Survival Fitness


October 30, 2012 by jervin2012

Are you fit enough to survive?  Many people are making preparations for ‘SHTF’ or other such interesting acronyms used to describe disaster situations.  To quote Jeff Cooper: “Owning a handgun doesn’t make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.”

We recommend the purchase of items such as military-type rifles and preparedness equipment by concerned citizens.  Now the painful question: are you physically fit enough to use this item as intended?  Unless your job pays you to be competent with that piece of equipment, the answer for all of us is “not competent enough.”  There is simply not time enough in the normal day to be able to practice your anticipated SHTF roles while wearing body armor, for example.  Body armor is excellent for stopping fragments but physically tiresome to wear for more than an hour or so at a time.  This example logically extends also to gas masks, BDU-type clothing worn in a warm environment, boots, backpacks and bouncing equipment that is worn on the body. How often do you actually wear what you own? Are you fit enough to compensate for this lack of practice, when the time comes?

Let’s take a look at a typical ‘fight’ using a Brazilian Ju Jitsu class as an example:

The person in the yellow shirt is the author, 32 years old and a Brazilian Ju Jitsu Blue belt under Royce Gracie.  My opponent has practiced BJJ for about 1/4 the time that I have, but he is able to give me a run for my money because of his excellent physical fitness.  Despite my experience, it was very difficult to break his guard and apply a submission choke: he showed up to fight and had the physical ability to do so.

Let’s look at the physical fitness requirements for a 32-36 year old man to graduate US Army Basic Training:

     26 pushups, 34 sit-ups, average 9 minute 24 second mile for two miles

Unintentionally, I meet the standards for pushups and sit-ups.  I run a 8 minute 30 second mile for two miles.  Despite my office-sitter lifestyle, I can maintain the bare minimum physical fitness for my age.  This is done by: eating almost everything I want, but going to BJJ class twice a week and running one day a week.  Some of us can hold their fitness longer with less effort, some of us cannot.  You can do much better with your fitness than I have been.

The ‘fight’ pictured in the video lasted over 5 minutes with both parties trying to incapactitate the other.  I had greater experience with this situation and a larger physical frame (for those fans of being ‘big’ guys) than my opponent but he was able to render me neutrally effective with his greater physical fitness and a suitable will to fight.  There are no guarantees that your opponent will not be physically more able to fight than you, so you must have a well-rounded physical fitness and be ready to fight at the appropriate time.

What to do?

Walking is good, jogging is great, running is best. Be careful with your body though, injury is possible through overuse.

The gym membership is free and its great for your strength.

Hold your rifle on target!
Try holding your rifle on a target, from standing, for as long as possible. Try to hold for longer times in following sessions.

Martial Arts!
All are good for exercise, but we recommend any kind of combat wrestling (Brazilian Ju Jitsu, Judo, Japanese Ju Jitsu) and knife fighting arts like Philippine Arnis and Silat. At extremely close range, knives beat guns and a good wrestler can be very impressive too.

Be humble, start improving.

2 thoughts on “Survival Fitness

  1. Tom Umland says:

    Yes, fitness is near paramount, however, mental toughness probably has a coincident edge. By this I mean being superman just won’t get you thru all that’s needed everytime. Seal training is an example of how they can be put together.
    But that brings up the question of how much is enough, how much is too much, and how do you keep it up when the fun isn’t there anymore.

    • jervin2012 says:

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. Nothing wrong with ‘beach muscles’ I guess, but when it’s time to slam the pedal down to the mat, things like cardio and mindset are at least the other 2/3 of the puzzle. Prior to my current BJJ gym, I went to a primarily MMA school which attracted a lot of the local ‘bad dudez’ who wanted to kick everyones ass with muscle strength alone. That was the guy who doesn’t want to believe that wrestling is an effective fighting skill and that muscles are enough. One guy was really throwing me around until I sprawled on him and threw a particularly viscous Peruvian Necktie .. and solid choked him out. 🙂

      Yes and the other part, that of motivation… how do you motivate yourself? The urge to prepare is in response to an apparently urgent threat .. but then we realize that things can be controlled to a large extent and postponed. Think of the people who totally disconnected from society and moved to the woods for Y2K. We will hear more of this in the coming days when people start driving back into town once the 2012 hysteria is over.

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