Iron Devil Dog and Early Years
I created IronDevilDog.com back in January, 2013, to focus on Olympic Lifting, aka Olympic Weightlifting. I am also a former US Marine being honorably discharged in October, 1996. The site name, Iron Devil Dog, reflects both my interests in weightlifting and the US Marine Corps.
Note: The original blog and content was lost due to a WordPress hack. I decided to create an entirely new blog.
The process of learning how to Olympic Lift, which includes the Snatch and Clean & Jerk, has been a long process. Peter Shmock, then the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Seattle Mariners, taught me how to do the Olympic Lifts at Sound Mind & Body in Seattle, Washington. He had been taught by Soviet Weightlifters when he was an Olympian. I learned a lot his influence shows with my Cleans today. Unfortunately, I was unable to continue training with Peter after a year due to a lack of gyms to workout at.
Returning to Oly Lifts in Saigon, Vietnam
In the summer of 2012, I got back into Olympic Weightlifting, a term more used for Olympic Lifts now, in Saigon, Vietnam. I got back to weight training as a way to deal with my military injuries which resulted in my discharge back in 1996. I needed to take pressure off of my knees and in general I was in pretty bad shape. The Veteran’s Administration even raised my disability rating, due to my knee injuries, to 20 percent. I weighed nearly 90 kg (nearly 200 lbs). I worked out 21 days in a row at Get Fit Gym in Saigon. Lost a lot of weight and eventually got back to Olympic Weightlifting. It was the perfect physical therapy that I could of done since my knees. The supporting muscles around my knees were supporting my weight. I was feeling much better.
Learning the Olympic Lifts in Kazakhstan
In November, 2013, I moved from Saigon, Vietnam, to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where I spent three years working at an international school as an ICT teacher. While there, I was lucky enough to workout at two CrossFit boxes, Reactor CrossFit and CrossFit BruteForce. It was to be a memorable three years. I got to workout with Ilya Ilyin, then the two time Olympic Champion in Weightlifting. He gave me tips on how to Jerk.
Two years later, I got to train under Coach Nikolai Ge. He was the former weightlifting coach for the Kazakhstan National Team. His techniques are being used by coaches and weightlifters in China, the US, and Kazakhstan. Much of my workouts today are influenced greatly by Coach Nikolai who sadly passed away this year.
My Clean (no brush), Snatch (no brush), Clean and Jump, Snatch and Jump, etc., were added to my workouts by Coach Nikolai. Sadly, my last workout with Coach Nikolai was in August, 2016. I got my 120 kg Hang Clean personal record under Nikolai. He also convinced me to stop strapping for many lifts to build my grip strength. He has positively influenced my lifts to this date.
CrossFit Bellwether in China
From August, 2016, to July, 2017, I worked out at CrossFit Bellwether in Shanghai, Vietnam. I was lucky that CrossFit Bellwether was quite close to my work and apartment. As with CrossFit BruteForce and Reactor CrossFit, I was allowed to do my regular workouts during their classes. I worked out in my corner of the box which was nice. I really enjoyed working out there and wished I could have stayed one more year in Shanghai. I focused a lot on technique and got a couple personal records there.
During my time in Shanghai, I attended and passed the CrossFit Level 1 Training course at Reebok CrossFit Wellness. It was my first CrossFit workout and I quite enjoyed it.
Back in Saigon, Vietnam
July, 2017, I found myself back in Vietnam. Since 2013, I had worked out at Saigon Sports Club which now runs CrossFit Q7. Many of my personal records were at this gym. Being an outside gym makes SSC and challenging gym to workout at. I met many other weightlifters my four years at this gym.
Sadly in early, 2018, one of the trainers told me that the owners will not allow weightlifters, such as myself, to workout at SSC. I plan on moving to Old School Gym, a powerlifting gym, when they move to their new location in early 2018. I will also do some technical work at CrossFit Thao Dien, a new CrossFit box in Saigon.
I will stay in Saigon, Vietnam, indefinitely. I plan to continue to do the Olympic Lifts for the long term since I really enjoy them. I hope to start getting more personal records once I can get settled in a gym. With my CrossFit Level 1, I plan to add the Catalyst Athletics Level 1 Weightlifting Coach to my resume. Next year I will work on getting my CrossFit for Kids training as well. I want to open a CrossFit box just for kids in Vietnam.
CrossFit Boxes worked out at
- Reactor CrossFit (2013-2014) Almaty, Kazakhstan
- CrossFit BruteForce (2014-2015) Almaty, Kazakhstan
- Reactor CrossFit (2015-2016) Almaty, Kazakhstan
- CrossFit 399 (December, 2015) Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia
- CrossFit Bellwether (2016-2017) Shanghai, Vietnam
- Reebok CrossFit Wellness (March, 2017) Shanghai Vietnam
- Saigon Sports Club /CrossFit Q7 (2013 – 2018) Saigon, Vietnam
- CrossFit Thao Dien (2017 – Present) Saigon, Vietnam