Fitness Insights Gained...


Purple Belt
Apr 18, 2008
Reaction score
Inland Empire, CA
As some know on this forum I've been utilizing fitness training principles from two websites I regularly frequent - Mountain Athlete and Military Athlete to keep myself trained for my duty as a soldier (the fact that I presently work behind a desk in my present assignment is irrelevant. Any moment could find me carrying a ruck and rifle and sundry nastiness into the mountains of Afghanistan so I thus believe in being prepared for that).

Both sites were started by a Jackson, Wyoming based fitness trainer by the name of Robert Shaul who has trained many mountain guides, skiers, climbers, EMTs, soldiers, and other 'industrial' athletes (i.e. firefighters and policemen) both at his location and on the web through his twin sites.

I've been noticing the very nice carryovers into my martial arts training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Krav Maga (which due to the remote nature of my base I'm only able to do a few times in a month).

Shaul says that the traits of a military/tactical athlete are thus:

1) High Relative Strength
2) High Work Capacity for Short/Intense Events
3) Stamina for multiple events over a long duration. Also, stamina for a long event.
4) Mental Toughness
5) Durability for a long career.

I'll address how each of the five have helped me as a martial artist as well as a soldier:

1) High Relative Strength - I've noticed my punches, palm strikes, hammer fists, and elbows come with greater force. I chalk that down to the fact that a lot of the explosively oriented Olympic lifts in the two programs hammer the musculature of strikes pretty well as well as the extensive kettlebell work entailed in the program. Granted I don't want to rely entirely on strength, but high relative strength makes for higher hitting force.

2) High Work Capacity - I've noticed that for Jiu Jitsu especially this is helpful. It's helped me be able to scramble faster than opponents on at least one sparring session. Granted I don't want to have to rely on that but it is helpful. And I have noticed in a lot of Krav training sessions the warm up and actual exercises test one's work capacity.

3) Stamina for multiple events over a long duration. Also, stamina for a long event. - Mostly noticed for the duration of a class. For instance when we're passing guard against one another under a time clock in my BJJ class or kicking pads, this can come into play and is combined with work capacity in many aspects.

4) Mental Toughness - That's a requirement universal to both a soldier and a martial artist. Whether humping a ruck up a mountain or fighting rounds in a ring or the cage, mental toughness is a must. This can be built partially by increasing physical toughness.

5) Durability for a long career - I will remain a soldier for a long time and I also intend to remain active in the martial arts for as long as I am physically able to do so. Therfore any fitness endeavor that will aid me in doing so is definitely well worth pursuing.

I conclude that these five traits are also useful for the martial artist in all respects, but having a relatively small window to look at this from I would definitely appreciate insights from other MA types on this forum.