Fit Defence – Douglas Graham

Is Fitness training important in Self Defence? I say yes of course it is. So let us discuss the how and why. We all realise that our cardiovascular performance can be handy for ‘taking it to the trenches’ but let’s face it. The trenches, is a place that few of us ever intend to take a fight. Not to mention that fighting is not the essence of self defence anyway. Conflict management is. So having an element of control over our body and mind is essential yes? Of course.

So how does Fitness training facilitate this process? Let me give you an example.

I was training a young client only a few days prior to writing this blog. We were doing a protocol where his strengths flourish. This lad is solid in structure, strong in body, driven. After a fantastic job on his second movement, exceeding my expectations. He broke down. He was shaking, feeling ill and I could see the energy draining from him. He had pushed himself right to his physical limit. But with excellent form the whole time. But, adrenaline struck hard.

Discomfort shows us we are pushing our limits. Pain shows us we are pushing our luck-

He was extremely uncomfortable. He had never experienced adrenal dump. So we took an extended recovery period to deal with it. To do this we exacted control over the body, using the mind. “YOU are in control” The mind can activate mechanisms in the body to regain control. In This case it was posture and breathing. Sound familiar to anyone?

Ideally we want to release the adrenaline gradually, for the best performance. Rather than saturate the blood with it. Now and again though, it is productive to take ourselves there. He simply pushed his limit and was able to recover then continue without any issue.

As with any reality training(and make no mistake that this is reality training. More real and grinding than a lot of ‘reality based’ self defence I see on the market) You have to push your limits. Body, mind, technique, beliefs. The young warrior learned much of this, in the space of five minutes. Adrenaline is your friend, but it can be your enemy. Physical stress with a functional application is an effective way to tap into this and learn to cope with it, especially on the physical level.

I have personally used my fitness training to supplement my SD for a long time. Mainly technique based, improving quick twitch etc. The stamina aspect is obvious enough. But far more significantly I believe, as do we all at the Art of Functional Movement, is that movement is universal. No matter what modality in which you choose to use it. As much as, if not more than any other part of us, our bio-mechanics have existed almost unchanged since our species came about. The applications are many but the core of functional and efficient human movement is the same. Lines, shapes and patterns.

Functional Fitness training will facilitate every aspect of your life once you see the simplicity of it all. Active core engagement during ‘fence’. The way a simple step turns a straight punch, into a curved one. The difference between squat and deadlift motions can be the difference between dodging a punch, and taking a knee to the head. It is all there. Hiding in plain sight. No secrets, no mysteries, just you and your training. If you can open your mind and apply it right, the world is your oyster full of pearls.

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So take care folks. Stay functional, stay safe.    

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