Why is our logo a monkey with a Samurai helmet?
Well I’ll tell you the truth about how the name Iron Monkey Strength came to be the name of my business. It’s a strange one, right? Usually gyms choose an animal that is ferocious or noble like a tiger or dragon. Well I was chatting with a friend at the Globo Gym I used to work at. I was telling him about how useful monkey bars can be to training and how upset I am that they’ve been eliminated from most playgrounds. This guy turned to me and said Iron Monkey should be the name of your gym -Shazam! The gears started to turn.
Now originally it was supposed to be Iron Monkey School of Strength. I chose to drop “School” from my title so I wouldn’t have to wait for approval of the use from the New York Department of Education. I just didn’t want to wait. So now I’m left with what I’m using today, and I love it!
Back to the logo. I hired this amazing graphic artist, Jason at Loop Designs (no not me), to work on the project. Originally, I had this dramatic image in my mind of a screeching monkey in a samurai helmet. After much discussion Jason talked me into toning it down to what it is today? We felt that the defiant and aggressive imagery of my original concept is cool but might be intimidating to some people, and turn some people off from wanting to come to my gym.
The symbolism of the Samurai helmet is not just for affect. It’s very intentional. I am heavily influenced by martial arts and tattoo culture. No, I’m not a martial artist. I have dabbled and I wouldn’t even call myself a hobbyist. I’ve studied some history, learned from a few really good teachers a variety of styles, and have many friends who really ARE martial artists. There is a warrior culture in martial arts.
“Wait”, you say, “are you a martial arts studio?”
Well, that depends a bit on your definitions and understanding of the history of physical culture. Across all cultures the shared techniques, systems, and purpose behind getting stronger and more powerful is martial. Historically speaking, the purpose was for combat -either for defense or conquest. I don’t want to digress too much, so we can save the history lesson for another blog, but if you look it up you will see that gymnasiums and strength are closely linked with war and the martial arts. So yes, I consider my gym a martial arts studio. Our martial art is that of getting stronger, powerful, and mobile.
Back to the symbolism. In tattoo symbolism the Samurai Helmet is often used as a symbol (Japanese tattoo) of the spirit of the warrior and of the code of Bushido. Now, now, let’s not get shit too twisted -we are not a school of Bushido, I’m not Japanese, and I do not train real Samurai. We do have 8 values that are based off of the 8 virtues of the Samurai. I say based on but it’s really more like influenced by. Here are our 8 values: Strength, Knowledge, Loyalty, Trust, Integrity, Kindness, Respect, and Temperance. I think if you look up the 8 virtues you’ll see how they are related, and again it can be a whole separate blog post to go into the meaning for us behind each value. The point is that I wanted to, on a subconscious level, symbolize this kind of culture.
Now there is some symbolism behind the choice of the monkey in the logo. The obvious is that we’re Iron Monkey Strength -so duh, it has to be a Monkey. But as I researched animal symbolism in cultural totems, zodiacs, and tattoo symbolism I realized it’s super relative. In general, the monkey is seen as bold, clever, mischievous, loyal, somewhat unpredictable animals. They are highly social, with very strong since of troop loyalty and care. That latter is most important as I founded Iron Monkey Strength with the idea of making culture and community a cornerstone of my business. What I have found to be most motivating to people is to belong to something that is bigger than themselves and to really feel like they’re a part of that.
I laugh sometimes because I really make a big fuss when someone confuses a monkey with an orangutan or a gorilla. Nope those are NOT monkeys. They are primates -but not monkeys and the qualities really matter! Another theme that runs through the way I run my gym and my training. Quality is VERY important.
So there you have it! The symbolism and reason behind the logo of Iron Monkey Strength. If you’re reading this as a student here or a staff member you can now wear the logo with a strong since of pride and understanding. If you’re just reading this for the fun of it -RAD. Now you know a little bit more about how Iron Monkey Strength is different from your typical gym or fitness center. It’s not the equipment or the facilities that make us special. It’s the culture.
Want to know more about becoming a part of the troop? Shoot me an email at [email protected] or you down load our app on the Play Store or Apple Apps Store, find us on Mindbody, or just stop by for a visit! Also check us out on Instagram @ironmonkeystrength and Facebook