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• Last updated: October 5, 2020

A Peek at The Strenuous Life: October 2018

Vintage man blowing trumpet.

Last year we launched The Strenuous Life: an online/offline platform that’s like a scouting program for grown men. Each month, members receive 
The Strenuous Life Bugle, a newsletter that highlights what’s been going on at TSL. We thought AoM readers might enjoy a peek at it every now and then. If you’re interested in becoming a member yourself, sign up for updates here; the next enrollment opens in January.

Congratulations to Those Who Completed 52/52 Agons!

Logo of "Perfect 52/52 Agons Completion" displayed.

With another cohort of Classes passing the year mark of their membership, a select group of elite men have again succeeded in doing every single Agon for an entire year. Congratulations to the following members for this supremely strenuous accomplishment (I’ve included some members of Class 001 who were not included the last time this list was announced):

  • Jon F., Class 001
  • Zachary S., Class 001
  • DJ H., Class 001
  • Mike W., Class 001
  • Zachary L., Class 001
  • David H., Class 004
  • Justin H., Class 004
  • Dan D., Class 005
  • Jared M., Class 005
  • pirate4hire, Class 005
  • Ray B., Class 005
  • Matthew A., Class 005
  • John D., Class 006
  • JJ G., Class 006
  • Lachlan M., Class 006
  • Michael P., Class 006
  • Tyler M., Class 006
  • Chad M., Class 006
  • Brandon D., Class 006
  • Richard H., Class 006
  • Shane T., Class 006
  • Bill B., Class 007
  • Neil T., Class 007
  • Alex J., Class 008
  • Hobie F., Class 008
  • Thomas J., Class 008
  • Adan M., Class 010
  • Sidney K., Class 011
  • Stephen H., Class 011
  • Steven C., Class 011
  • Matthew W., Class 011

Geographic Group Meet-Ups

Here’s a look at some of the meet-ups that happened on September’s Strenuous Saturday (the third Saturday of every month):

New Jersey Meet-Up

Two young men smiling on a sunny day.

@tapcall and @rwpatterson met up to perform a fireman’s carry conditioning event that @tapcall hatched himself. It consisted of:

  • Warmup, short jog
  • 40yd fireman’s carry – 3x each
  • 3 min rest
  • 40yd fireman’s carry – 3x each
  • 4 min rest
  • 40yd fireman’s carry – 3x each
  • 6 min rest
  • 50yd fireman’s carry – 1x each
  • 100yd 100lb sandbag carry – 1x each

The men also practiced the ranger roll (a way of getting an unconscious or immobile person into a fireman’s carry) from a prone position, and got fairly decent at it. After their activities in the park they headed to a local burger joint for some tasty grub, refreshing seltzer, and engaging conversation.

Love the strenuosity of this meet-up, fellas! (And, @rwpatterson, that is a truly good-looking mustache.)

Denver, CO Meet-Up

Friends standing together on a wide field for a picture.

Denver members @taylor, @amalgam, @dan32, and @samuraiiamori hiked 7 miles at the North Table Mountain in Golden.

Sacramento, CA Meet-Up

Bussiness meeting being held in a bar for knotsmanship badge.

The TSL men of Sactown met up at the Hop Gardens tap room to enjoy some beers and work on the Knotsmanship Badge. They were able to work through all of the knot requirements during their 3.5 hour meet-up.

Props to @standaman7 who’s shown great leadership in planning meet-ups and welcoming new Sacramento members both online and off.

Springfield, MO Meet-Up

Springfield meet-up of colleagues.

Missourian members @jutt_jones, @thomasmurphy, @aj-lee2277, and @kadesandlin rucked/hiked a 5-mile loop at Busiek State Wilderness Park. The men spotted plenty of wildlife: snake, coyote, rabbit, lizard, and dozens of spiders blocking the trail. When their own four-legged companion got spooked in making a water crossing, she was carried across. The men also picked up trash and cleared debris along the way.

After the hike, the men practiced picking locks together, ticking off requirements for the Lock Picker Badge.

Austin, TX Meet-Up

Colleague's meet-up in Austin.

Austin, TX TSL-ers planned and executed an awesome, epic Strenuous Saturday. @themarkus, @prometheus, @pnewman7, and @jason-wilkes met at Weber’s Guns in Troy to shoot some skeet in the morning. Jason, who is on active duty in the Army, showed the others how to shoot, helping them complete many of the requirements for the Sharpshooter Badge.

Later that day, the men cut down and bucked trees with both axes and chainsaws, felling some requirements for the Lumberjack Badge.

After 3+ hours of lumberjacking, the men had built up a powerful thirst and hunger and grilled some steaks, which Jason’s wife Karlyn generously accompanied with some sides and suds. With their bellies full, the men retired to the back porch for some Old Fashioned cocktails and conversation, digging into military history and discussing whether the Spartans were truly a great military power, social hierarchies in East Asian cultures, and how historian Victor Davis Hanson’s The Western Way of War is codified in the military doctrine of Mission Command.

@themarkus writes: “Everyone came away glad for the opportunity to do badgework and spend some great time with like-minded men.”

Badge Work

Here’s a look at some of what our TSL members have been up to:

Summer camp held by a man for kids.

For the Community Service Badge, Belgian member @nassimj volunteered with the Red Cross, and @ahussain served as Camp Leader for his Scout group’s weekend-long camp. @rontrenum completed an online class in digital art for the Art Badge (for which he made this cool Hemingway portrait), and @blursch treaded water for 20 minutes with his clothes on for the Frogman Badge.

Two men posing with music instruments and boxing achievement respectively.

@batmangelo made a workbench (with this AoM instructional) for the Craftsman Badge. For the Music Badge, @jeff-more dusted off the banjo, an instrument he had been decent at playing, but had dropped 16 years ago: “After 10+ years of guilting myself to dust it off and start back up, TSL finally got me going.” For the Fighter Badge, @billphillips260 competed in a jiu-jitsu tournament; he’s been practicing jiu-jitsu for less than a year, is 55, figured he was one of the oldest guys there, and, had an absolute blast; @rphillier completed the Fighter Badge, saying:

“Such a great experience completing this badge. It’s given me a lot of confidence and I learned a lot too about defending myself and how to strike if the need ever arises. Thanks @brettmckay for putting this badge together. I would never have done this kind of thing otherwise. Of all the badges this is definitely one of the most challenging, stretching, and humbling.”

Great work, Rich — congrats!

Collection of pizza, man fixing his car, woods on fire, man writing on a paper and a metal box with a black material displayed.@kyledavis43 practiced holding his pen properly for the Penmanship Badge. For the Fire Builder Badge, @bedsheetghost made his own char cloth (while doing some related reading) and then used it to make a fire for his family. For the Gearhead Badge, @brianseattle changed all 8 spark plugs on his 1990 Silverado and said it was unexpectedly fun: “I never thought I would do this. Thanks TSL.” @trapshooter made homemade pizza (with 3 different homemade sauces) for the Kiss the Chef Badge.

Man whipped and fused frayed rope ends for the Knotsmanship Badge.

@joe-zimmerman whipped and fused frayed rope ends for the Knotsmanship Badge, @grimbart not only walked 50 miles in 20 hours, but did 62 miles (100km) in less than 24(!) for the Rough Rider Badge, and @bbryhall held a family meeting once a week for 8 weeks for the Pater Familias Badge; he reports on the experience:

“Just finished our 8th weekly family meeting. I am so glad for these meetings and coming across the idea while working on this Badge. I have three kids ages 10, 9, and almost 2. Our meetings are usually Sunday night prior to starting the week. It helps us all come together as a family prior to starting our busy week. During this 8-week process (that we will definitely continue weekly), we have had really good meetings and some that really required a lot of me. We have kids at different stages and I’m sure if someone was watching us would think it was comical trying to go over important information while trying to keep our 2-year-old out of everything and keeping my 9-year-old son with ADHD focused. I am seeing how important these meetings are for our family culture.”

For the sat oralist Badge, men put on formal clothes.

For the Satoralist Badge, @raymondfeliciano put together a sharp-as-heck outfit for a classical quartet benefit concert gala, @skooks shined all his shoes, and @franz had a garment tailored, making this report:

“On the left, a sad, dejected excuse for a man swimming in enough corduroy to earn the Frogman Badge. On the right, a gentleman who had a tailor bring the waist in, narrow the sleeves, and make him look like he knows what he’s doing.

This coat was a gift from a few Christmases ago, and it sat in the back of my closet. I had never had something tailored before, and this experience was so beneficial that I think I will gradually have my suits altered as well.”

Four different pages displayed.

Finally, a shoutout to @rahorst81 who likes to track his badge progress — as well as his weekly Agons — offline in a bullet/dot-grid-style journal; just some nice looking pages there.

Class Callouts

Class 027 finalized its motto/logo, designed by @rontrenum:

Logo of "Manus Fortis Audax Animus" being displayed.

@chaserchap, a member of Class 027, is working on the Penmanship Badge. Since the badge requires sending 3 handwritten letters to 3 friends/loved ones, he organized a Class pen-pal collective, pairing up the almost 20 guys who wanted to participate with two other members with whom to exchange letters. A really fun idea! Nothing better than getting some snail mail.

If you don’t already, follow The Strenuous Life ( on Instagram; you may see your badge work or meet-ups featured there!

Keep on living strenuously, everyone!

“Now let each man here look back in his life and think what it is that he is proud of in it — what part of it he is glad to hand on as a memory to his sons and daughters.

Is it his hours of ease? No, not a bit. It is the memory of his success, of his triumph, and the triumph and the success could only come through effort.

Is that not true? Let each one think for himself. Look back in your career, and if you have not got it in you to feel most proud of the time when you worked, I think but little of you.” —Theodore Roosevelt

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