Lately, Iâ??ve been giving a lot of thought to my beliefs when it comes to training and such. Especially after the conflict mentioned in my earlier blogs. For those new to my little slice of the networked world, my views about training and fitness are pretty simple.
In life, there will come a time when you have to stand up and defend either yourself, your loved ones, or your beliefs. When that time comes, will you be physically prepared to do whatâ??s necessary? Either fight or take flight? Will you last long enough for help to arrive? Will you maintain the presence of mind to utilize a weapon if and when one becomes available, or will you freeze up?
Give in. Admit defeat without ever raising a finger. My personal answer to that is no. A lot of guys, especially guys I encounter being in the military, swear up and down that they are somehow better physically than others because they can knock out a certain amount of pushups or situps in two minutes. Or they can run their two miles faster than the next guy.
My logic is pretty simple in comparison. Will you be able to hang with me in a fight? Will you outlast me? Are you stronger than me, or strong enough to keep me at bay if it came down to you or me? Repeatedly, these "PT Allstars" have no answer. Now, Iâ??m not deluded into thinking that there is no one out there better than me. That would be stupid.
I simply approach training as making preparations. Always learning something different, or relearning something lost over time. One of my favorite books is titled "Critical Space", by Greg Rucka. One passage is all it took to make this an all-time favorite:
"Itâ??s always about you and your body. Itâ??s how you see yourself, and as a result, how you see the rest of the world. The body dictates everything. Itâ??s where it all starts. What you can make it do. What you can make it endure. How quick you can be. How precise. How quiet, and strong, and flexible, and still.
It is the one tool you always have at your disposal, no matter where you travel, the one weapon that can never be discovered going through customs, never be spotted by a watchful guard or an attentive police officer. It is the heart of everything you do, and you must be able to trust it absolutely. The body."
Now, some people will read that and think Iâ??m crazy for adopting that. Some would nod their heads in agreement. Ever since Iâ??ve read that passage, itâ??s become part of my foundation for training the way I do. Keeping that in mind typically helps keep my mind focused on what Iâ??m doing and why Iâ??m doing it.
While a part of me does appreciate how I look when Iâ??m "in shape", that is only an added benefit. My mind gravitated in this direction largely because of experiences in my past. From being bullied, beaten, molested, and threatened as a child, to watching my relatives literally try to kill one another, to watching someoneâ??s life get taken right in front of me when I was two seconds away from preventing it, all of these things shaped me.
It took a lot of years for me to embrace this frame of mind, however, my actions always preceded the thoughts. I remember during my junior year in high school, I was at an after-party (football), when a bunch of guys from a rival school showed up and attacked a group of guys and girls in the front lawn.
I wasnâ??t too worried about the guys, however, it was when I saw one of the guys punch a girl in the face that I realized something needed to be done. Blink, and Iâ??m in the middle of the street suddenly, pounding on one of them. No memory of leaving the front porch, running, or how I got through several of them. I was just there, with his throat in my hand.
When I released him, his friend tried to run up on me, however, my best friend was right behind him. Wouldâ??ve been very bad for him had he really wanted to try me. That basically stopped the fighting until the cops arrived. When questions were being asked, one of the big ones was who scuffed up this boys face? Being one of two black guys in the midst of a whole lot of white people, it wouldnâ??t have been hard to point me out, so I stepped forward and explained to the cop why he was scuffed up.
Thankfully, the girl who I fought for got in the copâ??s face, along with several other girls and vouched for me. That was a very interesting night that was talked about for most of that year. Almost like a coming out party, in that I was always viewed as the "quiet" one, or the one not like the other guys I would hang with. And I know some of you saw the "coming out" part and immediately thought GAY!, but I can assure you all, that is not the case!
After that night, and while I was grounded for the next week, I couldnâ??t understand what exactly happened and why. It wasnâ??t until I was stationed in Texas, soon after watching the death I mentioned, that understanding hit me, so to speak.
I joined the military promptly after high school and after basic, school, and a lil side trip to Indianapolis, I was stationed at the wretched place, Fort Hood.
While there, I became a bouncer. It was pretty decent money, with even better benefits, what with me being a nineteen year old boy with hormones blazing. It was like a buffet every weekend. Three things were guaranteed with the job, fighting, f**king, and money. The fights werenâ??t an issue as all I had to do was snatch a person up and take them outside. No fists involved. I was always good at building a rapport with people, so that when things happened, I always had help.
It worked pretty good, usually. Now, one night, a guy by the name of Kadrien got way out of hand. He began molesting the ladies on the dance floor, then tried fighting me. So, I locked him up and carried him outside. He was obviously high out of his mind, as he could barely keep his eyes open, he was trying to grope me, and he didnâ??t realize who his own people were as they tried to take him home.
So, that left him on my hands. I finally had to have the cops called. Normally, at least two cops arrive to the club when called. On this night, there was only one. As I was holding Kadrien down, my coworker explained what happened to the cop. He then walked over to us and told me to get off of Kadrien. I warned the cop that if I get up, so is he, and he is going to start swinging.
Uncaring, the cop repeated himself, so I got up. Kadrien got up. All hell broke loose. As the fists began flying, I quickly restrained Kadrien, and for my troubles, I got pepper sprayed with him. Not cool. So, I get up and move so I can find my lungs on the floor. Kadrien gets up and proceeds to attacking the cop. It was a sad scene, really. Not one hit of Kadrienâ??s connected, while the copâ??s ASP connected quite frequently.
As I was able to draw breath, my coworker voiced her concern over the beating the boy was receiving, so I took off after him, all the while yelling to the cop that I will get ahold of him so he can cuff him. I got within an armâ??s distance of Kadrien when the cop draws his weapon and fires. I freeze, Kadrien falls. The floodgates of my mind exploded open after that night.
Fast forward a few weeks, and Iâ??m working outside at another club. This one a bit "safer" than the last. It was a night Ludacris was to perform, so people arrived early. One guy in particular got there early enough to drink himself stupid. When he was escorted out of the club, he tried to plead his case. The manager left it in my hands to decide.
Understanding the dude paid pretty good money to see the concert, I decided to work with him. I told him to go across the street for a while, drink some water, get some foodâ?¦sober up a bit, then return in about an hour and I would walk him back inside. I turned to ensure no cops were at the store, and as I turned back to the drunk guy, he punched me on the chin. Blink. Iâ??m physically being pulled off of him, as he is beaten to a bloody pulp.
Iâ??ve got his blood all over my clothes, and Iâ??m growling and cursing at him. It took all five coworkers to get me off of him. When I finally realized what I had done and was doing, I was a wreck. The cops were called and questions were asked as to how he ended up the way he did. Once again, I was saved as my coworkers all claimed that he caused a lot of the damage to himself due to his drunkenness.
After that night, I knew I needed help. That was the first time I realized that there was something else inside me. The anger and rage I wrote about previously. To bring this portion of my story full circle, itâ??d taken almost ten years for me to get control of the anger, and realize why I did the things I did.
As one of my therapists pointed out, I reacted out of protection for both myself and others. I initially tried to dispute this claim, but given my history, which goes beyond the scenes I just mentioned, it made sense. So the only logical thing for me to do was to use that realization as a focus for my training.
To let that instinct guide me. The book passage just fell right in line with that.
Nowâ?¦with that small bit of my story shared, I think itâ??s time I went over my workout last night and this morning. Good times in both sessions.
Tuesday Night- Shoulders
Behind-the-Neck Presses (Standing)
135 x 5 (Warmup)
165 x 4 (8 sets)
155 x 4 (1 set)
135 x 5 (1 set)
185 x 12 (5 sets)
Leaning Lateral Raises
40 x 8 (each arm, 1 set)
30 x 10 (each arm, 3 sets)
45lb plate (lack of dumbbells) x 8 (4 sets)
20 x 15 (4 sets)
I actually tried to do shrugs from behind my back, but I have a lil too much ass for that to be effective. So next time, Iâ??ll just grab dumbbells. It was a pretty decent workout overall. I was actually looking forward to this morningâ??s workout, however, and it didnâ??t disappoint!
40 meter hill sprints x 12
Heavybag Work (Punches)
3 rounds x 2 minutes
Realizing I was not in fighting shapeâ?¦the first minute of the first round!!
Lots of stretching followed the bag work, as I was pretty tight. I have a lot of work to do when it comes to getting back in fighting shape. Iâ??m looking forward to it, though. Feels good to unload on something. Iâ??m even getting the itch to head on over to the SF compound and spar with some of those guys! Not going to happen anytime soon, though. Iâ??m not that crazy, just yet. Iâ??ll give it another monthâ?¦