By Steve Rogers, 10/18/2012
Let's Go To The Video
Filming sessions help Arden Cogar Jr. improve as a lumberjack
The man fills the computer screen, hovering over a single buck saw, its teeth perched on top of the log. Suddenly, man and saw attack the log. The man's grunts and the woosh woosh of his breathing intertwine with zip zip of the saw ripping through the wood. Then, almost as suddenly as it began, it ends when the block lands on the floor with a thud.
Then the man walks toward the video camera, picks it up and shuts it off.
Immediately, the screen lights up again. The man is holding the single buck saw again, ready to attack the log again. Woosh, woosh. Zip, zip. Thud. Shut off the camera.
Again and again, the man and the saw fight through logs until the inevitable thud.
The man is Arden Cogar Jr., a veteran 25 years with the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series, and the video is just one of dozens of training and competition films he has posted on the popular websites YouTube and Facebook.
On another, he and training partners hold mini standing block chop competitions in a backyard. The others are given 5-, 10-, even 15-second head starts, but Cogar wins each time, using his axe to strike the log with equal parts strength, quickness and violence.
Other events, competitions, weight training - they're all there, dozens of YouTube videos for all to see.
Cogar, a civil defense trial attorney from West Hamlin, W.Va., said the videos are all part of his training regime.
"For those that haven't figured it out, I'm a bit obsessive compulsive with my training and I leave no stone unturned in my preparation for an event," Cogar said. "My approach to timbersports is no different than how I would prepare one of my cases for trial. Twelve to 15 weeks out, I ask myself, 'What needs to happen over the next 12 to 15 weeks in order for me to get the best result I can?' Then I make it happen. Start by building the foundation, then working my way toward the eventual goal."
These days, few can argue that Cogar isn't the current face of TIMBERSPORTS in the United States. In September, he placed fourth in the individual competition at the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series World Championship at Lillehammer, Norway. He was also a member of the United States relay team that took the silver medal in Norway and is a five-time U.S. champion.
He is also quick to do anything and everything he can to help TIMBERSPORTS progress and its athletes improve. Much of that, he said, is through the internet.
"Now, I put up the videos and seek input or questions on both Facebook and YouTube," he said. "It has led to a great deal of commentary, and I hope it has helped the sport."
Cogar, 42, said he was first introduced to YouTube in 2006 by his wife. Then he and others began posting videos, primarily competitions.
"Then I was introduced to Olympic weightlifting and my coach lived more than 10 hours away," he said. "I had no one-on-one coaching, so I would video tape my weightlifting training sessions then upload them to YouTube for him to comment on. Further, every so often, if something wasn't going right with my chopping or sawing, I would video tape some of my TIMBERSPORTS training to get some input from the watchful eyes of Mike Eash, Mike Slingerland and others who were willing to comment."
Then Brad Sorgen at STIHL USA asked Cogar to video tape his training leading up to the 2009 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS World Championships in Breinz, Switzerland. Cogar decided to tape and upload not only his weightlifting sessions, but his TIMBERSPORTS training sessions as well.
"Recording the sessions led to commentary from TIMBERSPORTS athletes, both young and old, from around the world, but primarily those who were looking to improve their own skills," Cogar said. "Soon, I was making instructional videos on specific issues asked for by numerous competitors."
And the videos have indeed had an impact on younger competitors. STIHL TIMBERSPORTS competitor Logan Scarborough, 24, of Polkton, N.C., said they are inspirational.
"I've been on YouTube. I've seen his workouts," Scarborough said. "They're pretty legendary. You can tell Arden really wants to do well in this sport and makes the necessary sacrifices."
Cogar said the improvement of everyone, including his competitors, helps not only the sport, but his own abilities as well.
"I always answer every question as I feel the true growth in one's abilities comes in telling others everything you know," Cogar said. "I know that may sound counterintuitive, but my goal with teaching someone is to teach them to best me in competition; if I do that, I must up my own efforts to stay on top. In the end, we all improve. The sport as a whole will be better as a result of this approach.
"It is my hope that this approach will keep me competitive with the young ones here in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. I refuse to go quietly into the sunset."