In the first of a special series, THE SANCTUARIES OF STRENGTH, Joe sits down with master powerlifter Kenny Toth of the Institute of IRON located in Pennsylvania. Kenny hones in the importance of training, the old-school mentality of lifters, and what has changed in the sport of powerlifting and who can become a member at the Institute.
What does it mean to be part of a community, as a lifter? Joe tackles tackles the question, as well as look at what Aristotle said on friendship (or what we like to call, your training partner). Joe will also be introducing a new series SANCTUARIES OF STRENGTH, in which he will train at small, hardcore gyms and then breathlessly interview their owners.
Joe pays tribute to the late Franco Columbu, the Italian-American bodybuilder and powerlifter. He also discusses the powerlifter's war on gravity, and likens their mentality to that Albert Camus' Sisyphus.
In Episode 2, Joe discusses bodybuilding as a unique process of developing self-awareness, exploring what the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima referred to as "learning the language of the flesh." He also critiques Mishima, and suggests how bodybuilding can offer meaning in modernity as we experience it today.
In the inaugural episode of S&I, Joe discusses the shift from exercise to training and trivia against full-blooded theory. Touching upon an insight from the Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky called the "Zone of Proximal Development" and why it's a painful, but ultimately fruitful place to be in order to physically and intellectually flourish as an individual.