When you think of training, one of a likely few things comes to mind. You may imagine a calculated run/bike ride. You might also imagine a well-planned workout plan, and some might imagine combative training of some sort. These are all well and good, and in fact, everyone should do all three of these, as part of their lifestyle. However, as good as they may be, they aren’t what encompasses all of the necessary ways of training.
As we continue to dive further into this “lockdown,” the further most of us drift further away from much of this training. We likely take less runs, lift fewer weights, and certainly don’t drill or spar nearly as much. This isn’t entirely our fault, though, considering the gyms being shutdown. However, taking that lying down, now, that is completely our fault. So, what can we do?
Well, aside from the obvious of going for a jog through the neighborhood, doing body-weight exercises, and maybe convincing someone in your home to drill with you, there are some other things available to us, that we likely never train, and this provides an excellent opportunity for. So, what are these training opportunities? Well, let’s start with a childhood classic.
The Rubik’s Cube. Now, here me out, before you click off the page. It doesn’t have to be the Rubik’s Cube; it could be any other brain-teasing puzzle. But, why? The mind is not an one-dimensional object or single-sided pathway. It takes molding of all kinds to strengthen the mind into the fighting machine that we want it to be. Problem solving is a primary function of the mind, and whether the problem is troubleshooting a computer issue or defending your life, your success comes down to two factors: conditioning and preparedness.
In this sense, conditioning, means one’s ability to handle this situation with calmness. Calmness of mind, body, and spirit only comes by having been in that situation before. This is where, in the case of a self defense situation, having done drills and sparring, in training, is essential to your success. It’s the confidence in our own selves, knowing that we have been there before and can handle the situation. Our preparedness, on the other hand, is partly the training in the subject matter, but it’s also comprised of the things we do in support of those functions. In the case of self defense, we train our 8 limbs, we train our cardio, and we strength train. However, we seldom, on the side, train our cognitive function. We behave like most law enforcement who believe they don’t need additional training (shots fired).
Massaging that part of the brain, allows for clearer, sharper thinking, when trying to problem solve. While being in the middle of a fight is no time for long-form problem solving, being in the fight isn’t the extent of self defense. Everything that happens before, during, and after the fight is self defense. So, your pattern observation before the fight, as well as your ability to think through the build up is hugely important. The same is said for the ability to identify what needs to be done, once the fight is over. These are important times to have a well exercised mind, otherwise, going into panic is much more likely. Now, don’t think that I am diminishing the need to stress-test and scenario drill. This is meant as a supplement.
So, what’s the best way to use this kind of a training tool? Simple. Work it into a physical routine. I’ll give you two examples:
A. Devise a small circuit training that allow for :30, at the puzzle station, and you continue to work the circuit, until the puzzle is solved, or until you’ve reached an acceptable stopping point.
B. For every so many steps of the puzzle, do so many reps of an exercise, such as 5 turns of the Cube for every 5 push-ups, sit-ups, or squats.
Be creative with it, and have fun. The idea is to challenge the mind, while going through some form of physical strain. You want to train the mind to perform higher-brain function, under physical stress. If you really ramp this up, to the point of wanting to stop, and push through the wall, bringing on some emotional strain, and continue to make the mind work, you’ve really stepped into the realm of an overachiever.
Give this a try, and share your results with me; I would love to hear your thoughts 🤙😎
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