…and I don’t mean the baseball stadium in Pittsburg! Consider this guy:
This is not Mr ‘Three Rivers’, the 19yo native American guy who was initiated to Man.Power during the birthday celebrations (last post), because I don’t have a picture of him yet, and I don’t usually post pictures of our close colleagues here anyway. But, (apart from the scary eyebrows) it is an uncanny likeness. Note the hair, I’ll come back to that.
I left a lot out of the previous post concerning events at the gym celebration, including this introduction ritual for a new guy which no-one expected. We think his full name is Sammy Three Rivers but he insists to be called ‘Three Rivers’. He’s the first native American to join the gym I think, and he is heavily into tribal ritual, which he generally expresses through extreme yoga practice. He can achieve positions that most guys can only dream about. Despite our gymnastic flexibility, for example, Dave and I are starting to struggle now with relatively easy positions like this…
…and are more likely to settle in our alleged ‘training’ for positions like this (from a Twister game!):
But, as ever, I digress…!
Three Rivers went through some of his impressive yoga routine and then Chad, in the know, pushed a nail bed in his direction and the guy sat on it cross-legged in a meditative sort of way. At this stage, he wore a jock strap (which is unusual in our ceremonials as you may have gathered) and, eventually, he took hold of a small knife – blade about four inches I would think) which he had tucked into the elastic. Stretching backwards, he carefuly licked both sides of the blade before placing the point of the knife at a position on his abdomen and then pushed the knife right in, up to the hilt. To say that we were stunned is something of an understatement. We have a few who do the human suspension from hooks through the flesh occasionally (Dave and I, very briefly, did an easy one once in order to ‘justify’ our status as ‘ultimate’ members of the group, but it’s not for us – we value our appearance too much). Three Rivers showed no expression as he did this, left the knife in position for about ten seconds, and then slowly withdrew it again with no loss of blood and only a small wound to show for it.
It seems that this is a feat which elder members of his tribe used to perform to show their manhood, learning the technique from older family members and the tribal chiefs. I have heard of it before being done as a circus act, but seeing it right close up like that is something else. Show-stopper, in fact. Three Rivers tossed the knife forward to let us inspect it. There was little trace of anything on the blade, and definitely no trick.
You can read here (and in the following volumes) about the rituals which Man.Power gym demands are undertaken by new initiates. A bit of a hazing involving strength on weights, and so forth, leading to a brand on the hip. After what Three Rivers did in his personal ‘show’, he was let off rather lightly, unlike his chosen ‘soul mate’, our Ivo, who is obliged if chosen to go through the same thing (apart from the brand, which he obviously already has). And why was Ivo selected? – he didn’t know Three Rivers anyway. Because of their HAIR! Ivo sports a long and luxurious blond pony tail from which, during our performances, he is capable of hanging and performing various moves supported only by his follicles. The guy chose Ivo because of the hair and, in the subsequent conversation which followed, basically Ivo suggested that Three Rivers could perhaps add this feat to his already impressive portfolio. And they spent nearly an hour together, trying it out.
For some reason, professional hair hangers are most often women or small children from circus families, so a bulked-up acrobat guy who does it is something quite rare. Two of them, able to work together, would be an interesting combination for some future shows, so it’s great that he gets on with Ivo becuase he doesn’t otherwise seem to talk much at all. But we did find out that his main ambition in the Man.Power gym is to bulk up whilst retaining his flexibility, and Chad has apparently offered personal training to help him achieve this. The degree to which it is desirable to bulk up whilst retaining the needed flexibility of a gymnast or indeed a yoga dude is questionable. Guys working rings and high bar tend to build great chests and shoulders, which could impede the contortion. Maybe he needs to go as far as this dude:
…although a little more abdominal development would look good and definitely not impede his movements:
We haven’t seen him since Friday night’s extravaganza, but there’s been a lot of talk about whether we could introduce him into our forthcoming tour with the extraordinary skills he clearly already has. But we don’t even know if he has a job locally, or what, and Chad says we need to ask him, he’s not giving personal information about new guys even to his best mates, until the guy has indicated that he is willing to share. Fair enough. So we wait!
Maybe a swimmers build would be good for him:
Hey, maybe we could even train him to breath green smoke…
Nah, only joking! But this is a guy we definitely need to get to know better – Circus Extreme needs this new (and younger) blood…
Note added October 2013: The guy with the green smoke is Daniel Scott, of Bradford UK, who is now slightly older than in the picture and a professional photographer. We talked and think that he should have a credit for the photo, so thanks Scotty for getting in touch and for letting me keep the picture. If you’re near Yorkshire UK and need some photography, he’s your man!!