Category Archives: Fitness

The Four Pillars of Individual Proficiency, Part Four

The Four Pillars of Individual Proficiency, Part Four.

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mixing conditioning with technique training

My buddy Paul over at Tactical Arnis has put together a little video showing how you can mix in body-weight exercises and resistance bands into your martial arts training to add in a little touch of that “gassed factor” quicker than having to do actual 5 minute rounds.

I did a post on mixing in burpees a while back for some additional information on the idea.

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more fitness with firearms

My previous post “helen get your gun” spoke about the possibilities of mixing CrossFit style workouts with firearms. I recently received a comment on that thread from Aaron over at Gator Crossfit. They have been doing this sort of training too and have been putting up some video:

I think it’s a concept with a lot of merit. The difficulty is in setting up your own range or finding ranges that will allow this sort of access to their property.

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helen get your gun

An interesting twist on exercise. Add guns!

If done safely and in the proper dosage I can see great advantage to a blend like this. Firearms accuracy and manipulation while under controlled, exercise induced fatigue could be an effective method of stress inoculation in advance of the “real thing”. I would tend towards looking for exercises that closely mimic actual combative motions vs kettlebell swings and push presses though. Sprints, burpees…perhaps some focus mitt/combative drills with a partner could mimic a foot chase, grappling and fighting with an opponent. Blend that with a safely designed and monitored firearms stage and you have some interesting possibilities.

 

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warrior fitness

Thanks to Warrior Depot for this vid:

If you are going to watch any of this video, watch the one leg “box jump” this guy does. I do a little plyometric work myself and let me tell you I don’t know if I will ever be able to do THAT! This dude is a machine. Special Op’s will do that to you I guess.

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one of those things that looks easier than it is

Before I became a Cop I used to watch the television show “Cops” and wonder why so many police officers were out of shape. I mean that guy who they were chasing jumped that fence like it wasn’t there and that cop could hardly make it over.

Well a few months after getting out of FTO my partner and I located a stolen car parked in a local housing complex and the chase was on! After sprinting 100 yds and  jumping two 6′ chainlinks I was bleeding all over and my legs were like rubber. After we caught these two guys I learned a few things.

The tops of most chainlink fences have sharp pieces of fence sticking up over the top-bar. I slashed both palms pretty good (no gloves) and sliced the back of a leg when going over. Left scars you will find on a lot of cops.

Second… running in boots, vest and duty gear is entirely different from “jogging”. The energy systems in your body that are tapped for sprinting and running with weight on you are different from the one that lets you run a 5K. I highly recommend training systems like Crossfit that emphasize stamina, power and sustained work output. By the time I caught up with my guy I was simply jogging and keeping him in sight. Fortunately my “wind” was better than his and he couldn’t keep up the pace. Luckily he decided not to fight because I pretty much just fell on the guy and got cuffs on him. My fitness goals changed immediately.

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fitness and fighting

Author: Staff Sgt. Scott Dunn Photo ID: 200599...
Image via Wikipedia

Something I come across time and again in martial arts forums is the debate over the importance of physical fitness and conditioning in martial training.

Some of the arguments center on the technique vs “muscle” issue. This is the “so an 80 yo person can’t be a proficient martial artist if they are not training like a MMA fighter?” tack. This person argues the “use their strength against them”…”it’s all about technique, not strength”…”a fight will be over in seconds”… “conditioning and self-defense are separate disciplines” party line. They believe that martial arts are more about leverage, target selection and technique than the individuals physical conditioning. You tend to see many “traditional arts” people in this camp, especially “non-sparring” arts.

In the other camp are the people who believe that a fit and strong person with martial training, perhaps not a “technician”, but with basic skills, will trump an out of shape fighter. Many people who think this practice the more “sporting” arts; MMA, Boxing, Thai etc.

Personally, I think that many of the people who “poo-poo” conditioning are perhaps looking to justify their lack of it. Or explain why they are not doing a conditioning program.  I think that it’s important for anybody who takes “combative training” seriously to be spending a significant portion of their training time on physical fitness. Yes, technique is important, but all physical activity will be faster, stronger and more efficient with a fitter body.

Granted, not all martial arts schools have the time or ability to condition their students AND train them in the art they practice. Some arts, simply based on what they do,  are a workout in themselves. But MANY arts do not present an opportunity for physical conditioning, as many practitioners stretching out the belly of their Gi’s can attest to. The “martial arts” as fitness sales gimmick is not always as advertised.

H2H fighting ability aside, I believe that fitness training is as much about developing “mental toughness” and “fighting spirit” as it is about the body. I wrote about this in a previous post called “Embrace the Suck“. If you are not pushing yourself past your limits in the dojo AND the gym, you are cheating yourself.

In addition, when it comes to the soldier, the LEO and anybody in a self-defense/survival scenario; there are MANY other physical tasks beyond fighting that need to be considered. Running from threats, chasing suspects, carrying packs, jumping fences, dragging/carrying wounded people and simply doing anything while wearing a ton of “guns n’ gear” require you to be physically fit. It also helps in avoiding injury while you are doing these things.

In closing, let me clarify that I AM NOT saying that if you are not as conditioned as a Olympic athlete that you are misguided in your training, but we can ALL focus on being as fit as we can for our age, our needs and our time allowed. Thats my opinion. What’s yours?

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