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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Strength Still Matters

I mentioned to my boss the other day that I was thinking about training for the Tulsa Run (15K, or just over 9 miles, for those of you not familiar with the event). Not that I'm planning on burning up the course, mind you; it's probably been 9 or 10 years since I last ran that race. Still, I'm not totally out of shape, thanks to RyuTe. I'm pretty sure that by mid-October, I'll be doing short runs--say 2 miles--on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at a pretty good clip, and a nice, relaxed long run of 6 or 7 miles on Saturdays. Then, on race day, a nice relaxed 9 miles.

I kind of like running. I'm not a fanatic, but I kind of like it, and it's been too long. But that's not the only reason I'm thinking about doing this. As I said to my boss, in the event of some sort of public disturbance or disaster, I'd kind of like to have the option of putting two quick miles between me and whatever sort of squatstorm is coming down.

You know what el jefe said? He said I ought to plan on doing that emergency run with one under each arm, meaning, of course, that I might be carrying the three-year-old and the eight-year-old (I guess he expects the 21-year-old, the 17-year-old, and mi esposa to fend for themselves).

You know what else? He might be right, and that put me in mind of something I've thought of many times: in martial arts, in self-defense, in life-protection arts, we strive for maximum effectiveness and efficiency. We don't want to rely on muscle power for a technique to work because there is always someone stronger than we are. Considered purely from the perspective of executing martial arts techniques against an attacker, that is a good way to approach things, too. But as time has gone on, it has grown more apparent to me that we neglect the strengthening of our bodies at our peril. There's just more to life protection than defense against violent attacks.

What if you find yourself having to shove rubble aside in order to get yourself or someone else to safety?

What if you're caught in a flash flood and have to lift some little ones into the branches of a tree? And then climb it yourself?

What if the smartest self-defense option you have is to rabbit--that is, to run?

Once you start thinking about it, it's easy to come up with scenarios wherein muscle and endurance matter more than martial arts skill.

Just sayin'.

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