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Self Defense Law

Train to be Combat Ready

Working out to be a good street fighter requires different approach to the training than the one a professional bodybuilder would choose, although many people still think it is one and the same. Let’s analyze our goals here and then determine what kind of physical training we, as street fighters, really need.

When I was younger, all my training consisted of lifting dumbbells and aiming for big biceps. I wanted to look like Sylvester Stallone and fight like Rocky Balboa. Have all that lean muscle on me, fly like a butterfly and destroy every opponent in the second match after they kicked my balls in the first and reminded me how easy minded I am.

The years have passed and now I still want to be like Sylvester Stallone - I mean look at the guy – to look like big Sly at his age? Wow!

But, what actually changed is my outlook on the training I was going through. Every bouncer in the gym was lifting to be bigger than the other one and everyone there was watching their monstrous heavy weight trainings and wanted to be like them, but to me … it didn’t feel right.

Then I have seen all the heavy weight boxers and MMA fighters training to get ready for their fights and I thought – why the hell are they not lifting like all the bouncers and bodybuilders do in my home town gym do?

I started studying this more and started to talk with people. I decided to become combat ready not by becoming the largest monster under the sun, but by being smart about it and adapt my workouts accordingly.

For example like this:

Elliot Hulse was actually one of the sources that made me sure there is another way, and exactly as he said - you have to become strong and powerful to create a foundation, which gives you an ability to crush and do some damage. Next, you have to add high intensity training that’ll take you to your stamina limits in order to stimuli your nervous system from a different angle and improve your speed, reactions and stamina level.

When you think about what your workout goal actually is, you will start to understand Elliot’s Ox and Cat metaphor.

Training for the “Fight of your Life”

When responding to the life-or-death situation, your adrenaline and heart rate will most likely be at the levels you have never experience before and your body will behave in a ways not yet known to you.

Chances are, you’ll lose your peripheral vision and even your hearing. Most of your blood will leave your limbs to support important organs like brain and heart, so your skin will turn white and it will become even harder to move as without blood it is a bit harder to recruit muscles (especially for explosive and dynamic work). At some point, your body may even start emptying stuff it doesn’t need and that is when people start vomiting, peeing and shitting their pants.

AND … under such a high pressure situation you would have to perform on TOP OF YOUR SKILL, because it might be your life or life of your loved ones that is in peril. And when I say ON TOP, I mean for the whole time you fight.

That is for example the biggest difference between fight in a ring, where you prepare for the fight that may last for couple rounds under certain level of stress, and a fight against a kidnapper or an armed robber, where you might be fighting for your life; boiled by enormous dozes of adrenaline and stress, which drain your energy supplies way sooner than a supervised sporting match.

Again - beside the professional fighter who has to deliver a reasonable performance strategically distributed over a period of time spent in the ring, a regular person’s performance would be an absolute opposite.

Someone fighting for their life, trying to survive and escape wouldn’t need to train for fight lasting half an hour, but rather for a twenty seconds fight. Delivering extreme maximum performance under enormous stress, in regular clothes and all sorts of obstacles around.

That is also why we learn to “disappear” a person as fast and as effectively as possible, because that maximum may even last for only like 15 to 10 seconds … which is really not that long, if you imagine fighting more than one guy, while still protecting your kid or girlfriend.

Can heavy lifting really prepare you for all that?

Becoming combat ready

As Elliot said in the first video – become really strong and really fast. Improve your flexibility, reflexes, body-preparedness and dramatically increase your stamina levels.

Strong not only in terms of lifting things as the push and pull might be good for you when you want to push your opponent away, arm drag or lift him up; but also in terms of throwing stuff, resisting pressure and sudden impact, having a crushing grip, jumping, changing positions, strong punching and kicking, executing strong explosive movement from unbalanced positions, body conditioning… etc. FUNCTIONALLY STRONG!

Fast and flexible as for the fast movement, fast reflexes and sudden movement changes, full range of motion, recruiting muscles effectively in dangerous positions (being choked or arm locked), fast slips, passes, direction changes, speedy punches and kicks, sprints… etc.

The best you can do is to become a freaking NINJA … But no, SERIOUSLY! Choose the type of workout that would give you as much functional fitness and support you with as much usable energy as possible.

One of the guys whose knowledge and workouts help me a lot, apart from all my reality self-defense coaches is again, Elliot Hulse.

You may want to look at this, so I am just gonna leave it here:

Who’s pumped to go get some hard-ass training? I sure was when I saw it the first time and I sure am when I write this (I watched it again).


There are plenty of sources you can learn from. To me, the best ones that work for me are Elliot Hulse’s Hybrid Muscle Training, John Welbourn’s CrossFit Football and Lee Morrison’s ComFit.

Check those out and you’ll be sure you have a rock solid foundation of Combat Ready Fitness knowledge that would help you become effective on the streets and get your body ready for real “full-of-stress” situations.

Just remember, that you WILL NOT become strong and fast just from watching videos. You have to start doing sh!t. Start today. Tomorrow is too late…

And to all you fat self-defense and martial arts coaches: “Stop watching Kung-Fu panda and get your ass and man-boobs to the gym!”

TAGS: combat ready training


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