Iron Warrior – Josh Leeger


I’d give this fight even odds.  Here is what my bro Josh had to say about what the Iron Game means to him:

What does the Iron Game mean to me?  To me, it’s meant transformation.  Let me explain.

As Nate pointed out in one of his posts, the Iron Game is similar to the Riddle of Steel.  As Thulsa Doom says – “Steel isn’t strong, boy.  Flesh is stronger!…What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?”

The Iron is the same way.  The Iron has no strength.  In fact, it has the opposite of strength.

What you learn after dealing with it long enough is that you have to be strong within.  You exert your will against it time after time.  The Iron Game isn’t about winning or losing.  It can’t be, because you’ll always lose.  The Iron will always have one more pound…one more plate…one more rep.

The Iron Game is about learning, striving, persisting.

In the face of certain failure, you persist.  In the face of pain, you strive harder.  When the Iron hurts you, you find the real culprit staring you down in the mirror.  In the face of the Iron you’re forced to reckon with yourself.  It is a path of self-reckoning.

Who am I?  What am I capable of?  When I can’t do it, what exactly is stopping me?  Is it “impossible,” or did I simply not prepare myself for this?  Since the game can’t be won, the questions continue, like a never-ending Zen koan.

Those Zen riddles were designed to take the student beyond the place where their rational mind could “figure things out.”  “What is the sound of one hand clapping” goes the famous riddle.  Meditate on that long enough, and logic breaks down, words lose any meaning, and Reality appears all at once, slapping you in the face.  People who experience it are called “enlightened.”  They laugh, they cry, they put their shoes on their head and walk out of the room.

The Iron has always been the same for me.  It is a thing never “solved.”  It sits and waits (or should that be “weights”?).  You move ahead, you move backward, it stays the same.

And through that process, YOU comes through.  Through the struggle, the only things that are always there are You and the Iron.  Your body might have changed.  You might be stronger or weaker that day.  But somehow “you” is still there.  The Iron might be chrome-plated or raw.  It might take the shape of a dumbbell or a barbell, but there it is, somehow the same as it always was.

The Iron Game for me has always been this Riddle.  It’s the Riddle of life, that the followers of the ancient Mystery Cults in Greece and Rome used to go into ecstatic trances after.  It’s the Zen koan of the physical body, of physical reality.

Solve it, and you’ve reached enlightenment.  Just don’t tell me the answer.

Nate’s Notes:  You know, its rare to find someone who is just as passionate about the Iron Game as me, even though my life is basically spent in gyms.  But my good friend Josh is one of those guys.  From powerlifting to bodybuilding to even Highland Games competition, the guy just loves to train.

He also happens to be one of the smartest guys I know in the game.  When I have a biomechanics or physiology question, he’s the guy I turn to.  He’s made the Iron Game his career — ten years running a training business along with thousands of hours researching through seminars, self-education, and in labs and libraries attaining his Masters degree in Kinesiology.

In my ten years in the industry, he is one of the best connections and personal friendships I’ve made.  If you are passionate about this game, then you can’t go wrong connecting with him as well.  Here’s where to do it: