I have learned over the years that the one solid, steady state tool I have at my disposal 24/7 is me. It doesn’t matter if I carry a gun or a knife; the fact is that I cannot be armed all the time. Because of this fact the one personal protection and “Life” tool I have invested the majority of my training time in over the last 10+years is my general physical preparedness (GPP) level. Everyone has an excuse for not wanting to get into better physical condition: I’m hurt, I don’t have time, work is too busy right now, I don’t have money for a gym membership… the list goes on, I know because at one time or another I have used them all and frankly they are all BS.
Attaining a basic level of GPP should be the first and foremost concern of any serious student of personal protection, martial arts and/or combat athlete. Having the physical ability to “weather the storm” and outlast an opponent is very often what wins fights after the initial 30 second onslaught or attack has ensued. If you can survive the first 30 seconds of an attack without outright being killed, maimed or knocked out you have a good chance of winning and surviving IF your mind and body can support it. Notice I mentioned MIND first since mindset drives everything we do however, without a basic level of physical preparedness our mind may be telling us what to do, to NEVER give up but the body simply cannot meet those demands.
Some GPP considerations:
- It is more likely you will die from a heart attack than a mugging, robbery or home invasion
- GPP provides me with the ability to perform most everyday tasks better, expending less energy w/ less risk of injury
- A healthy body supports a healthy mind
- My fitness level may affect others such as my family and children
- Your enemies are fit: it is well documented that criminals & terrorists consider fitness a key survival skill
- Fitness correlates to health, resistance to injury/illness, versatility, operational readiness, and ultimately, credibility
- Strong people are generally more useful and harder to kill – Mark Rippetoe
You don’t have to join agym to get on the road to better fitness. Depending upon your current physical state, you may or may not be able to lift weights and it’s probably best to start off with a simple body weight program. If that is even too much, start off walking every day on the treadmill or outside with the dog. However you choose to start, begin small and build your way up slowly. Ego pushes more people, especially men away from working out than anything else other than sheer laziness. What I could do at 20 is different than what I could do at 30 and now at 40 I have realized I just have to get over that baggage and do the best I currently can do within my current physical abilities. It doesn’t matter what you do, walk, run, lift weights, swim and bike, just do something a minimum of twice a week for a month and then assess how you feel. For a basic program to start off check out the personal defense network article HERE.
We are all responsible for our actions and or inaction. Find something, anything that motivates you to get into better physical condition and use it. Some motivators may be:
- You want to be around longer for your family, kids or grandkids
- You just want to look or feel better, lose weight, get stronger or rehabilitate an injury
- You have a family history of heart disease or some other ailment and want to take preventative measures
- Your job or mission profile requires a certain level of fitness
- You study personal protection and acknowledge the importance general physical preparedness plays in that endeavor
- You want to beat your co-worker, brother, wife or yourself at something!
Ultimately it doesn’t matter WHAT motivates you as long as SOMETHING motivates you, find it and use it to the fullest.