Do you remember the last time you were in a physical fight? Have you ever been in a fight? Physical confrontations normally takes place in adolescence, as boys try to prove that they have what it takes and will fight for what is just. For most of us, if we have ever even been involved in a physical altercation, it happened years ago. I wanted to jog your memory of these moments because you can put yourself back in that place and time, and recall the adrenaline coursing through your veins and the energy spent in trying to overcome your opponent. There was skill and focus required under intense pressure in order to succeed.
I bring this subject up because I recently added combatives into my workout programming and I wanted to share the benefits that I have noticed with you. By combatives, I mean throwing punches, kicks, knee strikes, and ground and pound skills using a heavy punching bag. My fitness programming is the same as what you are doing with the 40 day wellness plan, which is designed to be a high intensity interval training system. Of course, the Intentional Encounter plan starts slow and works up to more intense and varied workouts, but essentially it is the same system I have been following for the past 9-10 years to prepare myself to be a SWAT operator.
Through adding combatives to these workouts, like thirty seconds of knee strikes for instance, repeated during a workout, I have noticed several positive outcomes which I want to pass on.
Combatives help train several of the components of the general physical skills which a fitness program should aim to increase competence in. Through the use of combatives, athletes test cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, balance and accuracy. During a workout, I have found that I have to concentrate on a certain skill set while being fatigued, and perform that skill with power, speed and accuracy in order to gain the desired combat effectiveness on a target that is needed during an actual fight.
You are a Warrior
Men in particular are made to fight. Interwoven through our lives is an innate desire to fight for the good. This comes out in a particular way in adolescence when boys hone their desire to be warriors and are ready to throw down with anyone who disrespects or dishonors them. This desire is good when properly ordered. It leads to justice on the streets where police officers, for instance, kick in doors and grapple with suspects in order to reclaim order and honor to a portion of society that has fallen away. This warrior mentality is also justly played out in military conflicts where a just cause compels a people to defend themselves with military force.
Every man has this warrior in them, whether or not you see it anymore during the normal rat race that we find ourselves in. By adding combatives to a workout, you can become more confident and apply the aggression that is within you in an appropriate way. While it is unlikely that you will need to engage in an actual physical confrontation, there is something to be said to having the skills and confidence to take care of yourself and family. It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it as the saying goes.
“He will destroy death forever” (Isaiah 25; 8)
Our culture reduces Christianity to a soft, “Pollyanna” worldview, but Jesus came into the world on a mission to destroy death…and he did. As Christian men, we each play a unique role in the battle to take back God’s world and are sojourners on our way back home. Combative training can provide a practical way in which we prepare our bodies and remind ourselves that we are called to be warriors for Christ. As a soldier must have a disciplined mind and body for combat, we too must gain self-mastery so that we can respond to God’s battle plan for us.