Thinking “Outside the Box”

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Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette is reporting that in the event of a lockout, some Steelers are considering alternative conditioning programs and discussing meeting at various locations to workout together. Keeping the “Sword sharp” so to speak.

Not a bad idea. This was the way it was done 20-30 years ago before the OTA’s and mini-camps came into vogue. The desire to improve your skills when there wasn’t any collective requirements. Tunch Ilkin and I would use the off-season as a time to seek out knowledge in areas that would address an area we wanted to improve.

This is how we came to meet William “Sarge” Edwards, a prolific multi-discipline practitioner of martial arts. We came to learn how to incorporate martial concepts to offensive line play.

Sarge didn’t understand pass pro, for instance, as most normal people do. He saw it from the perspective of hand-to-hand combat. Close quarter combat to be more specific. And he introduced those concepts to Tunch and me over the years as we trained with him.

No, we didn’t learn spinning hook kicks or katas, but the concepts of the power punch, footwork, centerline, trapping and independent hands.  Concepts drawn from the martial disciplines of boxing, sumo, wing chun, kali and wrestling.

I’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again. Learning the skills of power punch helped make my career a 12-year career rather than a short stop-over on the way to “My life’s work” as Coach Noll liked to say. For Tunch it was the difference between being cut his rookie year to 14-years and 2 pro bowls on his way to becoming an all-time Steeler member.

This may be a time if the players use it correctly to seek knowledge and think “Outside the box” to benefit their tool box of skills and better their careers.