I’m quite confident that the majority of the readers of this article are serious about being a
competent, successful warrior. If that is our end goal, how will we know when we have arrived at some level of competency? What does a warrior look like? How does he think and train? What are his attributes
I’m going to approach this topic based on two different events that took place in my life over the
last three weeks. The first of these events was a trip that I went on to Colorado Springs. While on this trip I made it a point to observe and study men. I was trying to detect the warriors around me. I noted their size, build, fitness level and their awareness of life around them.
Huge! There are some truly immense men roaming the planet. The men I’m referring to had
large to massive chests, arms and shoulders. This size was forged by hours in the gym, lots of reps and lots of weight. Not every one of these guys had ripped abs but looked very powerful. In
fact one of these men was one of America’s last great strong men, Bill Kazmier.
He was at the Pittsburgh Airport and signed an autograph for my kids! (right). The question is does all of that weight room strength make them successful warriors? I suspect that some go to the weight room for that very reason, but for others merely being strong does not translate into a
better fighter. I thank it can actually detract from certain kinds of fighting attributes. A heavily muscled frame will in some way affect quickness and stamina. I’m well aware that genetics play a major role in this. I encourage you muscled monsters out there to train smart. Be sure to get combat stamina training as a steady part of your weekly routine. Keep potential physical liabilities in mind and work to mitigate them. One advantage that a bigger warrior has is the strength and frame to carry a larger caliber handgun. More bullets and bigger bullets is a great
advantage. You should also think strategically if you tangle with a smaller, possibly more agile tango. Don’t lunge, don’t chase and attempt to make him come to you so you can get a grip on the situation. Be efficient. Combat efficiency is using the least amount of time, space and energy to defeat your opponent.
Alright let’s swing the pendulum the other way. We leave the world of Bill Kazmier and enter the world of Bruce Lee. Bill probably weighed in excess of 300 pounds and Bruce weighed
approximately 133 pounds. These men can often “go all day” and seem to possess limitless energy. Wiry, not broad, shredded not massive. Systema practicing Russians speak of tendon
strength and train with almost anything but traditional weights. Some use the kettle bells but that is often more about movements than reps... These smaller warriors often possess more agility and quickness. I’m always envious of the guys that compete in the “ninja” competitions on TV. They
can run, jump, roll and climb with great prowess. Does agility always translate into fighting
ability? No more than strength does. One can move well but not possess the ability to end a fight. These men must also train and fight smart. Work at your strength without diminishing your speed.
Don’t wade into bigger opponents. Create openings in his defense with movement and deception. Think of “hit and run” and ambush as your friends. Your pistol might be an officer’s
model instead of the full 1911.
I personally ended up somewhere in the middle. 5’10” and 195 pounds. I don’t bench even 300 pounds and I never entered a ninja competition. I work with kettle bells, run, lift some and play basketball. I even try yoga and Russian joint exercise. Some of the keys for success for all of us are as follows:
- No matter large or small you must actually fight. Spar & wrestle, punch and get punched, kick and get kicked. Get on the ground and fight. There is no substitute for this. It builds combat fitness, technique, ability and confidence.
- You must shoot and shot at. There is no substitute for airsoft training. You must square off against a living opponent that wants to beat you to the shot. My first ever course with Gabe had me moving
much faster and more dynamically because it hurt a lot if I didn’t!
- You must train smart. Do not injure yourself. I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way. I’ve had 4 shoulder surgeries as a result of my training that profited me nothing at all. You get one body… take care of it. Train hard, train smart, train for combat.
- I want to add one more airport observation. So many men and women walk around with their head buried in their phone. I don’t think I need to explain the effects of this on your situational awareness. Be alert, aware and observant.
The second event that I want to relay to you is this. I was working security for a friend and I met a guy who was in the SEAL teams for 10 years and has also trained very extensively in an art called Hapkido. He relayed some of his life’s experiences to me and also how he trains. When he was
done I felt exposed and inferior. After I talked myself down off the wall, I determined to be better and work harder than before.