Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Charles A. Smith Letters, Part Six - Dennis Weis 


Joseph Heller
1986 . . . 
Believe me, ______ is more to be pitied than admired for his wealth. He isn't a happy man. You and I have what he'll never have and something that is a million times as precious as ALL his dough - our FAMILIES - the most precious thing, with health, you can ever own. He has no family and, as you can see from his claims to have invented, devised and come up with every exercise, training principle and piece of apparatus known to Man, is in a constant struggle for recognition. 

In other words, the man has a monumental inferiority complex. 

For heaven's sake, what can a man do with millions? He can only wear one suit of clothes at a time, drive one car, eat one meal at a time and live in one house daily. What does he do that's USEFUL to mankind with his dough - NOTHING - he just wants ALL the bloody money in the world. If I had all that dough, I can't see myself living any differently than I do now - simply and within what means I have. 

The other day I read an account in a financial magazine of a famous women author - married to her FOURTH husband. The home they lived in was a house with 45 rooms. The acreage was over 2,000 acres. On the property were several other small houses where the STAFF of 20 lived. In their garage were 15 cars - all of them expensive. Why, the total insurance costs yearly on these cars would keep five or six starving African villages inhabitants. 
To me, this sort of this is EVIL when there are thousands of people roaming our streets - children among them - starving and homeless. 
Perhaps the finest passage I have ever read regarding Man's ideal state was in the first chapter of that wonderful novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, the first great novelist. In it, young Crusoe is being interviewed by his father, and makes known to his parent his wild plans to make a lot of money. 
His father urges him to give up his wild schemes and realize that the MIDDLE path is the IDEAL path. But read it for yourself. 
As for Sullivan being outdated, I think not. The New Republic is in a much better position than POWERLIFTING HOTLINE to know just how big circulation is. As is the Los Angeles Times financial editors when they state that in 1984 ______ grossed 84 millions in his sports division alone. Fortunately - for me - I do not think in terms of MONEY, MONEY, MONEY. It is nice to have, but I don't know of any man who became a millionaire honestly.
Just look at any TV commercial or for that matter any ad in the big mags All lies and all false in what they claim their products can do and how superior they are to others.
The simple life and the honest life is all that one should aspire and all that one should desire. NOT MEGA BUCKS. To most, money means, and IS, power. They forget that the so-called power is on theirs while the money lasts. When's gone so is the "power." 
I think I may have remarked before that there is a dictum, expressed by a British peer, Lord Acton, when he wrote to a Bishop of the Anglican church in response to a question by the Bishop as to the qualities and effects of power. He said, "POWER CORRUPTS and absolute power corrupts ABSOLUTELY." 
I do not believe - as a former editor - that FLEX has a circulation of 400 thousand. This is wishful thinking on the part of Weider. Let him put his money where his mouth is. Newsstand sales in my opinion come nowhere close to this, as witness the length of time I have seen current copies of FLEX on the stands without being sold. I would say that 150 thousand is a bit closer to the mark. And in his most successful moment - if that is yet to come - Weider will NEVER COME A MILLION MILES within the success of MacFadden and his mags.
The last I heard of Schemansky - and that was very recently - was that he was foreman of a construction labor gang. Somewhere in Detroit. I will try and get his address for you - don't know if I can, but I'll try - Terry Todd talked to him a few weeks ago while preparing that tribute to the 50th Iron Man edition. So Ski is still around. He had the facility of making even his limit poundages look as light as feathers, so easily did he seem to hoist them.
My accomplishments in the weight world? Not much I am afraid. I have always believed that one's weight training progress is conditioned by what previous sports you took part in. In my case it was middle distance running - that is from 440 yard up. This of course entailed hundreds and hundreds of "reps" with the arms and legs. Thus, when I got into lifting I found I was able to do a load of reps and sets but my limit poundages didn't come near what all these high reps might have indicated. 
For instance, my best squat was around 500. Yet at a bodyweight of around 170 I did 30 full squats with 300. I have done a few reps with 400 and 2 with 415 at Abe Goldberg's old gym.

My best true Military Press was 200. My best Snatch was 200. My best Clean & Jerk was 250. All these at a bodyweight of 168 at the First West Coast Weightlifting Club in the middle 1930's in London, England. Later on, when I was in my forties and weighing considerably over 200, I had absolutely no trouble doing TWELVE reps in hang cleans - true power cleans - with 225. My best bench press at a bodyweight of around 220-230 was 390. Dave Willoughby saw me do several reps in a warm up with 330 and couldn't believe his eyes I did them so easily. Anyone seeing me do these would have tagged me for at least 430 or higher, but my best never went above 390. Even in my fifties I could do reps with 230 or 240. 
My best dead lift was around 550, but I am not sure of this. My next best was 530, so this might be the figure. My best one hand dead lift right hand was 420. I did this in a contest with Marvin Eder who dropped out at 410.
My best one arm snatch was 130 done when I weighed around 160 and in the early thirties. My best two hands curl, done in strict British style was 175 when I must have weighed around 230.
I also lifted in dead lift fashion 600 pounds from boxes that brought the height of the bar to knee height. After lifting the 600 I held it for one minute. Both the 420 dead lift and the above six hundred "somehow" lift were witnessed by Weider who remarked, "Chas, I hope I am as strong as you when I am your age." I was around 43 or 44 at the time.
So you see I can't brag about anything startling. I was more interest in wrestling and archery than in lifting. In fact, the feat - if it can be called that - of which I am most proud is that Paul Anderson, when he was a heavyweight, couldn't pull my head back.
I had an 18-1/2 inch neck at the time, weighing around 220. I had been doing a load of neck work and was attending a meet where I was referee and judge in the lifting. Backstage I sat on a bench with my back to Anderson. I put a towel around my forehead and the two ends back so Anderson could get hold of them. He then placed his knee in my back and tried to pull my head back. I just locked my neck and trap muscles and resisted. He couldn't budge me. The next feat of which I am most proud is holding 700 pounds in my hands, KNUCKLES FORWARD, for a minute. Weider printed it in his mag as being held for two minutes, and later said I had actually dead lifted 600, but neither statements are true.
I stood 5' 9-1/2" and my heaviest weight was 245 when I worked out with Reg Park and sat on him while he did his donkey calf raises.
I first got into weight training at 8 years of age - I was already a competitive swimmer at that age. My old man bought me a pair of Sandow dumbbells and a chest expander. I made the British National swimming team at 19 years of age and went with the team to Vienna in 1931. I would have been on the 1932 British Olympic Team if I hadn't developed a bad ear infection, which put paid to my swimming career. 
I then got into wrestling and lifting, the latter as an adjunct to wrestling and got quite good at wrestling. Went on the mat with any of the great pro shooters, including my foster brother Bert Assirati. Did pretty well in archery too, when I was in the middle forties, to the point where I was making my own bows and arrows. 
As for the training principles I used - I used the same that have been used since the 1890s and which now ______ claims to have either originated or invented. ______ is not to be believed or trusted since he allows his ego to get into the way of objective and truthful reporting. He once described me as the World's Greatest Weightlifting Authority - meaning Olympic lifting. This was sheer nonsense.    


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