Monday, November 26, 2007

Combat Fitness

I have put off writing about combat fitness because I'm not a very good example, but this was not always so. Shortly after we moved to South Carolina, I was taking an evening stroll down a not-very-well-lit street in Easley, SC, when a black dude standing on a porch with some Latinos called out to me to wait up. I was hesitant and on my guard when he approached. As we walked, I kept a half step behind and to his right while he explained what was going on.

It seems that he & the Latinos had a disagreement about his interest in a certain Mexican female. He said they were about to carve him up, when he saw me coming and told them, "He's my bodyguard." Well, that was nine years ago, and I don't think my physique would impress (let alone intimidate) anyone, today. But I've been working on it by slowly building a combat fitness program that will get me back in shape.

For over a year I've been doing an exercise that not only firms the obliques, but also provides a cardio boost, not unlike that from a short sprint. Then, about three months ago, I started doing some exercises from the book Pushing Yourself to Power by John E. Peterson. The workouts require no equipment, and they really do build muscle.

In addition, when I began working the afternoon shift, Laura & I started walking each morning before breakfast. We are gradually adding to the distance. Finally, I've added a couple of isometric exercises that I do twice a week.

One isometric I do is a half-squat braced against the wall. Perhaps I'll give a more detailed description at another time. I also do an isometric pull-up routine that has helped me with upper body strength. There's a video by John E. Peterson on youtube that demonstrates how they are done (Don't tell anyone, but I don't hold the positions for a full minute -- not yet, anyway). I don't have a pull-up bar, but I do have an extension ladder, and if I lean it against the side of our porch, I can move the base farther out or closer in to adjust the rungs to the proper height.

Each time I've added another phase to my combat fitness regimen, I've felt the difference physically. The strategy I've found most helpful is to take "baby steps". That is, to add one small element at a time -- something I feel comfortable about doing for the rest of my life.

But, in the final analysis, we all need to recognize that combat fitness comprises just one aspect of the Christian Martialist's preparation. For bodily exercise profiteth [a] little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (I Timothy 4:8)

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