Archive for the ‘Close Combat’ Category
I come from a family of patriots. We all support our Veterans, our military service men and women and our country regardless of the date on the calendar or the status of world events. My grandfather is part of the Greatest Generation as a WWII Veteran. My uncles are Veterans of the Vietnam War. I am a the spouse of a GWOT Veteran who served our country valiantly during a career that saw both peace and conflict. So, during a time when we celebrate our Nation’s birth, it seems fitting to also thank those who graciously and unselfishly support our troops, respect our flag, and serve our Veterans. This week, while we’re spending time with family and friends, I want to introduce you to a couple of patriots & patriotic organizations that have inspired me.
I consider my sister-in-law, Dana, a real sister to me. She is kind, compassionate, fun, wonderfully opinionated and loves me unconditionally. I always welcome her advice and recommendations and she has never steered me wrongly. Last summer she said I must watch The Avengers movie. What a fun ride! It was cool to see so many of my favorite characters like Thor, Ironman, and the Hulk joining forces to fight evil. The only challenge was that I knew nothing about Captain America. Friday night, I finally watched the first Captain America movie and can’t wait to see the sequel that apparently was a blockbuster at this past weekend’s opener. What caught my attention was the desire this scrawny little guy had to serve his country and sacrifice for the greater good of mankind. Fortunately, you don’t have to look too far to find those willing to raise their shields to protect our country. From our incredible service men and women to every day difference-makers, we all have a little bit of Captain America in us.
Plyometrics became popular for Olympic-bound athletes. And many professional and elite athletes are familiar with workouts that include vertical jump training to improve their performance on the track or on the court. But you’re a soldier. Is it possible that plyometric training can provide some value for the military?
The short answer is yes. Let’s talk about what plyometrics is, and isn’t, and how you can use it to improve your performance on the battle field.
I often get emails from people young and old about getting prepared for military training, and also from veterans who want to be in the shape they used to be when they served in the military. Many are looking for veterans to help them get into “fighting shape”. Here is a list of many former military officers and enlisted who train civilians to not only lose weight and get healthy, but prepare for military training too. If you are a veteran in the fitness business, send me a paragraph and link of what you do and I will add to this page.
Military Fitness programs are popular. In fact, many former military personnel of all ranks and services are now getting into the fitness business — myself included. Check out the list of veteran-owned fitness businesses around the country:
Boot Camp Fitness, Inc. — Created by former Army sergeant, Jay Johnson of Dallas TX, who has become the Official Fitness Trainer of The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (Enough said! THAT is a success story in the fitness business!). He has been featured on many television shows and magazine publications for his creative workouts that yield great results.
British Commando Fitness — British Army Commando “Sol” Sollerer has retired from the British Army, married an American, and has started his own fitness business in the Annapolis MD area. Also working as an assistant boxing coach at the U.S. Naval Academy, Sol has planted roots in the US and helping active duty and future military candidates prepare for service. Still competitive as well, Sol assists with the Heroes of Tomorrow program in Severna Park, MD giving the students a taste of how nice a drill instructor will be when they join. He is also involved in high school / college team sport mental toughness and team building training.
Hostyle Conditioning - With the help and support of Curd Hos, Owner and Operator of the best training facility in Orleans, Ontario—Curd is helping CPT Smash take the youth strength coaching platform by storm, as well as developing ongoing programs for older adults to help increase the awesomeness within Ottawa, CA. The youth program engages kids as young as 9–13 years old in our bootcamp style training, that will help them move better, get stronger and enhance their overall level of conditioning far beyond what the other kids are able to achieve nowadays. The upper level athletes (15–20+) are slotted into semi-private training sessions to really focus on certain performance goals for their sports in order to make them super tough athletes that are unstoppable on the field, ice or track!
Extreme SEAL Experience - Former SEAL Don Shipley puts on a great training program complete with shooting, survival, mission planning training in the Chesapeake VA area. See his youtube channel for great footage of the training they put on for civilians and wanna-be’s.
The Health Colonel – Bob Weinstein, LtColonel, USAR, (ret.) can be found on the beaches of Fort Lauderdale, FL conducting early morning workouts with his students. Training many out of shape and overweight people per year, he also prepares young men and women for the physical demands of the military. If you are looking for a motivational/health speaker, The Health Colonel is your man. He motivated me by telling me that “the United States has enemy soldiers within its borders — they kill more than 3,000 people a day, their names are cancer, heart disease, and stroke.” I immediately responded, “yeah and over 20 million people are being held hostage by diabetes in America.”
NavySEALs.com, SEALFIT.com, UnbeatableMind - Mark Divine has evolved into a fitness / mental toughness powerhouse. His programs / store enable any fitness enthusiast, SpecWar candidate pick and choose what he needs to make himself better — mentally, physically, and more. For gear, books, ebooks, training, hellweek simulation, etc.
Owen Richardson — NeoLife: Owen is an active Navy Reserve IS1 and promotes the neolife club products for two reasons: “When I was deployed to Iraq in 09–10, I saw you guys (SPECOPS) everyday with tons of energy. Last year I was talking with Chris (SEAL Team 8) and he told me this was the same vitamins they took day after day. I started on it without promoting for 3 months, once I saw the benefits personally, I started telling everyone about it.” NeoLife has different products for different lifestyles, and at a reasonable price. A months supply of vitamins or weight loss shakes will run about $40
Platoon Fitness.com – The folks at Platoon Fitness located in Philadelphia PA and throughout Pennsylvania and New York City was founded by Todd Scott, a Navy veteran. They have been in business for over 10 years and have indoor and outdoor training facilities with over twenty fully certified trainers who train everyone from working men and women, stay at home Moms, and kids too. They also offer franchising opportunities and training for instructors.
The Sergeants Program – Patrick Avon opened one of the first military group training businesses in the U.S. Patrick is a former Navy enlisted man who has created a military fitness empire in the DC/Virginia area, catering mostly to overweight executives — he also gets several students per year who seek a career in the military. He has over 45 instructors in 35 locations, all certified with a nationally recognized program. He also has his own outdoor boot-camp certification program. Check out his site for his annual Jolly Fat Man’s run/party.
The SEAL PT Course – Jack Walston — former Navy SEAL in Houston TX and Central Park Manhattan NYC — has been doing SEAL PT for over a decade. He has weekly workout plans for locals as well as a SEAL Training/Special Forces mini-camp that will test you to your limits. This program actually mimics many of the events experienced in Hell Week at SEAL Training, including a 24 hour non-stop period of training.
SEALGrinderPT.com - Brad McLeod, born in Thomasville, GA, grew up in Tallahassee, FL. He is a former Navy SEAL and graduated from SEAL training in BUD/S class 132 against all odds. Despite having no athletic background and having life long asthma Brad climbed his personal Mount Everest and made it through BUD/S the second time and went through Hell Week twice.
Training Philosophy for Spec Ops: Our philosophy on workouts is to try to keep as many functional movements as possible that have carry over to your day to day sport or occupation. SEAL grinder PT is dedicated to working out and improving your mind and body to unleash the inner warrior in you. The grinder PT is a mixture of the same exercises that SEAL recruits perform on a daily basis at the BUD/S training camp in Coronado, California. We are also throwing in a few CrossFit style drills, some exercises from SEALFit, Mountain Athlete, Gym Jones and a few others you may not have seen before.
SWAT Personal Training – Ron Holland (former USAF) out of Tucson AZ, created an outdoor and indoor fitness business in 1991 after a career in the military and police department. He has a one week in-residence boot camp where they create a military indoctrination environment (0500am wakeup!) He has recruits run, PT, eat a well balanced and nutritious chow, and hike 2 –12 miles in the Tucson area desert. Also water skills, aerobics, yoga, stretching, and other anti-aging programs are taught in a teamwork/military style program. It is very informative and positive feedback and teamwork is highly encouraged.
SEAL Team PT – Former Navy SEAL John McGuire has translated his experience into a one-of-a-kind, non-military fitness program, offering the dual benefit of world-class fitness and team-building to people of all ages and walks of life. Offered in the Richmond, Virginia area since 1998, SEAL Team PT has legions of satisfied, fit, and fulfilled graduates of all ages. To date, SEAL Team PT has graduated over 175 basic fitness classes, conducted more than 50 custom-tailored corporate team-building programs, and led more than 40 SEAL Teen and SEAL Pup classes for youth and children.
StewSmith.com – My website/fitness business has evolved since 1998 when I resigned from the Navy. At first I had a fitness business with as many as 40–50 hours of group PT and personal training a week. Now, after writing everything down for years, I created programs that have helped thousands prepare for military, special forces, and law enforcement physical fitness tests. I still do some online training and local group training in the Baltimore/Annapolis MD area, but my group workouts during the week and weekend are free to those who want to join me on my swims, runs, PT etc. Once on month, we test with a variety of PFTs and we also do quarterly Spec Ops Triathlons — Run, Swim, Ruck. These workouts now give me ideas which to write as I see issues, troubles, and ways around personal obstacles with a variety of students. I figure if I am going to write about training — I need to train.
VO2MAXUSA.com — With 24 years of fitness programming experience, Kevin Hite of VO2MAX,LLC is uniquely qualified to serve his community’s preventive health care needs. A former US Navy search and rescue swimmer with a B.S. in Health and Wellness (The Citadel, 1990) and member of The American College of Sports Medicine, Kevin offers health risk appraisals, fitness assessments, personal training and 24/7 gym membership from his studio in Chapin, SC. 803.422.8584.
Products Invented by Vets — SEALS / SF Specifically:
The TRX - Fitness in a Bag! Former SEAL Randy Hetrick has created another device that is easy to carry and so versatile I still cannot name all the exercises you can do with this thing. My latest count is over 200 exercises. In an article, I compared his TRX to a Universal Weight Machine and for a 1/10 of the price it easy outperforms the machine tenfold! This is great for travelers as the straps are easy to pack and unfold in seconds. See some of the videos on his site.
The Perfect Pushup and Pullup - My former SEAL buddy Alden Mills has created awesome fitness products that capture the most beloved and most hated exercises we do in the SEAL Teams and at BUD/S. The rotational motion of his products challenge the best pull-up and pushup performers. In fact, his products cut my reps in half and after a few years of using the Perfect Pushup, they still work like new and continue to make my pushups tougher. Supplemented with some weights, the Perfect Pushup and Pull-up are great additions to a home weight room.
The Fit Deck - Former SEAL Phil Black is probably the real genius of the bunch to take an idea and turn it into a successful business. When on a deployment or just bored, the SEALs as well as other military groups, do a workout with a deck of cards. Usually it required some imagination: face cards = 10 pushups, aces = 25 pushups / 25 abs, jokers = 50 reps of anything…BUT what Fit Deck does for you is take out the mystery and when you shuffle the deck and start to flip the cards you get told what you need to do. Now he has Pull-up Decks, Kettlebell Decks, Navy SEAL Decks, Navy SEAL Audio Series on Acing BUDS, Combat Sports Decks and so many more — even some for kids.
Refactor Tactical - Army SF veterans create tactical gear that works. Designed by the operator for the operator. Check out the gear list and training videos. Anything from bags, caps, survival bands, medical gear, fun t-shirts and more — you can find it on their store and talk with other operators on their blog.
Any of these make great gifts for your fitness guru in the family or those seeking a profession that requires some form of fitness test.
After a brief discussion with the veteran trainers, we all agreed upon a few things. We focus on teaching on a basic level of fitness, habit building, and just adding basic fitness as stretching, walking/running, light PT, and drinking water to people’s lives. Let them see and feel the progress they are making. Take them as they advance and PT them harder, but you have to give them a plan that works.
The plan I have here works…it will help people lose up to 25lbs if they just following the simple directions:
1- Stretch Daily! This is very important if beginning a fitness plan. See Stretch article.
2 — Drink more water — up to a gallon a day
3 — Do something everyday for 45 days straight – even if that is just walk after dinner. This FREE 45 day plan shows you how.
4 — Repeat above — do not worry about food intake yet, but if no results are seen in 3–4 weeks then focus on a food plan as mentioned in plan above.
Look up one of the above veterans and try a boot camp workout program this year. If you know of another veteran operated fitness business that is not listed, please send the website address/contact information and I will place it in an updated article archive so I have close to a comprehensive list. Please email me atStew@stewsmith.com with your questions.
Mental Toughness has been a topic of discussion and debate for generations as we humans try to define our lives. What makes some people tougher than others? More successful? More motivated? Calm in stressful situations? What are the common traits of ordinary people doing extraordinary things? Can mental toughness be measured? Scientifically tested?
These are the questions I have been seeking answers to and the type of questions I get each day from young men and women preparing for challenging programs in the military, law enforcement, and fire-fighting professions.
There are some scientific studies performed trying to measure how people handle stress and why they graduate Special Operations programs like Army Special Forces and Navy SEALs. Some of the most interesting and pertinent to this discussion were the ones done by Dr. Andy Morgan of Yale Medical School.
What’s My BMI? And other useless questions…
The BMI, or body mass index is a measurement that some doctors and other administers use to determine if a person is obese, or right in line with where they should be to be healthy. However, health and a healthy lifestyle really have more to do than the number on a scale.
For example, there was a man in Mexico that weighed in at 1200 pounds. He was desperate to lose weight and nothing seemed to work for him no matter how much or how little he ate. The curious thing was that based upon his blood work…he was normal and had all the “stats” of a healthy individual. However, most people (including this man) would agree that living in a 1200 pound body is the furthest thing from healthy.
They come in all shapes and sizes. They are found in the places you expect to find them – on the battle field, in a burning building, wearing a uniform, wearing fatigues and combat boots, carrying a badge and a gun.
You also find them in unexpected places. On the streets of Boston wearing a pair of running shoes, on the streets of New York decked out in a business suit, and inside an average looking home as a mother or father sits with their child with love to instill a legacy of freedom, hope, courage, success, and joy.
Some people are surprised and perplexed when they see the human spirit in action; when they see Americans rushing to help a complete stranger. But we’re not. Because we understand that goodness prevails.
The role of women in military is evolving. Well, at least the “official” policy seems to be changing for female soldiers in the United States.
I say “official” because the debate surrounding the decisions military administration revolve around women in combat. But the reality is that women have been actively involved in combat in just about every war in history, even if it was in an “unofficial” capacity. Heck, if Martha Washington can fight on the battlefield (she wasn’t just sewing stars on the flag!)…maybe a modern military woman can as well. No sewing needles needed!
Update: Have you ever had a moment in your life when someone or something changed you forever? Yesterday, I had that moment. In a rustic dining hall packed with veterans, lobster, laughter and an whole lot of camaraderie, I met Travis Mills. His jovial spirit and engaging smile don’t serve to mask the tragedy he’s been through…those traits are who he is and who he has always been. Travis has a divine spark within him which manifests as a burning desire to support, encourage and lift others up especially during difficult times. This is his story of help and hope for fellow veterans and their families.
Fitness programs today are pushing the limits of comfort and getting creative to produce a better warrior or tactical athlete using simple methods that can be accomplished anywhere. Some trainers agree with these methods / some disagree with methods that push the limits of what athletes should do in a day. But regardless of what you think about these type of workouts, this is one such workout that works the entire body, challenges the cardiovascular system, and is actually a fun group workout called the Devil’s Mile with a Tire.
If you remember, a Devil’s Mile is to select four exercises and perform them for a quarter mile each. Such as one of our favorites: 400m bear crawl, 400m walking lunges, 400m fire man carry (200m each partner), 400m burpee broad jump.
Military Bootcamp – it’s all about pushing your body physically to the limit and a bunch of mental challenges that keep you going and responding under extreme conditions and fatigue. Push-ups, pull-ups, and miles of running in combat boots humping your pack uphill.
When you workout, the results from the physical side of military life is easy to see. You do dumbbell curls and your bicep grows; you bench press and your pecs grow; you run enough and it starts to get easier. After a while you feel physically fit for deployment.
But how do you prepare for the mental side of deployment?
This isn’t just about being dropped on foreign soil miles from family and homemade apple pie. This is about the unexpected smells, sights and sounds of war.
Are you ready for the smell of death, burning flesh, or watching the guys you trained with be caught in the line of fire?
OK, just to set the record straight, I don’t have anything against Italians, Italian cooking, or even a hefty plate of pasta. In fact, I love everything about garlic from the aroma to the taste of roasted garlic smeared over a chunk of bread and brie. But if you’re heading into military combat or other high intense situations, or you’re on the waiting list for surgery, you may want to hold off on even the best dietary supplements that contain garlic.
I’ll explain more in just a minute, but first let’s talk about the benefits of garlic (one of the first herbs documented for use in medicinal purposes) and why people take it as a dietary supplement to begin with.
When you decided to enter the military, you prepared, right? You started running to build cardiovascular health, you started paying attention to what you ate, you started taking dietary supplements to build lean muscle and strengthen your immune system, and you started studying so you could pass the required exams. All of this is good and definitely stacked things in your favor to get into the military.
But the end of military bootcamp is just the beginning of becoming a soldier.
When you’re a soldier you are given many opportunities. You are also exposed to many environmental and occupational threats that the normal population will never face. For this reason you need to take your nutritional health more seriously than the “average” population. You also need to fortify all systems of your body, including your brain, to meet the demands of combat.
Stress makes us stronger both physically, mentally, and spiritually so not all stress is bad. However stress not dealt with properly or metabolized over time becomes chronic. Consider stress like a perfect storm of events that can hit all at once and break the strongest of wills.
Physiologically, stress wreaks havoc on the body. The same thing happens to your body when you are stressed at work or family issue as it does when you are in an emergent fight or flight situation. However, when in an emergency usually you are able to physically exert yourself to help relieve the stress hormones that are rushing into your bloodstream that some say is equivalent to 5–6 Red Bulls! In a nutshell, Adrenaline and Cortisol are some of the stress hormones that affect our response to a stressful situation, but can also affect our health long term if not dealt with properly. When at a home office or cubical during work, it is difficult to exert yourself physically in order to reduce these stress hormones. Don’t get me wrong, there are good things that come out of stress hormones like getting pumped up for a presentation or competition or the rush of adrenaline before a fitness test. These hormones help you perform better. But after several years of not actively adding in recovery periods, you will break physically or emotionally or both.
On Thursday, February 24th, The Social Chaos Survival Guide website is offering a free “Escape & Evasion” Online Broadcast. 2 Attendees will win a free S.C.R.A.M. Bag.
Only 200 slots are available, so register as soon as possible — http://www.socialchaossurvivalguide.com
On this eye-opening LIVE broadcast you’ll discover…
=> Real world tactics to survive civil unrest (such as natural disaster conflicts, demonstrations gone bad, race riots, etc.)
Photo from theguardian.pe.ca.
If you’ve ever watched an ice hockey game, then you will have noticed that when a hockey fight breaks out, it’s an all out close quarters combat brawl. In fact, fighting is even more difficult due to the fact that the players have several layers of clothing and padding on them, thus making it hard to inflict any real damage on their opponents. Furthermore, you’re trying to launch an attack at a time when you’re balancing on two blades, both of which are on a very slippery surface.
Obviously guys who play ice hockey have had to master some nasty fighting techniques. They also need to deal out as much punishment as possible before the referee steps in to restore law and order. The good thing is we can learn a lot from the fighting experience of these players. To help you on your way, here’s a great self defense technique which is just as effective on the streets as what it is in a hockey fight.
Probably the one area that directly increases your performance in a variety of functional fitness areas is grip strength. Yet the problem is most people go about it using less than effective methods. Instead of me telling you about the variety of ineffective methods for increasing grip strength I’m going to propose a very simple, straight forward program guaranteed to dramatically increase your grip strength with little chance of injury to your hand muscles or joints.
I got this program from my good friend Paul Wade, author of Convict Conditioning. Paul shared with me this simple yet amazingly effective approach to grip strength he was taught in prison. This is a surefire method we citizens can use on the outside. All you need is a pull-up bar or (for the more tactically inclined) a suspended 2“x4” that you can hang from.
Simply hang from the bar or 2“x4” with a shoulder width grip. Start counting with your goal being to count to 200. Counting to 200 equates to approximately 2 minutes. For most people simply getting to 200 will be a huge step. This workout consists of just one set and should be done no more than twice a week. I find it is a great finisher for any lower body workout.
When trying to defend yourself, a self defense weapon can really make a difference. However, what will happen if you’re the one without a self defense weapon? What’s going to happen if your opponent has a tire iron, bat, or a club and he holds his weapon with both hands, pushing you away like he were a riot cop?
At the very best you might be able to take a few inconsequential blows, but the weapon your opponent holds acts like a car bumper, pushing you away without hurting him. Additionally, it forms a barrier that you are unable to fight through and that’s why he’s using it. In a situation like this, you might end up taking a brutal blow to the face if you’re not careful.
In the past couple days Vonnie has had 2 people call asking if they’d really be able to benefit from our DVD programs.
It’s not an unusual question.
But these two gentlemen had a slightly different concern than most…
…They were 72– and 76-years-old, respectfully.
And each was worried they simply didn’t have the physical skills or ability to execute what they’d see on the DVDs.
Mixed martial arts “cage matches” (like UFC and Pride) are hottest and fastest growing sports phenomenon in the world now!
2 men locked in an octagon cage — “no holds barred” — kicks, throws, chokeouts…anything goes!
Originally created to pit one martial arts style against another, it quickly became a “proving ground” for everyone from wrestlers and boxers…to barroom brawlers!
But let me ask you this question…
Who would win in a REAL “street fight”:
An MMA athlete…or a vicious gang member?!