If you are looking for old-fashioned workout to toughen you up and prepare you for combat, you should check out “Ultimate Combat Conditioning for the Street Warrior” by Sensei Mike Reeves and Robert G. Yetman Jr. In this Paladin Press book, Reeves and Yetman provide workouts to increase your conditioning, work out your heart, maximize flexibility, increase strength, and harden your body to withstand kicks, punches, and blows coming your way.
This is not your ordinary fitness book. Reeves and Yetman focus on exercises and drills to prepare the reader for fighting. They use basic, sometimes old fashioned, methods that don’t cost you much, but will wear you out and toughen you up.
It is a short book, just under 100 pages. Many of these pages contain photographs, so you will be able to read it quickly and put the drills and exercises right to work. The first chapter focuses on the proper mind-set for warrior training. I found myself agreeing with the authors on topics such as discipline, hard-core training, and being dedicated to living a clean and healthy lifestyle. This short chapter had some great pointers for living and training as a warrior.
Chapter two is a basic short chapter on essential flexibility for street combat. It is pretty basic, and contains a half dozen stretches that the authors believe to be the essentials ones to keep you flexible for fighting. The chapter is okay, but if you really want information on stretching and flexibility, there are better texts on the topic such as Thomas Kurz’ book “Stretching Scientifically.”
Chapter three focuses on the heart and lungs of a warrior. I liked this chapter and think the basic cardio exercises they describe should be included in anyone’s workouts. I especially like wind sprints and hill sprints. I like that they advocate heavy bag work as well, since this is a great training addition for any warrior program. While this book advocates it, they don’t go into much detail on what to do. Check out the book “The Fighters Guide to Hard-Core Heavy Bag Training” by Wim Demeere and Loren Christensen, and the accompanying DVD “The Fighters Video Guide to Hard-Core Heavy Bag Training” by Wim Demeere to learn all about training with the heavy bag.
Chapter four covers strength training for the upper body. You find weighted pushups, bench pressing, and shoulder pressing exercises and other upper body movements. The authors illustrate that there is no excuse not to exercise, if you don’t have weights available you can use rocks, bricks, logs, and trees.
Chapter five covers strength training for the lower body and includes exercises such as hi-rep weighted squats, hindu squats, weighted walking lunges, and others. Again, the authors show these exercises with logs and such, illustrating you don’t need a fancy gym and weight set to get some exercise in. (But we all knew that from watching the Rocky movies, right?)
These chapters are no-where exhaustive with exercises for the upper and lower body. They are very basic with just a few exercises. However, this does not mean you can’t get in shape with what the authors show. Personally, I like more variety, and that is why I think this book should just be one of your exercise/work out resources. I do like that the authors encourage you to exercise with whatever you have at hand. For warriors, there are no excuses not to train.
Chapter six covers an area that most exercise and workout books exempt. In fact, for most people, cultivating hand and arm body armor are not issues. For those that are preparing for combat, the exercises in this chapter will toughen you up. These include the ancient drills of hitting and kicking trees, hitting yourself or having a partner hit you with a stick and so on. Definitely not for wimps. This stuff can hurt, but done right it will toughen you up and better enable you to take punishment in a real fight.
Chapter eight has a little on training your street essential kicks and strikes. The authors show some training and execution of basic punches and kicks for street defense. Again, it is basic and simple, but some good information.
The final chapter is a short chapter on combat conditioning for the mind. It is a good reminder of how important mental strength is, and how to develop it along with your body.
Overall, I don’t know if I would call this book “Ultimate.” As I said, it is rather short and basic. However, it did have some very good information. I especially liked the mindset and mental strength chapters, since these are so important for the warrior and anyone who is preparing for combat. The other chapters provide some solid basic information, but could include much more. Again, one of the strengths of the book is that it motivates you to exercise no matter what and to use whatever is at hand. The chapter on toughening up your body to take impact is something not found in most exercise books, and for some people, this will be an addition to their workouts that they will benefit from.
The book does lack nutrition and diet advise. For this, you need to invest in other resources. I hate to keep mentioning Loren Christensen and Wim Demeere, but their book “The Fighter’s Body” is a great book on nutrition and training. It would be a good book to accompany this one.
It is a good addition to your exercise and training library. If it motivates you to exercise more, it is more than worth the cover price. If this is the only exercise book you have, and you follow the author’s guidelines, you will still benefit and improve your physical conditioning and be better prepared for any physical encounter.