So this is part two of my training and the most disappointing moments in my martial arts career. After training for 7 years I was approached to join the army as a lot of youth are, especially those involved in combat sport. I was basically offered the chance to coach the fitness and fighting styles in the army. I rejected this offer and was then approached with joining it as a solider at the very least, again refusing, I continued to receive these promotions to train and coach around every 3 months. This lasted for about 2 years before they got the hint.
Anyway, sometime after I was asked to go to a seminar that would feature US marines. Basically it was a 2 week training course they were doing with the British army. The purpose behind this was obviously to do with Iraq. British soldiers were used to urban Warfare, due to the terrorist problems they’d been dealing with via the IRA for over 30 years now. The basic training received in the army was how to counter this. The United States on the other hand had been preparing for Russia.
In fact, a lot of the weapons provided were simply no good for the situation they found them self in. I remember having a joke with one of the older marines after he told me how the first time he tried to fire his rifle out over there that it just jammed on him due to the vast amount of sand and rubbish that had got into the gun.
Had it been a life or death situation he’d be dead right now, and this has happened to numerous soldiers. Another problem the marines had in general was the fact they were not prepared in the slightest for a close range knife attack.
So the first day arrived, I joined up with a number of British soldiers and US marines. There were 62 of us in total and I was interested in the way this would work out. I was happy to have been invited and due to the connections I had in the world of self-defence training, was looking forward to doing more things like this. We start it off with a simple circuit.
It was a simple 10-1 exercise to warm us up. We went from 10 reps all the way down to 1.
Sit ups, Star jumps, Lunges, and push ups.
I had a point to prove and wanted to be the best there. I began blasting out the reps at a fiery pace. After I’d done my last rep I got up to my feet and saw around 19 marines already standing and around 12 british soldiers. A shock wave of disappointment came over for me for a minute especially as they were all drinking water and looking exhausted. (they must of finished a good 30/40 seconds in front of me I thought) which, of course, depressed me. I watched the others who seemed to take absolutely forever. Not much fitter than the average Joe to actually finish the circuit.
Once this was done, we all stood in line waiting to be told what to do next. I got a pat on the back and a well done for finishing first despite being the youngest there. I finished first? There was a few in front of me. Oh no, they just quit. That’s when I realized it. I’d won by a milestone while the others had simply quit due to a lack of fitness. My depression changed into “self boasting,” before I realized, to be honest, at my local clubs not even at the nation or international level of training… the guys there were noticeably fitter on average than these guys.
I wondered if some were simply “pacing themselves.” We then moved onto a few more circuits, including the power clean and jerk. This was slightly unfair as I’ve won numerous championships in Olympic lifting so I was bound to be in front of them by a noticeable amount. The highest a British solider lifted was 60kg for 3 reps, and a US marine hit the 85kg mark for 2 reps. I pulled an easy 150kg and again was in front by a land slide.
But again I didn’t class this one was quite too fair as I’d competed in Olympic lifting from the age of 11 to 18. So experience wise, I was far in front of them, especially technique wise.
We did numerous other things and every time a solider failed at it or was not impressive, I got the simple answer of “well, I can bench [this] much.” Sure, some of them had good bench presses. But when I informed of my 600lb squat and asked how much they squat, I never got an answer from any of them.
I even went over the hormonal increases. Why squatting is far more important than benching in real life positions, then even offered to show some of them the tactical squat. (Basically) you hold the squat on the bottom portion of the lift. You then begin to walk forward slightly while holding a kettle bell.
This is heavier and harder than a real life situation and trains you for it. Minus the mental stress of course, everything else is far more difficult.
To the right is a photo of someone in a typical gun shooting position. It’s common to find yourself in this position and have to move forward while crouched down.
Hence, why the tactical squat builds a lot of strength, stamina and increases your ability to perform in real life situations.
I went over a small program with a few who stayed interested. Unfortunately, it was less than a handful. a few made jokes about It being hard and walked off then began laughing with friends.
A few minutes later it was time for “sparring.” The first 6 rounds were boxing only and we’d swap partners every 3 minutes.
I started off against one of the largest guys there. He had a bit of a gut, but still quite muscular.
The sparring begins and he throws a very poor cross which I remember parrying down easily and doing a triple Jab with a cross his head snapping back after each punch, I danced around him using the boxing skills I’d been developing from a young age. I don’t remember him hitting me once as I began tap, tap, tap to the head, eventually I worked in with body shots and head shots but made sure I stayed at a light level of contact. He grew frustrated and would throw a wild punch as hard as he could every 10 seconds or so in which I’d respond with a hard jab to his head and put him back in his place. He was completely out of breath and exhausted but at the end had the decency to tell me well done and made a joke about “I thought you were gonna knock me out, brother!!!”
Unfortunately for him, at any time had I choose to I could have easily “knocked him out.”
I went against one of the tallest guys there this time at 6’7, compared to my height of 5’8. Even with his beer gut, I’d imagine he was going to put up a harder fight than the previous guy. He runs at me like a lion trying to grab hold and punch, ignoring the boxing rules. This was fine though, as I slipped out and began with the upper cuts to the stomach and ribs. After 30 seconds or so he drops down to his legs as though he’s going to go into the fatal position, spits out his mouth guard and informs me he needs to stop, he has a “stitch.”
The embarrassment was growing further. I then went against the first British Soldier. This guy had a ton of stamina. He was a young recruit called Sam, 20 year old and was much fitter than most of the others there, and by far fitter than the marines. One problem, though. He was nowhere near as strong as any of them, in fact I’d go as far as to say he’d struggle to squat 60kg.
He began running dancing throwing punches jumping in and out then it happened. I connected with him only a jab cross and a lead hook but he was down.
Nodding and asking him if he was ok, he jumps back up full of enthusiasm. But this repeated. I must of knocked him seven times!
At the end before we changed over to “kick boxing” I spoke to him about needing to put on some size and hit the gym. But he was obsessed with the fact that he only needed circuits and running 5 to 10 miles every day got him where he was. A let down as he had some potential and with a lot of effort, this could of gone somewhere.
This continued for a while until I went against one of the smaller marines. He must of weighed about 160lbs at 6’3. We began sparring and after every punch or kick I heard the words “don’t hit so hard.” “It’s only sparring” “chill it, dude” and numerous other silly expressions being made on his face.
The guy was absolutely annoying and I trained with the females harder than I did him, another disappointment I felt.
I had a few jokes from marines such as “I don’t need to use these fists when I have blah blah (random name of a gun goes here) in my hand.”
So our first part was gun disarming at close range in real life situations.
I will continue with the final part in a Third article.
As this story is a full article in It self
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