The Shieldsman

A story of four young boys growing up in the tower block of flats in Percy Main in North Shields. the story follows them through to adulthood through mischief and lost innocence, love, tragedy, and finally triumph. If you remember what it was like growing up as a child then this story is definitely one for you.


41. 41

“Now you listen to me John Kimber, let Joe be; he knows what he wants to do so don’t be getting’ on his back all the time do you hear me?

“Okay Sal’ I won’t.

I think you all forget that he’s only eleven years old.



Over the next five years Joe continued to train with Eric Sanderson until he won the Junior titles in middleweight class at the age of fourteen, now eighteen he had won a scholarship to Middlesex University who recognised his talent when he broke all the Universities records for The snatch, clean and jerk, and dead lift. The sent him to Michigan University in America where he trained with some of the best in the world. John Davis and Paul Anderson trained with Joe over the next two years. He had won the European championship gold medal and was now heavily tipped to take the gold.

Joe returned home for a short break after he tore a muscle in his wrist preparing for his Olympic debut.

His mother had saved every write up from the newspapers she looked at the ones that the Daily Mirror and Express ran eight years before he didn’t compete in the 1972 Olympics as he said he would, that was down to his American weight lifting coach Bob Takano a highly respected coach who taught his students about biomechanics, different attitudes towards fitness and how important eating the correct foods and protein drinks were to successful power lifting. He said that technique was the foundation to success. He ironed out common faults with the squat like a rounded back and insufficient depth. He devised exercises to develop good technique, like holding dumbbells in front of your chest lengthwise with your elbows pointing downwards. Sit between your feet keeping the chest out and to squat with your hip creases below your knee creases. Your torso should be forward to maintain your balance over your mid foot with no rounded back and staying very tight.

Bob also taught them about the importance of stretching before hand for at least thirty minutes using the Y-T-W method for warming up the upper body before competition. He also used kettle bell weights for what he termed waiter walking to replicate the snatch, and Jerk grips. This way the oblique and spinal erectors seemed to get more work. He even used a double Kettle bell weight to help the lifter lock out under load.

It also strengthened the wrists, engaged the lateral muscles and shoulder connectors.

It also avoided shoulder injuries by strengthening the rotator cuff.

Joe was more aware of how his body worked now than before. His massive frame could hardly fit in the doorway of his home.

He was six feet five inches tall and weighed fifteen stone; two hundred and ten pounds 110 kg .

He had a mixture of Geordie and American twang which endeared him to people.

He had no shortage of lady friends in the states.

But Joe being single minded kept his head out of the clouds and his feet firmly on the ground.

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