talking about.

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    i have spent very little mental energy on this subject and i intend to do the same going forward. If someone told me to my face that i don't respect the sport i'd either ignore them or tell them to fuck themselves and be done with it. Nobody is telling me that where I train. Was this an observation or a question? i don't think you should let it bother you.

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    I would describe it more so as a difference in lifting 'culture' than lifting 'rules', but its obvious what you mean.

    There appears to be some variety within countries and regions as well as between countries and regions. There are numerous examples of lifters from some of the identified countries who share precisely the more respectful of equipment manner you described.

    Philosophically, I think some people 'lift the bar' and other people 'lift with the bar'. Its almost as if for some people, once a bar is loaded, the prescribed rep is treated with contempt rather than a collaborative action. You can see it in styles of lifting, some lifters stay connected to the bar very well through the entire pull.... others obliterate the reps with sheer power.

    There is much to think about here, existentialism in weightlifting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanwtyler View Post
    i have spent very little mental energy on this subject and i intend to do the same going forward. If someone told me to my face that i don't respect the sport i'd either ignore them or tell them to fuck themselves and be done with it. Nobody is telling me that where I train. Was this an observation or a question? i don't think you should let it bother you.
    Its an observation about the culture of the sport, it doesnt "bother" me but its been an interesting shift IMO in what I considered an annoying and unneccesary aspect of weightlifting culture whenever I saw it brought up either online in forums or articles or in real life.

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    You can make a strong argument that many of these rules (e.g. don't step on the bar) date from a time where access to quality equipment was far more limited. If memory serves, in the mid-1950s, Poland had two Olympic sets for the entire country.

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    It is something Klokov talks about, so it probably spread around because he did so many seminars.

    I don't think it was the bar quality, but the expense. America is so rich that very few consider the equipment a significant expense. China produces their own stuff, so it isn't a big deal. The European and Soviet countries were poorer and had to import the good stuff. It would have been insulting to the owner, and arrogant on the part of the lifter, to walk around kicking this equipment that was a privilege to own.

    So yeah it is outdated. Don't worry about it unless the owner of the equipment insists on it.

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    I find it hilarious it seems to really be only Americans who are upset and complaining about any of this. I actually am looking forward to all the failed lifts over this ruling.

    Kono called rolling or spinning the barbell with the foot disrespectful. We can use our hands for a reason. I rarely see Asian countries do this. Maybe they’ll push the plate with the foot but I can’t recall them actually touching the barbell with the foot. It is really only putting the foot on the shaft that everyone doesn’t want. In Ukraine they put their foot on the sleeves to pin it to take plates off but never the shaft. Most countries drop the barbell from waist height, even Europeans. Good bars are durable and most of the time the sleeves are hitting rubber. ATG has a video of everyone dropping empty bars at 2015 Worlds but then concludes with Lü gently placing it back on the concrete floor, off the platform.

    For many Asian and middle eastern cultures it is a “cleanliness” thing. As my coach had put it to me the first day I trained with him: “would you step over another human being if they were laying there or would you walk around?” And “would you put your foot on your partner or friend?” It is about treating the barbell as a person and your partner in this sport. The body language of standing over the barbell, looking down at it, and using your foot (aka a 10 foot pole) is not respectful if you look at it that way.

    Regarding having fun in the training halls, we only see one small glimpse of their training. We have absolutely no context for what the gym’s plan is. I don’t think any coach, club, or nation just rigidly adheres to your straw man “iron samurai.” There is a reason for off season training and planned breaks.

    We aren’t there on a controlled competition date. With clubs that have multiple coaches and dozens of not hundreds of lifters, who the hell knows what they are doing. No one group would be on the same training plan, ever. That said, the ability to relax and turn it off, then turn it on is a skill that is honed over years. Athletes who can do this, do it extremely well.

    When a lifter is directly set up to the barbell, the entire gym is quiet. Immediately prior and after the lift starts are the only times I am hearing people shout and yell encouragement at them. Also, like above, if it is a large training hall, no one is likely on the same plan or even coached by one person. There are many coaches and groups lifting at the same time in large training halls. I think the Korean National University Sports Institute has 6 coaches overlooking 10 or more high level athletes at the same time, more depending on if they are lower qualified lifters I assume.

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    Bottoms of weightlifting shoes are cleaner than hands and have far fewer germs I would imagine. Especially at international meets where the floors and platforms are clean and get washed with antibacterial soap any time something gets on them. A barbell is not a person. I understand different cultures have different ideas about what is respectful and if there are enough of them then I guess the rule is ok because it doesn’t place a huge burden on lifters to not touch the bar with their feet. But I don’t think we should make etiquette rules to satisfy every culture that has unique ideas about etiquette.

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    Yeah, let’s make the majority of the world play by our rules. /s (sadly I have to punctuate with that)

    Your shoes walked across the bottom of a bathroom floor at some point during a competition, they are definitely not cleaner than your hands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b_degennaro View Post
    Maybe they’ll push the plate with the foot but I can’t recall them actually touching the barbell with the foot. It is really only putting the foot on the shaft that everyone doesn’t want.
    I don't know how the rule will officially be enforced, but based on the wording footwear touching either the bar or the plates is not allowed. The rules state that the footwear cannot the barbell (2.5.1.11), but later defines the barbell as consisting of the bar, discs, and collars (3.3.3.1). So it seems that touching the plates with your foot would also be a reason to get red lights given.

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