“America’s youth are not ready for combat,” a national news report stated recently, so much so that the military is lowering its standards to accommodate our unfit little friends who apparently have amused themselves right into a physical coma of sorts.
Why? Motionless entertainment, that’s why! Hand held, laptop, big screen, you name it. They waddle through the malls sucking on a Big Gulp and chowing down on cinnamon rolls the size of the car they came in, all while searching for stuff to cover up the results of what they’re eating and drinking! After that, it’s off to the videogame store to buy the latest shootem-up war game.
It’s just like being there, just without all those nasty push ups and long runs and haircuts and real bullets. They just play their 3D doom-of-war, death match game from the comfort of the couch with a refrigerator within reach. Pick a cool name and bad-ass “skills” for your doppelganger and you’re an instant military badass!
The line has become blurred, there is so much simulated input from screens and games and computers that reality is pretend, and pretend is reality. Talk and action are rarely related.
Hauling ass over a real fence because you have to is not something that this culture can even relate to anymore, and why would they? Our culture does not hold physicality as an essential goal to attain.
And as if the fact that the military can’t seem to find a few good men or women isn’t disturbing enough, we are now being told that it is the food’s fault. Faster than you can unwrap a Snickers bar, fat politicians are all over this fat problem with big fat solutions for our all the unfit folks. Those solutions? Laws and lots of regulations. Blame the food! Nothing is your fault; you can’t hold people responsible for succumbing to those wicked delicious donuts, so we’ll just outlaw the food, stupid food!
Here’s the “Hanzo” deal people. Young people are not educated in fitness; they are not schooled in the art of getting off the couch and going outside and playing or running or climbing trees. If you should suggest this to a teen/young adult, you will only be greeted with a blank stare and a “what did I do to you?” look.
Look at the basis of people’s daily lives, it does not generally revolve around activity of the physical kind and if it is, it’s usually repetitive and not physical in a healthy, active sense. Digging coal is not super healthy or rewarding way of life. Who needs to get crushed by a mountain?
The facts are what they are: people are becoming lame and disinterested in their health and welfare. Why? Lack of imagination with regard to exercise.
Taking charge of your life is not a Rubik’s cube of a problem, it’s a matter of taking little interesting twists and turns in how you approach your workouts and why you approach your workouts. I catch a lot of my students in a redundant pattern of sameness. Sameness equals comfort and comfort equals sameness. We are habitual creatures. We like the same stool at happy hour, we like the same seat on the bus.
The theme of this article is to take a military approach and punch it into another dimension that you never gave yourself permission to think of. This approach has been taught to the S.O.T.A. guys of Minnesota, firefighters all over Minnesota, and last but certainly not least, people who went into the military. The people who went off to the military have all come back to me to say that they made it through basic training without any hassles, and in most cases, aced it outright because of this simple approach. That says it all. So here is a new twist on my approach to the classic moves, redefining the rules of being a badass.
Your numbness to your environment is what causes accidents in the field, not your inability to physically turn on a dime. This happens because we do not have enough flexibility in our behavior in terms of getting the most out of our bodies and working situations. “Urban Chaos,” the Hanzo philosophy, specifically encourages you to look at your surroundings and think: what can I do and how do I do it. This contradicts how most people perceive their immediate environments: I don’t know what to do because I never thought about needing to do it. In the real world, that can have terminal consequences.
That’s where the Hanzo philosophy comes into play. Take what’s available around you and create something that pertains to what you are trying to do.
Most of us are trying to get into a physical shape that is exceptional in every way: cardio strength, and flexibility. We want our workouts to be interesting enough to want to do and challenging in a new way. Workouts are not something you should be comfortable with or know by heart! Unlike most workouts (and even many featured in this magazine), the Hanzo philosophy states that doing what you know for reps and sets is a waste of time. Creating challenges for your brain and your body is what a true workout is.
Creating challenges means progression. It’s like this, a push up is hard and once you can do a push up for 25 perfect reps, it’s time to get creative. First thing that comes to mind is two chairs: one for your hands, one for your feet. Then work up to a static dive bomb, shallow in execution but effective in recruiting groups of muscles that were happily minding their own business (until you got all Hanzo on their asses).
So here you go, a Hanzo trifecta of pleasure and pain and confusion. Welcome to my world brothers and sisters. The push up, the pull up, and the pistol, these are the cornerstones of my daily 20 minute rip. This is a sampling of how you can think outside the box and how you will get miles ahead of anybody beating the same dead horse.
Implementing these simple deviations on the Hanzo theme will show your weaknesses quick; that’s the mark of a great workout and is why the military pushes recruits to their breaking points. Just walking around and chatting about the day during your workouts just ain’t gonna fly with the master chief. So we are going to take the three basics and blow your mind and once these get comfortable, get rid of them and go to a deviation that is hard again.
The Push Up
The push up is my favorite version right now. Doing push ups with a 20 kilo backpack on, alternate a strict push up with a pause, then the next rep go into a jackknife holding strict and steady; don’t just rush back to the floor with your hands, go painfully slow with each rep and reap the rewards later. Do a set of 25. Most likely, you will not make this goal, but if you do this correctly you will uncover things to work on. After a couple of weeks you will accomplish this then it’s time to change it up. Maybe amplify your approach by elevating your feet and placing both your hands together to make it even more difficult!
The Pull Up
Any pull up as long as you stop at the bottom and stop at the top; ten non-stop, and don’t forget the 20 kilo backpack! If that’s too difficult, perform the set with a partner and have them neutralize the weight on your back with every other rep. Again, after you accomplish the 10 perfect reps after a couple weeks, switch it up! Try your pull ups hanging from 2-inch manila ropes (no gloves allowed) and try to accomplish the same feat.
For those of you who have never heard of the pistol exercise, it is a 1-legged, rock-bottom squat. When you first start using this exercise, perform an assisted version by straddling a doorway holding onto both sides of the door jam. Squat down on one leg, then switch at the bottom and rise up on the other; start to create a hopping rhythm during each switch. When that becomes too easy, do it without balance assistance and add weight. When that gets to easy, try it while standing on a thick fence and alternating leg with every rep (make sure the fence is old and wobbly to make it more fun).
Spend only five minutes on each move, but practice every day for a two week period. Then it’s time to switch it up (contact me if you need new ideas). Also run one mile every day; no more, no less. One mile right after or just before each workout.
When you’re ready, it’s time to progress. Seek out the most disturbing vertical staircase you can find and perform backwards maneuvers up the stairs. I created this for the firefighters (they thought I was a pain in the ass too). It turns out that they had no reverse body awareness, a dangerous condition considering they need it when carrying a full load while in a lying position with flames and smoke and people depending on them; they could not take a chance on not being able to take care of business. So, find stairs and get into a push up position at the bottom. Traverse the stairs backwards until you reach the top, then head back down.
Only 15 minutes a day with a 1-mile run for 2 to 4 weeks (plus a stair set if you can handle it); you’ll need to do nothing else and you will be in better shape than you
are right now.
This article was featured in the June/July 2011 Issue of the My Mad Methods Magazine. "FUBAR Workouts: Outside of the Box Simplicity" was written by Ron Morris. Learn more about the My Mad Methods Magazine by Clicking Here
Ron “Hanzo” Morris is an educator and consultant for many agencies, correctional facilities, and college teams. He hold a tactical certification and national recognition for his books and videos, as well as a deep education in martial arts and fitness. Find out more
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