Thursday, March 5, 2009

Classic Physique Building and Character Development!

(Photo above: Clancy Ross on the cover of the Jun 48 issue of Your Physique magazine, George Eiferman on the cover the Feb 48 issue of Strength and Health magazine)

In a previous post on "Classic Physique Building and the Classic Ideal," we mentioned that the classic ideal valued "the development of the mind and character as well as the body." In the Weider magazines such as Mr. America, articles can frequently be found with titles such as "How to strengthen your character, will-power, and personality" or "Brawn and Brains go together."

In the Sept 58 issue of Mr. America magazine, Clancy Ross (Mr. America 1945, Mr. Pro America 1946, Mr. USA 1948) wrote an article called "Six cardinal rules for a dynamic personality." He states:

"Muscles are my business - all of you know that. It may seem a bit odd, therefore, that I set aside some of the space usually reserved for strict bodybuilding instruction to talk about personality development. Actually, it's not strange at all, because the development of your personality is just as important to you as the development of your muscles. I would be failing my duty to all of you if I confined my instruction to just one side of what should be the complete man."

Clancy goes on to discuss each of his six rules:

1. Posture (how you hold yourself)
2. Learning how to greet the world (being interested and paying attention to others)
3. Giving credit to where credit is due (as a form of generosity)
4. Talk positively
5. Be of good cheer
6. A pleasant voice

The concern for character development can also be seen in the writings of George Eiferman (Mr. America 1948, Mr. Universe 1962). After his Mr. America win, he drove around the U.S.A. delivering talks on the benefits of fitness to High School assemblies. He was known for handing out small printed cards that had his picture on one side and the philosophy of his "Ten Daily Exercises" on the other. We will quote only the first six below:

"1. A good eye exercise - See also the perfection in others. See the everlasting beauty in human kindness.
2. A good tongue exercise - Speak from the heart instead of the mouth.
3. A good facial exercise - A smile often repeated.
4. Hearing exercise - When we speak, we learn nothing. Listening is the teacher. Then speak.
5. Brain exercise - Think only constructive thoughts. Good reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
6. Leg exercise - Walk toward knowledge, wisdom, health, and brotherhood of all men."

This concern for the development of the whole person (not just the muscular system) is what classic physique building was in the Golden Age! And today, it is another treasure that sets classic physique building apart from mainstream, roid-based bodybuilding!

So strive for the truly heroic ideal of building a classic physique, sound mind, and noble character!


1 comment:

Ibrahim said...

This is again a great post.

If you would print this in the mainstream mags, most readers would not understand, because they only want to big muscles and train every day for hours.

This post reminded me of a quote of Sig Klein. Somebody came to him once and said "I have a 19 inch arm."
Sig Klein´s answer:
"That´s good but what you can do with it"

So building big muscle is not everything.

Thanks CPB