“There are people who believe everything is sane and sensible that is done with a solemn face.”

Georg Lichtenberg

I can think of no better lead-in for this post than this abstract, from Human Heredity.  Its being an oldie-but-goody in no way diminishes the power in its message.  In layman’s terms, what went on here was that 5 sets of identical(monozygotic) twins were put on an identical, 10-week, isokinetic (i.e., force delivered over a consistent velocity) training protocol.  The end results?  Well, between sets of twins there was a wide range of response — however, the response within each twin pair was…you guessed it…identical.  And here’s another study which shows basically the same thing.  Now, we can obviously go way off the deep end in discussing this, with lots of resultant handwringing about “shitty genetic draws”.  Where the rubber meets the road, though, is this: one’s response to any particular training regimen is largely, though not entirely, genetically driven.  The magic, of course, is in finding that particular protocol that plays to your particular genetic hand.  The other part of the magic is more spiritual in nature, and is centered in embracing your particular genetic gifts.  Now, there’s a balance here as well, of course.  As Greg Glassman (the founder of CrossFit ) points out — and quite correctly, in my opinion — an athlete is made better by becoming more competent at those things they are not naturally inclined to excel at than they are by honing their natural gifts.  The one caveat I’d interject here, though, is that this is true in an already well conditioned athlete, who is, by the time he is well conditioned, well aware of his/her natural attributes and shortcomings.  But what if you’re still unaware of your genetic leanings?  What then?

Everyone's Favorite Twins
Everyone's Favorite Twins

First, let’s have a look at the roll genetics plays in determining one’s strengths and weaknesses within this list (credit Greg Glassman, again) of overall fitness indicators:

  • cardio-respiratory endurance
  • flexibility
  • speed
  • power
  • agility
  • balance
  • strength
  • accuracy
  • stamina (i.e., repeatability or “prime” endurance)
  • coordination

I really, really like this list, as I think Greg’s got all the physical attribute bases nicely covered.  And two things immediately jump out.  Number one, an athlete who is accomplished across the board here would be considered a pretty damn good all-around athlete (think decathlete) in anyone’s book, and (2) very very few individuals would even come close to being accomplished at all of these endeavors simultaneously.  At best, we could hope to be “really good” at one or two, do ok at a couple, and just hope to “not totally suck” at what’s left.

I’ll give a quick two examples of (1) assessing strengths and weaknesses using Greg’s list as a template, and (2) targeting workouts according to those defined strengths and weaknesses (and I’ll add to this goals, as well) using a pair of athletes I’m intimately familiar with — myself and my son.

It’s all about me

My strong suit has always been, from as far back as I can remember, “prime” endurance, followed closely by speed and power.  My strength, agility, balance and flexibility have always been pretty good — probably better than average.  Coordination, and accuracy?  Uhh, not so much (ever seen me dance?  It’s not pretty).   Cardio endurance?  Uhhh, yeah; pretty much off the scale low.

Which brings up a good point.  Before we move on, it might behoove us to define the difference between “prime” endurance (or Greg’s stamina, if I understand his definition correctly) and cardio endurance.  I think everyone has a good feel for what cardio endurance looks like; the rail-thin miler, the marathoner, the riders in the Tour de France — all examples of the cardio-fit club.  So what about “prime” endurance?  Well, let’s use an example that’s near and dear to my heart, the 40-yard sprint.  And let’s go a step further and say that we’ve identified, say, the top 10% or so from a group of randomly selected athletes; not so difficult to identify the athletes with good speed at this distance, right?  just put a stopwatch to them.  But once we begin vetting and ranking this upper echelon, things get interesting in a hurry.

The breakdown of the “speed” athletes usually (and I do say usually — there’s always the freak/outlier lurking about) looks a little something like this:

  1. the ultra-fast in a single sprint; jaw-dropping, freaks-of-nature kind of speed.  Long recovery required between sprints, though, and a large drop-off (relatively speaking) between the fastest time and “prime”, or repeat times.  These athletes also tend to be one sneeze away from flying apart at the seams; the Ferraris of the athletic world.
  2. those with good (remember, this is relative — good within a sub-group of top performers) , but not the fastest top-end speed.  This sub-group’s strength lay though, in their ability to repeat at or very near (very little drop off) this speed time and time again.  This, by definition, then, is stamina, or (a term I prefer) “prime endurance”.  This happens to be the group in which I fall (or fell, back in my competitive days).  Actually, my genetics haven’t changed, and I’d consider this ability my strong suit still.  This carries over to the weight room as well, and defines how I structure my workouts, both on a macro and micro-cycle level.
  3. those with decent top-end speed, but lacking adequate prime endurance.  The athletes from group #2 who,  after the nth sprint with little between-sprint recovery, unceremoniously hack-up a lung.

Now, you can see that stamina is an objective measurement; it’s also highly event-specific.  So a starting baseball pitcher’s definition of stamina is different from a closer’s definition is different from the stamina required of an American football defensive back.  And some sports require very little (again, relatively) in the way of stamina at all (think power lifting, or Oly lifting).

Doug McGuff touches on this notion a bit in Body by Science.  If you have a copy, check out pg. 171 and the section on Myosin light chain Kinase.  For those who don’t have a copy (you’re missing out; get one!), Doug relays a story of Arthur Jones (of Nautilus fame) testing a man who exhibited phenominal strength — for one or two reps — followed by a preciptous drop-off from that peak strength.  That is to say, although the guy possessed great strength, he exhibited very little in the way of stamina.  Arthur Jones figured the guy was just dogging it, and sent him away.  In retrospect, Jones realized that he had unwittingly dismissed potentially the strongest power lifter he’d ever seen.  The lesson here being not to confuse and/or dismiss particular atletic attributes out of hand; for every attribute there is a correct and appropriate athletic application.

Moving on.  So now we have a kid (me) genetically-inclined toward endeavors requiring speed, power and a good bit of short burst stamina, and we place that kid in the epicenter of (American) football-leaning culture.  What we have here is the athletic equivalent of an alignment of the moon and stars, the perfect mix of genetics and expressive outlet on our hands; ability feeding off of an outlet in a nice, symbiotic relationship.  Other good outlets for my particular genetic profile might have been rugby, wrestling, possibly a combat sport; maybe with proper training, a track & field throwing event (esp., discus, hammer, javelin), though these are relatively low on the stamina requirement.  But what if you’d have placed this kid in a culture where distance swimming ruled?  Long distance skiing, running or biking?

A chip off the old block?

Let’s look at another athlete, and a totally different set of inherent abilities; a kid who is truly his mother’s child.  In fact, the on-going family joke is, if he didn’t resemble me so much in the face we’d all have to wonder 😉  Tall, solid and lanky (in the south, we label this particular build “raw-boned”), with hand-eye coordination (and general, body coordination), accuracy, balance, and agility that are off the charts high.  The kind of kid that you only have to demonstrate a skill to once and he’s got it down pat; after a few attempts, he’ll school you on the finer points you might not have noticed in your 30-odd years of practicing the skill.  He’s a freak that way, an outlier.  Better than average ability the short sprints.  Now, drop this kid into a culture where baseball is religion, and you’ve got that genetic/expressive outlet, moon-and-stars thing all over again.  Is there a glaring kink in the kid’s armor?  There sure is (cue Alanis Morissette’s Isn’t it Ironic) — Strength…and stamina.

First, do no harm

So, in order to more effectively build a better (already conditioned) athlete, we need to remove the kinks in that athlete’s armor while at the same time not letting the inherint attributes slide.   This, in fact, is much easier said than done.  Most have probably already experienced this phenomenon.  Improved stamina leads to reduced strength; increased strength leads to a decrease in accuracy, and so it goes.  This is where the art of training comes into play, along with the realization that each athlete is as unique as, not only his individual genetic makeup, but as his phenotype at this particular moment in time. Constant assessment, both in the 10 physical attributes (or at least those that are relavent to the athlete’s particular situation), and in the athlete’s required skills base, are a must.  For what good is it to have improved a short stop’s 60 meter sprint time only to have boogered his bat speed so as to hose his batting average in the process?

More on assessment and targeted training in an upcoming post.

And by the way, what if neither Ottow nor Ewald trained properly for their genetic makeup?  I would love to have had a 3rd, here, with the exact same genetic makeup (is that even remotely possible, naturally?), who was trained according to his identified strengths, using the 10 attributes identified above.  What would that phenotype have resembled, as compared to the other two?

In health,

Keith

27 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent and thought provoking post.

    I’d add that in my own experience natural ability can be even more finely focused. I played basketball and while I had a good vertical jump (36″ at my best) off of two legs my running jump off of one leg wasn’t even close to being as good. I tried high jumping in track but wasn’t that great at it.

    I’ve tried to encourage my son to pursue sports for which he’s physically suited and I’m working with him on his weak points.

    David

    • That’s a very good vert, David. I wonder what the translation problem was to a running/ single-leg vert? How was your coordination and agility otherwise?

      • I’ve always wondered that. My agility and coordination are good. I’ve read some about people being quad dominant versus glute dominant. I’m not sure if there’s that much to it but my quads are way stronger in proportion to my hamstrings and glutes. I’ve been able to max out any leg extension machine I’ve ever encountered but put up pretty average numbers on leg curl machines. It could be the way I’m built, I don’t have particularly long legs and it seems like the guys who jump well off of a run have pretty long legs.

        Of course when I played ball in the 70’s we didn’t do any weight training. Once I started working on my hams and glutes when the first Nautilus centers opened I increased my vertical from 30″ to 36″.

        David

        • Yeah, jumping (correctly) is a glute/ham dominant movement; so is sprinting (after the initial few strides). Jumping from a run also incorporates an elasticity element that is largely absent in the standing vert. “Quad” jumpers tend to take a deep pre-jump dip in the standing vert, where glute/ham dominant jumpers will take a more shallow — but quicker — dip. You can see where being a “quad” jumper does not translate well to a running jump in that getting that full, deep pre-jump dip has been eliminated.

  2. Great post and a couple of notes:

    1. The only problem with being good at everything, unfortunately, is that we’re great at none. Except for the comics, we’ll never see someone who is a “10” in every category, though the occasional Bo Jackson comes damn close.

    2. This reminds me, since you mentioned spiritual aspects and we’ve talked of Ken Wilber before, that our life has various lines of development and, over the course of our existence, we’ll be able to specialize in 1 or 2. However, being aware of them all allows us to make sure any deficiency doesn’t become really bad. So if you have a 200 IQ but moral development in the toilet, you’re a Nazi doctor…best to avoid that and avoid the physical equivalent.

    3. A buddy of mine, because of how he looked, got pegged as a cross country runner when we were in middle/high school. While he was pretty good at it, he convinced the track coach to let him run the 400. The result is that he won state his senior year. There needs to be some sort of standardized, or nearly standardized, identifier so their inborn traits don’t get mislabeled prematurely.

    • I seem to remember reading somewhere (maybe in It’s not about the Bike) about Lance’s struggle with (when he was younger, of course) not being the prototypical “football” type. Being from Plano Texas, this must have been the equivalent to wearing a scarlet letter. Can you imagine the loss of talent had he succumb to this pressure? The old East Germans did a good job of early athletic screening — nothing draconian — that came later on down the road for the “chosen few” — but just sensible, early-onset “nudging” as it were, toward genetic-appropriate endeavors. In this culture, though, it’s really imperative that parents and/or coaches don’t try to cram square genetic pegs into round “expression” holes; the outcome is never, ever good.

      • To a certain extent the weeding out still goes on. If I remember correctly, there are 3 different versions of high school, each specializing in different skill sets. This way, if a kid likes cars and is great with his hands, you get a really, really good mechanic. The opposite side of your coin in this culture is that it isn’t (or wasn’t) PC to create specialty-exploiting below the university level. Team touchdowns, gold stars for everyone, and one big mash of unused potential.

          • I figured you were speaking of German schools…and, yes, it was a relevant statement. And I agree that we dummy-down competition in this country, both in sports and academics, at our own, collective peril.

  3. I know this post was written with an eye to training athletes for sport, as opposed to general health and wellbeing, but I’ve been thinking about this lately and would like to know your thoughts…

    For the paleo-inclined person training to increase their health and longevity, how do they square the paleo imperative of intense, anaerobic, intermittent etc. exercise with the need to “train to your strengths” if they’re naturally extremely slow twitch dominant?

    DeVany and others suggest that from a paleo/longevity perspective, long-distance cardio and the like are counterproductive and even unhealthy, but what if you are the Lance Armstrong type, or just plain unathletic (ie slow)? DeVany seems to have said on different occasions that
    1. You should train to your type, and since he is fast-twitch dominant, he chooses to engage in sprints and intense weight-training etc.
    2. But also that such forms of exercise are the most appropriate forms for everyone at all times. Is this contradictory?

    • On the fast-twitch side of the issue, this is precisely why I use power production (over raw strength) as my touchstone; in my opinion, it’s a much more…I don’t know…natural?, functional?, expression of the body’s physical ability. Also, extended cardio (cardio-endurance) is one area where I don’t totally agree with Art, and the reason is that Art is reluctant to differentiate between forms of cardio-endurance. I think there is a world of difference between trail running and a long, slow jog on flat pavement. Matt Metzgar has done a wonderful series of posts on this subject. Check out this post in particular, then root around his blog for others of interest. There was obviously a biological niche for this slow-twitch dominant type of physiology. I think the key is in finding (re-discovering) what the natural expression of that physiology is and then adapting it to a modern world. This is no different than what we’ve done on the fast-twitch side of things.

  4. I never *really* thought about this as it relates to me, but I don’t have the strength. I have the agility, grace, balance, and reflexes. I could catch and field, make quick decisions, move quickly (second base and volleyball setter), and I was good on the balance beam, but I could never do the pull up moves on bars (gymnastics), explode in tumbling or hit the ball very far.

    Great post.

    • Baseball/softball is a great is great illustration of this point. There is a world of difference between a lead-off hitter and the #4 slot; not a whole hell of a lot of difference between the two, though, in bat speed. As power production is a function of force (strength) and speed, we can readily see where the difference lay. The trick would be in being able to increase your strength, incrementally, while at the same time not affecting what “brought you to the dance”, so to speak. As I said, this is much, much easier said than done.

  5. Another excellent post…really enjoy learning from you.

    And I ordered “Body By Science” based on your recommendation. (Not that I needed that much of a nudge; I had read a borrowed copy of Fred Hahn’s book a few years ago (and got good results) but fell off the wagon.

    McGuff seems like he has the intelligence of the M.D., without the calcified thinking…a home run for me (speaking as a surgeon’s son, here.)

    • Great information in Doug and John’s book. And thanks to them we can now add training/conditioning to religion and politics as topics not to be discussed in polite company 🙂

      • Don’t forget nutrition!

        Keith, keeping in line with this post, I wonder if you could help me out a little … I’ve had a tough time trying to classify myself into a particular phenotype, and I was wondering if you could help provide a little insight. I think having a better idea of how I’m built might affect my training decisions in the future, but I feel like there are some conflicting data points which have made it hard for me to decide.

        If you have the time to think about this, here are some facts about me.

        I’ve never been very gifted cardiovascularly, or explosively. I ran cross-country through highschool on a pretty good team, where the best 5K’ers ran in the 15:15 range, and my best was just over 19 minutes. Not terrible I guess, but certainly nothing like the pros on my team, and this was not for lack of trying. There was a time where 8-9 slightly hilly miles in an hour was a challenging but typical workout for me.

        Still, I feel that was a bad fit for me. I was always 20-30 lbs bigger than anyone on the team, and when we did sprint workouts (100’s or 200 meters), I would be smoke most guys with 5k times in the 17-18 minute range, indicating that I was slightly better over that distance, even though i never actually put up impressive times here either. In fact, I’d say that compared to anyone athletic, I’m decidedly slow and have a lousy vertical (though this is improving as my strength/power to weight ration improves).

        I arrived to the strength training scene later than I’d have liked (when I was 16ish), but I put on muscle reasonably quickly, even though I was more of a bench, bi’s and half squats guys for a long time. I’ve generally responded well to lifting programs similar to the 25 for a bigger engine method. The first time I deadlifted ever (this was when I was introduced to crossfit and all the various lifts they use), was last year around April, and by the end of the year I was pulling around 440#, so I feel like slow strength may be a strong suit (I weigh around 180). I hate to use the word ‘core strength,’ but my abs have also always been very strong.

        The one sport I feel pretty suited for is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (and Judo), in that I am able to conserve energy well, and be strong and explosive when need be. I’m not good at shooting or some of the more explosive areas of the sport though, possibly due to my lousy knee (both have actually given me problems since I first started running – another sign that it was a poor fit).

        BJJ is the only thing I’ve ever been naturally good at (except for throwing a frisbee), and I’ve tried a great many sports. I have a decent arm for throwing too, but that’s only compared to my other attributes.

        So assuming that slow strength is my strong suit, and that I have some slight power potential, I wonder what your recommendations might be as far as training to my strengths, and training out my weaknesses?

        Long comment – sorry, and thanks for your time!

        great post as always!
        -bryce

        • A 2-and-half x BW DL with little training is a damn good pull. I’d be curious to know what your prime endurance is in various lifts; in other words, how many reps could you manage with, say a 400lb DL (or 90% of your current max). Just from what your telling me, I’d definitely say that strength is one of your attributes. It’s really too bad you got tied with with cross country of all things! Talk about out of your element. I would say that if you enjoy BJJ, stick with it. If I were you, I’d focus my training on speed and power as an adjunct to your inherent strength. And really, you’ll want to convert that strength into power for BJJ purposes. Some of the strongest guys I’ve ever seen though, just were not “wired” to express power — and this may be you, since your vert is lacking. Power lifting (a horribly misnamed sport) is always an option for the slow-strong. Like I said, a 440 pull @ 180 is pretty good for so little training. What’s your bench and squat look like?

          • I’ll have to get back to you on the number of reps I can attain at 90%. I am in the middle of a cycle of heavy rest-pause training where I’m building back up to a max, and I’ll see if I can test this aspect of my strength endurance.

            As for for squat, I haven’t been able to squat much in the past two years (coming from the ship), and my crappy left knee tends to be a bit sore after any heavy squatting session, so I’ll need to work on this before I can give you an honest estimate of my max strength there. I do like the zercher squat, and I’ve worked with around 300 lbs for this lift.

            I don’t really bench any more. A few years ago I was working with 5 sets of 5 @ 255, but now I work mostly with weighted dips and ring dips, and barbell/kettlebell presses. My max barbell press was around 155-165 within the past 6 months, but this is another lift I don’t have the luxury of being able to do more than 1-2 times a month, and right now I’m a bit out of practice.

            I’ll try to think of some more metrics I might be able to offer you, but I think the deadlift just suits my body, because I don’t recall ever having a particularly good squat or bench. My best Powerclean and squat clean are both in the 205-215 range, and this is probably a function of a lack of explosive power, and poor technique. Also, some of these numbers I put up when I weighed ~205, instead of ~181 now, though I think I’m stronger than I was.

            Thanks a lot for sharing your perspective Keith.
            -Bryce

          • Another thing about me is my magnificent ability to injure quickly. We all have to learn about ourselves, and I’ve learned that I can only train explosive moves like hang clean low pulls, power cleans/snatches, and especially squat cleans, in singles or perhaps doubles. Any fatigue-induced degradation in form is apt to lead me to injury in a hurry. I’m certain I’ll reach achieve my body’s absolute potential for max strength/explosiveness because doing so would require me to train w/ frequency/intensity that I have no doubt would lead me to injury. I’m ok with that though.

            Upon further reflection, I think that I might only be able to get a second rep at 90% of any one lift. I don’t think I’ve got particularly good muscular endurance in that load range, but maybe I just never tested it.

  6. As my cousin succinctly puts it, “there are those who are meant to run the antelope down and there are those who are meant to pack it back to camp”

    Dr. McGuff’s article on his website entitled A LIMITED NUMBER OF PHENOTYPES is an interesting take on body builds and different sports. http://www.ultimate-exercise.com/ Typically, many of us want a different phenotype than the one we’ve got.

    • “there are those who are meant to run the antelope down and there are those who are meant to pack it back to camp”

      Great analogy. And I suppose it’s human nature to desire that which we don’t have. In some respects, this is a good thing and can be labeled “drive”, or “ambition”. At some point though it does become a curse; the reckless chase for the unattainable. As in all things, a healthy balance is key.

  7. My friend Jeff had shown me that picture of the twins about a year ago when I was starting down the Paleo/EF path. I posted a modern analogy a few months ago comparing the body type of the Boston Marthon winner to Usain Bolt (http://milesas.blogspot.com/2009/04/marathon-monday.html). Granted, these guys are not twins, but my take is that there is an obvious difference in exercise stimulus that reflects the body composition.

    Personally, I’ve had years of “Otto” training via ST dominated exercises, but have been trying to shift that genetic expression to be more like Ewald. It is a slow process.

    • I don’t know if you follow cycling much — professional or otherwise — but the difference in the builds of the sprinters vs the GC (general category) guys is striking. Taking just the Tour de France competitors into consideration, even — competitors who have to complete the same overall total distance throughout the course of the 21-day race. Same, basic training regimens, w/drastic phenotype differences.

      • I used to follow it a bit back when Greg LeMond was the big American name. And I used to ride quite a bit. But then I got the bike with the motor on it. Now I’m on my fourth motorcycle and my antique aluminum frame collects dust in the basement. But that’s another story.

        Anyway another interesting example is with baseball players. The chances of anyone playing in the majors is extremely small. Yet, as I grow older, I see more sons of former MLB players (Barry Bonds, Gary Maddux, Jr., Ken Griffy Jr., etc.). So these guys probably got at least half decent baseball-specific genes – which by itself may not be enough to make the grade. But having grown up in a baseball-centric household, these skills were developed from a very young age. Again, by itself does not guarantee a roster spot. So the combination of baseball-friendly genes plus a baseball nurturing environment allows for some to not only make it, but excel.

  8. Great post. A couple random thoughts.

    My stats:

    * cardio-respiratory endurance — average.

    * flexibility — Decidedly much worse than average. Like, I can hardly touch my toes and I have had coaches look at and marvel that I could play competitive sports at all.

    * speed — avg

    * power — better than average.

    * agility — off the charts high. especially for a big guy.

    * balance — off the charts high. again, especially for a big guy.

    * strength — better than average.

    * accuracy — better than average.

    * stamina — average.

    * coordination — better than average. scored many goals left-handed. Also threw opponents “left-handed”.

    ——-
    Although this is not on the list, I would add

    * ability to tolerate insane amounts of pain — off the charts high.

    🙂

    I played water polo and judo. Did fairly well in polo, but better in judo.

    Question is what do I want my sons to play? Where do I want to nudge them? Where can they maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses?

    I have noticed an interesting effect amongst sons whose fathers played the same sport. These sons, on average, seem to be better/more competitive than the average kid.

    Why?

    My hypothesis is:

    1) Nurture effect

    The fathers can guide the development of the child in that sport. Since they played that sport, they understand the rules of the game as well as the specific skills required etc etc

    2) Nature effect

    Let’s say you have a father who as a successful water polo player — at least in part, b/c his phenotype is likely a better for water polo than say, Olympic lifting. Well, given than his son, on average, will be more like him than the rest of the population, he will largely have answered the question I have posed above.

    His son will play water polo b/c, not only does his father understand it, his body has already been selected for it.

    • Two points: the ability to tolerate insane amounts of pain ought to have been included as #11 on the list. No joke. It should at least be included as a “competitiveness factor”, or as a bridge between “fitness” and competitive athletics. In relation to competitive athletics, being a good physical specimen is only part of the overall equation.

      The “nurture factor” is, in a word, HUGE. That constant, steady trickle of information/game theory from “elder” to “younger” is irreplaceable. Not to mention the physical skills pass-down. Dinner table chit-chat about the pros and cons of a 3-3 stack defense? Yeah, that was common fare in the household I grew up in; same situation for my friends, team mates and, just as importantly, for my competitors. A big reason, too, behind why you see pockets of sport-specific talent in different regions of the nation (and the world, for that matter). It’s interesting for me, having grown-up in south Texas football culture, to now live in in North Carolina baseball country. Same passions, same sport-specific elder-to-younger teaching.

      • Yep. for whatever reason, I don’t see tolerance for pain come up a lot as a topic of discussion with regard to athletic ability.

        Some more rambling thoughts:

        With regard to physical pain, in my mind, there are two, maybe, three broad somewhat overlapping types:

        1) Self-induced as in: marathon running, swimming etc etc

        2) Directly induced by an opponent as in: a boxer punching his opponent, a safety rocking the world of a reciever who went up over the middle, a judoka trying to rip my arm off via an arm-lock

        3) Injury as in torn tendon, sprained ankle etc etc

        All three are critical in sports success — but in my mind, the ability to bear Type 2 is vastly under-appreciated.

        (Personally, I had above average ability to tolerate 1 and 3 — but two was off the charts. I imagine those who are successful in the combat sports must have this.)

        BTW that is why I laugh when people call basketball and soccer “contact sports”. Yes, they do make contact with one another once in a while. Sometime even aggressively. But never with the same intent, ferocity, and frequency as real contact sports such as boxing/wrestling/hockey/football.

        I have a big brother, 6’5″ who, for whatever reason, could not deal with Type 2 pain the same way I could/can. When I got slammed hard/choked/pinned/arm-barred in judo, I’d bounce right back up with a gleam in my eye and murder in my heart. I’d shake off the pain or least only become cognizant of it, after practice/the match.

        My brother, on the other hand, would instinctually shy away from further confrontation with pain.

        My father tried his best to push him and encourage him in water polo and judo but to no avail. This soured my brother forever and he never did sports beyond sophomore year in HS.

        Looking back with our infamous 20/20 hindsight, my brother should have been guided into a sport that would have maximized his gifts and minimized his weaknesses.

        IMHO, my father should have pushed him into track and made him a thrower. There is no Type 2 pain in throwing and my brother’s body and strength is well-suited for this.

        Anyhow, this is something I plan to watch for with my children. How do they cope with pain type 1, 2, and 3.

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