Max Velocity is a veteran of the British Paras and the U.S. Army, an author of fiction and non-fiction books, and runs a tactical training facility in the mountains of West Virginia.

Recently, he put up a helpful critique on his blog, noting that students coming to his class are often incorrectly prepared in two critical ways, one of which involves their physical fitness:

 On the fitness side, let’s be realistic. When you are doing tactical training, you are doing light infantry training. Let’s forget all that ‘groupie’ stuff about SOF/SF/elite forces and all that. SHTF, it does not matter, you are conducting light infantry operations. If you are intending to do that, you need to be fit enough to ‘shoot, move and communicate’. There is a basic level of gear (i.e. weight) that you need to be able to lug about in order to function as a light infantry fighter. You need to be able to move with that load without being too exhausted. The more exhausted you get, the sloppier you will get, the more shortcuts you will take.

“But ‘fit to fight’ doesn’t apply to me,” you might argue, and if you aren’t interested in taking the sort of small-unit-focused tactical classes Max offers, you might be right… to a certain degree.

The reality is, however, that any potentially life-threatening situation (the kind of life threatening situation people carry concealed weapons to guard against) will trigger your fight-or-flight response system. Your heart will race, you may develop tunnel vision, and may have trouble with fine or even gross motor skills.

We’ve attended more than one relatively low-stress shooting class where people were too out of shape to shoot from stationary positions without getting winded, yet still managed the self-delusion that they would be fit enough to put up a viable defense in a life-threatening situation.

People have been known to have heart attacks and die in such circumstances even when in reasonably decent shape. If you’re sedentary, 40 pounds overweight, and have to take breaks when mowing a 1/4-acre yard, you might not survive a robbery, even if you aren’t shot, beaten, or stabbed.

Being a decent shot is only a small part of the battle.

If you’re honest with yourself, are you fit to survive?