Thursday, August 09, 2018

Not Martial Trained, But Fighting Fit by Badger Johnson



Not Martial Trained, But Fighting Fit.

Let’s say you wanted to be good at fighting but did not want to study a martial art. What would you do?

As I mentioned earlier, I did a few things as a kid that made me a good fighter and I didn’t realize it.

I marched in a HS band, football games and parades. Those parades were from 3-5 miles long as I recall. The Macy’s parade is 5.5 miles. We marched in a relatively flat location in Tidewater, Va. I played a trombone which is not easy to play loudly and not light to carry for that long. We also dressed in wool uniforms with parade dress shoes and plumed hat. We were also required to ‘high step it’ when marching especially since the trombones were in the front. This gave me good cardio and increased my lung power (intercostals and diaphragm).

Around the age of 15 I built a log cabin about 10’ by 12’ about six big logs high, and dug out the floor to have an underground part. I used a hand axe, not a long axe. It took a couple months of daily chopping, dragging, digging and notching. I didn’t realize how much forearm strength it would give me, it was something I did for fun. Very good for shoulders and forearms and grip.

I delivered papers on a regular bike, I think one-speed with a huge basket on the front. It took about forty minutes to deliver them, but I had to pedal about 1/2 mile to pick them up and then 1/2 mile back. That gave me leg strength and added to my ‘wind’.

I lived near a wooded area so we were always climbing trees. I was the best at the rope climb in gym class.

So, I would say to build a fighting base, work on the following:

  1. Overdevelop the forearms, calves, shoulders and neck (to absorb strikes?). Forearms and hands give you extra grip-fighting capability. Calves give you the ability to be explosive. Shoulders allow strength in striking and also endurance to hold your hands up in guard. Practice some kind of jumping, even if sandlot basketball.
  2. Work on method to develop your cardio in the five ranges, and include burst, which is explosive ability for a few vital seconds. You can get this sprinting up hills, dragging a weighted sled and pedaling a bike uphill. (You also improve your lung power when playing a brass instrument).
  3. Play games. Frisbee, basketball pickup games, any running games, tag, or volleyball or soccer in school. This gives you ability to change direction and start and stop.
  4. Learn some kind of dancing. Again, that gives you cardio without really noticing it. It gives you rhythm and timing. You also get rhythm by playing a musical instrument. You get exposed to grace notes and subdividing the beat. This is good for broken rhythm.
  5. Use handheld tools. We played stick fighting and chopped trees and dug underground forts and shoveled snow and cut grass.

What about grappling? Well we grappled and wrestled as kids but without a lot of guidance. I did a semester of wrestling in grade school and junior high so I had an idea of what to do. I’d say this is an area where you most need some formal training. It’s reasonable, say around the age of 15-18 to get some BJJ training and to work on takedowns and grip fighting.

So without all of the formal martial arts stuff, bowing and kata and trying to kick high, you’d be a pretty formidable fighter when needed, though you might not win any formal championships, but again, how many people really need that. I was just living the life of a kid and young adult in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

It’s about building layers. Some attribute development through other base training, some focused work with a goal is needed. You might also need to have a role in mind, a temporary person or idea you put out there as a beacon or idol. But later you become your own hero.

© Badger Johnson, August 2018




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