Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I Lift Weights

I lift weights. I also run and hit things. At 43 I'm just as active now as I ever was. "Active", what an old person term. In your teens, 20's and 30's you worked out, in your 40's you're fucking active. Be careful, when people start calling you "vibrant" or telling you how good you look you're going to take a dirt nap soon. Anyway, there's no reason to slow down. The way I figure, the Spartans were in the active military from 20 to age 60 (sometimes 65) so I'm not slowing down until then. Plus given medical technology today as compared to 1500 years ago, there's no reason why in your 70's you still can't be going strong.

I'm going to ask you to be honest with yourself. Given your overall return on investment, is your time better spent learning katas (forms) or lifting weights? Would you get more benefit practicing esoteric methods of harmonizing your chi or dead-lifting?

Years ago in Tae Kwon Do, the instructor was drilling us while we were practicing blocks in the air. He said "if you don't get the technique right, you might as well go lift weights and try to bench press 500 pounds." The notion was that if you could do this technique, it's like being able to bench press 500 pounds.

No it wasn't.

As martial artists we're told lifting weights is counter productive. It restricts movement and slows you down. In truth there does come a point where you're too big and your muscles and girth require too much oxygen and fuel to sustain long periods of stress. Power lifters and body builders tend to have this problem. But I don't consider a 6'5, 285 pound defensive end who runs a 4.4 forty yard dash slow. For the most part lifting weights builds muscle. Muscle and resistance training has been proved to strengthen bones, ligaments and dramatically increase metabolism. Muscle = metabolism. Oh, it also helps you hit stuff REALLY HARD.

No matter what activity you do, as long as you continue to do the activity your muscles will transfer the power correctly. Whether it's baseball or wrestling, resistance training will only do one thing, get you stronger.

Body weight exercises are good, but in order to come close to the benefits of weight training you need to spend exponential time doing your body weight exercises. Herschel Walker, Heisman trophy winner, pro football player and recent MMA fighter claims does a lot of body weight exercises. But he does 2000 push ups and 3000 sit ups, 1000 dips and 1500 pull ups per day. Regardless of this insanity, he STILL has resistance training in his program. Personally I don't have all day to dedicate to endless sets of calisthenics. I've got other shit to do.

If all of the kettle bells, yoga, pilates, kung fu and chi was all it was cracked up to be, wouldn't every professional football and soccer team be doing these things EXCLUSIVELY. It's true they do use some of these methods to supplement training, but their core programs consist of basic weigh training movements and appropriate running and cardio programs.

Did you ever notice that the majority of people who prescribe to methods like Aikido, Kung Fu and other forms of martial arts that attribute success to higher powers are largely out of shape or anemic looking? The thought of being able to effortlessly dispatch much larger and stronger opponents appeals to one person only...the lazy one.

People are inherently lazy. The reason Judo, BJJ, Kyokushin Karate, MMA, Wrestling, Boxing, Muy Thai and other combat sports continue to produce tough people is because they have a sport aspect that requires them to prove themselves against other skilled opponents.

On the other hand, there are arts like Aikido that profess being able to toss attackers aside with little or no effort. Aikido is an exercise in theory, not a tactical response to violence. Now you may not have known that I do have a fond appreciation for some of the founders of Aikido. Like Kenji Tomiki. Tomiki was one of Kano's (founder of Judo)top students. After Ueshiba (the founder of Aikido) met with Kano and showed him what he was doing, Tomiki went to go study with Ueshiba. Rumor has it that in his younger days Ueshiba was an animal in training. Only as he got older, he slowed down a bit. Even Tomiki during an interview and demonstration about Aikido was taken to task by a reporter. It was then Tomiki took the guy to the mat and tossed him around using Judo and Wrestling NOT Aikido.

Aikido was to demonstrate a theory of being able to harmonize with your opponent, the idea being that you could simply move with your target and use his force against him. This is a theory, just like communism. But even the founders knew when it came down to it, you still needed a little muscle to back it up. You should also note that Tomiki considered founders of Japan Wrestling association and other Judo greats as close friends and mentors. Tomiki was a bad ass.

Hey, if there was a quick and easy way around hard work, we would have found it. At the end of the day, you still have to be strong, have endurance and hit hard.

Oh, and owning a firearm is not enough. You still need to access your firearm and even if you unload your magazine in him, he may still keep coming. Like this lovely video. Here the cop shoots bad guy and the bad guy takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Whether you believe in CHI or COLT there's no way you're getting out of an assault. attempted rape or homicide without experiencing some pain and discomfort. It's highly unlikely that you're going to face a determined and capable attacker without getting hit, bumped, bruised or worse. Even if you knock him out with one shot, your hand may be a little sore afterward.

In the street you need to hit hard, hit fast and recover quickly. Give me someone who lifts weights and does cardio on a regular basis, and I will turn him or her into an animal in a handful of weeks. NO BULLSHIT.

You can't get out of putting some time in. A typical week for me is:
Day 1, lift Chest and Back, Abs/Core
Day 2 Cardio and SDTS
Day 3 Legs and shoulders, Abs/Core
Day 4 Cardio and SDTS (Sometimes Judo at night)
Day 5 Arms
Day 7 Cardio long and slow

Each week I slightly vary the exercises and there is a four week rotation on the reps for weights. Week one will be a heavy set of 10 reps followed by supersets of 20,15,12 and 10. Week two will be sets of 20, 15, 12 and 10. Week three is four sets of 20 and week four is four sets of 10. Then it rotates.

Cardio looks like Day 2 and Day 4 are interval running for 32 minutes. Day 7 is a long run for about an hour. I may substitute bike or elliptical depending on how banged up I am. All in I spend about an hour to an hour and a half training. I don't have all day like Herschel Walker.

I'm no longer a serious competitor or am putting myself in harms way for people who will pay me, but I still work out hard, if not harder than when I was younger. Spartans didn't retire until they were 60 years old, so I have some time left before I think about slowing down.

Anything is better than nothing. Can do 60 to 90 minutes? Do half that. Can't get 45 minutes a day for yourself, 3 to 5 days a week...something is wrong with your life my friend. Everyone has excuses, the person who finds a way to make it work
is the successful one. There are two types of people in the world, the one with excuses and successful ones. If you have the desire, make it work if you don't have the desire, why are you even reading this?

The better in shape you are, the better your chances of survival. The more punishment you can take, the more you can dish out. In addition, people are less likely to mess with you if you look fit than if you don't. A cop who gets out of the car belly first is a lot more likely to run into a problem than if he looks like he can handle his business. In New Jersey, the local cops don't have an annual fitness test, but the State Cops do. When you see a NJ State Trooper get out of his car, he or she at least look impressive.

People always seek the path of least resistance. We're inherently lazy and are inclined to believe things that we want to hear. "Take this pill", "eat whatever you want and lose weight", "Work out for 10 minutes and get ripped". All you need to do is stay up past midnight, turn on the TV and get submerged in infomercial hell.

The martial arts have been no different. They're just as bad as infomercials with the defeat all attackers without hurting yourself or your attacker pitch line, use his power against him and make him helpless, no strength needed, lifting weights will only constrict your movement. All you have to do is get your Black Belt and you too will be able to defeat any attacker. Call now while supplies last!

The problem is you want to believe these things. You don't want to hurt anybody, and the idea of being able to do something to someone who is trying to do you harm plays into your good nature. You also don't want to work too hard either and will do anything to avoid it. It's not your fault it's human nature.

The confusion comes from the fact that some of these statements are only partially true. Technique and knowledge will always make up for lack of strength, stamina and youth but you still need to possess some level of fitness in order to survive. The more fit you are the better off you'll be.

Make no mistake, there are better and more efficient ways of doing things but there is some sweat equity in your future. There's no such thing as "get rich quick" (Unless you inherit it), there,s no loose weight fast and there's definitely no way around getting hit, bumped and bruised or worse when you have to fight.

Train Honestly,

Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company

Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.

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