Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Eric Milfield interview

For the third interview with characters from the Grip World can I introduce Eric Milfield.

Q: Hi Eric, Can I start by asking you to introduce yourself, where you’re from, how old, etc?

My wife, Sandy, and our three children have called Fort Worth, Texas home for the last seven of my forty years.

Photo: Eric in the Pikes.

Q: You’re well known in the grip world. Have you competed in other strength sports and to what level?
From the time I was fourteen until my late twenties I was an active drug-free powerlifter until a pectoral tear prompted me to limit my competitive outings to deadlift meets. Although I've competed in seven different weight classes I was most competitive in the 82.5 kilogram class, where I posted bests of 235k, 142.5k (raw), and 280k.

Q: As Grip World Magazine is aimed at all things grip - what does grip mean to you? What’s its place in training and so on?

Although grip is certainly a functional aspect of training for myriad sports, for me it's simply a fun and engaging passion I couldn't put down if I tried. With so many different disciplines and variations of disciplines, grip is incapable of boring. So, naturally, I train grip for the sake of grip. I love that progress is possible for an indefinite period of time, even for those advanced in years. My training is very goal oriented, with a focus on certifications and contest preparation. That's what I find to be fun. I thrive on always striving to get better.

Q: people are, and if they are not they should be, aware of you looking after some of the grip records list. What would you like to see happen, vis associations and so on with events etc?

Photo: Eric lifting heavy on the Euro pinch

Yes, I do keep "The Nailman's Top 20" bending lists for three different lengths of bar on the Gripboard, as well as the "Top 50 Euro Pinch" list. Statistics and records have always fascinated me, and keeping these lists has been enjoyable. I would very much like to see grip continue to grow in popularity world wide, and as it does so, perhaps other nations can join with the British in creating legitimate organizations. Ultimately, I'd love to see an international organization hosting a true annual world championship. I think that with grip being a relatively obscure sport unity is imperative, especially in our current state of infancy. Any degree of splintering could sink the whole ship. As a whole, I'm positive about the future of grip. Most every person I've had the pleasure of meeting in our unique sport has proven to be of honest character and good intentions. The wide array of grip events is a huge plus for the sport. And although I support the standardization of events for contest, having a wide selection of events from which to choose keeps the sport interesting, not unlike the sport of strongman.

Q: Of all of the feats, guys and gals doing them and so on what stands out in your mind? Feel free to name names or lifts and records - be they grip or from other Iron Game arenas?
I think Chad Woodall might be the toughest guy to beat right now in a well rounded contest of standard events, but the depth of grip talent is such that at least a dozen gripsters could have a shot of taking any contest. More than a few athletes could could lay claim to being the strongest at individual events, save bending. Gary Hunt, aka "Gazza", has established himself as untouchable when it comes to the unbraced bending of anything steel.

Q: what aspirations in grip do you have for the future? You can talk about them from a purely personal point of view or from the sport as a whole.
My short term goals include a competitive Euro Pinch of 230 pounds, a parallel set close of a #3.5 gripper, and pinching my two heavy 45 pound plates with each hand. I try avoid thinking too much about very long term goals. I've already touched a little on what I'd like for our sport, but I could add that more exposure and recognition would be good thing for grip. But if we gain all of these things and lose the camaraderie it would be a a real shame. The tight knit sense of community with all of the gripsters is very appealing to me. We have a great thing going. Let's all do our part to keep it this way as we continue to grow and develop.

Photo: Eric in hard training. Note ear ring seems to be a bent nail!!

Q: Before we sign off have your say – if there’s anything you’d like to add be it a message to the guys or what-have-you here’s your chance!
I could run out room attempting to list all the guys who have supported and inspired me over the years, but I'll mention a few names in no particular order: Greg Amidon, John Beatty, Jedd Johnson, John Eaton, Paul Knight, David Horne, Casey Emery, Greg Griffin, Weldon Stoggsdill, Chris Caffery, Aaron Corcorran, Clay Edgin, Mike Hadland, John McEneany, Jason Williams... there must be three times this number, so I'll apologize for all those whose names escaped me, and for the inevitable misspellings. And thank you, Steve, for giving me this opportunity to share a few thoughts, and for all you have done for our sport over the years.

My pleasure. SG

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