Last Updated on
Three things you can learn from the U.S. Special Forces and apply in a real survival situation.
What if you knew a few things about self defense and survival, straight from the U.S. Special Forces?
It might be handy to have a few skills at your disposal, in a time of collapse or major civil unrest or lawlessness — which might be in America’s near future.
When you imagine special forces, the first thing you might be thinking is all the fancy gadgets and survival gear that they have access to. But that’s not what sets them apart. Here are the three areas where members of the special forces have a huge edge over you – and none of them have anything to do with equipment.
Where The Special Forces Has An Edge On You
It might be hard for some of you to admit, but odds are you don’t have the overall strength and endurance of a Special Forces soldier. But did you know you can come darn close in many ways through physically challenging fitness regimens like “Crossfit”, or others you simply push yourself to tackle? What can you do about this?
If your well in your years, and running, sprinting and vertical climbing simply are not an option for you, at the least build up your ability to hike, and to hike steep grades at long distances. Those who still have the knees, or youth on their side, should implement running short to medium distances into their fitness routine.
Strategies To Increase Fitness
Even just jogging on a treadmill or elliptical can make a big difference to your level of fitness. The point is. if you’re not in shape, then you’re not prepared. For the vast majority of people, all it takes to be physically fit is a commitment of three or four hours a week – that’s all. Whether you’re jogging, hiking, biking, doing crossfit, or taking self defense classes – whatever your preferred form of exercise is, something is better than nothing.
It takes tremendous effort and commitment to get to the fitness level of the special forces, and that’s what sets them apart.. but there’s a reason that they put so much emphasis on physical fitness. It’s because in survival situations, fitness is extremely important. The last thing you want in a life or death scenario is for your body to let you down. Remember, survival is all about prepping for all kinds of different situations – and one thing that you can definitely to do to prepare that will help you across all kinds of different situations is to improve your fitness level.
As fitness improves, you can add-in light “dead-lift to overhead press” dumbbells (or barbell), and over the coming days and weeks gradually increase that weight. as you make these movements quicker and more explosive, you’ll be using several muscle groups in one exercise. Like “jump squats”, a “Dead-lift to overhead press” is an exercise that can boost strength-gaining hormones in both men and women.
Burpees are another great exercise that will tire you out very quickly, which is a pretty good simulation for the type of exhaustion you might when escaping from dangerous situation. If you can do forty of fifty burpees in a row, then you’re in great physical condition. Most people can’t manage 10 without huffing and puffing. These kind of compound exercises can help you achieve a high level of fitness with minimal workout time, as they’re a great combination of cardiovascular work, strength work, and muscle endurance. You’ll build a foundation level of cardiovascular fitness and build functional strength at the same time.
If you want to commit to achieving a level of functional fitness and strength that would put you on par with the special forces, we recommend the Complete Guide to Navy Seal Fitness. Most people aren’t ready to dedicate themselves to achieving highly difficult goals like this, and that’s what sets members of the special forces apart after all. If you’re ready to put in the work and you really want to achieve an exceptional level of physical preparation and readiness, then the Guide To Navy Seal Fitness will tell you how to get there.
Ultimately, in a survival situation, your strength, cardio, and endurance can all be powerful survival tools, especially if it comes down to “fight or flight”.
I’m going to recommend a product, and this is one that I will say personally can do wonders for your cardio / endurance. That product is called Maca Root. I discovered it by accident (?) in recent weeks, when a different supplement I had purchased online failed to arrive, and instead a bottle of “Maca Root” showed up by mistake. Instead of sending it back, I decided to look up “Maca Root” on the web, and found out that it’s origin is in South America, where it was reported to give “warriors” in centuries past strength and endurance in battle. I do train in combat sports (at varying times) and decided to put it to the test. It works. That’s all I’m going to say. Try it.
What I found is that it’s somehow slow acting. That means if I take it on day one, it’s not until day two that I see the full effect. Somehow it works on hormones in a way that seems a lot like turning back the clock to about the age of 20 (?). Maca root is potent. It is reported to improve health in other areas as well — my interest is the fitness and strength training aspects of Maca Root. I can’t (or won’t) vouch for other claims rumored to surround this root.
Are You Too Old For Fitness?
Maybe not. Advances have been made in nutrition and supplement research in recent years and many people that are climbing up the aging ladder can now embrace healthy eating and start reversing conditions such as osteoarthritis.
If you’re 80+, then perhaps it’s unrealistic to expect to have a level of fitness that would allow you to survive a genuine disaster – but if you’re 50 or 60, you can absolutely be in great shape if you put in the work and are careful about injuries.
Special Forces soldiers are trained (including classroom training) in many types of scenarios they may find themselves in, whether planned or unexpected. This type of training helps soldiers learn to make calculations in their head; how to approach an area, how to exit an area, danger points and “choke points” to watch for. Also, calculations on enemy targeting; where is an enemy weak at? How can an enemy be distracted? Where would be a good place for a sniper? Where’s a secondary place, if an enemy might know how to spot and avoid likely sniper locations? Etc. What can you do about this? Simply put, you can learn how to think strategically, and plot routes using just a pen and paper based on certain types of environments or terrain you may encounter in your region in a time of collapse. With pen and paper, and maps, this is just practice. Learn to be strategic. Take the time to think. Plan for an ambush. Calculate a way to escape and even better avoid it.
For example, if you’re likely to cross through a city or suburb, where are the most dangerous places likely to be? What would be the best time of the day to travel through that area, if there’s no other way around? How about just before dawn, when most people will be sleeping? Can you (and others with you) devise a way to distract any dangerous elements so your group can sneak past into safer territory? Plot these down on paper. What if there is a detour you can take around a danger zone / area of lawlessness? What tools will you need to get through barbed wire or chain link fencing? What tools (hint, duct tape and hammer), can you use to break glass into a building without making a lot of noise? (Layer strips of duct tape over glass, then hammer at the duct tape; the window will implode, the glass will not make a loud shatter).
If you have a small shovel, (or a survival hatchet), how fast can you dig a trench and conceal yourself under dirt and brush? With practice you might be able to do this in just 3 – 5 minutes. A pursuing enemy may simply walk on by, and not realize you’re hiding just yards away (as long as they don’t have tracking dogs).
A lot of what we think of as ‘strategic thinking’ in survival is just knowledge that has been honed into instinct. The knowledge comes from have a wide variety of useful survival skills in your back pocket. The instinct comes from hundreds and thousands of repetitions of putting those survival skills into practice. If you want to achieve the level of quick thinking that the special forces have, then you need to both acquire the right kinds of skills and put them into practice regularly.
Sudden, crushing pain isn’t a pleasant place to be. But in a survival situation, you may one day be in that pain, and now you can’t simply lay down and wait for the paramedics to show up. There may not be any paramedics. That fact, combined with the sudden, crushing pain, can stop you fast in your tracks. Another fact: Fear, tears, and agonizing pain will put a lot of people down for the count.What can you do about this? A mental commitment to ignore the pain, and a drive to “keep going” will be keys to getting yourself out of the danger zone, if you’ve been wounded, and there’s no help coming.
(Sometimes you may want to stay put on the ground, and not move, after you’ve been wounded, especially in a combat zone. Why stay put? Because your movement can draw fire back in your direction. So don’t move. You are playing possum. Wait for the firing to stop, continue to play possum, and carefully plot your escape route from the field of battle; when you do make your move, stay low, hide behind objects, look for natural camouflage (even in an urban environment), etc).
This is a survival situation to meditate on, just so you’re mentally prepared in advance and not blind-sided by the situation one day. There are a few things you can do to condition your mind now, to learn how to “keep going”, despite pain or discomfort.
One: Take cold showers. Really cold showers. Day after day. Challenge yourself to endure long cold showers. Two: Hike, run, and / or sprint on steep inclines, such as treadmills with 15% or higher incline setting (be sure to condition your legs in advance, before simply going for it). If you live in an area with long stretches of hill, you can skip the treadmill all together. The point is to get your brain accustomed to you meeting pain / discomfort with “aggression” — as you’re pushed mentally by the pain, you push back mentally with aggression.
If you want to learn more about how to achieve the mindset of those in the special forces, we recommend the Special Operations Mental Toughness. It’s an interesting read that delves into the psychological techniques and training that members of the special forces use (or are put through) in order to achieve a high level of resilience and mental fortitude.
Setting the Bar High
Realistically, very few of us have the time or commitment level to achieve the level of fitness, knowledge, and mental toughness that’s required by the special forces. However, it’s an admirable goal to set for yourself to improve on all three fronts. If you are constantly improving your physical condition, working on acquiring new skills and knowledge, and upgrading your level of resilience and toughness, then even if you never achieve the level of the special forces, you’ll be adopting their philosophy of improvement and excellence.