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Being Realistic About Strength

It is important to be realistic about your own strength. I am much stronger than my wife, but I am much weaker than my sons. Thanks to my sons, I am frequently reminded about how strong young men can be.

I can bench about 200 pounds once. My second son can bench about 245 pounds. My third son can bench about 310 pounds, and I think he is trying to work up to 350 or 360 pounds this year.

Of course, there are men (and women) who can bench much more than this.

I heard that at this year's NFL Scout Combine, one athlete bench pressed 225 pounds, 49 times. That was a new record for that event. 225 pounds, 49 times. I weigh about 170 pounds. That guy could lift me, easily, over 50 times! And I am sure that there are people who are stronger than him.

Last night I lift my second son and carried him a few steps. He put me on his shoulders and walked around the house!

As we age, our strength generally declines. Even if we become more efficient and learn to generate power better, we still have to realize that untrained people could be much stronger than us. This is even more true for women (and I fully realize that there are many women who are much stronger than me). But a 110 pound woman will almost never be stronger than a 210 pound man, let alone a 310 pound man in good shape.

Let me put this very clearly and directly -- if a Karate student were to wrestle or grapple with a good Ju Jitsu or wrestling student, he would almost certainly lose (unless he was also really good at grappling). If I were to grapple with my third son, who practices Ju Jitsu, I would literally have no chance at all. When he holds me down, I can barely breath (and he is being very nice to me). He would choke me out or break something really quickly.

And my third son is very quick to point out that he is still a beginner and the advanced students and pros would "kill him."

So... we should avoid grappling with grapplers. My best option with someone like my son, would be to avoid the encounter. If there was no way to avoid it, I certainly would try not to get into a grappling match (because I would definitely lose). And to make matters worse, my third son strikes very well. Hmmm, that only leaves very dirty techniques for me... and he knows those too.

We have to keep it real. We have to be aware of our own strengths and weaknesses, and be realistic about the strengths of other people. And don't forget that a drugged or deranged attacker will have seemingly superhuman strength! No matter how hard you hit him, he probably would not feel it.

That does not mean that we should not defend ourselves. It just shows how important avoidance is, and if there is no other way, quick self defense and escape. We do not want to "slug it out" with younger and stronger attackers (or multiple attackers) -- not to mention armed attackers.


Charles C. Goodin