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Champion Volanko, The Mighty Atom, The Hammerman and The ZEN Beast

By Marcus Santer

The Saturday Quote:

“You dig your grave with your knife and fork”
Joseph L. Greenstein AKA The Mighty Atom

He was born prematurely and predicted by doctors to die shortly after.

And aged 14 the medical opinion of the doctors that inspected him was that he had inherited the respiratory illness that had killed his father aged 39.

They predicted he’d be dead before he was 18.

Yet in spite of these predictions Yosselle Leib (he changed his name when he went to the USA) lived to age 84.

How?

Well, the story goes that on the way home from the latest prediction by the doctors he tried to sneak in to see a travelling Cossack Circus and get severely beaten for his efforts.

Luckily he crawled into the tent of the star attraction: “Champion Volanko”

Who… Long story short took him under his wing.

And with the help of:

  1. Breathing exercises
  2. Physical exercise
  3. Good nutrition
  4. Mindset

Laid the foundation for Yoselle to become the world famous: Mighty Atom

Whose feats of strength included:

And so on.

Now then…

If you want to learn more you should get hold of a copy of the book:

The Might Atom The life and times of Joseph L. Greenstein: The biography of a superhuman by Ed Spielman

Now it’s been out of print for a while, so it won’t be an easy find.

But it’s well worth a read.

The first time I read it I was especially fascinated by the breathing exercises the Champion Volanko taught the weak and sickly Yosselle.

But through all of my research into The Might Atom and even his protege Slim “The Hammerman” Farman I haven’t been able to establish what these breathing exercises were. The closes I’ve got is this from Chapter 1 of the book:

“Get up my friend. Enough sleep.”
“What time is it?” The boy clung to his blankets.
“Very late. It’ll be dawn in an hour. This is the best time.”
“For what?”
“For everything,” the wrestler said.
Out they went, a bundled Yosselle still hunching his shoulders in the cold. “I’m hungry,” he protested.
“Later. Now is the time to breathe. Go ahead.”
The boy inhaled thinly, exhaled an asthmatic wheeze, then coughed.
“Tsk, tsk… terrible. You cheat yourself, little friend. The air is free. “Look, like this.” Volanko sucked in air through his nose while bringing his hands together over his head. Then he exhaled through his mouth and pumped his arms, working his lungs like bellows.
“Breathing is life, Yosselle. Without air, the fire dies. Now try again.”
The boy tried to imitate him, and Volanko closed one eye with a pained expression as his emaciated valet puffed away. “No, no, you’ll faint if you do that. Slowly… Relax…” The boy tried again. “Yes, more like that.”
“How long do I have to do this?” the boy asked gasping.
“For the rest of your life,” Volanko replied.

Now the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed a few things:

  1. The time – Just before sunrise also known as the time of creative energy by the Qigong masters
  2. The method – Sounds a little like Lifting the Sky to me.
  3. The breathing – In through the nose and out through the mouth. Slow and relaxed
  4. The importance – Breathing is life, without air the fire dies.

And that’s not even the first chapter.

It’s a freaking awesome book

And whilst antidote isn’t evidence, it still makes a compelling case for the benefits of:

  1. Zest
  2. Exercise
  3. Nutrition
  4. Mindset

So if you can, get hold of a copy and read the book.

But if can’t and you want to read a book with:

Well that’s available right here, right now:

Zen Plus The art and science of living healthier for longer

Bye for now

Marcus “The ZEN Beast” Santer =)