“… looking fit and being fit are not necessarily the same. Being fit is being capable of performing physically in the real world with effectiveness and efficiency, and especially when the situation and the environment are challenging.” ~Erwan Le Corre
To save your own life! That’s it. That is the only real reason to train.
Let’s face it, most people train for vanity purposes. They want to look good. Very few train for a legit reason like their job requires it or because they are an athlete of some sort. But even these legit reasons aren’t the real reason to train. Those careers are temporary. If your job is why you train, what’s going to be the reason when you no longer have that job?
A friend of mine had a scare while on vacation not too long ago. He was out swimming in the ocean and got caught in a little bit of an undertow. He was never in any real danger but the amount of effort he had to put towards swimming made him realize that he was so out of shape, that he wouldn’t be able to save his own life if he had to.
Can you save your own life? Could you defend yourself from an attacker? Could you run from away from one? Can you swim for your life? Can you climb a tree or a fence to get away from an attacking animal? Here is a real question, can you walk to save your life?
Yeah, walk. I know it sounds silly. Of course, you can walk but for how long and how far? Over what terrain and what altitude? How much gear can you carry? Can you carry your child to safety? The most basic and fundamental skills we have as humans is walking but many of us aren’t even in good enough shape to do it.
Skills don’t matter
When I talk about defending yourself against an attacker I am not talking about having any type of skill. I am talking about having endurance. Will you have enough juice to kick, scratch, claw, push against your attacker till either he gets tired or help arrives?
Knowing martial arts is cool but if you run out of gas, those skills don’t matter. The same goes for survival skills. They don’t matter if you can’t execute them.
I recently saw an episode of Naked and Afraid that gave the perfect example of what I have been trying to say for years. I love survival shows. The more hardcore and legit , the better. Naked and Afraid seems to be one of the legit ones. If you aren’t familiar with the show the basis is very simple. A man and a woman are dropped off in the middle of the wilderness naked and attempt to survive with just their skills and usually, one to three tools among them for 21 days. If the situation gets too hard on the participant they can quit and go home. This is known as “tapping out.”
Obviously, the more primitive skills they have, like shelter building and hunting, the better chances they have at making the full 21 days. Many people “tap out” because they are too hungry, miss their kids, and often because it’s not what they expected. In the episode I’m referring to, the male participant tapped out because he was out of shape.
Now, he didn’t say, I’m out of shape I can’t do this, but it was pretty obvious. In fact, at the end of day one, I could see it in his face that he was going to tap out. He looked exhausted and sick to the point that if I saw someone on the street that looked like he did, I would call 911.
This guy had a fairly high “Primitive Skills Rating.” He was former military, a retired police officer and had apparently spent a lot of time in the woods and in survival situations. He went into the challenge thinking that he would have to carry his partner through the end of the 21-day challenge. In all actuality, he probably could except for one thing, he tapped out around day 4.
I knew he wasn’t going to make it. I saw it on day one. He was so exhausted. He had exerted himself so much that his body could not recover in the harsh environment that he was in. It was obvious that he was out of shape. While he did have the survival skills to live off the land for a few weeks, he did not have the physical endurance and stamina to be able to utilize those skills.
He did not look out of shape. He had a muscular build and appeared to be fit. He probably hit the weight room a few times a week for a workout. But when it came down to it, a barefoot walk over rough terrain for several miles took him out.
If he was alone, not with a TV crew, and had to walk out of there, he wouldn’t have made it. He was so out of shape that he would not have been able to save his own life.
This is the reason you should train. To run to higher ground when a tsunami hits, to run to safety when there is an active shooter, to swim to shore in a flash flood, to fend off your attacker till help arrives (or kick his ass), and to walk out of the woods when you get lost on a hike or your four-wheeler breaks down.
What your body looks like will matter not one bit if you are dead.
If you are in shape enough to save your own life and are safe in an emergency situation, then it might be time to go in and save someone else’s life. This is reason number two why you should train. We’ll get into that in another post.