Thursday, April 23, 2020

Fit for what?

Fit for what?

Fit is a fairly broad term and can have many equally valid meanings.  To examine this further let's look at two world class athletes.

Simone Biles and Eddie Hall

Simone Biles

Simone Biles is an American gymnast. She has won a combined total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, Biles is the most decorated American gymnast and the world's third most decorated gymnast.

Eddie Hall

Eddie Hall is an English professional strongman, notable for winning the World's Strongest Man competition in 2017 and for being the world record deadlift holder, lifting 500 kg (1,102 lb; 79 st) under strongman rules.  He has also won the title of the UK's Strongest Man and England's Strongest Man on multiple occasions.

Biles needs to have substantial strength to accomplish the amazing feats of human performance she makes appear effortless.  To be “fit” for gymnastics.  However, she will never need to deadlift over two times her body weight!  Training to be that strong would take time and energy away from other skills and attributes she needs.  The result of that level of strength would make her less “fit” for gymnastics.

Hall needs flexibility and mobility to accomplish the seemingly more than human tasks required to win strongman competitions.  However he will never need the hyper-mobility required  to put his heel to his head or what gymnasts call a scorpion.  Similarly, training to be that flexible would take time and energy away from other higher priority attributes that Hall needs to train.  That level of mobility, no matter how impressive, would make him less fit for strong man competitions.

The point being both are fit for what they do, representing a broad spectrum of what fit is.  They are world class athletes because they focus their training on what they specifically  need to be “fit” for.

Chasing a vague description of fit is like starting a trip driving in a general direction without a map or GPS.  You might get there, but it will take much longer and it will be frustrating.

Asking fit for what, is a way to move from a general idea to specific, identifiable, trainable, and testable attributes.

Determining your "fit for" might start like this:
I want to run in the charity 5 K coming up
I want to make my classmates envious at my high school reunion.
I want to wrestle varsity at 171
I want to fit into my mother’s wedding dress
I want to go mountain climbing
I want to kick ass like the character from the thing I like 
I want to look good naked

Once you have a clearer view of what you want to be fit for you can further refine that definition by determining the attributes your fit for requires.  What does fit for (blank) mean to you.

To clarify this, lets look at the physical aspects of personal protection

So, what is fit for (personal protection)?

Remember I'm a comic book nerd so when I imagine the personification of fit for personal protection, or fit for “fighting”, I think of an inner monologue from Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

In that book Batman is contemplating shooting the leader of the Mutant Gang.  
He thinks to himself:

I can't think of a single reason to let him live.  Except...he's got exactly the kind of body I wish he didn't have.  Powerful without enough bulk to slow him down.  Every muscle a spring, ready to lash out.  And he is young, in his physical prime.  And I honestly don't know if I can take him.

What does that mean?

What does fit for (personal protection) mean to me?  How do you translate - Powerful without enough bulk to slow him down.  Every muscle a spring, ready to lash out - into attributes your fit for (personal protection) requires

I think that can be summarized as these attributes:
  • Strong 
  • Moves well 
  • Endurance / gas tank 
  • Technically skilled

Asking fit for what will yield specific attributes.  The next question then is what does that mean?  

The process this far kind of looks like this 

Fit For What?...

  • Personal Protection / Professional Use Of Force

Define that (what does that mean?)
  • Strong 
  • Moves well 
  • Endurance / gas tank 
  • Technically skilled
What does that look like?

  • Strong
    • Power (1 Rep Max)
    • Muscular Endurance (Max reps in one minute)
    • Functional (ability to transfer these attributes to practical skills)
  • Moves Well
    • Mobility
    • Flexibility
    • Technically skilled
  • Endurance / Gas Tank
    • ATP / Max Effort : 30 seconds to 3 minutes :                                                          Ability to recover and buffer the shutdown point.
    • Glycolytic / Hard Effort : 3 minutes to 15 minutes :                                                  Ability to hold under the failure/shutdown point. (Get there fast and hold it)
    • Oxidative / Sustained Effort : 16 minutes plus :                                              Ability to hold a steady and consistent pace and come as close to recovering while moving as possible
  • Skilled
    • Striking
    • Standing Grappling (Tachi Waza)
    • Take downs
    • Ground Skills
    • Ground Grappling (Ne Waza)
    • Counter Assault
    • Combatives / weapons

If you want to work this process for yourself I've included a worksheet here

You should be able to copy it and then make changes to your copy

Asking fit for what helps narrow the field
Asking what does that mean will yield specific attributes.
Asking what does that look like should provide specific obtainable skills and abilities.

The next question then is compared to who?

Both Biles and Hall have to be strong, Biles has to be strong compared to other gymnasts.  Comparing her strength to Hall's doesn't make sense and ultimately is unachievable. 

Asking compared to who helps determine objective reasonable goals.  A way to quantify your fit for.

Once you know where you are going it is a lot easier to get there.

The Budo Blog will return with - Compared to who?

Until then...

Train hard, train smart, be safe

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Zenkai Power


I started writing a book this year.  The process I am using, is to start each chapter as a blog I will eventually share here, and then expand that into a book format.  I haven't shared much at all yet, mostly because a lot of what I have written so far is documenting research and experimentation.  

I am sharing this part today because many readers probably find themselves in a place I was (am) when I started writing this. [Spoiler Alert - it's a place you don't want to be ]

Embracing Zenkai Power

You may be thinking, what the fuck is Zenkai Power?  OK, for all of you pretending to be too cool for ultra violent Japanese cartoons the term comes from a show called "Dragon Ball Z".

The term Zenkai (全快) literally means "Full Recovery".  On the show the hero's power increases substantially after recovering from injuries.

If all of this is far too nerdy for your mind to process, Kelly Sayre (founder of The Diamond Arrow Group) describes the same idea this way.

Ever since the Popeye cartoons I watched  when I was a kid the idea of coming back stronger after being beaten down has always resonated with me.

That idea has served as inspiration when I needed it.

Dragon Ball Z is also known for "Scouters" a device that is able to determine someone's "Power Level" or an estimation of that person's physical capability.

"Over 9000!!!!!!"

In December of 2012 I was looking at the fitness portion of and came across the Spec Ops fitness challenge.  Click HERE to check it out

I could exceed all of the minimum standards….except run 5 miles in 40 minutes.  At the time I had to bust my ass to run one 8 minute mile, much less five of them in a row.

That did not sit well with me.  I was not at the "Power Level" I felt I should be

So I decided that I was going to beat the Spec Ops fitness challenge.  In order to achieve that I developed Batman by 40, and it worked!  I was very proud of myself.  I was on top of the world.

Then Wham!

Arthritis makes it hurt too much to run and I can no longer do the Batman by 40 program without limping.
OK, brush it off, with a little trial and error I found new approach.  Don't call it a come back, I'm stronger than before.

Then Wham!
The School Resource Officer gig that I enjoyed and allowed me time to maintain the new training program was no longer an option for me.
OK, no big deal I've been here before.  Rearrange a thing or two.  Replace walking with rowing.  Make sure rolling is part of every Jujitsu class.  Don't call it a come back, I'm fitter than before.

Then Wham!
Blood Clot.  I'm not supposed to roll or take hard falls.
OK, scary but temporary just need to be on medication until that clot dissolves.  Don't call it a come ba... are you fucking kidding me?!

Then Wham!
Dog Bite.  You can kiss all that progress you've made good bye because you ain't doing shit for a month.

That is where this blog started.  I got knocked down again and was figuring out how to get back up.

The reason I am sharing it now is because many of us are in that same place.

Because Wham!

Corona.  You can kiss all that progress you've made good bye because you ain't doing shit for a month...or two...or three.

Corona has knocked us all down...what are you going to do about it?  How do we get back up?

We don't have access to performance enhancing spinach like Popeye nor do we have alien genetics like Goku.

We don't have access to the gyms, and dojos and many of the things we have grown to depend upon to maintain and increase our "Power Level" (and our mental health)

So, what do we have?   PREP TIME!

When I was recovering from the dog bites the most difficult part was the waiting.  For many of us the physical outlet of training is also a coping strategy to deal with stress.

Fretting about what I could not do only added to that stress.

So I focused on what I could do.  I could plan.  I could revise what I would do, when I could do things again.  Planning was doing something, and doing something felt way better than doing nothing.

"An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward.  When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it's going to launch you into something great.  So just focus and keep aiming."

Focus on what you can do and aim at what you want to achieve.

That is what the book, and the next several blogs is going to be about.  Embracing Zenkai Power, finding a way to come back stronger.

When you are down, when you are getting up off your knees it sucks.  However, it sucks less if you remember that no one in all of history achieved their potential on the easy path.  Everyone worth a damn was where you are now or worse, and came out better because of it.

Goku Super Saiyan GIFs | Tenor

So just focus and keep aiming.  How do you create a plan to increase your "Power Level", to increase you physical capability?

It all starts with two questions:
  • Fit for what?
  • Compared to who?

The Budo Blog will return with...Fit For What?

Until then - train hard, train smart, be safe.