An Epic Challenge For 2013: The Quest For Functional Fitness

From Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker:

To be fit is to be able to drag or carry an unconscious adult out of a burning house on one, maybe two gulps of air. Alternatively, it’s to outsprint a dog, given a head start, and climb over a 7ft wall. To be fit is to be able to fight and defeat anyone who can outrun you and outrun anyone you can’t defeat.

I like this concept of fitness, dubbed functional fitness by Fisker. The emphasis is on training your body and mind so you’re better equipped to handle life-threatening situations. Big biceps aren’t worth much in a street fight. A flat stomach doesn’t help you clean and dress a leg wound. Well-defined pecs won’t help you perform CPR.

So I’m thinking of an epic fitness challenge that will last the duration of 2013: A quest for functional fitness.

I’m still trying to come up with specific measures that I can aim for. I’d like to end up with a solid dozen before the new year hits. Ultimately I’d test myself on everything during the final week of 2013 or the first week of 2014, see how I fare.

Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with. Note that the numbers are just uneducated guesses at this point. I’ll need to do a good chunk of research over the coming weeks and figure out what’s realistic for me.

  1. First aid: Pass a fundamental first aid course, including basic CPR training.
  2. Running/Speed: Run 100 meters in 13 seconds or less.
  3. Running/Endurance: Run 10k in 45 minutes or less.
  4. Climbing: Improve starting rock climbing grade by at least 5 levels.
  5. Climbing: Climb over a wall a foot taller than me in 3 seconds or less (standing start/finish).
  6. Swimming: Swim 1k in open water in 20 minutes or less.
  7. Swimming: Pass a fundamental lifeguard training course.
  8. Lung capacity: Hold breath under water for one minute while swimming at least 25m.
  9. Flexibility[1. I know flexibility alone is unlikely to save my life, but improving in this area would surely help with some of the others.]: Achieve side split.
  10. Flexibility: Achieve forward bend with palms resting on the ground.
  11. Balance: Cross a 3m slack line.
  12. Strength/Balance: Walk 3m on hands.
  13. Strength: Squat, bench and deadlift my own body weight.
  14. Strength: Be able to pull myself up onto an overhanging ledge, no leg support.
  15. Falling: Learn how to land safely when jumping/falling from a height of 3+ meters (like this guy).
  16. Jumping: Hurdle three consecutive obstacles at waist height.
  17. Self-defense: I have a crazy idea for this one that would involve me becoming a bouncer for a month in an Australian night club, but open to other suggestions. I’d like to learn about and train in street fighting and other practical means of self-defense, not just traditional martial arts. I’m digging the kind of stuff Jeff Anderson teaches. This would be way out there for me though. I’ve never been in a fight in my life.

Happy to hear all thoughts on this idea, but specifically I’d love feedback along the following lines:

  • Would you modify any of the functional fitness measures/challenges I’ve listed above?
  • What would you add to the list?

I should note that I’m in pretty good physical shape already. I could probably run a 10k in 45 minutes with just a week of training (my best ever time was 40:05). I’m about 6-2, 190lbs. The toughest parts of this challenge for me would likely be the strength and flexibility training. Oh, and learning how to get punched in the face.

I’m also under no illusion that I’ll achieve mastery in any one area. The whole point of this is to stop sucking in many areas, learn the basics of many kinds of fitness, and hopefully give me a better chance to survive the impending zombie apocalypse [2. Speaking of which.].

Would also love to have a few folks join me in the pursuit of similar functional fitness goals throughout the year. Up for it?

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67 Comments

  1. Hey, Niall.

    I think this is a great idea. The Art of Manliness blog has a series of articles about things like these. One thing I would add is jumping distance, perhaps 1.5 – 2 meters. One use of this in real life is jumping rooftop to rooftop. I’m sure there are others. Another is to be able to climb a rope. Or handstand pushups.

    One fun way to bring some of this together would be to run a 5k or 10k obstacle course, though you may have a difficult time finding these while traveling.

    I might be willing to do some of these as well, but already have several other commitments throughout the year.

    1. Jumping distance, good idea. I could maybe learn a bit about long-jump technique.

      I also really like the rope climbing suggestion. That would require some serious upper body strength.

      Thanks!

      1. Well…I thought so too until I signed up for an obstacle course which had a rope climbing portion. I can’t even bench 1x my bodyweight and that was no problem.

        Just saw the Borne Legacy yesterday and can see how jumping on roofs would be useful. Maybe learning the basics of Parkour (if you can find groups when you travel) would be beneficial. It is the art of escape after all.

      2. Hi Niall, only just come across your site now as I was looking for my own fitness goals for the coming year, really like your idea of functional fitness.

        With regards to a tester… have a look at toughguy.co.uk this event will get you climbing, pulling up rope, swimming, running, jumping, it has the lot. I am going to be doing the 2013 summer one.

        Tom

  2. I like it Niall,
    I took up Crossfit about 18 months ago and to be honest I haven’t seen anything as good as it for building functional fitness. You can follow the daily workouts through the main website at crossfit.com but probably would need some instruction on some of the movements so you don’t injure yourself.
    I’ve been practicing handstand pushups, transitional handstands and full from a website called beastskills.com, they have a load of ‘benchmark’ strength skills tutorials that look really cool.
    I would add pull ups and push ups and maybe the ‘bridge’ to the list too, they’re basic body resistance excercises but require alot of strength and stamina

    1. Hey Flor. Great suggestions, man. Hadn’t seen that Beast Skills site but liking it a lot. Just got some great tips on there for my handstand. I’m definitely arching my back too much.

      I’ll definitely try a few crossfit sessions during the year as well. I’ve heard a lot of people now recommending that.

  3. Niall, you said you would deliver a post on ERE, and you did! Thank you!

    1. Please make a page on your site or make a post in January with a list of your 2013 Functional Fitness Goals.

    2. Consider testing yourself in all the (reasonable) goals before you settle on marks for 2013. It will be just as valuable as research, if not more so. For instance, you’ll quickly find that benching, deadlifting, and squatting 190 lb. is not a year-long goal.

    3. Look up Georges Hébert and the Natural Method. It was pre-parkour and pre-MovNat. (In French) Georges said, “Be strong to be useful.” He outlined ten skills to be worked on, and I think you would be served well in 2013 to look at your goals under these skill categories: crawling, walking, running, jumping, climbing, balancing, lifting, throwing, swimming, and defending.

    4. CrossFit prides itself on being the sport of general fitness. While the application of it at it’s franchises varies widely from awesomely intense to stupidly dangerous, they all get right the fundamental truth of the value of both HIT (high intensity training) and HIIT (high intensity interval training). You’ll transform yourself in a year if you go this route.

    5. Great observation about the Thai people socializing around exercise and having outdoor facilities conducive to that.

    6. Read #3 again. Those ten skills, when consistently practiced, will give you a legendary body to go along with your legendary life.

    1. Hey Scott.

      1. Good idea!

      2. Yeah, I’ll be doing a good bit of measuring this month. Must find a good gym and a rock climbing wall for starters.

      3. Cool, will definitely give that a look.

      4. I’ll be looking into CrossFit. I like the high intensity stuff 🙂

      Thanks!

  4. Niall – When you’re in Bangkok let me know. I worked as a conditioning coach and boxing trainer for years and would be happy to put you through the pads. I’m no longer in great shape as I’ve got numerous serious injuries, but I’m in good enough shapes to put you through the pads.

    The great thing about boxing or Muay Thai is that in a short period of time you can master the basics and become proficient.

  5. Hi Niall. Great idea…I’m looking to do something similar, so I’m in! I’ll also be traveling in the new year (in fact, I’ll be in Thailand January 9th) so will be looking to enjoy all that whilst hitting my various goals…one being (functional) fitness!

      1. Flying LHR-BKK January 8th and back again March 27th. Everything between that is open! I hope to get around a few places in Thailand and 1 or 2 nearby countries depending on time/logistics. I plan to get up to Chiang Mai myself, it’s just whether that will be at the start of the trip or the end. I want to get involved in some Muay Thai amongst other things. I need to improve my fitness again…we’ll definitely arrange something if it’s possible!

  6. Hi Niall

    I have done some Movnat courses http://www.movnat.com/ (including one in Thailand – Koh Lanta) and I highly recommend them – such training would be particularly suitable for you, since you travel a lot i.e. not having regular access to a gym, etc.

    Part of the training course involved breathing techniques, holding your breath, swimming, first aid, self defence, sprinting, balance, etc….pretty much everything you’ve included on your list can be worked towards with Movnat training.

    I have done a CrossFit cert, and occasionally do Crossfit workouts. While I think it is quite good, I prefer Movnat training…. no doubt that will upset some CrossFit folks though 🙂 ….

    Also, I recently went to a weekend “Bar-Barians” workshop (http://www.bar-barians.com/Home.html). Have a look at their YouTube channel for inspiration/ideas. It involves doing ‘street workouts’, pull ups, dips, press up i.e. don’t need a gym, etc. Their fitness levels & strength are very impressive.

    I do some parkour and that will certainly help with your jumping/falling training and is good for strength & general fitness,etc.

    As for flexibility, worth trying to improve, but some people are just more naturally suited to it than others, so don’t get too frustrated by that area.

    Since you’re in Thailand I’d try to attend a Muay Thai camp, etc – I’ve heard of some good ones in Chiang Mai. It would be a good start to fitness & self defence. With self-defence my favourite move/technique is the “running away” method…… 🙂

    As for walking 3m on your hands – that’s something I’d like to do too. Just for fun it’s good to do some hand balancing training. I’d recommend you check out Facebook/YouTube for an israeli guy called Ido Portal – I did a weekend workshop with him last year and he is a brilliant coach i.e. hand balancing, mobility, strength, etc, etc. A really smart & funny guy who knows his stuff.

    Those are some good/tough challenges you’ve set yourself. Look forward to seeing how you get on.

    Good luck

    1. Wow, MovNat looks really cool. Thanks for the heads up on that, Jonathan. How convenient that they courses in Thailand, too 🙂

      Digging your other suggestions as well. 2013 is gonna be a fun year!

      1. Thanks for reminding me about this Niall… I kinda promised myself I would do more before my 43rd back on the 16th. And I’m not where I wanna be yet 😉

        Jonathan recommendation for MovNat looks pretty pretty good – gonna check that out

        Stay easy

        Phil

  7. Wow, frist of all… That ssems a lot but I’m pretty sure that you can achieve most of those. I also heard about Movnat and it seems pretty awesome. They ha a workshop in Montreal around 6 months ago but it was crazy expensive.

    Regarding martial arts I tried Budokon at the beginning of 2012. It seemed pretty complete. The most interesting part was moving like animals. It was really good to increase the height you can jump or how long you can crawl and other stuff like that.

    Did you consider Parkour to learn how to fall and climb?

  8. Very nice and inspiring indeed! I am looking forward to your reports and your definite goals.
    Your blog, and of course your adventure is awesome anyways and a great source of inspiration for me. Keep up the good work!

  9. I worked in a summer camp last summer and I had to be certified in CPR and first aid. Learning the ins and outs of both are easy, it is being able to use that knowledge in an emergency while remaining calm that is difficult.

  10. Ciao Niall!
    First – I love this idea! I would be interested in joining you for all or part of in in 2013. Looks are nice but functionality is so much better.
    The only thing I see missing from your list is some sort of weighted carry (as you referenced in your linked article). While you’re used to carrying all your possessions on your back and you might be working on it through the combo of running-squatting-lifting-and pulling yourself over things, carrying weight over distance is different and might provide a good combo-benchmark. I’m sure you use a fair amount of hand strength in climbing yet in my (albeit limited) experience grip strength cannot be gained except by… well carrying around heavy things for a long time in your hands — just as it is one thing to lift your bodyweight a few times but another to carry that weight for a mile or more. Mental comes in big too.
    You might check out the GoRuck Challenge which is moving across the world now, perhaps you schedule would coincide with an overseas event. Nothing like preparing for the zombie apocalypse with trained professionals for a night.

    1. Great point on the weighted carry. Maybe I could just find a really lazy girlfriend for the year and carry her everywhere 😛

      Seriously though, I’ll think more about this. Thanks for the suggestions.

  11. I’m probably down.

    I’m working on some other things and don’t want to overcommit… but I’m adding different fitness goals to 2013…

    And I am interested in these skills as well.

  12. Great challenge Niall! I’m sure you’ll pull it off. But what happens after you test yourself in late 2013 or early 2014? Will you check functional fitness off your bucket list and move to a new challenge? If so, how long will your fitness level last? 1 or 2 years at most.

    I think we should instead strive for life long-functional fitness. Wouldn’t it be great to have it at the age of 60? There are for sure people who do…because they continuously trained their bodies since they were young.

    Thus, I think that instead of reaching some “arbitrary” benchmarks it’s better to create habits which we have to do no matter what, at certain intervals until we are not able to do them anymore.

    Eg. do 20 push-ups daily, run 10k every week, go swimming 3 times a week, regularly practice a martial art etc. If we only focus on maintaining a number of fitness habits (which train the whole body), I think we’ll inevitably become functionally fit after some time.

    All the best!

    1. Agreed. Much of this challenge will be learning different techniques and best practices, as well as my own limitations. That will then help me develop long-term functional fitness goals, figure out which activities I enjoy the most and which provide the most benefit, etc.

  13. you said I´d like it and I do. Love it. How do you always manage to come up with such great ideas you bugger 🙂

    Thanks for getting me inspired to do more about fitness again – and with a very different point of view! Will think about my own list of functional fitness goals.

    you know what – a random idea:

    you should start thinking about expanding your website to have an interactive section, where you stick your goals, others stick their goals, and we all track progress here – public commitment is the best motivation, and you are a great example for others to follow this way. Something like http://www.goalamigo.com, but with you setting the bar.

    Good luck!

    1. Hey Lukas. Not a bad idea, but I’m in a less is more mindset right now with my online projects. Feel I’m spending way too much time in front of the computer these days. If I ever set up some kind of user-generated content section, only way I could manage it without going crazy is by bringing on some people to help moderate.

  14. You might want to consider Krav Maga for martial arts. It’s kind of an anything goes style. The point is to win and survive, not observe protocol rules. But their locations are limited. I think they have some classes in Japan, tho, if you have any intentions of going there.

    1. Hey Michelle. Yeah, a few people have mentioned that now. It’s probably come up more than any other fighting style actually. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll definitely be looking into it.

  15. Strange you’ve posted this because my wife and I were discussing this two nights ago. We talked about how 99% of people go to the gym for the sole purpose of “looking good naked”. I rock climb four days a week and barefoot run twice a week because I want to be adaptive and have more energy to enjoy the things I love doing.

    Niall, What style of rock climbing are you focusing on and what is your current grade? Keep in mind that there are different disciplines in rock climbing and one discipline might be easier for you than for someone else (i.e. bouldering, top rope, sport, trad, aid).

    As you probably already know, climbing is a sport that you cannot give more than 100% because that results in joint, pulley and tendon injuries which affects every aspect of our lives. Let’s face it, our fingers aren’t developed to pull up 75kg of weight on difficult problems; they must be slowly trained and developed.

    I’ll send you some recommended reading as well as some tips of my own whenever you need it. Whenever you’re in the Western Hemisphere I’ll take you rock climbing.

    1. Hey Kevin,

      Thanks for that. I have no idea of my current rock climbing grade. I didn’t even know there were grades until a few days ago! I’ll be going rock climbing here in Chiang Mai in the coming weeks though and will try get a feel for my starting point then, and which style I want to focus on.

  16. I have a third degree black belt in aikido, a japanese martial art focused on self-defense. Aikido is a wonderful way to keep fit and learn a lot about life.

    One thing I learned was that the best self-defense is to not put up a defense. As soon as I move into defending I will attract an attack.

    In aikido you invite and smile and use the force from your partner. So there is nothing that trigger an attacker.

    On the other hand, you know that you can handle almost anyone, so you don’t have to be afraid and crumble and draw an attack in that way either.

    But those skills takes time to achieve. I was in the dojo about ten hours a week for twenty years and learned new skills every class.

    If you pick a hard path, you have to be the hardest to win. If you learn how to put up a defense, you better have to be good, because then you start to get attacked.

    I would say it’s safer to not train at all, than to train a hard path, if you are not going to become very good.

    1. Hey Stina,

      Thanks for the comment. I find it hard to agree with your last statement. Surely some knowledge of self-defense principles is better than none?

      I’ve heard good things about Aikido. I really like the idea of redirecting the force of an attacker instead of generating your own force to use against him.

  17. Nice! After I ran my marathon this year, I’ve been lazy with any fitness goals. This could inspire me to pick it up again.

  18. I absolutely love this idea Niall! In terms of feedback, I’d absolutely recommend reading this article http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/be_fit/

    You seem to have a decent list of goals already, but I like the explanations in that article for why the targets were picked. If nothing else it will inspire you and affirm that this is an excellent pursuit for 2013.

    Wishing you the best and looking forward to following along 🙂

  19. Niall – Muay Thai and boxing are the main stand-up arts that MMA fighters use in training. Both are useful on the street in self-defense situations. You need some ground training, Jiu-Jitsu, to round you off as a fighter but practicing Muay Thai and boxing definitely help.

    1. If I am a criminal I am going to stab Niall or hit him in the back of the head when he’s not looking. Why? Because I’m a criminal, I don’t have “fair fight” values.

      I’m all for practicing Muay Thai and BJJ as sports, but most people shouldn’t believe they are much safer from them. I’m saying this as someone who has had actual MT fights and loves the sport to death.

      Women especially should not be fooled into a false sense of security because of a combat sport. At BJJ, there was literally no point of me training with a woman, even if she had invested 5+ years into training. Why? Because I am a 210lb muscular male. I dumbbell powerclean her weight with one arm (that means I can take her weight from the ground and throw it up above my head in half a second). Women are better off getting a concealed carry permit in jurisdictions that allow it; pepper spray in all other places. So are men, for that matter.

  20. I like! I have been considering getting more active lately, and I like the idea of getting in shape “for a purpose”!

    Also – Whoever it was that said that you should set up a page here for goals was right! You should set it up so that we can all cheer each other on and keep track!

  21. Heya Niall, awesome new year’s goals!

    The flexibility part may be a lot tougher than you think. If you’re not rather good at it already, and more importantly, if you don’t have any sort of good inheritance from this point of view, it’s going to be a hard task (self experience)

    I’m sure that you’re motivated enough to achieve it, anyhow – AND I also trust in its great usefulness, no doubt!

    Man, the parkour guy got me replaying that video 10 times. Awesome one!

  22. Hello Niall. My 13 cents about self-defense:

    1. Cardio fitness in activities such as running and swimming, though important, do not wholly prepare us for the beast of a street fight. It’s vital to spend time on the bag and practice sparring with others.

    2. As others mentioned, to be prepared it’s often necessary to take up more than one fighting form.

    I too think you should give Muay Thai another look, for the following reasons:

    1. Build fight-cardio endurance through sparring.

    2. Gain stand up skills. (I’ve always been told boxers are kings of the street and karate et al. are not well matched.)

    3. Learn ground techniques, should they be needed.

    4. Learn gross motor fight skills that are useful right away.

    5. And because you’re in Thailand and can learn from the best. I’m jealous!!!

    I haven’t spent as much time with Muay Thai yet, and hope to learn Krav Maga in the future too… but I’m almost a blackbelt in Kenpo 😀 My Kenpo is good for:

    1. Specific scenarios, “if someone attacks me like this, I can do this or this or that.”

    2. Adapting the techniques to fit my physique.

    3. Hitting specific body targets to debilitate the attacker, with the goal of triumphing asap and staying off the ground in the first place.

    4. More realistic… shoes on, street clothes, bare hands, no pads.

    5. Stick, knife, and anything-within-reach techniques.

    6. Disarming attackers.

    The motto is “how you practice is how you will perform” in a fight.

    Also, yoga is really good for all around fitness; strength, cardio, flexibility, balance, focus… I love yoga.

    Namaste 🙂

  23. It’s not as “sexy” but learning to fall from standing (you’re more likely to fall from standing position than a high position, since you spend most of your time on the ground) is taught in your very first Judo classes. If you walk in to any class, they’ll get you started on how to fall safely.

    I have my own thoughts on combat sports, having been a professional Muay Thai fighter in that very city you’re in, as well as being on a Korean university Judo team. My basic advice is that you could probably save yourself a lot of trouble and pain and just read about avoidance and awareness tactics at http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/ I am a lot more bruised up from my combat sport training than I’d ever be if I had been pummeled in a few street fights.

  24. Niall,

    Good post. Good goals. A few thoughts:

    -Walking 3km on your hands seems to be about 300% harder than any other goal on your list.
    -Swimming 25m underwater is dead easy. As is holding your breath under water for 1min. Combining the two is just a little silly. It means you have to swim REALLY slowly that one underwater lap. If you want a real challenge, forget how long you’re under, just try to do 50m underwater without a diving start.
    -Consider some middle-distance events. Running 100m is good, but the killer events on the track are those that fall somewhere between springs and distance running (ie the 400m and the 800m). The swimming equivalent is the 200m. These are all KILLER events. Why not set some times as goals in these?
    -How about something to do with climbing to a certain height in the mountains, or walking a certain number of kms in day, perhaps with a pack?
    -You might also make some physiological goals: resting pulse, fasting blood glucose, body fat, VO2 max, lipids, etc.
    -I’d stay away from weights: they just f*ck you up and produce “show muscles.” Plus, gyms are boring places.
    -And, for your swim, it’s really hard to measure 1km accurately in the open water, I’d suggest swimming your 1km in a pool (and why not add learning a good flip turn while you’re at it).
    -Finally, there already exist various popular forms of testings one’s all-around fitness: triathlons (there’s one in Phuket) and those long “survival” or mountain races.

    1. Hey Johnny,

      Quick replies to a few points as I’m just heading out for the evening…

      – That’s 3m on my hands, not 3km. I can already do a decent handstand so over the course of the year I should be able to learn to walk a bit.

      – Remember that my main goal here is to develop functional fitness. Sprinting and long-distance endurance seem more useful in that regard than middle-distance running.

      – With that in mind, learning how to flip turn and swim long distance in a pool wouldn’t appeal to me as much as having experience swimming a solid distance in open water.

      Okay, gotta run. Thanks again.

  25. Doh! Yeah, 3km did seem pretty extreme on one’s hands. So, Niall, while you work on your fitness, I’ll work on learning how to read.

  26. people look at me like i’m crazy when i tell them these are the sort of fitness goals i aim for (…and to outrun a horde of zombies *coughcough* LOL)

    great list! can’t wait to read up on your updates.

  27. Niall, consider getting a Fitbit One activity tracker. It tracks your waking and sleeping hours: Number of steps, number of stairs, sleep quality, vibrating sleep alarm, app, Bluetooth syncing with recent iOS devices, and online community.

    It would be cool to get more objective measures of exercise and sleep.

  28. Excellent post. Believe it or not I’ve been thinking of doing something similar, albeit not to the same lengths of you! I’ve found my fitness regime currently involves haphazard running and occasional circuit training or weight training at home. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is because I hate distance running and I’m not to bothered about circuit training!

    When I was in school I swam a lot, played a lot of basketball and football, did some weight training at home and studied a few martial arts. I didn’t realise it at the time but I was quite functionally fit, as you put it. I might not have looked it but I could run, jump, swim and defend myself pretty well. What’s more I was quite good at swimming and martial arts but these are two things I’ve given up for some reason.

    So at the start of next year I’m planning on taking up Aikido again (great for learning about the body, how to fall/roll, as well as a bit of self defense) as well as a more fighting-based martial art (for fitness, flexibility and more self defense). I definitely want to take up swimming again, preferably open water but that’s not that easy when you live miles from the sea like me! So I think I’ll follow your progress and use it as a measure against my own to hopefully keep me motivated, something I do struggle with.

    As for advice for your challenges I cat recommend some things to focus on where the swimming is concerned.

    1. Your life-saving course might address it, but learn about open water safety. So many people die each years swimming against a rip tide because they don’t understand why they occur. Swim sideways, out of the rip, and you will survive.

    2. For your open water challenge focus on swimming technique and sighting instead of fitness. When I did triathlons my overall fitness was much worse than most other competitors but my superior swimming technique meant I easily finished in the top 50 coming out of the water at a lot of races. I try to forget that the rest of the race was spent watching fit cyclists ans runners overtaking me! But swimming is all about technique. Fitness should only be focused on when your stroke is as economic as you can make it.

    Also my sighting was very good, that’s when you pop your head up quickly while breathing to sight what direction you want to go in. Swimming in a straight line in open water can be difficult but could mean the difference between swimming 1k and 1.5k.

    3. As for martial arts I’ve trained in Aikido, Tae Kwan Do and Shotokan Karate. Of the three I enjoyed Karate the most. Tae Kwan Do is very focused on kicking which can be dangerous in a real world fight unless you’re very good at it. Karate teaches more all around self defense. Aikido is great for learning grips and throws but isn’t intensive enough for fitness I found. I’m currently looking at Krav Maga, the Israeli Army martial art. This is purely developed around dealing real world attacks so might be something you’d be interested in.

  29. [1st time visitor, 1st post] Echoing the opinions on the greatness of the list.Functional fitness is a subjective concept but you’ve covered a lot of ground here.

    However (isn’t there always a however): club bouncers would likely tell you the majority of their job is about mental acuity and not brute force. Any “security” position, actually.

    Just wouldn’t want you to head into such a contract job with the expectation of loads of physical contact as it may skew your rapport from the get-go (umm, as well as the business establishment you’re protecting).

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