Marcin is one of the colourful personalities of Polish and international armwrestling, without him the sport would be sad like a funeral. He creates a fun and tense show out of all of his duels, he often argues with the referees and rivals. Sometimes you could suspect that he's the younger brother of the great tennis player Ilie Năstase...
How do they do it in Piaseczno?
At the 21st Polish Armwrestling Championships, Armfight Piaseczno took the fifth place in the general team ranking. For years it has placed in the top of the rakings. Let's get into details then!
A surprise of this year's Polish Championships was the second place (cat. 105 kg, left arm) by Boguś Zdanowski, an athlete who has recently started training with Armfight. His win over Jakub Janczy – a sportsman and trainer of the recently mentioned “Niedźwiedzie” - was so sensational that both of the competitors have arranged for a Vendetta. It was won by Boguś 4:2 and I will start my conversation with Marcin Lachowicz from this. Enjoy!
PeSzy: Marcin, can you say that an extraordinary “school of armwrestling” is taking place in your club?
Marcin Lachowicz: I'd say there's probably something to it. As far as I know, none of the Polish clubs has five “Strongest Men in Poland” on their teams... I'm incredibly happy and proud that for the past 17 years we have managed to “raise” so many phenomenal athletes.
PeSzy: What is the character of this club, this “school”?
Marcin Lachowicz: We try to help each other on the team, the knowledge we gather for years is shared to the new adepti. I think that it profits us a lot that even at the beginning of the journey the sportsmen don't make too many training mistakes and are therefore able to get better more quickly. We have many national and internatinal champions in the club. Watching them train along with a thoroughly training plan can actually be the key to success.
PeSzy: Tell me about the transfers. I'm asking mainly because of the spectacular transfer of Boguś Zdanowski.
Marcin Lachowicz: Every transfer is different so it's difficult to talk about a pattern. The mentioned Boguś Zdanowski has actually been coming over to our club for training long before he switched teams. Zloty Tur Gdynia was a club on paper for him; he moved to Warsaw so it was only natural for him to join the best club in the area. We've been working with Boguś for just a while, I'm trying to teach him a sort of philosophy which was met with many objections from him at the beginning. He kept tiring out his arms but I think that he's started to trust me a little already and saw that that's not the right way. This started to show by the table.
Grzesiek Grębski himself came up to me asking for help in preparations while declaring his will to join the club. Our collaboration is mostly based on consultations and my help for competitions but as can be seen from the tournaments, Grzesiek keeps progressing constantly and it makes me very happy.
The transfers of Świebodzin and Kościan were the result of a seminar that the guys have invited me to. They asked for help in preparations and declared a club switch. It resulted in the spectacular title of the Polish Champion taken by Waldek Neryng. I think that, over the years, the guys don't regret their decision at all.
Jasiu Żółciński, despite not showing up anywhere in our colors yet, simply reached out to me and said that he would lie to join us and practise his form with Alex and me. I think there's nothing more to add to it.
Of course these are not all of our sportsmen. Recently Maciek Bugajewski and a few other young athletes have also joined us. I won't elaborate on the other transfers anymore, though.
PeSzy: Can you, following this lead, risk stating a theory that Armfight – like once “a club in Warsaw” in football – takes ready athletes and “corrects” them but doesn't have its own juniors?
Marcin Lachowicz: I think this might be an unfortunate statement. Athletes who join us want to gain knowledge and train with the best. If they were “ready” competitors they would probably just train based on their own experiences.
The only “ready”, shaped athlete that joined us is Janek Żółciński, one of the most titled armwrestlers in Poland. All the other competitors that joined, despite their previous starts, had many holes in their techniques, therefore it's difficult to call them “ready”. When it comes to juniors, many of my alumni have taken gold at the Polish Championships or at the Poland Cup. I wouldn't worry about that!
PeSzy: So please, give me a review – the most titled men of the club, currently – alumni “from the beginning” or “received”
Marcin Lachowicz: I will try to go quickly and in order.
Zbyszek Chmielewski – the title of the Strongest in Poland with the weight of 78 kg. Multiple titles of the Champion of Poland. In our club since the establishment.
Wojtek Waleśko – the club's alumnus. Masters World Champion, multipe titles of the Champion of Poland.
Legendary Konstanty Królik – the club's alumnus. Grand Masters World Champion, multipe titles of the Champion of Poland.
Marcin Skalski – the club's alumnus, the title of the Strongest in Poland. Multiple titles of the Champion of Poland.
Marek Majak – the club's alumnus. Multipe titles of the Champion of Poland.
Michał Węglicki – after his debut in an amateur tournament he joined our club and is triumphing in it up to this date. The title of the Strongest in Poland. Multipe titles of the Champion of Poland, silver in the World Cup.
Alex Kurdecha – multiple titles of the Strongest in Poland. Multipe titles of the Champion of Poland, medalist of the World Cup, finalist of TOP8. One competition as a member of Zloty Tur, it was only a formal membership.
Jan Żółciński – mentioned previously.
Of course I could enumerate many of my titled sportsmen but I think that this group portrays a good enough image of the potential of my athletes.
PeSzy: It looks like most of Piaseczno's sportsmen are in heavy categories. Is it just the appearance?
Marcin Lachowicz: It just turned this way that we have many athletes in the superheavy categories. What is the cause of this, I don't know.
PeSzy: A key question to the Trainer. Alex Kurdecha – I think you're the one who contributed the most to his success. How do you feel about your role in training this competitor?
Marcin Lachowicz: Working with Alex is tough: we have been treining together for years and he's never done all of the exercises I've asked him to do. Alex is a very self-aware and intelligent athlete. I gave him the “core” of an armwrestler, modifying exercises for him, eliminating his weaknesses. With time he worked out his own style, however. This is why some of the exercises that he likes, he does like me. And those that he doesn't like – he modifies with his own ideas. He always mentions that he feels more confident with me on his side in the figths. Therefore, I offer him my help and 19 years of experience as an athlete and trainer.
PeSzy: Can we already say that you have your own “school”, “method”? Tell us as much as you can, what is it like?
Marcin Lachowicz: A while back my “school” was based on very heavy training that only the strongest, physically and mentally, could take. Perhaps this is where the “Dr Mengele” nickname originated. Now it's mostly just a compound of knowledge that all of our masters own and share with the newbies. In armwrestling, more doesn't mean better, but you need time to understand it.
PeSzy: The group atmosphere... I know, I saw the great team taht you make. But most of the teams are great friends so it doesn't seem to be the key.
Marcin Lachowicz: What can I say... I'm not the one to judge but I think nowhere in Poland is there as much humor per kilogram of weight!
PeSzy: Mr Trainer! How precise and careful is your “trainer's eye”?
Marcin Lachowicz: My role during training is sharing knowledge and correcting mistakes that automatically occur even with titled competitors. And whether it's precise or careful is unfortunately not a question for me to answer.
PeSzy: Can you say with 100 percent confidence, by looking at an athlete, that “this will be a Master” or do you sometimes misjudge?
Marcin Lachowicz: I wouldn't dare to say that someone will become a Master with 100% confidence. My club has seen hundreds of athleres who often had phenomenal predispositions to become future champions. What they didn't have was the mentality and persistance. I can surely say whether someone has predispositions when I hold their hand and watch how quickly they acquire knowledge that I give them. To call them a future champion – there's still a long way to go.
PeSzy: Did it happen at any time that you told a sportsman: “Nothing will become of you, go play chess”?
Marcin Lachowicz: It has never happened. Many athletes have trained in my club and I knew they would reach a certain level that will be difficult to progress above. However, each and every one of them had the chance to train and enjoy what they like to do and what satisfies them.
PeSzy: At last, a question about your female competitors. There isn't many of them...
Marcin Lachowicz: Our club is represented by Katarzyna Martellacci who took 4 golds at the last Polish Championships (cat. Masters and Senior). Kasia is trained by our World Champion Wojtek Waleśko. I only give her advice and suggestions sometimes, about what can be improved about the trainings. As you can see, we have only one sportswoman but a top-tier one.
PeSzy: I will modestly add that I was the one who “discovered” Katarzyna a while back at an amateur tournament.
LINK Marcin, thank you for the conversation, I wish you and your club success, health and humor that you're already well-known for.
Marcin Lachowicz: Thank you, greetings to all geeks of our sport!