Hunting shows hunt far and wide for a new concept to appeal new and existing audiences. As we all know (or knew when I used to link to Israeli supermodels) sex sells. Does it work both ways? Will women and gay hunters tune into Run2Gun to see Jordan Miller work out? I mean, the “some of you” that Mr. Miller refers to when he says “some of you may be thinking there’s no way I can do a traditional barbell squat” are, what, 80 percent of American hunters? These are not the exercises that OFWGs (Old Fat White Guys) are looking for. It’s too bad this isn’t a fitness program for armed self defense for all sexes, ages and body types. Do you work out and eat right? Is your ability to fend off attackers part of your motivation?

89 Responses to Question of the Day: Do You Train, Physically, for Self-Defense?

  1. Well if you don’t, then you should.

    Look up any statistics comparing morbidity by any of the so-called “lifestyle” causes (e.g., heart disease and such from too much time in a recliner, poor diet, inactivity, etc.) and you will see that it is WAAAAY greater than danger from random attack. Even in neighborhoods with the worst rates of criminality or in woods with the meanest grizzly bears.

    So, yeah, you need to eat right, exercise, and stretch.
    That reminds me – gonna go outside and *do* something now.

  2. I’m a firm believer in the principle that every able bodied person with a CCW permit better have a gym membership next to it.

    Why? Because heart disease kills more people then any army on Earth.As an American not affiliated with a military or law enforcement agency, the most likely way I’ll bite the dust is from preventable disease.Second to that, a car wreck.

    While being able to shoot like a ninja isn’t a bad thing, dyanamic management of our cholestorol levels is more likely to keep us alive.Remember, more people die from medical malpractice then from firearm related incidents!

    • I don’t think I have or need a gym membership. I am a steel fabricator for railcars and have a cattle farm on the side too. Swing a 10 lb hammer or drive fence posts all day and you won’t need a gym.

  3. If you can’t draw because your gut prevents you from doing so, maybe a gym routine isn’t the worst idea in the world.

    I’ve grown up associating firearms with physical activity because of boyscouts and being in the military, and I think that it’s definitely something that a lot of the mall ninjas don’t have.

    • I just spent 24 volunteer hours on Eagle Scout projects this weekend: swinging an 8 lb sledge axe into a stump blocking a trail, digging a hole to anchor a flagpole, trucking 800 lbs of concrete into said hole, swinging a pick axe into a hillside.

  4. Not being a crippled weak fat ass who bitches about stairs and groans picking up a gallon of milk should be motivation enough.

    The first time you squat twice your bodyweight should be reward enough. Its a pretty awesome feeling that repeats anew with every PR.

    Be better than everyone else. Considering the state of American fitness you can accomplish this with very little effort.

    • Unfortunately, if I tried to squat twice my body weight, my knees would explode. After watching the earlier posted video of the guy on the Seattle bus opening up a can on the punk who stuck a gun in his face, I am looking for a Krav Maga program. Good fitness, AND the ability to handle a problem when I’m unable to carry.

      Dumbell, or even body weight squats, walking lunges, and burpies (squat thrusts) work well for those who can’t afford or don’t have time for a gym membership. If you doubt that, try doing 5 sets of 25 walking lunges, or 100 burpies.

      • You don’t just walk into a gym and attempt to squat twice your body weight. You go in and squat what you can, then add a little every time. It’s like everything else, you slowly get better by training to get better.

      • And if u don’t exercise regularly already. don’t try any of those or pull ups without a complete physical or without seriously working up to them over a few months with basic and consistent calisthenics and stretching.

        Unless you want to spend 2 months going to a PT 2x/week.

        / don’t ask me how I know. ..

    • I am working towards that 2x weight in Dead Lift. My Squat is more taxing on my bad knee so progress is slower. Everyone is different but everyone should do some form of exercise to prevail under adverse conditions.

      I believe a person should be schooled in some effective hand to hand combat. There are alot to choose from. I happen to have trained for 6 years and fought in the Judo circuit but there is plenty of other stuff like Tae Kwon Do, Kendo, Sambo, Jui Jitsu, Karate, Hapkido, Krav Maga, etc.

  5. As a solider, I have work out five days a week, but I work out six now because, as a solider I think I need to! With that said, study after study shows that the more fit you are, the better you are at everything else! If you don’t work out, Start! If you are a SHTF guy and OFWG and you’re not in shape when it happens, all the shooting you have been doing is a waste! You won’t be able to keep up, you are more prone to injury and less durable to the circumstances! You will notice a difference in your shooting if you work out too! I am not an Olympic type athlete, but I tried to stay in shape for a number of reasons and one of them is shooting! Shoot, move and communicate!!

    • After 22 years of 5 days a week, static line jumps, and humping rucks in body armor my body is beat. Injuries prevent me from taking the good advice given above, although I do my best to maintain a reasonable weight. I don’t, and can’t, train to fight. My CHL is more important than ever.

      • Find an expert chiropractor. I haven’t been abusing my body for quite so long as you, but I had major back pain, a clicking hip, and screwed up ankles. Also the perpetually blowing knee. After six months, three days a week of work with the chiropractor, my back doesn’t hurt, my knee hasn’t gone, my ankles don’t bother me, and my hip only clicks about 70 percent of the time, not 100. It works if you find the right doctor. No meds, just retraining the body to heal. I haven’t felt this good in years, and am working on getting in the best shape of my life. Try it.

      • I’m sort of in your camp, though for different reasons. Drilling rig accident (summer job in college) at barely 19 has led to 23 leg and hip surgeries to date (basically go in every 2 years or so for more work until I die) including a below knee amputation. At the age of 57 I am more concerned with basic mobility and flexibility than I am with raw strength. So I do yoga and cardio, maybe a little resistance training on the side. It works. And I hit the range. A lot. The use of firearms for defense is a pretty important topic as they are a critical equalizer for me.

    • Right you are… shoot & scoot is for artillery as well as handguns. However, at my age lots of things are a struggle – to include getting a front sight in focus.
      These days it’s T’ai Chi & water aerobics for this old guy.

    • I am concerned. Many people, like myself, have never been overly athletic in their lives and many, like me HATE to exercise. As may be, “Colonel Colt makes us equal.” The point of the firearm is the equality it provides. Arnold Schwartzeneger or the Heavyweight MMA champion could confront me with evil intent and I would have no prayer of even slowing them down physically, but I can for damn sure blow their brains out. Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry – “A man has to know his limitations.” So stop looking down on people who can’t or don’t exercise, you’d be surprised how lethal we can be.

      Do you think Taliban or Al Qaida “freedom fighters” do PE 5 or six days a week? And yet they still manage to take out far too many of our troops. You think those bastards who flew into the World Trade Center spent much of their time exercising?

      I can’t dance a single step, but I LOVE watching Dancing With the Stars. They practice those routines hour after hour every day to get that good, but they have the drive and talent to do it. Does that mean that I should either never try to dance or should maybe not even watch good dancers just because it’s something I can’t or won’t do? Crap. I really wish you folks would get over this “you ain’t shit if you can’t/won’t do what I do” business. It takes all kinds to make the world.

      • Cliff H, I am far from athletic, I have worked hard to get in the shape I’m in, which really isn’t where I want it to be! If you want to get better at something you have to train at it! I want to shoot better so I shoot as often as I can, which is not enough! But I never meant for you to think I am looking down on you for not being In shape. But you have to admit you got a little butthurt over the comment! I never said you weren’t shit if you didn’t work out! And yes the enemy does “workout” they will do anything and everything they can to kill you! Have you been or Iraq or A-Stan? And yes I gotta little butthurt over your al queada comment, more like a little PTSD, but that is another reason I work out, to keep that “enemy” at bay!!

  6. While I’m not a gym rat, I try to stay in shape.
    As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that point between bad hurt and good hurt. I’m still able to put in 10-15 miles a day while hunting.
    I don’t do impact sports any more. Just yoga and walking/light jogging.
    I like being able to out hump guys half my age chukar hunting the snake river canyons.

  7. Working on belts in Tae Kwon Do. Currently at 1st level temp brown belt. Would like to get to black by the end of the year. My health is better, lots of issues with back and joint pain are gone, and I am much more flexible. Still not ready to sleep on the ground, but I never liked that much anyway.

    Get out and move. Your life depends on it.

  8. While it’s certainly possible to die from virtually anything, the overwhelming majority of things that Americans actually do die from are the result of lifestyle choices. Whether that means running in rough circles, drinking to excess, smoking, sedentary routines, unbalanced diets, or what have you, most of it really comes down to you and your free will, not happenstance of the universe.

    No one is arguing that you must place well in the New York City Marathon or the Iron Man Triathlon, and be a 3rd degree black belt in Ninjitsu, or be a food Nazi that even Herr Bloomberg would envy, in order to live a more healthy lifestyle. Just follow the basic food pyramid consistently, go out and get your heart rate up to its target rate for 30+ minutes a few times per week, and get down to within donut-throwing range of your recommended weight.

    Do that and not only will you be on the road toward a longer lifespan and healthspan, but you’ll also present a less inviting target to would-be assailants; tapering the likelihood of ever having a DGU in the first place.

    • “No one is arguing that you must place well in the New York City Marathon or the Iron Man Triathlon, and be a 3rd degree black belt in Ninjitsu…”
      Please see above.

  9. Lifting and eating right is a central part of my existence. This became a habit when the only defense I cared to consider was playing linebacker. Those days are long over, and I don’t train with a real purpose other than progress. However, being in good shape does certainly boost your confidence in knowing you are probably stronger and faster than most potential threats.

    • Because I have no way of predicting or even guessing at who my opponent may be, or even how many I might face (even in MMA they come at you one at a time), the only thing that has ever increased my confidence is that SR9c warm against my right side. I may or may not be out-gunned. I may be outnumbered. I may be taken unawares. But all things considered I am, with a reasonable amount of practice, much more roughly equal to the challenge than spending hours every week doing physical exercise would guarantee.

      Exercise and train, if that is what you want. Advocate that other people do the same, that is your right. I hope to get in better shape every year and maybe some day I actually will. But it is still everyone’s right to say, “No, not for me.” In the long run we all die. If it comes early due to something I neglected to do for my own health, that’s on me and nobody else’s business. If it comes by direct criminal act of another person I intend to use my pistol to the best of my ability to make him pay dearly, if I can. In the meantime I do not plan to use any significant portion of the time I have remaining, however much that might be, doing physical training to face a threat that may never present itself and if it does will probably be younger, stronger and faster than me, no matter what I do. But my EDC pistol will most definitely level THAT playing field.

  10. I’m 59 and lazy…so it’s good for me to have a moderately active job where using most of my muscles are used. I eat right and use vitamin supplements. I have externally induced lung problems and save accident or foul play, I know how i will die! In the field you can try to keep up…..so I’ll slow down for you…

    If you use tobacco…well…you should be SHOT!

  11. Are gay hunters really a demographic? I mean, I’m sure they exist but I just feel like the two statuses are not relevant to one another… If a gay man or a woman hunts, they will be interested in hunting. The other stuff doesn’t really matter in the context of hunting.

    As for this show, it seems like it is just that dude working out and talking about how much he needs to train to get the animal. Personally, as a paraplegic, I find the constant emphasis on running and fitness in general these days somewhat silly. It really does go to some folks heads, makes them a little crazy. I have seen it first hand more than once, typically with the straight edge types.

    Of course you should be in the best shape you can be and you need to know your limitations, especially before you go hunting. The reality is that a fitness regimen needs to be personalized and you should seek professional advice tailored to your situation if you feel you are really out of shape, especially if you have any sort of handicap (most of us will, eventually).

    I think what we are seeing is that the current generation is really desperate to monetize what they have going for them due to the utter lack of a real economy anymore. Certain folks are trying to find a niche in the entertainment field, thus the constant labeling and what amounts to games of word association. I don’t think this guy really has a marketable show, but I wish him the best.

    If you want to see someone run down an animal, check out Andrew Ucles. He catches the critters of Australia and Africa bare handed, no guns. No shirt either.

    • “Of course you should be in the best shape you can be and you need to know your limitations, especially before you go hunting.” [Emphasis added.]

      Common sense at last! Thank you!

  12. 90 year old men and ancient grannies are perfectly capable of defending themselves against aggressive young men. I don’t have to be a ninja to pull a trigger. That’s exactly why I carry.

    Exercise and fitness are good, but when it comes to self-defense they’re not better than a pistol. Still, all of us should get fit, diet and lose weight to make things easier for our pallbearers.

  13. Eating clean and staying fit opens so many doors in life there’s really no good reason not to ingrain those habits in your lifestyle. You’ll sleep better, handle stress better, have more energy for all the things you do, have a sharper mind, etc. All of my favorite hobbies (caving, canyoneering, scuba) are impossible if I’m not in good shape. Frankly, any benefits to self-defense don’t even rate as a motivating factor compared to the simple ability to do and enjoy the things I love. But they would fall into the innumerable side benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.

    • I agree with you. I stay fit for a bunch of reasons. I see so many friends and family going downhill fast. One friend that spends tons of money on new tactical firearms and gear, but I fear he’ll have a heart attack if something actually happened. Fitness ties into everything aspect of your life. Staying in shape has so many benefits self defense just happens to be one of them.

    • Also, since RF brought up the fact that “sex sells” in his original article, there’s also that with sex – if you get/stay in shape you’ll get more of it and enjoy it more.

  14. Do I train physically for self defense? Yes and no.

    Regardless, at the risk of portraying firearms as magic talismans, one of the important reasons to carry a firearm is so that I don’t have to spend 8 hours a week conditioning myself to be able to take on a 250 pound sculpted male with 6-pack abs in his early 20s.

    I might also point out that all the diet, conditioning, and training in the world is of no use to a 120 pound woman who has to defend herself from a 250 pound man in good physical shape.

    I recommend that people maintain decent physical conditioning simply so that they can operate a firearm and conduct themselves effectively in a self defense scenario. For that, you don’t really need any additional training per se. If you eat good foods and get exercise in normal daily activities, you’ll be ahead of the curve. For example, instead of parking at the closest parking space in a store parking lot, park in a far space with a decent walk. Instead of taking the elevator at work, take the stairs. (If you work on the 50th floor, then take the elevator to the 45th floor and walk up the last 5 flights of stairs.) Instead of paying someone to mow your yard, mow it yourself. If you live in a northern climate, shovel the snow from your driveway rather than using a snowblower. I think you get the idea.

  15. Absolutely – for a whole host of reasons: health, appearance, longevity, clarity of mind, enjoyment of life….and, to ensure that I am in good enough condition to defend myself if I need to, either in a physical confrontation (mano-a-mano) , or otherwise….I suppose being able to sit on an attacker to immobilize them can be an atvantage in some instances, but I’d rather be able to outrun them if I have to, or have the endurance to outlast/out maneuver them if I need to. Besides, I want to ensure I’m around for a long time to make the political lives of anti-freedom politicians miserable, and to ensure we have the numbers to continue the fight to protect our rights…(and who doesn’t mind breaking the stereotype to boot?)

    • This looks like a lot of fun. I saw this posted on the crossfit facebook page and there was a lot of anti-gun whiners. They don’t understand that a lot of the crossfit corp people shoot guns, lots of soldiers and police do crossfit. The connection is obviously lost on them.

  16. If you’re not taking care of yourself physically, but you carry a gun, or ten, then you’re being unrealistic about the facts of life.

    You’re far more likely to die by your own fork than by the someone else’s gun.

  17. I train so I can be healthy and look good. Some of my training is self defense oriented (KM) because it’s fun and it might come in handy some day.

  18. I jog 3.5 miles three days per week, lift weights another three days, and the last day is for high intensity interval sprints. I’m also considering taking up a martial art, so that I know how to handle things if my gun is not an option for some reason (I’m trying to decide between Muay Thai, Krav Maga, or boxing)

    • Akira,

      As a professional martial artist I strongly suggest you look into Gracie/Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and boxing. Muay Thai is just not as prevalent in the U.S. Most instructors have very questionable ability. On the other hand the U . S. produces some of the best boxers in the world so great coaching is easily found. Krav Maga is a real as St. Nick. I know that angers a lot of people, but KM is not a proven hand-to-hand system. Boxing, wrestling, GJJ, judo, sambo, and kickboxing are all proven daily in competition.

      • Whatever Wikipedia may say, Krav Maga was inspired by the training arranged by the British, using Fairbairn et al, to train some of the eager Betar-type folks during WWII, from whence the ideas proven in street fighting found their way to Palmach, which was in good part staffed by former Betar people. So-called dirty no-holds-barred fighting is what it is. It is what works. Three effective moves you can do automatically and at high speed are much better than ten moves you haven’t quite nailed. Knife beats fists, gun beats knife, unless it’s a sucker attack. Toy guns don’t count.

        Exercise is the only proven method to improve brain function. Crossword puzzles won’t do much. As for choosing which is more important, a weapon or fitness, that’s no choice at all. It’s like saying “which would you rather have, your heart or your brain?”

  19. In a word, no.
    I don’t hunt. I can’t run because of spinal stenosis–a slow jog is all I can manage, and that lasts just long enough to get across a street. Not that that matters much–my wife is in a wheel chair, and it’s not like I am going to run off and leave her behind. I don’t hike. I can’t even stand for more than a couple of hours. I don’t have the stamina to go even a single round with an aggressor. But I can pull an 8lb DA trigger. Or a four pound SA trigger. It will have to do.

  20. I exercise regularly and eat as healthy as I can. I do it because I want to be healthy, and to become a better rifleman.

  21. Sure; one of the few things I’ve done regularly over the years is to work out, run and train in martial arts.

  22. Define attackers. I view age, and lifestyle induced illnesses as attackers and work out to beat them.
    I’m hardly perfect but I’m getting better most days so that works.

    Being in shape helps my confidence and self-awareness (it’s a lot easier to be aware of my surroundings when I’m not out of breath and feeling beat from walking a few blocks). So there’s that.

  23. I already know I’m wasting my time but oh well……..

    The gun world is very out of touch. Not every encounter allows you to draw down on someone. Your sidearm is a last resort option not your primary means of defense. 99% of CC practitioners are too lazy to compete IDPA. 99% of IDPA competitors are too lazy to be fit and train martial arts. The gun world would rather hover the interwebs and read gear and gun reviews instead of actually being skilled and competent. This site is filled with men stating how the gun is the equalizer yet they have no martial expertise. Just a bunch of fat guys that dream of being John Wayne. Ironically, John Wayne did a lot of fist fighting in his movies.

      • W. Burke I truly don’t think it’s anything but that. I make my living by training people to fight and I hear all the excuses in the world on a daily basis. People don’t want to put the work in.

    • That seems a bit harsh, Jamal. Oftentimes, people redefine the world in terms of their own worldview. Not quite self-centered, because that has its own meaning, but more like self-centric, if you will. Someone who makes his living teaching self-defense isn’t just someone who makes his living teaching self-defense, is he? That career choice is the result of a worldview and philosophy of life that goes far, far beyond being just another J-O-B to pay the bills, am I right?

      There’s a risk there in redefining such a committed position as being the measure of central tendency, while everyone else is an outlier. In actuality, your position is the outlier. Don’t get me wrong, a great many people do indeed make ridiculous excuses and could very well improve their health with not too much additional time and effort. Still, there’s a difference between an excuse and a reason, and some people just have different priorities, which may not align with yours. Individual preferences are not necessarily character flaws.

      That said, I do get your criticism here and you’re not entirely wrong. Still, it’s important to remember that we criticize others not because they have faults, but because their faults are different from our own.

      • Jonathan I definitely respect your post. You are correct. My profession is based upon a world view based upon my socio-economic background. I was raised in the ghetto by a Marine Vietnam vet father. He stressed education and self-defense. I saw violence everyday in my neighborhood. So being able to deal with violence was paramount. Sadly, violence seems to be more catastrophic in the suburbs because the inhabitants are neither mentally nor physically prepared. They have that “cannot happen to us mentality.” I applaud TTAG. The outreach is needed and spectacular. I just believe as a community we can take some very minute steps when it comes to dealing better with violence.

    • Martial Arts is a half measure. Once you commit to a fight, you better hope they don’t have a friend, or hope you can gain the upper hand and end it fast. Unless you are in a boxing ring, fights end up on the ground. Good fighters are constantly jockeying for position. Rolling, twisting, bending, stretching. This is NOT where you want to be if you are armed. 1) You stand the risk of losing control of your weapon and 2) You are completely vulnerable if your opponent has a friend.

      I will agree with you that most people, not just gun owners, but people, are not willing to put in the work required to meet their goals. And yes, many gun owners are guilty of the “that’s why I have a gun” excuse for not training to physically defend themselves.

      But my sidearm IS my primary weapon system. It is not a backup, it is not a last resort. If I am threatened, EVERY action I take is focused on establishing a position where I can draw my weapon. Martial Arts is my last resort. If I can’t draw, or if I don’t have my weapon, and I have no other escape options, THEN I will take the gamble that I can beat a total stranger in a fight.

      That being said, everyone should look into some introductory level Ju Jitsu and Judo. Learning how to pass from a submission and establish a dominant position quickly is a real life self defense skill. Because you might not have a choice in whether or not you are going to fight, sometimes you find yourself on the ground in someone’s guard.

      • User3369 you are spot on. Hand-to-hand combat is not fair nor is it a time consuming encounter. But I cannot stress enough that every encounter does not allow me to draw. I am glad to read you stressing the importance of grappling for self-defense. You are correct. THE GROUND DEFINITELY HAPPENS. if you cannot fight on the ground you cannot fight.

  24. “Do you work out and eat right?”
    I try.

    “Is your ability to fend off attackers part of your motivation?”
    For exercise, yes. Not really for eating, though it should be. :p

  25. I try to stay in reasonable shape. My primary motivation for staying in shape is health. Genetics are not on my side and I don’t want to die of a preventable condition. Secondary benefit is to be able to take defensive or violent action if needed to protect my family. Strong people are harder to knockout or kill. I do it by playing hockey/racquetball 2-3 times a week in the winter/Mountain biking in summer and light lifting/PT 2-3 times per week. I do not actively practice martial arts anymore but I have a fair amount of training and roll around for at least an hour every week. There is no way to simulate one on one fighting but grappling with ppl half your age gets you in shape and reminds you of your limitations. Hence, the reason I am armed 24×7.

  26. I walk 4-6 miles a day. Run a 30 minute hill program on the treadmill at least three days a week. I lift for upper body strength every day. I still walk and carry my golf clubs if walking is allowed and seldom play cart only courses. I can still hump 40lbs of gear 10+ miles. Maybe that’s why I don’t notice a 41 oz 1911 on my hip. I will turn 64 this month.

  27. lifelong bodybuilder and powerlifter. I also mix in a lot of cardio. and of course I ride horses. what I really would like to do is get some hand to hand combat training (judo, karate, etc)

    • I watched an old guy hitted deads with 7 plates per side at the gym this week. He had to be 50+ and was rocking that weight. Made me feel like a pansy-ass

  28. “Do you work out and eat right? Is your ability to fend off attackers part of your motivation?”

    Yes and yes. It is much easier to do many things if you are healthy and in reasonably good shape.

  29. Absolutely. I’m active duty so for me it’s a part of my day. Aside from that I am a firm believer in being prepared for as many situations as I possibly can. Whether I’m stuck in the woods or in the middle of an urban area when SHTF, physical conditioning could potentially be a lifesaving difference…..or Chuck Norris shows up and roundhouse kicks fate in the John Thomas…..whichever

  30. All the fitness in the world is useless if you don’t train to shoot while exhausted, gasping for air, and hyper alert from a massive amount of adrenaline in your system.

    You will move real fast when your life depends on it. The question is how will you shoot when you find yourself staring down your front site? When you can simulate being terrified of taking your eyes off your front sight post, you can train for self defense.

    That being said, no one fitness option is the answer. A little bit of everything is the ticket. Be able to move fast, but controlled. Be able to pick things up, but quickly and efficiently. Be able to fight, but not get entangled in a brawl. Your #1 goal in self defense fitness when you have a firearm is establishing standoff. You have a gun. You want to use it. Create space, find cover, gain the advantageous position, and engage.

    • You create space before the engagement begins. That means being alert to your surrounding and being able to identify potential threats before they become proximate to you.. If you let someone get close to you than your options for movement decrease quickly. No amount of PT will allow you to outrun a bullet.

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