I’ve been asked a number of times why it is I train like I do in the gym. Despite my usually sarcastic responses, I couldn’t ever really put into words the reasoning behind my training style. After a few beers and some pain killers- I think I may have an answer. Here’s my rambling response:
It all started one fine Thursday morning as I gazed at the faces of about 15 new recruits who had arrived at my unit straight from the schoolhouse. It was about 6:35 AM and these poor bastards had the wonderful luck of being turned over to me for some good ol’ fashioned hand-to-hand training. This training was being done in the hopes that somehow I would be able to take these guys from the proverbial zero to the ideal hero prior to their ducking and dodging endeavors in the sandbox. Staring at the faces of these…kids, I wondered how many of them would actually survive that which we all knew we were to face in the coming future. (Yeah I know- no reveries before the first cup of coffee- sue me)
Now, for those of you who have never had the pleasure of outdoor training at Ft. Bragg, NC at 5:00AM (that’s when we started) in the middle of winter, I’ll say that it’s not the most enjoyable experience in the world. Especially when you realize that you’re about to roll around on the frozen ground for a few hours and get punched in the head for a few hours the next day, as well. Being that spirits were not exactly the highest I’d ever seen, I also realized that getting my boys motivated for some hard, technically demanding training was not going to be the easiest thing to do. So, I pulled a time honored play out of the book given me by one of the greatest of Drill Sergeants to stalk the halls of Ft. Benning, GA, DS Fields. Back when Basic Combat Training actually prepared you (emotionally) for combat, DS Fields would make a point of explaining, through action, that war is violent. And violence is sudden, loud, surprising, and painful. His lessons stuck.
As a result, to motivate these as yet untested lads, I grabbed one by his shirt, threw him “somewhat” gently on the ground and immediately demonstrated a lethal technique. This quickly brought home the reality of how quickly any of these young men may die; they were very apt pupils for the following days and hours. Then I was given some women. As is the case with every batch of females I get, someone asked the “well, why can’t I do this…?” To which I responded with my characteristically charming, though none too subtle, way of demonstration. Again, my point was made and my pupils were attentive.
In another course of instruction, I had the opportunity to roll with some of the better fighters from various units. After one particular bout my opponent came up to me and said, “Y’know, I’m pretty competitive, but you’re downright aggressive and vicious. I don’t want to play with you again.” (He, BTW, has not yet seen the face of the enemy). This again got me thinking (although that time I had coffee). I started to analyze my liting, my training, my fighting “style,” and my teaching methods. Along with this, I inserted a good deal of the commentary feedback I’ve received over the last few years from people who have watched me train, trained with me, and been taught by me. This is what I came up with:
I train balls to the wall hard in everything I do. Life is not lived at half-speed and I refuse to train at such if I don’t have to. Master Coach Alwyn Cosgrove says that your training must be tougher than your event or it’s not good enough. I know of few things in life more taxing than war and combat (marriage and parenting aside-that shit%u2019s scary). To survive and succeed, your training must be HARD and UNRELENTING to make you HARD and UNRELENTING. There’s a reason BUD/S, SFAS, and PJ and Force Recon training is not for everyone.
I lift heavy because even though my enemy may be half-starved and 155lbs, he’s a mean and deadly son of a bitch with bad breath who thinks god is on his side. That gives him more strength and determination than any pansy-assed slap boxer I’ve fought. Also, heavy lifting makes you aggressive if you want it to. I know that when I walk out of the gym after a heavy set of deads and a few weighted dips, I WANT to get in a fight. If only because I’m already pumped and my muscles are warm.
I focus my training around what I feel is lacking on my team. If I’ve got a 225lb joe on my team who may go down in the street, I’m going to make damn sure I’m lifting over 315lbs every time I’m in the gym so that I can carry his ass or pull him from the HMMWV. This is why I also stay light in body weight- to ensure somebody else can pull my lanky ass from said vehicle.
I do not play nice on the mat. Mortal Combat is not a warm and fuzzy endeavor. If it feels that way to you- check yourself for bullet holes and blood. My avatar is a POW/MIA patch for a reason. It reminds me of the dangers my crew faces every day we continue to breathe. I REFUSE to allow myself or my team to be taken captive or get lost. MY men will not be a fucking video on Ogrish.com. If they are, I WILL find the bastards who did it and return the favor. When I’m done, I’ll shoot myself to go to St. Peter’s pearly gates and find the SOB who didn’t pay attention in my class so I can personally boot stomp his ass for eternity.
I train all day every day. Recovery is a part of training. Bars, beers, and women are what we call “Active Recovery.” Do it, and do it often. Besides, when we’re all old, fat, and broken, what will we have but the pride and joy of memories?
I love my soldiers. I love my country and what I believe it stands for. For those reasons I love hard training. Hard training makes you tough, mean, and capable. This is how I train. I may not be the strongest or the biggest, but dammit I will be the meanest and toughest. This is what I try to pass on to my boys and girls. This is why I’m up at 3:00AM or 5:00 AM every day. This is why I train like I do. There have been a few articles on the way military personnel train in the gym. For the most part, it was found, that these joes don’t have the best plans or equipment. But they get amazing results because they work the HELL out of what they do have. As a SEAL officer once said, “we do the most with the least.”
To paraphrase Sun Tzu, “Do not concern yourself with the weakness of your opponent, but focus on building your own strength.” Training hard is the easiest way to not fall under the sword of the enemy. Be strong, be hard, be aggressive and determined. This will make it that much harder for you to be killed.
These are the things I told my young warriors over the course of our training. I know that for some, the lessons have stuck. For others, I hope that someday it will (sooner rather than later please). I do not wish to mourn more than I already do.
This is why I train as I do, and why I always will, even though I’m on my way out. It’s a mindset, a lifestyle. One shared by many T-men and T-vixens. Hence the reason I pass on this site to any of my recruits looking to find info on getting bigger, stronger, meaner. I wouldn’t have the training programs I do without the knowledge and atmosphere on this site. Thanks to the writers, mods, and members. Kick Ass and Take Names!
I’ll get off my soap box now