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A Tormented Force: A Story from the Metal Militia Down Under

What I first learned about Metal Militia, after being brought in by Dave' Mad Dog' Maddox, was that this was first and foremost a family. In a conversation with Australian President Chris Skaroupa, he explained to me that we do things "The American Way." I wanted to remind him that we were not on the part of the earth where the toilets flush the wrong way. I thought, to myself, "We ought to get along with our bastardization right out of the gate and stay true to our Australian fighting spirit." Take a little bit of this, a little bit of that, mix it in with a good deal of rum, and you have Australia. Finding the spirit in a weight lifting club is complicated, but for some reason, it shone bright, and like an insect to amber, I was hooked. And that spirit has never shown more brilliant than it did at Tormented Force. The very first Metal Militia meet on Australian soil. Our trial by fire. By God, we blew it out of the water. On the cusp of an Australian winter, the mercury dips to a level where one could almost imagine exercise outdoors to be a pleasant experience. So, it was as good of a setting as anyone could have hoped for. The meet itself was held at Reap Fitness, a New Zealand and Pacific Islander run gym with a rich atmosphere and the most welcoming staff this side of the equator. It was a bench press-only meet, with almost all competitors wearing double-ply Krueger's from Rob Forrell's, F8 Customs. If my memory serves me right, we only had one person lifting in a non F8 shirt, which was a delight to witness. We armed ourselves on the platform with a 25kg Sabretooth Bench-Bar and three highly respected judges (Vance Rapatu, Head Judge Darron Harroworth, and Bel Coleman). Side stage, we had a chalk bowl, three bottles of 'Battle Satlz' Ammonia, and a bottle of Chivas Regal 12 Year Blended Scotch Whiskey. There is nothing that powerlifters, especially Metal Militia brothers and sisters, like better than a punch in the face of ammonia and a nip of strong drink. Personally, I was shitting myself for this meet. Bench Press is historically my worst lift, and I had spent the past three months nearly exclusively training it. I had leaped from a 120kg (264 lb) press in January to a 170kg (375 lb) press in May. Personally, tension was extremely high as I was excited to see what I could pull out of the hat (my current PB as of 17/08/2021 is 205kg (451 lb) ). I was the heaviest I had ever been, weighing in at 108kg (238 lb), and I was feeling strong. Mentally, I was a shitshow. A combination of extreme anxiety and performance pressure led to a very fun vomiatorial exercise on the lawn behind the gym. Of course, I made sure I was out of sight, for I don't think my vanity could have come back from my comrades seeing me on all fours puking up my breakfast like a nervous schoolboy. I had no option than to walk it off with the help of some medical reefer and a good deal of whisky. Then, it was back outside for a second round of cigarettes and laughter. As the competitors started to mentally enter that beastial mode required to lift heavyweights, eyes narrowed, replies to questions became more curt. My mind hunched into some twisted homage to perfection and peak performance. Vomiting done, head-fixed, and mind ready to go. I killed it. Opening at 160kg (352 lb) , I then benched 170kg (375 lb), and finally, I failed a heroic 180kg (396 lb).

The atmosphere was absolutely electric. When people are crammed together, they feed off each other's energy. Winding out the gym's roller doors, a packed crowd formed a semi-circle around the bench awaiting the main event. Sidestage, there was a palpable air of camaraderie and intensity. The men and women of Metal Militia are some of the most unpredictably passionate people I have ever met, so everyone was careful not to spark the powder keg. Finally, after an afternoon of brilliant lifting, we came to Le Roy Vorster's final attempt; 367.5kg (810 lb.) It was a unique feeling being in that room. The shouts of the crowd mixed with a brutal metal track was an apt background for an attempt at the all-time Australian bench press record. Shout and rage we did. The steel walls literally buzzed with the screams of onlookers. Unfortunately, Vorster narrowly failed the lift but, I have it on good authority that he will be taking another stab at it at 'Hells Gate', (at a secret location outside Toowoomba).

When Tormented Force drew to a close, there was an almost intoxicating void of power. A sort of silence that does nothing else but highlight the sheer atrocity of the noise it followed. At the request of the VP, I bought a case of beer and brought it on ice to the feeding frenzy that followed. Our gracious hosts put on a phenomenal feed that left many rolling lazy-eyed, content from beer and hot meat. Australia had now had its first taste of Metal Militia. Our movement to bring back equipped lifting down under is gathering momentum as we leap from strength to strength. As I hinted at before, our next focus is our three lift, push/pull, and single lift meet 'Hells Gate,' which will be taking place in October at a secret location west of Brisbane. Our judging cadre will remain the same, and individuals will be able to utilise some of the best pieces of steel and iron, including the USA imported Squat, Bench, and Deadlift bars. Thank you, Brothers and Sisters, for reading. MM4L! Anderson Janes Australia Chapter Brother

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