This is the first in s series of end of the year post regarding health and fitness. Health is the foundation of all things and is the corner stone of any combat art. One never sees a decrepit warrior on the battle field. And even an old warrior can often make measure of himself with presence and alertness of mind. With in these series will be a few things I have embraced over the years to stave of lethargy and enervation (a feeling of being drained of energy or vitality; fatigue.). Two state that prevents optimal function for the combat proponent.
Many successful people from martial arts icon Jun Fan aka Bruce Lee to Les Brown, have expressed emphatically, that to be highly successful, one must come out of the comfort zone one ensconces oneself in. In other words learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. On social media I have seen more than a few proponents of fire arms training and hand to hand combat supporters, who post videos of other people doing the things that many who have posted should be doing. The fact that many of these training are done in a sterile and static environment, gives a false approach and sense of comfort to the unpredictability of combat. Many such training are not done under a stress induced series of training. Something that is never found in a static sterile training.
These days there are quite a few fan boys…and I am only speaking of Black people here…of MMA, who go into seventh heaven orgasm over the spectacle of mixed martial arts, to the point where they not only put down other forms of combat arts, but go as far as to state that MMA is the only REAL martial arts. Whether you agree with that statement or not its immaterial, because there are people who do believe it. Ex boxing bad boy, Mike Tyson has one of the all time great quotes, when he stated “everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth”! The hue-man mind is a powerful organic machine that can force the body to do things it doesn’t want to do. Usually under extreme and unusual circumstances and often for a once in a lifetime. To the untrained mind though, there is a detrimental effect that occurs from a mind that lacks basic response to such unusual; circumstances.
Dubbed the fight or flight mechanism, the brain, we are taught, reacts in one of two primordial ways. To fight or to panic. The flight mechanism is a misnomer, as more people spend time freezing in an overwhelming situation than actually running away. Even if bullets start flying. And if they do run, there is no rhyme or reason in their reaction. Just move, sometimes into the very situation they are trying to escape from. However the mind can be trained to be in control and trained to pace itself, when faced with a difficult situation. The situation does not have to be one where physical harm is the danger. It could be as simple as deciding whether or not to make a significant move in your life, that could advance your career or personal relationship. Even such moves can be stress educing and do cause severe illness. The untrained mind would make up 10 times more excuses as to why it doesn’t work as opposed to how it can work, thus sabotaging any real and honest effort to progress in any form of training, preparation or planning.
To know one thing is to know a thousand things!
In Russia, the martial arts of the Spetsnaz, the Russian elite soldiers, one of the practices they incorporate into their training regime, is cold water dosing. Cold water dosing is when a very brave…or crazy, depending on who is talking…soul, goes out into ALL KINDS OF WHETHER BAREFOOT, and slowly pour buckets of cold water over their head, chest and shoulders. It has been stated that over time, and with the correct mental and physical practices, generate so much internal heat, the very ice under foot cracks. The reason for standing outside barefoot is to connect or ground with the earth, by awakening and control the flow of Chi throughout the body. Now there are all sorts of sensible reason for not wanting to try this cold dosing outside. Most immediate of which is standing barefoot outside in winter in the cold, throwing buckets of water over your body is something you should approach with great caution and build up.
Another less spectacular practice, yet has a somewhat similar effect as cold water dosing, is to take a five minute cold shower. In actuality just taking a lukewarm shower, it may appear as cold to many who are used to very hot showers. As you wash off, gradually turn the hot tap down and as the cold water increases, blow out through the mouth to help the body heat up quicker. Do not inhale shallow or you end up hyperventilating. Or screaming like a little girl. Taking a cold shower for thirty days, develops a strong mind, helps to eliminate negative mental chatter about what you can not do and teaches you how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. And like any practice that last between 21 and 30 days, they become a habit. Taking a cold shower is necessary to begin combat training. Because the mental preparation is more important in all stages of combat. If you can endure and embrace a cold shower, you then start the process of training and doing shit in ALL kinds of whether. This is where organized military training or military like training can prepare an individual or a group for the event one encounters a variety of situation that requires rapid reaction or response to an unfavorable encounter.
Many of those initiated in the ways of combat art, fail to grasp the reality that one does not become efficient over night, much less master the ability to acquaint ones self in a confrontation which requires life or death or any kind of physical harm. To build a strong fortress, one must first fortify the foundation upon which the fortress will be build. A solid fortress does not go up over night. Because the foundation has to be set and solidified first. Which may take quite awhile. After setting this foundation, adding the necessary bricks, beams and layers becomes that much easier.
Apart from conditioning the mind to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, regular cold shower has a qualitative effect on your nervous system. It strengthens the nerves, which in turn assist the musculature in growing strong, as it progress up the training ladder. A cold shower swiftly elevates the body heat up to roughly 104 to 108 degrees, before dropping back down to the mean. As this occurs Russian scientists states that virus in the body is killed, thus promote good health. In actuality there is no thing as a virus in my estimation. I believe that If you can not see it, hear it, taste it or touch it, it does not exist as an organism. What elevating the temperature does is to get the sluggish phlegm, mucus or toxins moving in the body through its elimination channels. You rarely see it right away, but once on the move, the elimination organs and system operates to remove the blocked sludge. The system grows cleaner, the nervous system is strengthened and the mind, which has multiple nerves and blood vessels running through it is also strengthened. Ultimately the immune system is jumped started, recharged and revved up
Now the reader will see this and wonder what the hell does taking a cold shower have to do with combat arts. Well…it sets the foundation by strengthening the nerves, blood vessels and circulation, strengthens the lungs and energizes and gives clarity to your thought. Couple this with systemic physical practices geared to combat arts, the cold shower provides the individual with combat training readiness.
An over night sensation usually takes years of hard work and sweat equity to develop
The journey of a thousand miles start with one step. And on the way to that thousand mile, knowing yourself is knowing how to respond to uncomfortable situation. This must be meditated on thoroughly.