T Nation

What is Your Unique Training?


Well, someone once said to me “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”, so, my op was cancelled today, and my mind is more idle than usual. The Combat forum has been a little quiet lately, with a lot of regulars gone, so, let’s do something different.

Let’s talk about some training method that you do, that you would consider outside the norm. If you’re training is as much to your life as breathing, then occasionally you do some different, completely fun stuff. Now, this is not reality training or some program needed to be followed with religious fervor. Just what you do for fun and self-confidence.

Example: I know Irish occasionally trains either standing inside a tire or dragging a tire, working on his movement, plus, this time of year he is locked in a death match with Christmas trees, avoiding branches in the eye and desperate patrons.

Some of mine:

This morning several of us on the Embassy QRF were doing a site survey on a new building and after checking the elevator shaft, we went to the basement and using a maintenance key, we took turns “fighting” in the elevator. Go in the elevator, shut the door, open the door and someone would try to “stab” you with a small flashlight. The object was to get past him and out into the hall without taking a fatal blow. Fun stuff and elevators are pure death traps, proven by crushed egos I saw this morning.

If access to a range, carrying or dragging a sandbag from the 100 yard line to the 3 yard line and then drawing a firing two shots to the head.

Strapping on a 40 pound pack, climbing stairs, stadium steps, foothills, etc., stopping every 5 minutes, draw you carry blade and do 4 strikes, 2 to the throat, and 2 to the inner thigh. You will be surprised how this will exhaust you, especially controlling the pack for the leg strikes.

If you have access to a large tire to flip, make sure you have a UNLOADED handgun, flip the tire three times, draw you handgun, dry fire three times, combat reload, repeat. The problem I have is my fingers will start cramping up, making reloads slow.

If you are feeling like an Alpha male, substitute the handgun for a sledgehammer, flip the tire three times, run back get the hammer, beat on it for a while, repeat.

In the states, I will sometimes drive over to the local high school after hours, get out of the public view, and then put my vehicle in neutral and push it around the parking lot, since it is a 12 year old jeep with off road tires, it’s a bitch. I will push about 5 minutes, stop, run through some basic boxing, Kali or TKD moves, then push some more. Just some thoughts.

So, what’s yours?


I actually incorporate the type of stuff you are talking about at times with my students and we always do this type of stuff at our big training camps/seminars. It’s a lot of “fun” and also as you say can really open people’s eyes to how effective or ineffective their training has been as well as the impact that such conditions can have on their performance.

There are essentially two of our training principles at work here:

The “Realistic Ingredients Of Training” (RIOT) principle which states that the more ingredients (we name 7) of real violence that you put into your training, the more specificity your skills will have to real violent situation application. So adding say “The Physical Ingredient” (physical exhaustion, increased physical demands, dealing with opponents of superior physical stature, etc…) changes the experience of skill application and more accurately prepares the Martial Artist for real world application of those skills (and a better appreciation for the impact that good physical conditioning can play).

The “Motivation Ability Pressure and Stress” (MAPS) Process which states that adding in the fighter’s motivation via things like visualization for why they will fight, as well as Pressure or Stress (which we plot on an intensity gradient with pressure being at the low end and stress being at the high end) via things like increased physical demands, handicapping, stressful tactical requirements, etc…to one’s development of one’s ability/skill development will again result in more specificity and therefore more effective real world application.

As far as me personally, we have a principle called KATA, which is an acronym for Killer Instinct, Athleticism, Twenty Four Seven Warrior Mindset/Lifestyle, and Anything Goes Mindset. These are the attributes which make someone truly dangerous (regardless of technical skill); without them a person will be an incomplete warrior.

The “24/7” part is usually a huge paradigm shift for new students (even those from high risk jobs like LEO’s and Military). Generally you ask a non Sento/iCAT trainee how often they train and they’ll answer with the number of hours per week they’re in the gym/dojo; ask one of us though and the answer is “24/7” because our perception and concept of training is more total in nature. Although it would be fun to walk around hugging walls like Inspector Cluseau all the time, it’s not really practical in real life. I do generally take every opportunity to make as much of my daily life in some way beneficial to my Martial Arts development though, which can range from things like trying to willfully manipulate my emotional state and change emotional states at will on call; practicing maximizing my body mechanics while shoveling snow; driving with my firearms to develop tactile sensitivity, pressure, and structure for trapping/grappling; working on and playing with my body language skills and things like persuasion, mirroring, tonality, and other interpersonal skills; survival/prepper considerations like always having water, warm clothes in the winter, first aid supplies, some form of compass/navigation equipment on me at all times or practicing and learning about things like knots, shelter, firecraft, water purification, etc…

As far as my supplemental physical conditioning, as I’ve mentioned in other threads it is 100% gymnastics strength training at this point. I just feel that it’s the most wholistic approach (developing all 5 attributes of athleticism) and for lack of a better term actually makes my body feel younger rather than feeling beaten down like traditional resistance training eventually seemed to. It has also absolutely helped the way my body moves while doing Martial Arts.


Thank you for your excellent reply. I will study your detailed post and see what I can add to improve my own training. You are correct about the “24/7” mindset, I use this for myself, but, you are also correct, most LEO and even SF will not use this approach. A record number of LEO’s are being shot to death this year, you would think the mindset would be growing toward the “24/7”.

I would sincerely like to train in your system, I feel like it meets the needs of both the military and civilian. It is extremely irritating that your system is not in my part of the country. Those big training camps and seminars you mentioned, are they open to the public for observation?


Thanks brother. Can’t remember who said it, but there is a great quote by a professional shooter that basically goes, “It’s sad that people trying to win a medal or trophy will often train harder and more often than people who’s lives depend on their skills.” My experience comparing most LEO’s and even Military personnel compared to people looking to compete in sporting competitions, and even in many cases just enthusiasts, regarding their skills (be they armed or unarmed) mirrors that quote.

Our camps/seminars are not necessarily “open to public observation,” but they are open to anyone who would like to participate in/attend them. I think that one of them does allow someone to pay a lesser fee to simply watch (if they either choose not to participate but wanted to just learn intellectually or were injured/unable to participate physically) though.

Also, unsure of your wearabouts in the States, but I can tell you that there will be a school opening up in North Carolina within the next year by one of our Black Belts (who is also a former Marine) of that would be a possibility for you I can keep you updated as I learn more about the exact details of where and when he plans to open it.


Thanks for the information. In the states, I live in a rural mountain community on the Georgia/ North Carolina border, so that is good news about NC. Unless he is going to be in the far western part of the state, I may be able to work something out, once I am back for good. Thanks, again.


Great topic and replies.

Just to clarify Idaho’s original post, when I reference the tire drills I do in boxing, I mean something like this: https://youtu.be/8oEixZvURAc

The difference, however, is only one fighter has his foot in the tire, and the other is free to move as he pleases. This puts one guy on a “leash,” so to speak, so the other guy can stay at a distance and work his jab and jab counters. Without the tire, it potentially turns into an infight - especially if a short guy like me is moving with you and gettiing frustrated by your longer reach. And that would defeat the point of the drill.

Other than that, I don’t think I do much that’s not painfully traditional.

The only “out-of-the-box” thing I’ve embraced is MovNat, which I discovered sometime this year and have worked into my daily life.

The best article describing it is here. I put a space after the first letter because I can’t post links here, so close it up and check it out: h ttps://breakingmuscle.com/learn/featured-coach-erwan-le-corre-part-1-the-roots-of-movnat

Although I still weight train at least twice a week, I’ve cut the length of those sessions down so I can train like this as well. Like Sento, I’ve found this sort of training rejuvenates me - it’s helped clear up a stubborn pain in my left knee that dogged me for years, and increased my mobility far beyond what those boring ass “mobility drills” ever did.

The last thing I do that’s maybe less-than-prevalent among athletes is the brief morning session I’ve committed to. Even when I do what I consider to be the bare minimum each morning - one single round of shadowboxing - I feel better, like I did something that day, however small. Beyond that, even a single round a day accumulates to 365 extra rounds of work over the course of a year. That equates to more than 30 extra 12-round workouts annually. Being as I often do between two to four times that amount of work each morning - and also include hip raises and pushups - you can see how that would be beneficial.

And I feel I’ve made some great progress during those mini-sessions, mostly because it’s just me. There’s no coach eyeing you, no opponent stalking. Nobody to compare yourself with, or distract you from the simple task at hand. Just you and the movements. It’s helped me immensely.

If I think of anything else I do, I’ll throw it in here. But again, great thread brotha. I love the exhaustion drills you outlined.


I’ve done various forms of PT then shot a specific COF. Examples include: 1/4 mile treadmill sprint then down the hall to the indoor range and shoot a El Prez or on the KD range sprint from the 100yd line to the firing line, drop prone and take two precision shots from prone for time.