Hi folks, Don here. Let me tell you a bit about me.
By the age 12, as a result of reading superhero comic books containing ads for programs by Charles Atlas and Hercules II, the Kung Fu and Wide World of Sports television shows, and Strength and Health and Muscle Builder magazines, I developed a strong interest in both martial arts and bodybuilding.
I started to read everything I could get on these topics. The city library system had many good books on strength training, bodybuilding and martial arts and I used these to create my training programs. I started using isometrics and calisthenics, and built some equipment myself with my father's help when needed.
My parents gave me a basic set of barbells and dumbbells one Christmas before I was in junior high school, and I started training both martial arts and strength in our basement. I used money I earned delivering newspapers, cutting lawns and washing cars to purchase more equipment. Soon my basement gym had a pull-up bar, iron boots, a bench, a squat rack (one of my father’s co-workers welded it together for me from scrap pipes and had automobile rims for bases), and a home-made slant board for sit ups. I also had a home made sort-of heavy bag, home-made shurikens, and home-made nunchucks.
I also read books on nutrition and gave up eating the deadly whites: white sugar, white flour, white bread, pasta and rice. I got my Mom to start buying whole grain bread for me and I mostly ate a whole foods omnivorous diet, which greatly reduced my acne. I started taking supplements including milk and egg protein powder, desiccated liver, yeast and many others I learned about through magazines.
I was on the track team in junior high school. I did the pole vault, long jump, 200 yard dash. After that I focussed my energies on strength training until I was a sophomore, when I had a math or science class taught by the junior varsity wrestling coach. One day he asked me to try out for the wrestling team. I ended up wrestling in the 155 and 165 weight classes that year.
Soon I found a hard core local gym to train at. It was owned by Jerry Bell, who became the first 165 pounder to deadlift 700 pounds in 1978 (the year before I graduated high school). I loved that gym. It was only about 750 - 100 square feet, and only serious lifters and athletes trained there. Jerry also coached Bob Wahl, who was a year older than me; in 1983 Bob did a 661 squat at a bodyweight of 148!
Before I graduated from high school I competed in several teen bodybuilding competitions. I won third place in a local competition in my senior year and placed in the top ten at a state-wide competition. I achieved those results using high intensity training methods strongly influenced by Mike Mentzer and Arthur Jones.
I entered college on a pre-medicine scholarship. I was intending to go into exercise science, nutrition, sports medicine or chiropractic. However, none of that happened. I did very well in science courses (I graduated Summa Cum Laude) but at the time I got interested in philosophy and decided not to complete the pre-med program. I went on to complete both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy. As an undergraduate I started eating a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, and during graduate school I did resistance training, but only as a supplement to my main passion at the time, which was the martial art of aikido.
During my studies for my master's degree in philosophy I had a major focus on Vedic and Buddhist philosophy, specifically Samkara's Advaita (Nondual) Vedanta and Nagarjuna's Madhyamika (Middle Path) Buddism, with a minor focus on philosophy of science. I managed to publish multiple articles in scholarly journals and books:
My master's thesis was entitled Buddhist Metaphysics and Its Significance for Political Economy.
After receiving my master's degree in 1988, I taught philosophy and logic at the University of Toledo and several community colleges.
In 1994 I completed the nutritionist certification program from the American Academy of Nutrition, now called the Huntington College of Health Sciences. This program is the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, and is accredited by the DETC, an accrediting agency that is approved by the US Department of Education.
Then I completed the Fitness Clinician certification program from the International Association of Resistance Trainers (IART). This organization promotes application of rational, efficient, safe, brief high intensity resistance training principles. As a Fitness Clinician I know how to apply these principles to individuals to produce the maximum possible results with the optimum amount of exercise. Brian Johnston, the founder of the IART calls this Prescribed Exercise.
As a student of martial arts I became interested in Chinese medicine. Some Chinese martial arts masters have said that if one is capable of hurting people with your art, you should also know how to heal people. I first became interested in Chinese medicine in high school, and in 2007 I graduated from Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture, with a knowledge of how to use acupuncture and herbs to stimulate or support the body’s own healing processes. Many of the herbal formulas we learned to use to treat injuries and trauma were developed by men who were both doctors and martial artists.
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