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Being a UFC Fan, War and Warriors, and Are Any of You Doing Rushfit?

georges st pierre

georges st pierre

A few random thoughts from a guy running on too little sleep this morning.

My youngest sister married a guy who was a mixed martial arts nut. He got me into watching the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). In the beginning, I could take it or leave it. I wasn’t really a fight fan, although my dad and I watched a lot of Mike Tyson together back when he was the man to beat.

One of the first fighters I remember seeing with the in-law was current champion Georges St. Pierre, who had an incredible physique and seemed ridiculously strong. This was also around the time that I was starting my long strange trip into the strength culture, and I was prone to noticing this sort of thing. More on St. Pierre in a moment.

Narrative in sport

But my new brother-in-law was also becoming one of my best friends, so the fights gave me a great excuse to get together with him. And little by little I got sucked in. Like most things in my life, it was all about the stories and the personalities. The same reasons that I still watch an NBA game now and then. There are people I like and I want to see them win, and there are people I can’t stand and I tune in hoping I’ll get to see them lose.

The additional wrinkle in the UFC was that if you tuned in to see them lose, you might seen them lose and get wrecked in the process. They might get their comeuppance in a lot of brutal, nasty ways, and I could see some great athleticism in the process of seeing story lines resolved (or prolonged).

On their athleticism

I’m not a fighter, but I found myself wondering what their workouts were like. How did they train? How could they sustain the pace that some of them did over fights that could go as long as 25 minutes in some cases? And most importantly, how could I get abs like them?

Ah, the follies of just a couple of years ago!

I found myself wishing I could do all of their training except for the fighting part, just to get in that sort of condition. Why? I don’t know. My job at the library really doesn’t demand a lot of ferocity and stamina.

Well, the long wait is at an end, because Champion Georges St. Pierre has released a fitness product called Rushfit.

First impressions

I haven’t used it so I can’t knock it or make too much fun of it. I will say that I find this video wonderfully hilarious, particularly with so many shots of Georges walking up to the camera and throwing lots of kicks.

Here is why that makes me laugh: Salt Lake City is apparently the world’s headquarters for guys with barb-wired tattoos on their arms, and Tapout shirts. Every single day at work I see guys in their 20s, 30s, and occasionally in their 40s wearing a Shogun Rua walkout T shirt (the shirt the fighter wears during the walk to the cage on fight night), walking far too quickly and trying to stare everyone down.

I get the impression that they get the impression that they think they are UFC fighters. Unless they fight on the undercards that I rarely get to see, I’m fairly certain they’re not.

And I can’t help but picture them all buying a copy of Rushfit, which promises to take them inside Georges St. Pierre’s training camp. From the videos I’ve watched and the reading I’ve done, Rushfit looks like high-intensity circuit training. That’s absolutely fine, unless you’re just a spectator like me and you start to think you’re a tough guy because Georges himself is telling you to push through the pain and feel the burn.

 

These types usually make me laugh, but not everyone finds it as funny. Some are incapable of even smiling about it.

Fighting Without Rules

Over the last couple of years I’ve had the good fortune (some would tell you I’ve been cursed) to become friends with Adam T. Glass. If you’re not familiar with Adam, today I’ll just say that during a decade of honorable military service he was put in situations where he had to fight for his life. Adam and many others military men I have met through him don’t find anything very impressive about the combat sport, beyond the obvious displays of athleticism and strength. He is the closest thing in real life to Jack Bauer that I can imagine.

So I can see how someone walking around with their chest puffed out, pretending to be a warrior, can be a joke or an insult to someone who has been to war and has fought for their lives in an arena without rules or rankings.

Lifting weights doesn’t make you tough

It’s a superior activity, but that’s it. Getting stronger in the weight room has taught me a lot about myself, but it hasn’t made me tough. It doesn’t build mental toughness either. I used to think so, but now I know tough people, and they weren’t made in the weight room. They were made in brutal crucibles that changed them in ways that nobody else can understand.

Can you build endurance in the gym? Sure. Monstrous max strength? Absolutely. But every time I hear someone referring to going to war with the weights, or having a battle in the gym, or I see the pseudo-military nonsense of the RKC marketing, I have to tune it out. I used to eat it up, now I can’t. Getting stronger is a superior activity whose benefits cannot be overstated, but one thing makes warriors, and it is something that most of us will never know, luckily for us.

If you never got to read it, I highly recommend Adam’s I, Veteran article. I can almost guarantee you it will be the most powerful thing you’ll read this year.

That’s it for today. I’d love to hear from anyone who has tried Rushfit, or would like to weigh in on anything else in this post.

Happy Saturday!

Josh

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tomas March 5, 2011, 12:54 pm

    They may never realize it, but wearing clothes like that makes them look like jackasses. I once wore a long-sleeved shirt which read “Fighters never quit, quitters never fight” in late 2004s when I had begun training Sanshou, but sold it realizing it made me look stupid. I don’t wear my club’s t-shirt in the public either, because it’s a magnet for dumb comments and rowdy guys picking a fight with me.

    You’re absolutely right about getting stronger not making us tougher. Human face, for example, remains as brittle as always.
    A 90 pound narc could kill even the strongest men in the world by punching them in the face- a fist is enough to do mortal damage on the brain.

    Adam has been through horrible, horrible things I can’t even imagine. Fortunately he has real friends over there and doesn’t have to deal with everything all alone by himself. 😉

    Finally, I remember he mentioned in I, Veteran how media cares more about celebrities than the brave people who fight for your country. That’s really sickening!

  • Doug March 5, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Nice Post Josh and I agree, but I think that is marketing. It can suck-in the high percentage of the population that buys on emotion. Whether it is to be bigger, slimmer, stronger, more tough or like our favorite heroes.
    We have all done it so it does work, it just depends on what void we are looking to fill. I am like you, since I have been in the training business I have really learned about that internet marketing techniques used by trainers and systems and I try to avoid it most of the time.
    I do not know about this “Rush Fit” video but I was under the impression that GSP goes Jonathan Chaimberg’s training facility: Adrenaline Performance so I’m not sure if he trains like he does in the video he is promoting.
    I don’t knock the video, like P90X, I’m sure if people followed the program they will see some positive results but I do not think they should go into the local bar and punch the biggest guy in there.

    • Josh Hanagarne March 5, 2011, 1:48 pm

      Well said Doug. I’ve often gone into placed and punched the biggest guy there, but it’s usually me hitting myself:)

  • Ben Owens March 5, 2011, 6:13 pm

    Wow that looks like an awesome video. I would love to watch it, but would never do it. I couldn’t handle GSP’s “riddum”. I don’t feel bad though. I am certain it is not what GSP does to train either.

    If Brock Lesner ever comes out with “BrockFit” or “BigUglyDaggerTattooFit” I will be all over it.

  • Yusuf March 5, 2011, 9:39 pm

    Great post Josh. I think KB training can make you tougher but it’s really semantics. It’s not on the plane of real toughness, I agree. Tougher (than you were previously) but not to be confused with being a warrior and being truly tough.

  • Kirk March 7, 2011, 11:39 am

    OK… I have a confession to make: I just ordered Rushfit for my wife. After reading Josh’s post you are now wondering if my wife is planning a career in the UFC’s new female division, or if she wants to be like GSP. I can tell you right now that she is contemplating neither. She wants to get fit and came very close to buying P90X. I convinced her that Rushfit was a better choice for her. Why? Rushfit follows a 5 five minute rounds formula that makes much more sense to me than an house a day of P90X. GSP’s trainers seem to have the right idea on exercises (although I doubt my wife will be doing the flying superman punch that GSP does in the intro videos any time soon…).

    I myself am a strength biased Crossfit practitioner who also practices martial arts and formally fought full contact – however, I am not going to do Rushfit. Perfect for what my wife wants – not perfect for me… Horses for courses.

    As for the whole “warrior” thing… I’ve done that game as well. In a serious way. Soldiering and MMA? Apples and Oranges. Perhaps the only correlation is fitness. Funny how many people can’t seem to make that whole apples and oranges distinction… I suppose there is another distintion to be made: not every soldier is a warrior. Some soldiers need to push paper, or cook, or run electrical generation systems… Funny how easy it is to forget that as well.

    • Josh Hanagarne March 7, 2011, 12:10 pm

      Kirk, I’m sure she’ll do just fine. If she starts with the superman punch I want videos.