Chris "Wonder" Schoeck, a recovering alcoholic from Queens, New York, said he manages the various mental issues that he has by bending steel. Schoeck strives to be a strongman, just like the entertainers from the vaudeville era who were famous for bending metal.
Schoeck performed at the conference. He appeared to bend a 6-inch spike in half, rip an entire deck of cards, contort a horseshoe and bend a structural steel bar. Bending steel requires "the ultimate embodiment of concentration" that is "almost therapeutic," according to Schoeck.
"Bending steel gives me a very personal sense of self-esteem that is not even comparable to an alcohol-induced sense of euphoria," he said.
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Extra from the feature length documentary "Bending Steel." Chris struggles at his first attempt to break a chain with lung expansion. This is an extended outtake from the film.
Chris (Wonder) Schoeck, 47, a personal trainer at Manhattan’s Equinox Gym who began bending steel five years ago, much in the manner of turn-of-the-century strong men at Coney Island, performed before a crowd of about 70 at the Hampton Classic last Thursday afternoon.
Schoeck, who’s only 155 pounds (his mentor weighed considerably more) and who recently set a world record for bending a three-eighth-inch-thick, 30-inch-long, 13/4-inch-wide steel bar, had ready volunteers among the children who were looking on.
“I don’t know how he does it,” 13-year-old Joseph Misa said after he and his cousin, Arianna Roye, who’s also 13, tried to budge a three-eighth-inch-thick, 17-inch-long, 2-inch-wide steel bar.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, audiences from around the country were wowed by the feats of strength exhibited by men who were part of an old-time tradition. Called strongmen, they were a major attraction at places such as Coney Island less than 100 years ago.
Today, the traditional exhibition of men bending steel or ripping decks of cards in half is a rare pageant, but Queens is home to one of the men trying to revive the vaudeville era sport: Chris “Wonder” Schoeck, 47, of Astoria.
A conversation with the Douglaston native and personal trainer can easily expose his social anxiety, which brings to question how he has been able to exhibit his strength in front of a crowd.
Chris "Wonder" Schoeck performs his strongman routine at Havana Puff Cigar Lounge's three year anniversary party. Chris brought along a new member to the strongman fraternity Alan Arnson. Both Chris "Wonder" Schoeck and Alana Arnson demonstrated feats of strength reminiscent of the old time strongman of a bygone era.
When M&F uses the term “strongman,” it typically refers to a large, burly man who pulls trucks, does atlas stone carries, yoke carries and other events that are featured in international competitions. Chris "Wonder" Shoeck is a little different. He's an “old-time strongman," a dude not known for physical stature but for circus-like strength performances such as bending steel bars and ripping phone books. The 5’7” 155-pound New York natvie has been a personal trainer for 18 years but the recent buzz surrounding his performance in the documentary film “Bending Steel” has fueled a will to be a full-time old-time strongman. Bending Steel follows Shoeck as he develops mental and physical strength to bend a steel bar that’s 30 inches long, two inches wide and 3/8 inches at New York’s historic Coney Island. M&F recently spoke with the “Super Bender” to talk how he trains to bend thick ass steels bars and how he get involved with the art that is old-time strongman. [...]
Professional strongman Chris “Wonder” Schoeck stopped by Mashable to teach non-strongmen (and women) how to bend nails and tear a deck of playing cards in half. Sounds easy, right? Well, we clearly need to start training if we are to impress our friends with feats of super-human strength.
Shoeck’s personal quest to become a professional Oldetime Strongman is chronicled in a documentary titled Bending Steel, in which he bends and tears more than just phone books, nails and playing cards.
Chris Schoeck is only five-foot-seven and 155 pounds but through power and determination. He performs amazing feats of strength with just his bare hands.
The New York native’s journey to becoming an old-time strongman is documented in the new film “Bending Steel.”