Man of Action Magazine
One of the members that works out at the Spartan Training Center has a shoulder joint injury that he got doing jujutsu (not at the Spartan Training Center). The injury does not mean he will stop training, and it does not mean he must train through it. It just means that he has to train smarter. Ultimately, his workout needs to be one that forces him to work harder mentally to figure out how to move most effectively with the injured shoulder. Here is Spartan Training Center’s latest workout for him:
1 minute per exercise with 30 second breaks.
The idea behind this series of exercises was to strike a balance between not over-stressing the shoulder injury, and using that injured joint just enough to force the trainee to be thoughtful about how he is using it. Out of the 8 exercises, only the single-arm medicine ball chest put uses the injured shoulder as a direct joint in executing the exercise; therefore the intent of the exercise is not to get a high number of repetitions, but to feel the movement and use the injured joint in a track that protects it. The sprints and hop-ups would normally use the injured shoulder joint in balancing the body; with the injured shoulder, the trainee needs to figure out how to sprint and jump without stressing the shoulder (if that means clamping his arm to his torso, so be it). Exercise 8, the step-ups while holding kettlebells, uses the joint in a stabilizing role.
For the hop-ups, he crossed his arms to keep from over-moving his shoulder
Similarly, in the sprints he kept his range of motion of his right arm very short
You might notice that there weren't any high repetition exercises in the workout. Especially with an injury, this workout allows the trainee the chance to exercise ability to be smart over of the ability to be stupidly hard. For any true man, being tough is inherent; it’s part of his constitution. But the man of action’s capacity to use his brain is what sets him a rung above the rest.
For the man of action, deeds always speak louder than words. But as Joe Hallenbeck said, these days "you can't just go up an slap a guy, you have to say something cool first." If you know some inspiringly sharp words that match great deeds, share them with us! Send submissions to: email@example.com
A few months ago, we featured the John Carter of Mars Workout. It was a leg-heavy mix of bounds, sprints, and leaps, all done while carrying a sword. A couple of our sword-slinging readers did their own version of the workout. Here are their submissions for the JC of Mars workout.
From Neil, a Washington based Marine:
"John Carter of Mars Workout:
Sprint Bounds x 15m 5
Hurdles, 4 x 30" 4
Broad Jumps, 15m 2.5
Sprints x 40m 4.5
I don't have something I can vault over, so I switched to hurdles the first time I tried the workout. Numbers to the right are the number of times I could go through the distance (or sets of hurdles) specified in one minute. I have no idea if these numbers are high or low, but I found that I could use this workout as a light volume day in my rotation and still feel like I did something.
John Carter Goes to Jupiter: 20lbs weight vest, 25lbs sand bag in one hand, sword in the other
Sprint Bounds x 15m 6
Hurdles, 4 x 24" 3
Broad Jumps x 15m 1.5
Sprints x 40m 3
These days, we're always weighted down, so I wanted to change the workout to reflect that. I went through the sprint bounds more times, but didn't get off the ground as high or do as many sprint bounds per trip. My legs died faster than the original workout, but I wasn't as cardiovascularly challenged."
It is a well documented fact I like to PT the NCOs on occasion. Recently I took the Marines out to the NSA Bahrain soccer field for a little light body maintenance. Our workout was gleaned from the Man of Action. He gives specifics on how to conduct the John Carter of Mars workout. I've just got a few bad photos for you.
The John Carter of Mars workout is designed to emphasize the bounding power in the legs and hips. Mars has less gravity than Earth so John Carter spends his time leaping over the Martian landscape decapitating horrific monsters, battling larger than life foes, and rescuing Martian princesses. You can see why I appreciate his style.
Each exercise was done in a one minute interval with a 30 second break between each exercise. We did four total rounds for approximately 20 minutes all together.
The first exercise was vaults. With a rifle, each Marine vaulted over six jersey barriers continuously for one minute. In the photos you can see it is pretty dark out. This is because I have to get the Marines out there early before the Sailors take over the field so they can do toe touches and hip rotations. They get a little uncomfortable when Marines are nearby actually sweating.
The next minute we did sprint bounds. The object here was to use maximal effort to leap as high as possible and explode into the next toe strike. Unlike John Carter, we were not able to clear attacking hordes of Tharks.
Following the 30 second break, broad jumps were next. This was another max effort exercise with max distance not repetitions being the goal. The addition of the rifle made it an interesting exercise.
Concluding the four exercise circuit were sprints. The object here was to get in five or six 30 yard sprints in one minute. Marines were reminded the "carrying handle" on the rifle isn't.
As is my practice, after PT I bring the Marines in for some PME and general discussion on how a culture of physical fitness applies to small unit leadership and swashbuckling.
All in all, not a bad session of physical training. Just doing our part for the cause of liberty."
Send us your Man of Action workout with photos and concept of operation! If your workout goes beyond the usual fads, we’ll feature it in our Fighting Fit section! Send submissions to: Huntercormac@esedona.net
This profile of George Washington, America’s First President, is an effort to understand a brave man whose calling first and foremost was that of armed action. While this essay skimps over some important points in his and America’s history, it attempts to make up for that lack by addressing some “on the ground” examples of his accomplishments that might otherwise get missed.
George Washington was an exemplary man of his times, at his best embodying the qualities of a dashing Virginia landowner, a brave and disciplined military leader, and an eloquent statesman. Washington grew up in a relatively wealthy family on a plantation in Virginia. As a young man he served in the French and Indian War in various capacities, and after about 4 years of service, Washington retired from his commission and returned home to Mount Vernon. Washington enjoyed relative peace for the next two decades while running his large plantation and acquiring substantial amounts of land. He became increasingly involved in politics as the British Parliament enacted unpopular taxes and acts upon the Colonies in the late 1760s and early 1770s. He was a delegate at the 1st Continental Congress and a year later was appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. He led the army to victory through the American Revolution against the British Empire. After the war he played a role in the drafting the U.S. Constitution, and then was elected as the first President of the United State. After having served as President for eight years, he died just two years into his retirement.
The most common historical treatments of George Washington generally are inspections of the character traits and leadership qualities that he possessed. However, more than just embodying those, George Washington’s personal and unique manifestation of those traits is perhaps what set him apart from other great men of his time. His heroic qualities were not separate points of countenance, but rather were all integrated aspects of who he was as a risk-taker, a leader, and a man of action. When we look at a historical figure as impacting as Washington, we forget that he did not have the luxury of knowing just how profound history’s retrospective view of his actions would be. His choices and judgments were not inherent, they were not the only options, and they were not easy. We forget that to have the profound historical effect on the United States, he had to become a great man over his lifetime. This perspective makes him vulnerable to our understanding of his mistakes as well as his successes. While perhaps this brings some reality to the legend, it makes it that much more impressive that he achieved what he did and that we may be inspired by his example.
"My inclinations are strongly bent toarms."
A Leader Knows Terrain
In 1753, the Royal Governor of the British province of Virginia chose 21 year old Washington to be sent as an emissary into Ohio territory to assess French military capabilities there. Though young, he was chosen partly because of his knowledge of the land that he gained during his experience in conducting surveys there as a young man. Being able to move troops through that rugged terrain was a difficult task for any army, especially when the enemy had the support of local tribes. His intimate knowledge of the characteristics of terrain would have given him a great tactical advantage in using it for military purposes, assuming he learned how to use it. After his duty as an emissary, Washington was commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel in the colonial Virginia Regiment. Washington’s military career started off embarrassingly. First, he led a successful ambush of French and Indian forces that were later known to be on an emissary mission to discuss terms of truce. Following the attack, Washington had his troops build a small fort in preparation for the inevitable French and Indian counter-attack. This was a defining moment for Washington, where his ego got in the way of his better sense. He built the fort in an area surrounded by mountains. When the French and Indian attack came, so did rain. After a short battle, the flooded fort soaked Washington's gun powder. Washington was forced to surrender. After the incident, then Colonel Washington rejected a demotion in power in favor of resigning his commission. Through the success of a well-placed ambush and the failure of his fort, Washington showed that a man who will lead well must first understand terrain, and further must know how to use, take, and hold it.
Never Stop Moving
Soon following his retirement, in 1755 Washington became an unpaid volunteer for British General Braddock, accompanying him as a General’s aide in British engagements against the French in Ohio. While the British regulars were on the long march into Ohio territory, they were ambushed by French and Indian forces. Washington first stayed with the General, and then led the retreat of the army out of the ambush site and back to safety. Washington was involved in heavy fighting in this incident, having lost 2 horses from under him and having 4 bullets penetrate his coat. The fact that Washington had two horses shot out from under him should tell us something about his behavior of action that day: he never stopped moving. He rode to protect the General, he rode to rally the troops, and finally he rode to assist their escape. This “trait,” his courage to move, would guide him again and again in his career, from his personal efforts at riding between forces involved in a friendly fire battle near Fort Duquesne in 1757, to 19 years later his leading the Continental Army across the Delaware River to capture the stagnant Hessian troops in Trenton.
Never Stop Learning
Following the Braddock Expedition, Washington again earned a commission as a Colonel in the Virginia Regiment, this time with more authority. He trained, outfitted, and managed the logistics for what became one of the most successful all-volunteer colonial regiments. They fought in as many skirmishes as months served. He served as the leader of the regiment until his retirement at age 26, in 1758. Throughout this period, Washington never stopped assessing materials and learning new insights. His development as an effective leader was not latent. In attaining the position as General Braddock’s aide, Washington wrote, “I wish for nothing more earnestly, than to attain a small degree of knowledge in the Military Art." He read treatises on war, he studied the tactics of British units, he made an effort to learn from his own experiences in success and failure, and always he kept his eyes open to the politics that governed it all. The movements and engagements of the French and Indian War and skirmishes on the Virginia frontier were such that every action affected Washington on a personal level as well as a command level. His troops’ starvation was his starvation, their toil was his toil, and their failure in battle was more so his failure in leadership. Each lesson imprinted itself in a physical way and an emotional way. What started as a young and earnest—possibly naive—interest in establishing a proud martial reputation, eventually developed into serious effort in outstanding military leadership.
"I heard bullets whistle and believe me there was something charming in the sound" Presence
During the American Revolution, Washington thrived as a commanding figure. His physical presence was on all accounts legendary. In a list defining Washington’s successful attributes, fellow Founding Father John Adams jealousy recounted Washington’s “great self-command.” Washington’s countenance was domineering, and his bearing on a horse was famously grand. History tends to hyperbolize points such as these. However in this case it is only hyperbole to the extent that the many great men who knew Washington wrote of him. Washington was a not a man to be greeted familiarly, and if one did become too familiar one would receive the full effect of his countenance. One classic incident supposedly occurred early in Washington’s presidency. At a convention, Alexander Hamilton bet fellow U.S. Constitution author Gouverneur Morris to slap President Washington on the back and say “My dear general, how happy I am to see you look so well.” Though Morris won a free dinner from Hamilton on account of completing the dare, he later reported that the severe look of disdain that Washington gave him made him immediately regret that he had accepted the challenge. Washington’s command of respect applied to his enemies as well as his allies. During the war, British General Howe repeatedly attempted to send General Washington a letter of terms. On each attempt, Washington’s adjutant refused to accept the letter on account that it did not address Washington with the proper title of “General.” Interestingly, numerous accounts speak of Washington’s incredibly intimidating presence, and yet it is also often noted that he always carried himself with modesty, never presenting a flamboyant or arrogant front.
In1775, the 2nd Continental Congress convened to appoint a man to lead the Continental Army
in the war against the British. Though some 17 years out of military service, Washington arrived to this convention in his military uniform, standing out from the delegates as a leader ready for war. He was then appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. In assigning Washington as the commander of the Continental Army, the 2nd Continental Congress dreaded the idea giving so much power to a single man. Their greatest fear was that after winning the war for independence, he would maintain control of the army and assume power of the confederation. It was a genuine fear based on the reality of history. History and fear taught the Congress that Washington was a danger to them all because Washington was a man of war and a great leader. However, their personal lack of experience with engaging in warfare left them unprepared to fathom the idea that some rare men of action truly are driven more so by a sense of integrity than by a lust for power. Such a man does what it is right simply because it is right. The dramas of an ambitious ego have no role the lives of men such as these, and for Washington, his immense ego was only equaled by his true love for the great “experiment in democracy” for which he fought. As he envisioned for the governing method of the new United States, it was essential to his own constitution that his sense of honor corresponded with the authority of his capabilities.
This manifested in Washington’s most historically defining moment. After Washington trained and led the Continental Army, militia, and foreign troops in a coordinated victory against the British Empire, Washington arguably became one of the most powerful men in the world. He possessed a faithful and disciplined army under his command, he maintained powerful relationships with leaders within the United States and Europe, and he had an entire civilian population enamored by his archetypal Revolutionary charisma. At the end of the Revolutionary War, at the moment of his greatest potential to seize total control of the states, Washington stayed true to his word to Congress and relinquished his command of the army. In this defining moment, Washington set a precedent of true right-mindedness for centuries of subsequent generations to follow. Further, it was because of this willingness to relinquish power that he was assuredly the one man honorable enough to embrace it again, in the form of the First President of the United States. It was because of Washington’s personal sense of integrity, and his courage to stay true to those convictions, that created history’s greatest example of the coexistence of a disciplined army and civilian rule.
In our unending pursuit of determining “what defines the man of action,” Washington offers some examples of traits that we can develop in ourselves. He taught us the leadership trait of knowing terrain, the behavioral trait of movement, the yearning trait of continual personal development, and the authoritative trait of an action-ready presence. To cap it all, from his example we are reinforced in the concept that a true exemplary man is made so by a sense of moral integrity that matches his martial prowess. Thomas Jefferson wrote extensively of Washington, often with back-handed affection. Jefferson declared that Washington’s mind “was slow in operation, being little aided by invention or imagination, but sure in conclusion.” Washington’s decisiveness indeed did prove to be of great value both during the Revolutionary War and during his reign as president. Perhaps one of Jefferson’s greatest compliments regarding Washington touches on his most defining characteristic: “He errs as other men err, but he errs with integrity.”