In personal defense, physical fitness matters – Follow-up

Greg Ellifritz posted on Facebook, coincidentally, the same day I originally wrote about how, in personal defense, physical fitness matters. Greg was sharing an article from Aaron Cowan on the very topic of the importance of physical fitness in personal defense. It’s very much in line with my prior writings on the topic.

In Greg’s Facebook share, my boss-man, Karl Rehn commented:

and examples of armed citizens who lost their fights due to poor physical condition are where, exactly? I’m not saying that getting in shape is a bad idea. Better physical condition has a lot of advantages. But as with a lot of things that we are told “will get us killed on the street”, examples of it actually happening are difficult, if not impossible, to find.

Karl is correct. But I take odds with his stance. Is the lack of examples because we’ve collected data and evidence shows fitness doesn’t matter? or because there’s no data at all? I believe it’s the latter. Use of a gun? that gets put on the police report. But “subject is able to run a 10 minute mile and bench press 200 lbs.” or “subject is an out of shape fat-ass” isn’t on the police report checklist. I assert lack of examples is because there isn’t formal data collection on the topic.

I’ll agree with Karl that we cannot presently prove that “being fat and out of shape will get you killed on the street”. But that’s not what I’m saying.  I’m saying that the stronger you are, the more “fit” you are, the better chances and more options you have available (and Karl does agree there). Plus, there’s a confidence and mindset factor that cannot be discounted.

Look at the Force Science articles I previously referenced. Is that not some scientific examination of how physical fitness can matter?

How about that store clerk in Houston who, earlier this month, used his semi-pro MMA skills to stop his store from being robbed? Granted his MMA skills contributed, but his physical fitness mattered a great deal as well because, as far as fights go, that was a long fight. Anyone can throw punches for a few intense seconds, but to keep throwing intense punches in a lengthy fight takes a good degree of fitness.

Or let’s bring it back home and look at how many students in our classes struggle because they cannot grip the gun hard enough to adequately manage recoil? Or get tired after an hour of holding a 5 lbs. gun at arms length. Or cannot handle the level of effort to get through a 3-4 hour class, especially in the Texas summer heat?

To me, it all comes back to a question I keep asking and no one has yet answered:

Name me one place – especially in this context of personal safety – where being weak is an advantage.

Granted, Greg, Aaron, myself, we’re biased because we all lift weights and are personally invested in improving our own physical fitness. We see the advantages. Heck, I see how getting fatter has hurt me in this realm, and am presently dedicated to getting off this fat-wagon. Yeah, maybe there’s no demonstrable proof that being fit and strong “will get you killed”. But to me, it’s more that being fit and strong is rarely going to be a disadvantage, and will do a lot to give you an edge. We always emphasize how you should take and make every advantage possible to maximize your ability to survive and win.

Again, I’ll leave you with something Mark Rippetoe said:

Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general.


2 thoughts on “In personal defense, physical fitness matters – Follow-up

  1. While I agree with you that fitness matters, I think you are off base here.

    Or get tired after an hour of holding a 5 lbs. gun at arms length. Or cannot handle the level of effort to get through a 3-4 hour class, especially in the Texas summer heat?

    Comparing an hour or 4 hour class to self defense situations that usually last just a few minutes isn’t a fair comparison. The people may struggle in class after a while but they are learning the skills they’ll need for just a few minutes.

    Bob S.

    • Well really, they’ll need for just a few seconds. 🙂

      I see what you mean, but it’s not off base. If you cannot make it through a class, if you cannot practice because you don’t have the ability to manage a 15 minute session without becoming exhausted, then how will you obtain and reinforce and improve those skills that you’ll need in those few minutes (or seconds)?

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