April 30, 2005

10 responses to Week 18: Deads before dawn

  1. Kris Says:

    This entry is part of the backblogging effort to get Under the Bar back up to speed. It was written on 31 May. Three weeks of workouts still in queue. :-(

  2. Stinn Says:

    holy crap…that’s damn early, I can barely concentrate on walking at that time let alone deadlifting.

  3. Robert Says:

    Finns have the guts to do it! :)

  4. Måns Says:

    There’s a word for that in finnish: Sisu.
    It basically means everything of the following: not letting go, not giving up, sticking to it, being brave/gutsy, having the willpower to do something no-one in their right mind would be able to (like beating a little tiny country like Russia in the winter war). Those are mostly it. A quite encompassing word, isn’t it? :)

  5. Kris Says:

    Ah, another cultural twist. Sub-maximal deadlifting in the wee hours is nothing compared to the squat session I once did in February at Toffe’s Gym when I worked up to heavy squats in the light of a hurricane lantern in a severly sub-zero winter forest. Of course, I only had a vinyl barbell set back then and my full-squat max was around 60kg, but sisu all the same. ;-)
    I did a bit of surfing around on sisu on the web and noted that Wikipedia had an entry:

    Sisu is a Finnish concept that combines inner strength, determination, perseverance in the face of adversity, and a strong work ethic. There is no direct English translation, but the concept can be somewhat expressed as “tough as nails” or “hard-bitten”. To anthropologists, it is an appropriate invention for a cold northern land, fractured by thousands of lakes, and long under threat of being overwhelmed, militarily, linguistically and otherwise, by more powerful neighbours. Similar concepts exist among other cold-weather peoples, such as the Inuit and Chukchi.

    Due to its cultural significance, Sisu is a common element of brand names in Finland. For example, there are both Sisu trucks (http://www.sisuauto.com/en/summary.html) and Sisu vitamins (http://www.sisu.com).

    The term is commonly used in everyday speech to describe stoic toughness. For instance: Even after cutting his hand open and getting 12 stitches, he didn’t shed a tear. Wow! He’s got sisu! By analogy, the term has picked up new meanings. Depending on context, “sisu” can refer to spunk, attitude, self-confidence, etc.

    For a more mystical take see Poski’s Sisu page.

    End of culture lesson. Note to self: must wield sisu more efficiently in training or face grave embarrassement and the risk of the ultimate punishment: having to wear clothes in the sauna and not getting to roll around in the snow afterwards. No beer either. Yikes.

  6. Kris Says:

    Speaking of Sisu brand names, we should not forget the venerable Sisu pastil. Brings back warm memories of my grandfather who always used to carry some in his pocket.

  7. Stinn Says:

    you crazy finns…what do you have your own language now??? ;)
    That’s a very cool word btw.

  8. Måns Says:

    Yeah, man, and it’s brand new too!
    We’re so excited about our very own language (finally!), it ain’t even funny. :)

  9. Kris Says:

    Yeah, just hear how cool this conclusion from a paper on the origin of the Finnish language sounds:

    Finnish [..] has an eastern foundation and a western surface or, to take another metaphor, has its roots in the East and its branches in the West.

    That said, the truth is that all three of us (assuming Robert is the Robert I have e-mailed with) are Swedish speaking Finns and proud of it. We are more or less bilingual though and, since we do not feel any close affinity with Swedes but regard ourselves as Finns, most assuredly do have our full share of sisu.

    In this ongoing ad hoc series on Finnish culture, this brings us to another interesting concept in Swedish called Ankdammen (The Duck Pond). Since those who speak Swedish as their mother tongue only amount to about seven percent of the population in our beloved capital Helsinki, we all tend to know each other, if not personally at least through a friend’s friend. It is indeed uncanny how true this is. Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux and arguably one of the more famous Swedish-speaking Finns, made this concept known to the hacking world in his book Rebel Code (true to the point, I’ve never met him but I’ve come to know his sister professionally).

  10. Stinn Says:

    ;) I kid because I love!

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