Fit To Fight
I spoke with a man today who wanted to attend classes, but said he was too old (55!) and out of shape to do anything but “target shoot”, and didn’t think he could take being "banged around". I asked him what he was expecting out of training and he replied, “to be a better shot”. He also admitted to already being a very good shot to begin with.
There is a myth prevalent in the shooting community that all the physicality one needs to win a fight is the ability to pull a trigger. This notion was professed by certain gun gurus who scoffed at, what they called, “the cult of the body”, as they sat on the couch and sipped their sixth scotch of the day.
Listen folks, if all you want to be is a "shooter" you probably don’t need any training at all. Just buy a little bit of ammo and go out and burn it until your accuracy makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over. Or better yet, go to an Olympic shooting coach and have him tune you up to put them all on top of each other at 25 yards. But don’t for one minute think that alone will help you at all in a real street fight.
If you are interested in winning an actual fight, then read on. Everything we teach is for fighting,
in other words - killing the other guy before he kills you - and only coincidentally has anything to do with shooting.
I think in many shooters there is a “laziness factor”, and an “ego-gratification factor”. Its easier to go to the range and fire controlled pairs between puffs of the cigarette and bites of the doughnuts. But I ask, how will that “shooter” do against a 25 year old powerlifter that grabs him by the collars and throws him against a brick wall? Or how will his "ticker" handle the alarm reaction when, and if, he is able to get his pistol out and he has to shoot for blood?
One of the preeminent concepts in our Combative Technique is the "complete arsenal". This means that the individual should have developed his physical abilities as far as his age and medical condition will allow. Now that doesn’t mean that you can say, “I am 45, and now I don’t have to do anything anymore because I am old”.
To the contrary, it means that as much as your true physical condition will allow, you need to keep up with your physicality now more than ever. Sure there are disparity of force issues, and if you have one of those at play, and it is extreme enough, you can shoot anyone you want to. But the reality of the fight is that you may not get that chance. Bad guys are not stupid.
Let me put something on the table for your consideration - if you are too out of breath to fight, or too weak to fight, or whatever, you will not do yourself, nor anyone else any good...least of all those for whom you are responsible. And before anyone starts reaching back for their canned “can’t” excuses I will bring out two gents as examples of guys who would be more justified than anyone in saying “I can’t”, who had it worse than many reading this, and yet managed the fight.
One was a man nicknamed “Geezer” (a regular at my online forum warriortalk.com until he was reassigned by the Lord a few years ago). This guy had bad legs, walked with a cane, and to top it all off had a pacemaker! Hardly the young, power lifting stalwart, yet he attended knife training, and multiple force on force classes. And he did very well I might add. He could not get off the X to, well, save his life. Yet he didn’t fall back on the “target shooter” mentality. He realized that he needed to
improvise with what he still had left. He devised and refined a way to use his cane as a distraction.
He would launch the cane at the target and a blink of an eye later, the same target would be peppered with bullets. He caused me a little concern one day when he launched his cane at a young lad working as his "aggressor" at a force on force class and nearly flattened him. He never complained about being old, frail, or weak, and would have taken offense at anyone even suggesting such a thing.
Another was a man that wanted to attend an AK class I was teaching. He advised that he had
"some issues", and sent me a short video of him shooting. He had only a couple of fingers between both hands and yet was running his 1911 45 very well in the first video. In the second video, he was working "shoot - reload - shoot" drills with an AK rifle. He wanted to know if he would be OK to come to class. After I got up from the floor, I called him and said, "Hell Yes!!"
The softest and least physical among you is probably in better physical shape than he is, yet he came to class and tested himself! So as far as I am concerned, excuses are just a substitute for laziness.
There is a third gent. This man is a good friend of mine, but he rarely trains. He is 7 years younger than I and weighs close to 300 pounds. He is a good man, a family man, and just had his third child and his first heart attack. He can shoot a one hole group with any of his handguns in slow fire, but just walking forward to tape targets winds him like a set of wind sprints. He is certainly not in the physical situation the previous other guys were in. There is no medical reason for him to be as he is. Heck, with his size, he could be an NFL animal that hardened convicts would cross the street to avoid!
What made him how he is? Self-indulgence, complacency, and lack of discipline. Can he protect anyone? Unless he is able to ambush an attacker without having to physically exert himself, the answer is no. No matter how good a shot he is.
And even if he were to prevail in the fight, will his body even be able to handle the adrenal dump of a life and death fight??
Does that describes you? Why would you choose that for yourself?? Set down the TV remote, throw out the doughnuts and cigarettes, get your rear-end out on the street and get to training...physical training. Start off slow...BUT START OFF!!
I think the most important issues are as follows:
1). Do something physical...every day.
2). Stay fresh on your exercises. Don’t push beyond what is reasonable
3). Variety rules. Run one day, lift weights the next, go for a hike the third day, swim on day four.
4). Cut the smokes, sweets, and the excess beer.
5). Depending on your age and physical conditioning, prioritize Anaerobic, Strength, and Aerobic training as needed.
6). Eat like a Warrior and not like Jabba The Hut.
Remember, the adversary, your enemy, who will administer your "final exam" on the street will not be some out of shape church administrator, or a pimple-faced 90 pound punk. He will be a capable criminal or terrorist, a warrior for evil who is training right now to kill you and your whole family.
Will you be up to the fight?