Gotch bible conditioning program

My only disappointment is the strong reliance on gimmicks. I am at a disadvantage because I don’t dye my hair, I don’t wear elaborate costumes, and I don’t have any funny names for the holds I use. My only gimmick is knowledge of wrestling.

Karl Gotch

Karl Gotch (August 3, 1924 – July 28, 2007) is a famous wrestler who achieved notoriety in Japan. Karl Gotch helped build combat sports like Mixed Martial Arts and wrestling into the mainstream entertainment we consume today. Without men like Gotch, combat sports would be viewed as barbaric. Not only was Gotch an entertainment wrestler, he also made a run in the olympics.

In japan, Gotch’s nickname was Kamisama, which translates into God of Wrestling. The world forgot Gotch’s fame, except for a select view who remember Japanese wrestling during Kamisama’s time, or sub-cultures of wrestlers who couldn’t fill a middle school gymnasium.

It’s unfortunate that Gotch does not get more recognition. Not only was Gotch an icon in professional sports, but also, a pioneer of strength and conditioning.

Gotch believed strength training isn’t for wrestlers – calisthenics is for wrestlers.

Movements using your body, instead of a barbell. His training included body-weight exercises and explosive movements, most of which Gotch learned from wrestlers from India; they follow the Pehlwani wrestling style. His favorite techniques were Hindu squats, 1/2 moon push-ups, and Hindu push-ups.

Karl Gotch’s training is too challenging for normal people. His training methods appeal to the insane, the dedicated, or the professional.

Gotch’s most notable training method, The Gotch Bible, uses a deck of cards to structure calisthenic training. Anyone can learn The Gotch Bible and adapt it to their fitness goals.

The Gotch Bible

karl gotch bible
Karl Gotch; right

You can do the Gotch Bible anywhere. You only need a deck of cards

Begin by shuffling a deck of cards.

Keep the Jokers. If you don’t have Jokers, that’s fine. Every suit has a different calisthenic movement associated with it – key below.

Card Values

  • Spades: Hindu Squats
  • Clubs: Jump Squats
  • Diamond: Hindu Push-ups
  • Hearts: 1/2 Moon Push-ups
  • Joker 1: 40 Hindu Squats
  • Joker 2: 20 1/2 Moon Push-ups

Color Values

  • Black: Double the face value of the card in reps.
  • Red: Face value reps.

*Draw a 8 of Spades, do 16 Hindu Squats.

*Draw a 7 of Hearts, do 7 1/2 Moon Push-ups

Movement Tutorials

After you finish a full deck, you’re done.

Creating your own Gotch Bible

The Gotch Bible is a template for training & conditioning. You can make tweaks and create your own routines.

Using Evernote or pen and paper, create multiple keys for different exercises using the 4 suits of a deck. Use Jokers as wild cards or discard them.

Keep a travel deck in your backpack or airplane bag with a folded piece of paper in your card deck with a few different Gotch Bible routines.

Below are some examples you can use. Try creating your own Gotch Bible’s too.

Legs Bible

  • Spades: Hindu Squats
  • Clubs: Lunges
  • Diamonds: Burpees
  • Hearts: Jump Squats
  • Jokers: Repeat the last exercise for 20 reps.

Upper Body Bible

  • Spades: Diamond Push-ups
  • Clubs: Dive Push-ups
  • Diamonds: Hindu Push-ups
  • Hearts:  1/2 Moon Push-ups
  • Jokers: Repeat the last exercise for 20 reps.

Kettlebell Bible

Requires a kettlebell.

  • Spades: Kettlebell swings
  • Clubs: Kettlebell walking lunges
  • Diamonds: Kettlebell presses
  • Hearts: Turkish stand-up
  • Jokers: Repeat the last exercise for 20 reps.

Using Jokers as a repeat-last-reps card, keeps training simple. When your program becomes complex, you spend more time reviewing your notes than training.

Adjusting Deck Size

You don’t have to use a full deck. You can try starting with a half-deck size. Cut the deck like you’re shuffling cards, then pick which pile looks bigger and get to work.

Using the Gotch Method

Wake up, run your morning routine, and draw ten cards. Exercising in the morning helps wake your brain up.

If you’re working on a difficult task, and nothing is coming together, draw a few cards. Changing from a mental exercise to a physical exercise reinvigorates your mind when you return to work.

The Gotch Bible. 




  1. Awesome, I’m starting this today! Also super glad I found this website. So much better than any of the “mainstream” mens health publications.

    • Thank you Blake. That is the mission. We are working on a free, forever philosophy for men based on the greatest philosophies of the past and minds of the present. We’ll use the blog to share useful content for men and bring people to the philosophy. We are so excited to share it with you.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here