Functional Fitness? Functional Fightness?
Why functional fitness? And what is “functional fightness”?
First off, I just made up the latter term. But the former, “functional fitness” could mean a lot of things to a lot of people; different fitness industry contexts, etc. But to me, functional fitness is an exercise activity that offers a primary, focused application for the person working out. A skill aside from “getting fit” develops.
Riding a bike (or stationary cycling machine) is an excellent example of this idea: you can get really good at riding a piece of equipment from point A to point B. You can get around! You can do stuff! You’re developing a combination of strength and endurance that provides a specific use other than being generally “strong” or “having good cardio”.
Not that those benefits are not excellent in and of themselves; they are! But what if you can get a workout that is just as challenging (or even more challenging) as a cross-fit or high-intensity interval workout, while also learning a specific set of skills outside of general physical fitness?
You can choose so many different styles of functional fitness, depending on your budget, your surroundings, and your access to specific kinds of equipment. Cycling is an easy choice: get some road, a helmet, and your bike… and go!
Not all of us want to ride bikes. Though that’s fun, functional, and demanding enough a functional fitness choice, many of us will agree.
So what if you’re looking for other options? Swimming is good; get a pool or an ocean. Weightlifting is awesome; you can lift heavy things around the house… plenty of gyms around. Maybe these will be for you, maybe not.
Whatever functional fitness choice, you’ll need either the environment or gear to do get it done. Maybe even expertise of trainers and the like. So you may seek out gyms with memberships, and you’ll just pay your fee instead of buying expensive gear of your own. And maybe there are trainers that will help you there.
That’s fine. Might still not be your best choice. It can be very personal for so many of us.
Fight-fitness has been one of my own personal choices, for many years. It has a very specific function, and it’s one I’ve always enjoyed learning about. And the fitness coefficient that goes into it is deep; arguably an endless horizon of improvement and learning.
Fighting might sound pretty weirdly not-functional to most of you, though; like, “I’m not out getting in fights, why would that matter?”
Believe it or not, I’m not going to bore you yet by preaching about self-defense imperatives. I have a different message. And I assure you it’s universal.
You’ve got some rage.
All of us have frustration. Maybe a bit of anger; at least sometimes, at our bosses, our constantly breaking technology, our government, even our friends and loved ones when they come up short in our expectations (reasonable or otherwise). It is inevitable.
And bikes, cross-fit boxes (to jump up and down on?) don’t listen to that anger and frustration anywhere near as well as a kick bag does. It’s even better a listener than your local bartender or therapist. And its language is getting hit.
Even beyond the use as rage-outlet, fight sports and fight fitness both have subtle benefits that can’t really be explained well. They have to be experienced directly. But, the rage-outlet is self-explanatory enough. Its a variety of fight-fitness with a function. It’s Functional Fightness.
This isn’t something I generally have to preach to new students who try it out. They tell *me* after a class exactly what they are getting out of it: a punching bag. A target. One that won’t complain, get hurt, or suffer.
So, with “rage release” as a clear function, others follow. Self-defense: sure. Even if you take zero martial arts classes anywhere at any time, you’re learning some tools in fight fitness when its done right. You’re 100% more prepared than you were before. Whether you’ve trained before or not. Whether you have any interest in “dojos” or not.
Students occasionally realize this themselves, say so out loud, and I just nod my head knowingly.
Flushing out your rage — while building your strength and ability to perform fight-techniques — is nothing short of *empowering*.
Crossfit, YMCA basketball (etc) is also very empowering too, I’m sure. Probably in a very different and more muted way though. You’ll have to take my word for it. Or, better, try it yourself. It’s knowledge that has to be felt and experienced.
So, any time you want to learn for yourself, come slide on some boxing gloves and learn that personally with us.