When preparing yourself for potential disaster or emergency, self defense is a crucial part of the equation. When training with retired Navy SEALs, or Green Berets, or Army West Point graduates, the answer I hear usually comes back the same. The most effective weapon skill you can improve is PHYSICAL FITNESS!
Everyone enjoys going to the range, training with firearms, and buying the latest and greatest toys! When we teach classes on food supply, comms, or medical, it can be a challenge to keep everyones attention. But bust out the blasters and everyone perks right up! It's only natural. Guys like mechanical things, and things that go bang and are a test of your skill and coordination.
BUT having the coolest new rifle or the most expensive kit is no replacement for being in good shape! We have run stress courses where guys who normally shoot very accurately have a SIGNIFICANT reduction in accuracy after running up a short hill, doing 10 pushups, then shooting from the same distances. Do you thinks that in a SHTF scenario that you will not need to be moving on a regular basis?
It's not an accident that in every major special operations training program, PT is a MAJOR part of the training. If you can't keep up you are out! There is no room for dead weight on a team that has an important mission that requires stamina, strength, and endurance.
When my submarine command sent me to Navy SCUBA school, during those 6 weeks we ran EVERY DAY. Up and down the soft sand beaches of Coronado California. Pull ups, push ups, and flutter kicks until we lost track of the count. We would run by the BUDs class and our instructors would have us stop and make bets on who could do more flutter kicks. My class was 27 Recon and Force Recon Marines along with me and 2 other sailors. Needless to say, the importance of fitness was driven home hard.
I'd like to encourage you as you go into 2024 to set some fitness goals for yourself. Maybe start the 75 HARD program, or join a CrossFit Gym. Or just vow to walk 2 miles, 3 days a week. Some kind of obtainable goal that will make you better on December 31 2024 than you are today!
Remember, when a 28 year Navy SEAL tells you that PT is the most important tactical skill you can have, it might be wise to listen!
1 Corinthians 9:24 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
When the prize is your families survival, all the effort is worth it!
(Photo above is author hauling rope gear through the Oso WA slide disaster area during recovery operations, March 2014)