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Credit where credit is due (Article):

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by Sinister, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Okay. So I figured a change of pace for this forum would be welcome. This is an article I been itching to write for some time because such a story just needs more coverage. Now a lot of guys when you read what it's about will wonder why it isn't in the MMA, Kickboxing, or other such forum. There's a couple of reasons. One is because it will be properly appreciated by those of you who compete, and who may have competed in similar events this story leads to. You'll also relate to what it takes to get to that point. Another is because the crop of posters in here is small, but the regulars are good guys who will learn from this.

    This my friends, is the story of Flex Wheeler. I had read his interview in Muscular Development Magazine and something just appalled me that I had never heard shit about it before. Unsung is this man, especially considering his accomplishment(s) in 2005 specifically in the World of Martial Arts. Now a lot of you young bucks might have heard or read a thing or two and think you know the deal. But let me assure you you most likely don't. Read on, before you go wanting to counter-post about how Flex ain't shit and really didn't do shit but win a meaningless belt in a meaningless fight.

    Ken Wheeler was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis. If you want to know what that is go ahead and google "FSGS." A lot of ignorant pundits relate this to the use of steroids. This was the first question Flex asked the Doctors. They assured him Steroids had NOTHING to do with it. This is the kind of affliction that has children on their 3rd kidney by the age of 12. All through his bodybuilding career it plagued him. Had him passing out during sets. Literally fainting between exercises in the gym. When John Romano asked him why he so tortured himself just to compete he said "I was willing to take a couple of years off my life to take care of my Family..."

    John Romano said: "You were willing to buy the farm to take care of your Family." Flex says: "That's what a man does." Flex had a wife and kids to look after, to provide for, and was willing to continue to compete even if it meant his life just to do right by them. There is not enough of this in Today's "man." Not saying I agree with the lengths he went to. But many of you guys have yet to be put in this kind of position, and understand what kind of sacrifice this means. This is as real as real life gets. And basically this man ran himself to the point where he was so sick the Doctors said to him "you don't understand, you won't feel a thing...you'll just drop dead at any moment."

    Including the Kideny replacement he eventually needed. This man went on to have 9 surgeries in 11 weeks. He had a lot of complications from the surgery, infections and such. So recovery was very slow and painful. Now, if anyone in here knows how important a kidney is to health, and more importantly, fighting...then you'll understand why I went through the trouble of describing what Flex had been through with this particular ailment. This aside from him almost dying in a car accident in the beginning of his career and Weider as a sponser basically telling him to go fuck himself and taking away his contracts.

    So, unable to bodybuild and extensively weight train, or use the kinds of drugs and supplements bodybuilders use. Flex turns to his long-time practice of Martial Arts. He decides he wants to get back into the spotlight, by competing in Martial Arts at the Arnold Classic. Now for those of you unfamiliar with what goes on at the Arnold Classic each year, you can look that up here:

    http://www.arnoldmartialarts.com/2006_disciplines.asp?d=karate

    And not only is he competing (with one kidney that formerly belonged to a young woman), but he's contending for a title. Now I've read A LOT of shit about this online in forums and whatnot. About how his opponent was just some fat dude. This was his opponent:

    http://www.strategicmartialarts.net/Bio/SenseiRichieBio.htm

    And I will contend that man has a better resume and can kick the ass of pretty much anyone who criticized him on Internet Forums. A lot of guys talk tough shit, but very few of them would sign up for this competition themselves and prove it. A lot of people also commented on the sloppiness of the fight. The fight looked no different than any of the point-fighting competitions I grew up watching in the 80's. FAST, kind of hurky-jerky, and almost NO defense, but still dangerous. During the fight Flex had a torn rotator-cuff, and in training from having the kidney transplant in '03, had almost no muscle control in beginning the training to compete at the ASC in '05. John Romano asked Flex if winning was vindication for him, to which he responded:

    "You know what John, no. No, for the key reason that no one said anything. Not as an athlete. There is no reward for giving that much of yourself unless it's publically given back. It was so insulting when I came back to cover the night show. It was nothing, no mention, nothing at all. The only guy who said anything was you."

    So, this is to the man Flex Wheeler. For having the gumption to compete despite life-threatening sickness which ended his career in another form of athletics. Think about this man's story before the next time you feel like you want to skip a day, or pull out of a fight because you might get your ass kicked.

    This is for Flex, because I personally miss the days when men were badasses like this.

    http://72.0.104.148/FlexFamily1004.jpg
    http://72.0.104.148/drobson69bbig.jpg
    http://72.0.104.148/drobson69abig.jpg
    http://72.0.104.148/drobson69cbig.jpg
    http://72.0.104.148/drobson6930.jpg
    http://72.0.104.148/drobson6931.jpg
    http://72.0.104.148/drobson6941.jpg
     
  2. Marvin Covar

    Marvin Covar Amateur Fighter

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    great post, man. it inspired me to train even harder.
     
  3. ChinBo37

    ChinBo37 Black Belt

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    dude you might get some shit cause people on Sherdog thing Bodybuilding is gay or whatever but Flex wheeler is a fucking bad-ass

    how can you criticize a guy who just wants to compete, whether it be in Bodybuiling or Karate

    btw - you dont have the full vid of any of Flex's fights do you?
     
  4. scorcho

    scorcho Brown Belt

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    Very nice. Thanks for writing that up for us!
     
  5. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    The people on Sherdog who think Bodybuilding is gay are little 17 year-olds who have never competed in shit in their whole lives. Maybe some High School Wrestling or Football, but mostly Advanced Band.

    And I won't get shit. Being a Mod has it's perks. lol

    I don't have the video myself but you can find stuff floating around if you look hard enough. Like it says in the article there was little to no coverage of this. Largely because in his Bodybuilding days Flex was kind of an asshole. A bad guy. The kind of guy everyone LOVED to hate. He played the villain role. That still follows him to this day even though he's probably one of the nicest guys you could meet. He's just 110% intense when he competes. There was this great rivalry between he and Shawn Ray where they would be at dinners and literally nearly fistfight because Flex took everything Shawn said in magazines personal.

    Don't be surprised if at some point Flex assumes this role again in his Martial Arts career.

    You're welcome. What amazes me about the whole thing is how he got into such good shape to fight. I mean here's a man who was basically dead on a stretcher, and now he has a 6-pack again. Crazyness.
     
  6. PariahCarey

    PariahCarey Purple Belt

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    Excellent artcile Kabuki. Definitely an inspirational story...

    A few comments however;
    -is the onlt way ot provide for your family by putting yourself at risk? Surely a legend like Flex could earn decent $ off of being a personal trainer or some similiar gig...
    -his real reason for competing comes later in your article where he seems hurt by not getting attention for his achievement...at some point what you do has to be about intrinsic motovation rather than "look at me" type stuff...by not being happy with winning because there was no fame or glory behind it is understandable but seems somewhat sad...for him its all about the end and not the means...
    I respect his die with your boots on attitude though and interesting read Kabuki...
     
  7. Ted-P

    Ted-P Brown Belt

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    The hate on sherdoggers is rather misdirected.

    Flex is a bad ass though.
     
  8. mrblack

    mrblack Orange Belt

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    wow great read.
    i personally didn't know any of this but now that i do wow.
    Flex is definetly a man.
     
  9. Freestyler

    Freestyler Purple Belt

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    hes a big mofo
     
  10. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    He's an athlete. Most atheltes can hardly handle when they're still relatively young, sitting on the sidelines and watching someone else get all the accolades. He could have been jockying a desk somewhere making five times as much as he did even as a bodybuilder, but one has to ask themselves if that's just him.

    I don't think your point about him being specifically an attention-seeker is relevant to his fighting though because I don't think he was talking about what you're talking about. John asked him if WINNING his fight was Vindication for him. That's a specific question, asking him if he felt alleviated of all of the things people said and trials he faced. He said no, because no one cared. I think he's more speaking in-terms of like in the philosophical sense like that Art is not Art without being viewed and showcased as such. When we compete, we are essentially performing, if there is no Public goal, why are there even audiences? What is the point? That's more what Flex is talking about.
     
  11. PariahCarey

    PariahCarey Purple Belt

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    I hear you bro...but motovation is a very personal thing whether its a performer or an audience member...and bodybuilding is a notortiously narcissitic venture...I'm not saying i'm above all that, i love my hypertrophy and like being big(no juice though)...jsut that if his idea of what is going to vindicate hiim is based on audience response...i view that as a somewhat devolved form of motovation. But perhaps i'm not understanding fully...

    Many people perform in many arts for the love of the art and many times the audience is no bigger than themselves or a few finite group of people. Some of the best actors in the world are waiting tables right here in NYC(talking about people who studied it like its a martial art at some serious schools for years and years), some of the best bands play in dives with a small but knowledagble following cause they won't sell out...there is a guy who is a legendary violin player here in NY( i forgot his name), he plays Lincoln cneter sometimes, and he still drives a cab and takes abuse from people all day long...good article though, i think its your best one so far that i've read, are disagreement is more a matter of opinion...there is no "wrong or right.":)
     
  12. PariahCarey

    PariahCarey Purple Belt

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    ...also there are entire disciplines of art such as Dada or some Conceptual arts that believe art wasn't meant to be "showcased" but should be integrated into mainstream society (like a Dadist poet would break out into poetry on line in the local supermarket, of course today the cops in NYC would probably beat the shit out of him for that cause everyone so paranoid about terrorists)...i hope i didn't get too far off on a tangent and probably contradicted myself like 9x but hey i love discussing someones writing...i like the fact that you got the balls not to sit on the fence...thats the worst type of writer...
     
  13. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I actually think you're on the right track. Flex said he didn't feel vindicated, but I don't think he was looking to the Public for vindication from this. If you read his article in MD, which was better than this...the Interview with John Romano...just the chance to get it all off his chest seemed enough. I think ultimately Flex did what he did for the reason he stated. To take care of his family, doing something he had God-given talent at. I know what it's like to be the kind of man who when a goal is set, the whole World has to explode before you give up. But ultimately he DID have to give up on bodybuilding, and that had to sting. In the end I think he ended up seeing that he had to give it up for the same reason he did it, which had to be another epiphany that hit like a ton of bricks.

    Now he makes most of his money as a reporter for MD and photographer. Telling the stories of others. Fighting I think is just his way of showing that he doesn't have to be physically obselete. His way of saying "yes I'm still alive"...lol
     
  14. Kamehameha

    Kamehameha Boricua

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    my dad was a fan (well, still is but back when Flex was making news) of him and whenever he hears of Flex he goes, "Oh yeah, Flex.............he's a cool cat"
     
  15. Is that some Wesley Snipes action in photo 6? I know this is way OT but damn.....

    no wonder Flex won the day.....LOL

    He had the Blade in his back pocket.
     
  16. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Heh heh, yeah that is Wesley. He attends a lot of competitions and shows where people don't really expect him to turn up.
     

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