T Nation

The Tactical Life


Good point and you are absolutely correct, everything from drugs being sold to sexual predators. Never allow a child to go in one alone. Actually, avoid them all together, fast food restaurants are a better alternative.


G;day all, greetings from Down Under. Been lurking and learning on this thread and really appreciating the very different perspectives you all bring to it.
In terms of GPP for whatever life might throw at us, I was wondering what your take on minimum fitness standards is in order to be somewhat useful/effective in a SHTF situation.Everyone’s skill-at-arms and hand-to-hand abilities will be different so the question is directed more towards what strength/fitness should you realistically aim for to enable you to fully utilise those (individual) skill levels. I’m 50 so am not aiming for the levels of a special forces operator operating operationally, I just want to be able to outperform the average guy in the zombie apocalypse.
I’m gearing my exercise regimen towards the ability to run/sprint a fast 400 before gassing, run a mile and a half in under 12 minutes, do at least one bar muscle-up (without “kipping”) to simulate getting up over a high wall, and a loaded carry with bodyweight for say 50-100 yards (double that for a bodyweight sled drag) as a good start and is probably more useful than e.g. a big 1RM bench. Thoughts?


I wonder about the applicability of my fitness routine (I am on hiatus with it per another thread), I have posted it before but I think it warrants a look here.

Warmup: 4 rounds of shadowboxing (3 minutes on, 1 minute between)

Then 9 minutes straight through: pickup a 100lb bag onto the shoulder, run with it a few steps, jump on it and ground and pound it. 30 seconds later, pick it up onto the other shoulder (for training balance) and do the same.

the idea is over 9 minutes to accomplish 18 pickups and slams, and maintain as much intensity with intervening ground and pound possible.

then maybe dips, but always grip work, grip is a limiter of overall strength.

I figure if I can do this, then I should be able to pick up and slam a lot of people maybe a couple of times, or at least take them down. If I do the full 9 minutes to intensity I should be able to keep up a fighting pace.



Your training sounds like it is good conditioning for sure, but I’m not so sure much of that will carryover into an actual fight from a skill perspective. There’s really no way to assess your skill with taking people down unless you actually practice it against someone who is trying to stop you. Not everyone goes down easy. No amount of conditioning or sandbag slams will guarantee that this goes your way with any sort of reliability.

I also think learning how to fall is a very good self-defense skill overall, and it is one that you build by practicing takedowns with other people at varying levels of intensity. Lots of breakfall drills you can do on your own too. It let’s you train harder and carries over into normal stuff that happens in life, like sometimes falling or getting knocked down.

Your gas tank in a fight is another thing that’s really hard to measure without combat-oriented training. I train BJJ and the size of your gas tank really boils down to how skilled you are. The more skilled you get, the more you move with purpose and don’t waste energy on movement that doesn’t accomplish anything. I haven’t done any striking martial arts but the same general concept applies on your feet. Conditioning matters for sure, but so does knowing when to hit the gas and when to save fuel.

If you want to learn how to fight with your hands, find a good school and train.


sounds like a good idea. i’m sure grip strength will carry over to fighting. otherwise, nothing trains fighting like fighting.


Side note: CT here actually has a workout on T-Nation called the Zombie Apocalypse:))

Good basics, most civilians could not do you plan, so puts you ahead of the curve. I am not a certified trainer, so, I am just going on my experience. IMHO, unless you are training for sport of powerlifting, or the NFL combine ,or some other job related test, the bench press is useless. The number of injuries and surgeries among the military and police are just too high for whatever benefit it has. I have lost productive team members for several months recovering from shoulder surgery doing the ego driven bench press.


Agree with you, good analysis. Also, talking from experience and others involved in the work, the first contact in any high stress fight, your body will dump a massive load of adrenaline into your biological system and you be at peak strength and power, however, this lasts about as long as throwing a match into a quart of gasoline. This will burn off quickly and then your conditioning will kick in.

What you do from here will be based on training and your ability to “pace” yourself. Hard to know how to do that unless you train against another person. Nothing wrong with your training, just realize like 2JS said, try to add in some training against an opponent.


Thought for the day: The 5 second standard drill:

‘Five Second Standard ‘drill : Use IPSC targets and yard markers starting at 7 yards, 10 yards, 15, 20, etc. These are yard lines ‘levels’.

Set a timer to a five second par time. Start at the 7 yard line (level 1), weapon at a ready position. On the timer’s ‘Beep’, engage your target twice within those five seconds. Next, draw and engage your target twice in five seconds. Next, draw and engage your target twice strong hand only. If all six shots are in the ‘A’ zone, you have graduated level one.

Next move to the 10 yard line (level two) and repeat the same. If all shots are in the ‘A’ zone, you have graduated level two. Keep moving up levels until you shoot outside of the ‘A’ zone.

Sometime, even good shooters will drop out of level one or two. Take your medicine and fail quickly.in other words, get over it. It is a biological requirement for us humans to fail. These failures however, should not be a recurring theme. Learn from the past, prepare for the future and perform in the present.

Greatness is the basics done flawlessly and on demand.


Actually yes, I have known for the longest time fighting is mainly skill based, as I have gleaned from t-nation here on numerous occasions. Yes, i know that grip isn’t everything. I have had a fight gym membership, eventually progressed to a little sparring before the membership ran out.

I am in a situation in which I am having to suffice with training on my own. I even decided to go back to remedial basics with shadow boxing in front of a reflection.

What I was wondering above is if I can do the high intensity lifting routine over numerous repetitions, might I be able to handle an opponents weight a few times.


If you are talking professional fighting this would be true.

If you are talking streetfighting, most people are unskilled so other attributes will come into play.

If you are talking self-defense then skills will be important but not just physical. You need to train your brain to make proper judgments and exercise awareness to avoid physical confrontation as much as possible. You also need to train your emotional responses. All the skill and physical attributes won’t matter if you crack under pressure. This you can only get, IMO, from having good training partners who can not only push you, but kick your ass. You need to learn how to survive and believe you will survive.


If they’re standing straight up and down and not moving or otherwise resisting, sure. I’ve picked up limp bodies before (drunk people as a bouncer, not combat or rescue or anything) and it is a lot like sandbag training. Of course, I didn’t slam any of the passed-out people on the ground like you do with your sandbags. I was told that would have been unprofessional.

Let me put it this way. I’m 280 pounds with a 600ish deadlift and I’ve practiced a variety of takedowns (and, by extension, takedown defense) roughly 3-4 times per week for the last 15 months. My size and strength is a tremendous advantage for most takedown scenarios, and I can typically put the average untrained person down in a matter of seconds, and usually in a controlled way so I get them in the position I want. I’ve done this both on the mats and as a bouncer.

I’d say that puts me at a rough baseline of “competent” with putting someone on the ground.

I’ve worked with 200 pound guys who are untrained but athletic and have good balance. Not always easy to put those guys down, and those haven’t always gone my way.

I’ve been bulldozed by guys my size who were high school wrestlers for four years.

I’ve been sent through the air by Judo guys who are 50 pounds lighter than me.

Most people at my level of training but smaller/weaker still take a lot work to put on the ground, and that doesn’t always go my way.

I’ve spent minutes - exhausting minutes - trying to take down my 185 pound instructor who has trained for 12 years plus and is a phenomenal athlete. I’ve sparred with him hundreds of times, maybe won a dozen of those takedowns. Not a one of them came easy, and he’s David to my Goliath. Just like David, he’s really playing a totally different game than I am. That’s the difference skill makes.

I’m not trying to steer you away from your workout at all here. Just encouraging you to train in a way that’s appropriate to your goal. If handling violence is a goal, train for it. It takes time to get decent and even longer to get good.


Look at LEO standards (Cooper and O-course). They measure in a, basic sense, general strength and endurance for people that will be required to respond to unknown challenges. If you can run 2-3 miles at 9min/mile, 50 push-ups/sit-ups/BW squats, 7-10 pull-ups, dummy drag and hit a reasonable time in an o-course; your physical training (whatever program) is reasonable.

I’d suggest considering natural disaster as well as civil unrest/urban combat as SHTF. Think earthquake, flood, wild fire, hurricane, blizzard, etc. Situations where you would be very useful if you can evacuate (carry) a victim, work non-technical SAR, go up and down multiple floors via stairs, work a hand crew, do chest compressions for 5+ minutes, run a chain saw or breaker bar or sledge hammer for hours. In those events look at our fire service brother’s pt tests. Drags, pushes, stair climbs, sledge hammering, etc.


cheers mate for those suggestions. I hadn’t really considered the work & fitness demands of the natural disaster side of things before.


Thought for the day (1). Excellent comments and suggestions. Seems to all come down to one point:

Are you fit enough to fight and save your life and others?


Thought for the day (2): Interesting to watch, however, only a complete amateur would ever hold a handgun that close to the target. Someone trying to rip your handgun from your duty holster is another matter and requires a different approach.


Thought for the day: Aggression

Violence enacted on our own behalf, for our personal safety, requires nothing less than full commitment to dynamic action. Aggression is what is required to make you your most lethal in your moment of need. It is the idea of taking every negative thing that has ever happened to you, allowing it to become a harnessed and channeled force, focusing it with laser like precision and directing it violently against another human being. That dynamic, violent action fueled by aggression and mixed with adrenaline creates and unstoppable force capable of protecting you from whatever threat you may come across. Once that threat has been neutralized and you are safe, you may escort Aggression back to his room, where he stays until it’s time to train him or, the need for him arises again.


Saturday Morning Coffee Break:


Coffee Break:



Coffee Break: A thing of beauty


Thought for the day: From the Master, Ken Hackathorn:

Reality is that being prepared is about being ready. Situational awareness must be practiced; it is something that most people don’t possess; like combat marksmanship, it only comes with practice. Just having a gun is not really enough, you must be safe and skilled with a small arms in order to be effective. Most folks go to a class to qualify for their CCW. In most cases they make no effort to either improve their shooting skills or maintain them.

Right now the buzz is that everyone wants a ‘high capacity’ pistol to prepare to shoot it out with a terrorist cell. Get real, it’s not how many bullets your sidearm holds, or how many spare magazines you have on your belt; it is about how well can you shoot effectively when the chips are down. Find a range in your area. Set aside time each month for dedicated practice. Seek out instruction; any is better than none.

Look at the reason you need a sidearm. What are realistic problems you face? Remember those little compact 380s and pocket rocket 9mms may be great to carry, but how well can you shoot one when someone is shooting at you? Most of these little pocket type guns are perfect for the people that carry them, as long as they never need them.

– Ken Hackathorn