Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Physical Fitness and Survival

Physical Fitness and Survival
My name is Cliff Wiese and I am the Director of Fitness for a combatives company in the U. S. called Suarez International.  We teach a broad cross-section of the population on how to become effective in violent encounters.  Recently, we have started implementing fitness training for our clientele.
There are a number of reasons for introducing fitness.  Many violent encounters begin as hand-to-hand fights.  Accessing any weapon is difficult to impossible if a person is not able to win the initial fight.  It requires more than merely strength or even martial arts ability.  To win the fight explosiveness, endurance, and the willingness to bring overwhelming violence to the encounter are all essential.  If you cannot struggle with someone for several minutes at 100% intensity, you are in trouble.  The old-fashioned notion that simply carrying a gun is safety enough is a false assumption.  That weapon may never get out of its holster if you cannot survive the initial violence.
Being in good physical condition also makes you less of a target for criminals.  They want easy victims, not a person who will put up a fight.  If you are willing to commit yourself to becoming strong and powerful, along with remaining aware of your surroundings, you become much less appealing to thugs.  You will not look like a victim.  Why would they want to fight with you when they can wait another five minutes and find an easy victim?
Another reason for being in good shape is the potential for an economic meltdown.  The saying, “Only the strong survive,” holds very true in this case.  The better shape you are in, the longer you will be able to survive.  You will have more energy, be less likely to contract illnesses, have a better outlook, and be prepared to possibly work at whatever physical labor that might be available to support your family.
Probably the most important reason to workout is because you are much more likely to lead a longer and healthier life than someone who doesn’t exercise.  You may or may not be involved in a violent encounter or an economic meltdown.  For certain, your life will be improved by being physically fit.  Working out keeps your heart healthier, lowers your blood pressure, helps you maintain your weight, and, according to the Mayo Clinic, even has some of the benefits of anti-depressants without any side effects.  Staying in shape will improve your life, whatever the future holds.  Doesn’t it make sense to be as healthy as possible in all circumstances?
I have put together two DVDs for people interested in fitness.  The first, Combat Fit I, is for someone who is just starting a fitness regimen.  It teaches you everything you need to know starting with Day 1, Exercise 1, Repetition 1, and helps you progress at a reasonable pace while minimizing your risk of injury and keeping you from becoming too sore from the workouts.  It is the first fitness DVD that I know of that helps someone starting a workout program do it right from the first day and teaching them proper progressions.  Combat Fit II is a more advanced program for the person who has completed Combat Fit I or who is already in good condition.  It teaches exercises that promote strength, power, explosiveness, and endurance.  The way that I describe the difference between the two DVDs is that CF I is similar to a program training someone for a military Physical Fitness Test.  CF II teaches you how to build the muscle to become the “door kicker” on an entry assault team.  I doubt criminals would want to assault either person.  Fitness is a big part of survival.
The DVDs can be purchased at      
       Cliff Wiese

Cliff, its been great exchanging emails with you and I appreciate the article. Couldn’t agree with you more on the reasons why fitness is a top priority. I’ve noticed it too, at contact range the best hand to hand fighter wins, the gun will be of no use at all if your attacker physically overpowers you. I’m sure I mentioned this before, but its worth telling again. During a force on force exercise, I saw how an excellent shooter lost each and every time against an unarmed non cooperative partner simply because he couldn’t draw his weapon and put it to use at such a range. No matter how fast you are, at contact range all he has to do is move quickly, keep your hand from drawing of even if you do, keep it away from his body. There’s of course techniques you train to make the distance and shoot at extreme close range, but physical fitness plays a mayor role. With your attacker’s hands holding your’s, you better be stronger than your attacker and have some hand to hand training. 

Intermediate and advanced combat training is physically demanding. Its not about target shooting. You have to make those tight, small groups when shooting, but you also need to be able to retain your weapon in  a fight, run, move for cover, fight with your hands, knife or whatever you have handy, jump walls, drag a partner away from danger (or family member), kick down doors, etc.  Sounds like too much for the average Joe? Probably, but once you get started you’ll end up doing many of these things even if you’re a average guy. I’m an average guy and that’s what I enjoy doing. One guy on a forum once told me, “you shouldn’t be doing that, that’s only for cops!” Come again? Why the heck not? A cop wont materialize out of thin air to help me when I need it, and frankly I’m not expecting much from a person that shoots less than 50 rounds during his entire firearms training.  In my class there’s business men, construction workers, cops, a judge, a doctor and a lawyer just to name a couple. We’re average Joe but this is what we do with our time and money. 

There’s also that little thing called reality and common sense that the survival community could benefit more from. Truth is most of us are thousands of times more likely to die from health complication probably linked to a sedentary life than anything else. How to you “fight “ this? By loosing that extra weight, eating healthy and staying in shape.
Summarizing, fitness will benefit your survival skills and life in general:
*By being combat fit.
*By “looking” fit and strong, thus both being and looking like a hard target certain criminals will avoid messing with.
*By benefiting both your physical an emotional health. You don’t just look and feel better, working out changes your mood and boosts your immune system. Endorphins make you a happier person.
Cliff sent me “Combat Fit I” and “Combat Fit II” and I highly recommend both of them. Between the two they cover fitness to get started from zero to top physical shape. Take it easy when doing the workout and don’t try to skip stages. Cliff Wiese is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and a Sports Performance Coach with almost three decades of fitness experience.



Anonymous said...

FerFAL: concerning fitness as described in the there
something for people who CANNOT
do that? my mother-in-law is in
a wheelchair and her arthritic
fingers can *just* squeeze the
2-pound trigger on the 'tuned'
S&W 442 i gave her.if there is
a really, really low-impact starter course she would
actually try to do it.
do you have any ideas/links?

fitpro said...

To answer your question about a program from a wheel chair, yes, there are exercises she can do that will help. She can squeeze a tennis ball to help with her grip. With a pair of dumb bells she can do overhead presses and bicep curls. She may also be able to do an exercise called bech dips, which will help the back of her arms. Try searching YouTube for "bench dips" as it is a little too complex to explain. Let me know if you have other questions. Cliff Wiese

Anonymous said...

Dude, if the lady is so arthritic she can barely squeeze a trigger, she's not going to be doing any dips on those wrists. This advice is flirting with liability IMO.

fitpro said...

Notice I said she "may" be able to do bench dips. Arthritis varies greatly from one bodypart to another and exercise has been found to reduce certain types of the disease. I have worked with HUNDREDS of people with arthritis and with help she needs to discover her limits and work from there. To just off-handedly say "don't try" is basically saying she has a disability without knowing that is the case. She may have little to no arthritis in her wrists. If she can do a 2" bench dip she is making progress. If you are her physician and have a complete background of her medical history I can understand your "liability" comment. I have seen too many people with what they considered crippling injuries significantly improve their lives because they started a program, very slowly but consistently, to increase strength. She will also be helping her bone density. Obviously she is motivated because she is working on using a weapon. If she tries nothing she will never know what is possible for her. Cliff Wiese

FerFAL said...

Thanks Cliff for commenting. Sometimes the mental limitating is greater than the phisical one. My grandma is almost 90 years old. Of course she's old, old bones, it hurts when she moves, but she always says that the more you slow down the worst it is. Then you have my mother in law that isn't even 60, yet she moves around slower than my grandmother. Her body is ok, but she's always complaining about how old she is, how her knee hurts. On occasions you see her "forgeting" about her bad knee and walking ok, but then she remembers and starts walking slowly again. Sometimes (not always of course) the body limitation isn't as bad as the "I cant" attitude.


EN said...

Dude, I don't know anything about the lady with Arthritis, but I can speak about my experiences. In Mar 08 I had an accident which resulted in both my patella tendons snapping like old rubber bands. This resulted in no weight on my legs for 68 days and was in a wheel chair for almost three months. I was in braces and not allowed to out of bed for the first week. After that It was wheel chair time. I lost 28 pounds by working out harder than I would have during a normal day (didn't have much else to do). Every single day I did 100 wheel chair dips (sometimes 200), pushed my wheel chair about a mile and half around the hospital, did 200 crunches with my feet straight up in the air and worked my hands and arms with basketballs, tennis balls, and used some other equipment in physical therapy. After I got out of the wheel chair I started working on my legs and started out doing 100 body weight squats (ten every hour) and worked my way up to 300. And Dude, I have muscular Dystrophy and arthritis in my knees, hips and hands. Yeah, I'm bragging, but more importantly I want it to be understood that never giving up and trying to do more, leads to doing even more.

Pete said...

Wow, Ferfal: I hope your mother-in-law doesn't read your blog comments...if so, nice knowin' you! :)

fitpro said...

Congrats, my friend! Willpower and diligence can do some amazing things. Well done! Cliff

kal said...

One caveat to consider. With serious exercise you drastically increase your food intake, which means more $$$/more of a hassle when food is scarce/more stuff needed for that long term food cache if you hope to maintain. I know it costs me an extra $150 a month alone in food if I visit the gym 5 days a week. The benefits usually far outweigh the drawbacks

There's a difference between being "in shape" and having the kind of explosive strength necessary to survive a physical encounter. Most Americans need to work on just the "in shape" part, but getting serious functional strength takes a big commitment and has big payoffs.

Also, the concept of "looking fit" as a deterrent is right on.