General physical preparedness is a frequently used phrase among the Affiliate community. But what it is it exactly? Generally speaking it is the fitness capacity and ability of an individual to overcome daily challenges of survival, both great and small. An overview of history has proven this has served mankind well in the fight against each other and the fight against disease. An assessment of modern day is proving our society as a whole is greatly lacking. How does this affect our future as a species and as a society? And what does it mean for the generations to come?
Searching through the interwebs, I found many sites outlining Spartan culture the same. Spartan boys were removed from their homes at the age of seven to train in an educational setting known as the agoge. Literally defined as “the rearing.” While this training was exclusively for boys, I did find several sources indicating that spartan women maintained elite health and fitness, mostly so their future offspring would be strong. Spartan society – one that predates all modern medicine, epigenetic testing and genetic consideration – understood the value of physical fitness, community and the survival of the tribe.
The North American Apache warriors are known as some of the fittest and most cunning guerrilla war fighters in all of written history. Much like the Spartans, the Apache boys began training for war at an early age. Their way of life consisted of lifting stones and heavy objects, wrestling and running ultra distances. Both male and female Apache regularly ran distances in excess of 50 miles, as running was their primary form of transportation. Just like the Spartans, Apache women were not directly involved in training for war, but their culture and way of life ensured their future offspring were strong and fit from birth.
Much like the Spartans and the Apache, the Samurai of Japan are revered as one of the most physically disciplined cultures in all written history. Again, boys at the age of five began training for war. Their training consisted of daily sparring sessions both armed and unarmed. Accuracy skills such as archery and throwing objects were continually practiced. And not unlike the Spartans and Apache, the bushi women – female counterparts to the male samurai – were trained in much the same manner as the men, as their responsibilities included protecting their family and tribe from raiding villages.
Fast forward to the twenty-first century and you don’t have to Google search for long to find staggering statistics both about our obese military and police forces. Multiple articles can be found in The New York Times about our blatant lack of fitness standards for not just the military but for people in general. Did you know that 66 percent of service members are considered to be obese or overweight? Further searching in The New York Times and even military.com and you will find statistics indicating one-third of our young adults is too fat to serve to even be considered for enlisting in the military.
Looking outside of the milk toast argument of cultural acceptance, what we find is a present day lack of preparedness for war against disease, the war against each other, the war against our environment and the fight for survival as a species in general. Our cultural issues and our feelings have taken priority over what history and biology has dictated as the foundation of all societal survival, the physical preparation for war. Our ancestors apparently knew something our technological advances have fooled us into disbelieving. War against the elements, against other tribes, war against disease will always be. And they figured out physical preparation for those wars was an essential element of everyday life. No matter the battle, physical preparation is the core of survival, and in that we are failing. Both as a nation and a species.