The Torture Chamber Manifesto
This article is a slight rewrite of one I published in 2016 for my old CrossFit gym to explain to members our mentality. Most of our members from that gym still hold these ideals today and still lead the fight against weakness.
Our Purpose is Pain: Why We Have a Scary Name
Most people know that the Torture Chamber name was inherited from my father who originated the Lifting Club in the early 80's. What you may not know, is what it actually represents. First of all, the name and the logo are meant as a warning. It is not our intention to scare off people away or give the impression that we enjoy inflicting physical pain for the sake of doing it. We do not. But we do acknowledge, accept, and take pride in the fact that what we do is painful. Anyone who has endured one of our Monday interval sessions understands this. We want people to know from the start that what we do is hard. It is painful. This is because we know what it takes to get results; it takes hard, miserable, painful work. We are called the Torture Chamber because we embrace the fact that anything of value in life is worth suffering for. Your faith, family, health, and happiness are inevitably what define you and all those things require a large amount of hard work and dedication (pain). We also believe that happiness is not found in the absence of pain. This is a key concept to understand about our gym and about life in general. There will always be pain. Life is a series of painful challenges and adversities. Happiness is found in the acceptance of that pain and through overcoming it. At the Torture Chamber we prepare for the pain of life through community and training. You enter our gym to inflict pain upon yourself, with the support of others who are willing to do the same. When the pain of life comes knocking, and it always will, you'll be ready to overcome it.
Our Mission and the War Against Weakness
Our mission statement is simple: eradicate weakness. To be clear, this has nothing to do with physical strength or athletic ability. For our purposes we define weakness as succumbing to pain and failure. This is drastically different from accepting pain and failure, because pain and failure are not only inevitable, but necessary to achieve our mission. As I stated earlier, there will always be pain. There will also always be failure. Neither should be feared, and both should be accepted and embraced. When we understand that pain and failure are necessary for the development of mental, spiritual, social, and physical strength, we start to overcome it. We are only weak when we succumb to our pain and failure. When we let it defeat us. Feeling sorry for yourself, making excuses, giving up, and blaming others are all forms of weakness. Pain and failure are simply parts of the process. Learn to enjoy them. Unfortunately, our society is currently plagued with weakness. Current culture embraces the idea that happiness is found in the absence of pain or through acquiring more stuff, money, status, or fame. New technology, social media, and the internet embrace the idea that we can get what we want, when we want it, with little effort or sacrifice. Society craves instant gratification and we glorify the prize more than the process of improvement. We hand out participation trophies in an attempt to dull the pain of failure when it is the pain and failure that makes us strong. The lost souls that embrace this mentality experience a false sense of happiness. They get joy from having more stuff, feeling more popular, or getting more "likes" and "re-tweets". Unfortunately this feeling quickly fades, they need more and more to feel happy. Eventually the true pain of life comes knocking at the door and their entire world is blown apart. We are fighting the plague and waging a war against weakness. Our gym's purpose is to help people overcome pain and suffering, both inside and outside the gym. We aim to fulfill that purpose by providing a community of people that share our ideals and commitment to our cause. You may come to our gym to lose some weight, look good in a bathing suit, be a little more healthy, or bump up that one rep max in the back squat; but that is not our purpose. Although these things are great, they are simply bi-products of the mission: eradicate weakness. Just as we accept pain and failure, we also accept that our mission will never be complete. This is the beauty of our cause. There will always be weakness to fight and pain to overcome. We do not dream of a future without pain, but look forward to another day in the fight. The Torture Chamber is not a business or a marketing scheme. To this day I have not profited a single cent from the Club, but put every cent I have ever made back into the cause. I do not even consider the Torture Chamber a gym or a physical place. The Torture Chamber is a mentality, a culture, and a community. When you live these ideas and support the people who share them, you become the Torture Chamber. Keep fighting the weakness. Stay slobby. Stu