Reflections of Wrestling from a CrossFit Owner

By Mario Ashley
“Intensity = Force X Distance/ Time,” I say it to myself all the time. I have memorized it, I have applied it in my training and I have taught this theory to others at our gym. It’s what CrossFit is all about. The fact of the matter is producing intensity at an elite level is much easier said than done. 

I’ve known what intensity was way before I learned of Newtons Laws but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve applied it theoretically to my training. I remember high school wrestling practices like it was yesterday. To a select few of us, wrestling practice was more like a battle to the death, fist flying, bloody noses, bodies everywhere. We had no limit. The intensity required to win the match, even in practice, was normal even if it meant slamming my best friend against the wall in an attempt to get a takedown before the round ended. I am reminded of another time when we somehow acquired old wrestling mats in my backyard during the off season. This specific night it was a friday night before a football game. The guys came over and we just wrestled. No coaches, no fans, no excuses.

Two guys would start wrestling as the odd man acted as the referee,bouncer, and custodian. His role as a referee was to ultimately decide those questionable calls that the other two were too stubborn to acknowledge. He would act as the bouncer to keep us on the mat so we wouldn’t go out of bounds. He was the custodian becuase he would have to walk around with the broom to constantly sweep the sand off the mat so we wouldn’t slip. This crucial role was one shared between us all. We gave all that we had everytime for one purpose; To be the best the we possibly knew how. I will never forget going to the football game that night, tired, sore and all scratched up after wrestling in the back yard with a sense of accomplishment. Nobody knew what we went threw just an hour before but we did and that’s all that mattered.

I loved that feeling of knowing that each wrestling match would push my physical prepardness and mental capacity harder than ever before. Our phsychological and phsycial tolerance was always exceeded everytime we wrestled each other. We expected nothing less. There was no holding back on intensity. The intensity level was high even according to Newtons Laws of power. Nobody could refute that when they saw us wrestle. It was performance observed by others, measure by fatigue, and repeated everyday.

Coach Glassman stated that you can’t talk about intensity without talking about functional movement, which he defined as “moving large loads over long distance, quickly.” Oh sure we did that. We push, pulled, grabbed, and lifted each other numerously across the mats. Back and forth, up and down, left and right, continusouly until we knew we had the match won. When I started Crossfiting its was just natural for me to go “there.” “There” being were most people won’t ever venture to go both phsyically and phsychologoically. But not me. Just like my wrestling matches. It’s expected.  The edge that most wrestlers had due to experience we made up with intensity. Something that I learned early and am reminded often is that one can learn the principles of power, one can teach these very principles as well, but only during times as mentioned above can one truly appreciate intensity as the “independent variable commonly associate with optimizing return”. That can’t be taught, its earned.

Looking back I am so grateful for what wrestling taught me. I truly think it’s why I hold CrossFit so dear to me. It allowed me to transfer the intensity, and functionality from one sport to another. It taught me to never make excuses, to give everything I got and most importantly, that intensity is the only thing that has got us to where we want to be the fastest; in life and in sport.

-Front Row: First from the left, freshmen year

Today’s Workout (March 14, 2012)

Strength: Back Squat Tough (1 Rep)

Baseline Retest
500m row
40 squats
30 situps
20 Pushups
10 Pullups
rest 3 mins; repeat



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