It is the most puzzling experience to see people armed to the teeth, have the most complex bug out bag you’ve ever seen, have the ultimate food supply, and even have a great emergency plan; yet my initial impression of them is they are likely to die from some type of coronary disease before ever coming close to a time where they may to deploy all that fantastic gear. In my opinion the readiness community is among the most mentally strong group in existence. We see the world for what it is and despite all the gloom and doom we constantly adapt our methods while the rest of world waits to experience Darwin’s theory of natural selection first hand. However, the Achilles heel I would have to say is usually within the realm of physical readiness. How can you realistically expect to carry your B.O.B or get home when your heart is racing after going up a flight of stairs?
We all have been there. Working out is not always fun. Our minds are hardwired to avoid discomfort. Weights are heavy and it makes your muscles hurt afterwards and don’t even get me started on running. The problem herein lies that your level of fitness directly correlates to your ability to survive a stressful situation. It isn’t the amount of training that you have that will determine your actions when the time comes; it is the amount of training you have under stress that makes or breaks an outcome of a critical situation. No one EVER rises to the occasion. Under stress you WILL default to your level of training. This is where martial arts training fills the void.
While training martial arts you will put yourself in a direct aggressive confrontation(s) with people on a regular basis. In the beginning your actions will be furious, you will put forth your best efforts, and using all your muscle to gain a position of advantage but in the end you will spend the majority of your time fighting to survive. Most of the time you will not survive. However over time your actions will become more refined and your reflexes will adapt. Eventually your frantic survival will become a series of coordinated sets of defenses and attacks to secure victory as you enter the fray. Essentially developing the mind, body, and spirit to engage at a moments notice with confidence that you can win. We always have to approach our preparedness while maintaining a sense of reality of the paradigm that we currently live in. We still live in a country governed by the rule of law. At times these laws can prohibit from the carrying of our firearms. We are also human beings fully capable of mistakes and sometimes can even forget to carry our firearm at times. With a solid foundation in martial arts even as you walk among the sheep, the sheepdog never has to be without fangs. With regards to living in a situation without rule of law; keep in mind ammunition is finite and heavy. Anything can happen from losing your load-out to running out of ammunition. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong and it will always be at the most inconvenient of times. Training will not only give the strength to carry that load-out but the presence of mind to remain calm when things seem bleak. Whenever I would compete against someone I always kept in mind the principals of close quarters combat from the Ranger Handbook “Speed, surprise, and violence of action.” I was never a Special Operations Soldier but as a martial artist I can safely say the principals and mindset of combat are universal. The only thing that changes is the means. Having all the gear in the world means nothing if you haven’t taken the time to develop your mind and body. Humans are more important then hardware. It’s a dangerous and war torn world. Be so prepared for war that you always live in peace… “Where there’s discomfort, there’s fear, in these very tough positions, you’re in a little piece of hell. And through this daily suffering, you learn to survive in these situations. You have to find comfort in uncomfortable positions. You have to be able to live in your worst nightmare. That is what Jiu Jitsu gave me.” – Master Rickson Gracie ABOUT THE AUTHOR John Valentine is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt under 8th Degree Coral Belt Pedro Sauer. John is a submission-grappling medalist who has competed and trained internationally. John spent 8 years as an active duty United States Army Paratrooper. John is certified in Modern Army Combatives and various physical fitness systems. John has also been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.