Be honest: are you in any condition to run away?

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One of the most ignored aspects of personal security is your physical condition. Why is it important to be in the best shape you can be?

Over on Greg Ellifritz’s blog, he talks about running away from an attacker. It’s an excellent article and you should take the time to read it.

One thing he touches on is the physical component of self defense. As he points out, running away from an attacker who might be in much better condition may not be the best option. Someone whose only exercise is walking from the parking lot into the office may not have the fitness level needed to run at full panic for any distance.

If you don’t or can’t run and find it necessary to stay and fight, your physical conditioning will become even more important. A physical altercation is incredibly taxing, requiring a lot energy to be spent in a very short period of time. Even someone in very good condition may find that it takes everything he or she has just to survive; faced with an assailant who is in better condition, it may not be enough.

Now be clear: this is not the “blame the victim” show, nor am I suggesting that we all become Olympic-class athletes! Take me, for instance: I’m not in the best shape I could be. Given my middle age, I’m likely to need all the strength and stamina I have to stay even with an attacker let alone defeat him. Getting away might even be a problem!

The important thing is that I know and understand that my physical condition leaves me in a more vulnerable position than someone who has taken better care of himself. Yes, I do have tools (such as a legally concealed firearm) to help mitigate that disparity of ability, but what if I’m in contact with my attacker and need to get some measure of control before I can safely and effectively employ that firearm? I’m still going to need better physical conditioning than I have right now.

The older we get (or the lazier we become — I’m a little of both), the harder it’s going to be to survive the physical parts of our defensive fight. That realization has made me start to work on getting in better shape. I’m eating less and exercising more, and plan to get back to a normal weight by summer. That means dropping about 15 lbs; 20 would be better!

The great part about paying attention to physical health is that the benefits that go beyond being able to fight. In most cases we probably face a greater risk of dying from heart failure than from being mugged, and for my part it seems silly to spend most of my time, effort and money preparing for a criminal attack which is less likely than a heart attack — especially when I can achieve both at the same time by getting in better shape!

I’m not saying to ignore your defensive shooting skills; I am saying that it might be a very good idea to pay at least equal attention to the shape you’re in as you do to your marksmanship. Being overweight or a heavy smoker or an incipient diabetic may not just make you less capable of defending yourself, it may be the cause of your demise in and of itself.

Personal security, as I’ve said time and again, is more than just the gun on your hip. Physical fitness is yet another part of being (and staying) safe! No matter what your age, you can become more fit and better able to defend yourself from both disease and that guy hiding in the bushes.

-=[ Grant ]=-

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About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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