I was pointed to this article, “On Being a Beast“. If you come to my blog for gun and self-defense stuff, you should read this. If you come to my blog for weightlifting stuff, you should read this. If you come to my blog period, you should read this.
The article may come primarily from the realm of strength training, but the message applies to any sort of training. The writer, Johnny Pain, talks about a conversation he was having with a friend about why they train. A question:
What if you were being sentenced in six weeks for a crime that you did not commit? (Or fuck it, what if you did commit it, I’m not one to judge).
How would you spend the next forty-five days? Think about it.
And all you gun folks reading this, oh yes, it could happen to you even if the situation was totally righteous. How would you spend the next 45 days?
Well, if it were me, I’d want to be the meanest, toughest, nastiest, most beast-like human being that I could be.
The concerns over training minutia would go out the window. Arguments over percentages or head and eye position on the squat would seem rightfully retarded. All that would matter is building a body that was strong and capable. Times to completion of various arbitrary tasks would be of little importance, as would one-rep maxes performed for other people’s benefit.
Things like biceps peak, body composition, quad sweep, or whether or not you could do a particular parlor trick on the rings would be unthinkable notions pushed aside by ever-present knowledge that your mind would be tested the most, but that your body could be called on to do very serious things. These tasks could be life or death, not win or lose. The stakes could be rectal integrity or death, not bragging rights on an internet forum.
You’d have to be strong, you’d have to be quick, and you’d have to have a decent set of lungs on you.
Quite the sound point. You get put into such a high pressure situation, and suddenly you gain great focus. You gain a greater insight into what really matters, and how most of the stuff we deal with in life doesn’t matter.
I know I get caught up in the details. I know I start to worry about all these sorts of minutia all the time. It’s just how I am. But one good lesson I’m learning right now is to just shut up and squat. The Wendler program I’m on right now? I’ve been analyzing too much, thinking about too much. I realized I was thinking way too much about it, and going back to the BBB template works better. Sure I still think about some details, like I am worrying about my knee angle because I’m concerned about the stresses it’s feeling since I don’t care to blow out my knee, but that’s different from just worrying about how good I look in the mirror.
There are situations in life where being an absolute beast could be very beneficial. Whether or not you plan on getting jammed up in the next few months, give some thought to the idea that you have one life and one shot at doing it right. We make decisions in finance and other realms based on long term payoff and relevancy, why not in why we train?
Don’t be the fat, beer bellied guy at the gun show who carries three cocked and locked 1911 .45’s and shit talks the 9mm round who loses his teenage daughter from choking because he didn’t possess basic first aid skills which would be much more likely needed in life than his 24 rounds of 230 grain hardball, or who can’t run to save his four year-old son from the drunk driver barreling down his street.
Get your basics down. Build your body up into that of a beast, a predator’s body, not a butter soft, tasty piece of food chain. It may very well all be in vain, and I hope to God that it is for your sake.
This is why I’m training to be strong. Oh sure I’m working to shed some body fat, but that’s because the fat is mostly useless. It doesn’t add anything useful, it doesn’t help me. I am not working my “chest” today because what’s the point of big pecs and big arms if I can’t do anything useful with them? I want to be strong(er) because that’s useful.
Preparing for the worst is never a bad thing. Be ready for anything. Prepare in the manner that gives you the most bang for your buck.
Oddly, some people think it is a bad thing… or at least, that you’re paranoid or have something to be afraid of. No, it’s just about being prepared because life can and does throw you curve balls, and you’ll never see them coming. It’s why we have insurance. It’s why we have smoke detectors. It’s why we wear seat belts. It’s why some of us choose to prepare ourselves physical and mentally for a confrontation we hope never comes, but we’ll be ready to meet it when it comes.
So when you train, train like you mean it. Focus on what’s really important. Yes, you’ll get caught up in minutia, but always be aware that you can, aware when you do, and willing to step back and refocus when it happens. Reading this article gave me a kick in the pants. Maybe it did for you as well.