Wednesday, June 10, 2009

General Bad-Assedness

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A while back I mentioned that I was doing a lot of thinking about what Mr. Whitley terms "General Bad-Assedness," we'll use GBA for short. That thought process is an ongoing ever-changing one for me, and I think about it frequently.

First, let me say that there are many forms of bad-assedness including the actions and self-sacrifice of good parents, spouses, civil servants, soldiers and many others. I could go on about this ad nauseum but will spare you this time around. For the purposes of this blogpost, "general bad-assedness" refers only to physical bad-assedness.

Each person's day has a different set of needs and demands and, therefore, will require different skill sets and levels of fitness. General physical bad-assedness takes into account not only these daily needs and demands but also what, for most of us, is most likely to forever remain a hypothetical potential need for a more advanced set of skills and level of fitness. Let's face it; most of humankind makes it through their days just fine without ever putting themselves through any additional physical training. They plod along, not necessarily happy with but neither particularly bothered by, their lovehandles, poor endurance, sloppy posture, weak backs or any of the other attributes of which we, the fit-minded, so often live in fear. Few of us (thank goodness!) are ever truly faced with a situation in which our physical prowess makes a life-or-death difference. For me, however, GBA is a physical state of conditioning that, when that highly hypothetical situation arises, drastically elevates one's chances of survival. So as I contemplate GBA, I consider what physical attributes would make me more likely to survive the hypothetical "shit hitting the fan" (SHTF).

Realistically, even any given SHTF episode is going to be different from any other given one, but when I think of it, it's generally a scenario that involves the requirement to physically out-maneuver an opponent. That opponent might be trying to get to me or something I have for some strange reason or might be trying to get to someone I love. Or that opponent might be attempting to beat me to something. I can imagine numerous different scenarios but suffice it to say that they all involve my physical prowess versus someone else's.

So, what are those attributes I feel would be most useful? In my mind, the things that would allow a person who possessed them to be deemed a "general badass" include:

1. Quickly covering ground/distance on foot. In all likelihood, this would involve some distance further than a city block or two but most likely not too much further than a mile.

2. Explosive power: Think sprint, jump, knock crap over.

3. Maneuverability/Agility: the ability to change position in multiple planes quickly.

4. Pure, raw strength: fairly obvious.

5. Endurance, or perhaps I should say "enduring strength," because what I generally mean is to be able to display all of the above longer than the opponent.

6. Indomitable spirit (thanks TaeKwonDo). One can be beaten even before they start if they think themselves beaten. Conversely, an iron will is difficult to defeat.

I desperately wanted to add in a few other skills such as proficiency with a handgun and long rifle, being able to hotwire a vehicle, ability to ride a motorcycle (the very reason I'll never be a complete and total badass :) ), the ability to pick most locks, basic ground-fighting, take downs and hand-to-hand, and blade-fighting skills. Ultimately, however, I decided these were just gravy. They definitely move a person up in the food chain, but I don't believe they are an absolute necessity for general bad-assedness.

Please chime in in the comments with your ideas.

TODAY'S WORKOUT: 12kg VO2 Max. I ended up starting with 7 reps per round and decreasing to 6 after the 40th round, then backed on down to 5 a little while thereafter as my form was degrading. I last did this workout on May 16 and did it with 8 reps in all but the last few rounds, doing a total of 80 rounds. Today, however, I just was NOT feeling it. It was rough. I think the two biggest factors were the oppressive heat without a breeze (talking dead calm here) and I think I was dehydrated. Regardless, it was ugly, but at least I got a little something done.

5 rounds of...
C &PP 20kg x 2, 16kg C&P x 3--Right then left.
Elevated perfect pushup, having to move to perfect pushups from the knees in rounds 4 & 5 x 5
Wlaking 20kg Lung x 10
Double 16kg DL x 5
Plank x 25sec
Rest 25 sec

20kg Tabata swings x 2 with 2 min rest b/w

30 challenge Burpees in 6'19"

I was a hair's breadth away from pushing through on the left-sided strict press with the 20kg.

SUNDAY'S WORKOUT: Technically it was off-day, but I went for a nice, slow walk for a mile then did a bit of yoga just to be outside.


  1. I agree with you on everything. We do need to be more like our grandfathers. Be a Jack of all trades. We are almost all waay too soft now. Glad you are still doing burpees. They suck but it's worth it.

  2. GBA is a state of mind. It is the confidence to know you have the General physical preparedness to engage in any situation IMHO.

  3. You left out one that was really needed to be a GBA taking and beating SHTF. The ability to last in an alien environment.

    What are you going to do when you're at 100 ft in current, and you're first stage regulator (when not not diving doubles) gives out? Worse yet, the current has separated you from buddy / other divers?

    what about jumping in a river to save someone who's car just went off the pier/bridge/road?

    If you can ride a bike, a motorcycle isn't much harder.

  4. Thanks, Mitch! Yep, the burpees suck, but I love how they're making me more agile and body aware. At some point, I'm gonna add a roll to left or right at the bottom.
    Sandy, I think generally you're right, but for me I had to think specifically what that preparedness meant.
    Nice addition, Chris, and very appropo.

  5. How about cultivating some awareness so you know when to pounce?

  6. Ya know, Nikki, That would be awesome. Maybe it won't be too long before one of us makes it to the other coast.