Some of you out there that have seen my first video may recall my humble beginnings.
I was born June 8, 1959 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas to Walter and Ogie Rea Fletcher. At the time my father was a field worker ( & a veteran of the Korean War) and my mother was a teenage housewife.
About a year after I was born, our family moved to Watts, CA and then to Compton where I grew up. Needless to say, it was a tough neighborhood and even tougher growing up the son of a preacher man. My father started preaching in a 4-car garage when I was in grade school. By the time I was in Jr. High, we moved to Lakewood, CA and my father purchased his own church. My mother, my big brother Walt, and I were the choir.
Speaking of my mother, it was from her example that I derived, “It’s Still Yo Mutha Fuckin Set!” In contrast she was the most beautiful, loving, God-fearing woman I have ever known. Suffice it to say she would blush to know that she inspired such a mantra.
Strict is too subtle a word to describe the discipline required in our upbringing, spanking is too gentle a word to describe the physical abuse my older brother and I had to endure. The extreme discipline and the severe physical abuse was our way of life, it was all I knew…
When I was 12 years old I got a job at a gas station, pumping gas, just to get out of the house and away from my father’s abuse, but he made me quit that job so that I could be at church instead.
Fast forward to 1977 and me turning 18 years old and finally breaking the chains that bound me! I immediately joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany. My high school sweetheart and I were married soon thereafter and very soon after that we were blessed with children of our own.
In 1977, while in Germany, I became extremely interested in martial arts. I started to take Karate and in 1979, I earned a second degree black belt! Bruce Lee had become one of my favorite idols, second only to “The Greatest,” Mohammed Ali!!!!
After the Army and return home, I occupied a couple of different jobs. I eventually took the test for the U.S. Postal Service, where I was soon hired.
In the early 1980’s, I experienced a huge turning point in my life! I became enthralled with weightlifting! I found myself working out at the gym 7 days a week. Weightlifting had become my PASSION!!! Outside of my family, weightlifting was my life.
My initial pursuit was to train as a bodybuilder. I wanted to be the most cut, drug-free Mutha Fucka there was! As my physique developed, I entered and placed in various bodybuilding competitions.
In the mid 1980’s, my attention shifted focus again! This time is was POWERLIFTING!!! My goal was to be the biggest, strongest, baddest, drug-free Mutha Fucka to ever walk this planet.
By the early 1990’s my marriage ended…but wait! I met and married a woman who worked in the same Post Office as I and in 1995; we had our youngest child, Samson! Altogether my new wife and I had 7 children and 1 grandbaby. I am proud to say that I raised them all and now they are all wonderful, successful adults.
Getting back to my goal of accomplishing becoming the strongest Mutha Fucka without steroids, I had to eat myself into oblivion. My diet consisted mostly of my favorite fast food. My wife and I worked different shifts; I therefore ate what I wanted, when I wanted. In the meantime I had entered and won in several powerlifting competitions and had established a substantial reputation in this arena
You can imagine that consuming endless mass quantities of fast food eventually affected my health. It was not long before I was a frequent patient to the clinic and hospitals. My doctors warned me that continuing this bad diet would seriously affect the hypertension that I had already developed. At the time I did not care and I did not mind as long as the list of powerlifting accolades continued to grow as I did.
In 2001, I got my first serious wake-up call. My doctor informed me that my hypertension was actually life threatening. It had become exacerbated by my work conditions and had now taken its toll on my heart. I was deemed totally disabled. At age 42!!!!
In 2004, I got my next devastating blow. On May 26, 2004, I suffered the loss of my mother. She was and will always be my beacon of hope, my pillar of strength. She passed away on her kitchen floor while preparing breakfast for my father. My mother suffered many of her last years from congestive heart failure. However to her last day, to her last hour, to her final seconds of life she remained committed to her life’s choice. It was her decision to put aside adversity and always be what she perceived to be the best wife she could be. It is through her unwavering example I believe, “It’s Still Yo Mutha Fuckin Set!”
The following year, in 2005, my health took an absolute turn for the worst. I was admitted to the Long Beach VA Hospital, Critical Care Unit. On May 26, 2005 via ambulance, I was transported from the VA to UCI Medical Center for emergency open heart surgery. The Chief of Cardiac Surgery and his staff were waiting for me at the door. After a few words with my wife, I was whisked away to the operating room.
Thankfully, these years later I have lived to tell, however I found out later from one of the doctors that I had actually flat-lined 3 times during the procedure. Though I survived the procedure, I was not out of the woods. I suffered long lasting affects after the procedure which required months of further hospitalization. I was weak, there were no muscles to be found on what felt like the shell of a body.
After finally being released from the hospital, I found more suffering was to be realized. I had to have I.V.’s administered at home, my breathing was labored, and most of all I could not, for the life of me find a comfortable position. I stayed awake many an agonizing night, only to find myself in a fetal position, on the floor in the morning.
You may guess that I asked, why? Why DO I HAVE TO GO THROUGH SUCH A TORTUROUS, HUMBLING EXPERIENCE????
Well, the great thing about my suffering is that it ended and I survived! I looked in the mirror and my muscles had all but disappeared. I could pity myself and stay that way; or I could regain what I once had. In any event I figured God had a plan for me.
The years that followed I was actually able to lift some decent weight. Realizing I was given a second chance, I adapted a healthy lifestyle. I resigned to the fact that my powerlifting days were done. The records of my accomplishments were in the books and I returned to my first weightlifting endeavor and re-immersed myself into bodybuilding.
I was blessed to compete in bodybuilding again and was blessed even more with a title here and there.
The bottom line is I did not give up on my gift of life. I decided to live and pursue happiness and fulfillment of my aspirations. Along the way I have been able to convey this same passion to others. I find joy in my experience with others, as they discover what they already possess!
Today’s social media is an amazing fuckin thing!!! Through the miracle of it, I have been able to tell my story. It’s incredible how we are all so fuckin connected! This is true in more ways than one. I continue to tell my story and shed insight with others who actually are interested in my opinion or advice. I am happy to help. In return I receive thousands of kind messages and letters from people all over the world about how I have made a positive difference in their lives! IMAGINE THAT???? HUMILITY does not even begin to scratch the surface.
Me? An old guy infatuated with weights, as it was and continues to be my instrument to transform and in some cases reinvent myself!
Ultimately, I say follow your dreams, reach those “unattainable” goals, but also use your instincts and do not sacrifice your health!!! Your body is a gift from God, your temple! In most cases we as human beings have full control of how we choose to sculpt our bodies. Do not take it for granted, we only get one! If you want to accomplish a physical task or condition, it is up to YOU (and the Good Lord willing). You will no doubt encounter obstacles, but bear in mind, “It’s Still Yo Mutha Fuckin Set!”
It’s now 2015…to All You Iron Addicts: Iron Addicts Gym, in Signal Hill, CA is about to open its doors!!! This is my first gym of I hope many more to come! I hope to see you all in Signal Hill!!!!