The world has been overrun by zombies and it’s up to you, the last remaining human being in your city, town or country to fight for survival.
The “atomic athlete program” is a new fitness program that promises to change your life. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.
It all began with a single email:
I’d like to personally invite you to an event called the Vanguard, which is coming up soon. This is basically 36 hours of learning everything your father never taught you or that you may have forgotten over the years.
I followed the link he provided to learn more about the event: Animal butchering. Shooting with a pistol. Tactical medicine is a term used to describe a kind of medicine that Knife-fighting techniques. Rope expertise.
I had to go.
So I traveled out to Austin, Texas, for a weekend with Atomic Athlete members at an event called the Vanguard.
I’ve included a summary of the experience below. While Tod waived my admittance fee, I was responsible for my own travel expenses and he did not request that I produce a report. I wanted to do it on my own initiative, for reasons I’ll explain later.
Man Skills for 36 Hours
Atomic Athlete is a gym in Austin, Texas, founded by Tod Moore and Jake Saenz. Their goal is to make their athletes “Stronger, Faster, and Harder to Kill” with CrossFit-style training. While their routines are comparable to those of CrossFit, they’d be quick to point out that they’ve developed their own program.
Atomic Athlete chose to host an event to provide its members with an experience relevant to its objective that was not limited to physical training. The Vanguard took place for the first time in 2014 at Reveille Peak in Texas Hill Country, roughly an hour outside of Austin. It began on a Friday night and continued until the next morning.
There were 45 persons in attendance, with around 90% of them being males. The environment was laid-back and laid-back, similar to a weekend camping vacation with pals. Except for an incredible feast on the final night, everyone slept in tents they had packed and set up themselves, and the food was standard camping fare — oatmeal for morning and an MRE for lunch on Saturday. For the nighttime pow-wows around the campfire, there was plenty of beer and soda.
On Friday evening, once we had all set up our tents, land navigation training started straight away. The remainder of the weekend flew by; the only time we weren’t studying or actively involved in anything was when we were around the campfire at night or sleeping.
Here’s a rundown of what was discussed over the weekend:
Navigation on the Land
For the land navigation lesson, we’re plotting points on our topographic map.
We took a hands-on session in land navigation using a topographic map, compass, and protractor on the first night. Because I had spent an entire morning at the ITS Tactical Muster a few weeks before shooting azimuths and counting paces, I assumed I’d be an old master at this. But when it came time to start charting dots on our map, I discovered I had forgotten a lot, so it was good to receive a refresher and a sobering reminder that these abilities deteriorate fast if they aren’t practiced.
Butchering of animals
Tandem Farm Co.’s Brandon Willin demonstrates how to harvest a rabbit.
This was the session I was most looking forward to. I’ve never slaughtered an animal and eaten it, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do because, well, you never know when a skill like that could come in handy. Furthermore, I believe it is a pity that most contemporary people (including myself) are utterly unaware of where their meat originates from.
Learning how to clean a rabbit so that it may be eaten.
Animal butchering was taught by Brandon Willin of Tandem Farm Co. He brought numerous bunnies and birds from his farm for each team to pick, clean, and slaughter.
Brandon spent a lot of time talking about how important it is to properly harvest any animal you want to consume and to only slaughter healthy animals to prevent becoming ill.
A chicken is being plucked.
He then proceeded to demonstrate how to harvest and slaughter a rabbit and a chicken before giving each team their own animals to experiment with. I expected to feel a little uneasy about slaughtering and removing the intestines from an animal as a suburbanite who had only eaten meat that came neatly wrapped in plastic. It was, nevertheless, shockingly natural. It didn’t make me feel strange or disgusting in the least.
When we were finished, Brandon placed our rabbit and chicken meat in coolers and used it to make a massive feast for us all that night.
Self-Defense with a Knife and a Gun
Tim demonstrates how to defend against a knife assault.
I was looking forward to this session as well. When I arrived at the Vanguard, I was astonished to find that Tim Kennedy, a Green Beret sniper and #7 UFC midweight fighter, would be teaching the knife combatives class. Tim went through the many sorts of knives that may be used for self-defense, as well as what to do if someone pulls a knife on you. We next practiced disarming knife assaults using mock knives.
Tim also brought some fake guns, and we were allowed to practice on each other after he went over the fundamentals of what to do if someone pulls a gun on you from a close distance.
In close quarters, I’m practicing disarming an assailant who pulls a pistol on you.
For me, this was an eye-opening experience. My practice partner was holding a pretend knife while I was holding a dummy pistol, and we began 15 yards away with our weapons hidden. Then we tried our best to imitate a real-life knife assault as closely as possible. My boyfriend would approach me slowly, calling me names and threatening me verbally. He’d whip out the knife and rush to stab me when the gap between us was approximately half of what it had been. I imagined getting a fake shot off before he came to me would be simple, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t more difficult than I anticipated.
Knife wounds claimed my life on multiple occasions.
And this was in a circumstance when I had a good idea of what was going to happen! I can’t fathom how much more difficult it would be if you were caught off guard and adrenaline was coursing through your veins during a real knife assault. My pistol shouldn’t be the first thing you go for in a close-quarters dangerous confrontation, according to the lesson. Don’t bring a gun to a knife battle, according to Sean Connery.
Self-Defense Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Donald Park demonstrates self-defense BJJ techniques. Pan American Champion, Gracie Worlds Open Weight Champion, and Gracie Nationals Champion, he is a top-notch coach and BJJ practitioner. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton and a master’s degree in finance from the University of Chicago. Both brains and muscle.
A workshop on employing BJJ concepts in self-defense was presented by Donald Park, a renowned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter and head teacher of Gracie Humaita in Austin. Holds, mounts, and guards were all rehearsed.
Tactical Medicine is a term that refers to the practice of
Justin Hurzeler uses a tourniquet to demonstrate how to use one.
A session in tactical medicine was presented by Justin Hurzeler, an EMT-P field paramedic and training officer for Williamson County Emergency Medical Services. We practiced filling knife and pistol wounds with a big ol’ chunk of pork as a stand-in for damaged flesh and taught how to apply a tourniquet, make splints, and treat fractured bones.
Learning how to treat a piece of pig with a gunshot wound.
Obstacles to overcome
There was a massive obstacle course at the property where we were staying. I’ve completed numerous courses in my time, and the difficulties are typically the same. This one, on the other hand, had several I’d never seen before. They were all difficult, but I was able to complete them all but the final one.
My arms felt like they were ready to fall off at this point…
It was a rope across a large pond. A ranger crawl, which puts you on top of the rope, or a monkey crawl, which puts you on the bottom, are two options for traversing the rope. Because the monkey crawl is said to be the simpler of the two, I chose it.
Things were going swimmingly at first. I believed I was making headway until the metaphorical battery acid began to flood my veins. I reasoned that I needed to be near the opposite side. Nope. I’d made it half way. I held to whatever power I had left, clenching my teeth in the hopes of escaping with my dignity intact. Just a few feet from the other side, my grip finally gave out.
….and with that, my macho pride is shattered. Rope across a pond, we’ll meet again!
At the very least, it taught me that I need to strengthen my grasp, which I’ve been doing with my Captains of Crush!
Jake Saenz working on his handgun skills.
Tod and Jake (a former Army Special Operations Soldier) conducted a pistol shooting session with their buddy Cal Reed, proprietor of Coyote Run Tactical. They began with a safety rundown and the fundamentals, then moved on to dynamic move and shoot exercises. We’d sprint 50 yards with our pistols holstered, then make two hits on a steel target. Accurate shots are more difficult to get when your heart is racing like that.
Jake and Tod brought those of us who didn’t have to rush home the following morning back to the range for some more shooting. Jake put me through some “ball and dummy” exercises, in which he loaded my magazine with a mix of live and fake bullets. The goal of the practice is to see whether you’re preparing for recoil by pulling the trigger. When you come to the dummy round, if you’re using excellent trigger control, your gun should stay completely still; if you’re not, you’ll notice yourself jerking the pistol. Of course, I was causing a lot of jerkage. Drills with a ball and a dummy will now be a regular element of my handgun training.
Reveille Peak also boasts a massive rappelling tower in addition to the fantastic obstacle course. Koby Crooks, an Atomic Athlete member and proprietor of Alpine Cowboy, an outdoor equipment company, presented a workshop on the fundamentals of rappelling. Justin Hurzeler, a tactical medical specialist who is also trained in tactical rappel and helicopter fast-roping, demonstrated some remarkable rappelling techniques similar to those seen in Call of Duty. It was excellent to receive a refresher in rapelling, which I hadn’t done in a long time.
On Saturday night, we hosted a massive feast composed entirely of the animals we had gathered earlier in the day. Tandem Farm Co.’s Brandon prepared rabbit stew, roasted chicken, and mashed potatoes for us. The meal was delicious. It was my first time eating rabbit, and it was fantastic! We all ate the meat we had collected while swapping weekend battle tales.
Brandon and his wife deserve a big thank you for making us some delicious food while we were out rappelling and shooting firearms.
Overall, the Vanguard was a fantastic experience, and I really enjoyed myself.
Final Thoughts: Make Your Tribe Stronger
I was in a unique position to compare and contrast two events with similar goals but distinct set-ups since I had recently attended the ITS Tactical Muster a few weeks before the Vanguard. I honestly can’t tell which one was “better.” Both were fantastic; the only difference was that they were so different.
Many of the abilities I acquired (or re-taught) at the Muster were also learned (or re-learned) at Vanguard, although each event featured its own set of courses. The Muster took five days to complete, but the Vanguard took just 36 hours. The Vanguard was less expensive since it was shorter – $300 vs. $900. The Muster drew men from all around the nation, and the Vanguard was virtually exclusively made up of Atomic Athlete members.
The Muster is well-organized, well-structured, and well-run. Bryan Black, the company’s creator, and his wife spend the whole year arranging it. This creates an amazing, completely immersive experience for the participants, but putting something like the Muster together is not something that just anybody can do; it must be a core element of your company.
As a result, I believe the Vanguard’s approach has some merit. After I posted my Muster report, I had a number of messages from people saying things like, “This is so fantastic – I want to start something similar where I live.” While implementing something like the Muster would be tough, if not impossible, putting together something like the Vanguard is a lot easier. Tod and his team pulled the event together in a matter of months and kept it relaxed and informal.
And it’s for this reason that I wanted to feature the Vanguard on AoM. As someone who believes that the world needs fewer networks and more communities, I’d want to see more gyms and other organizations do similar activities. Obviously, the opportunity to acquire new skills and become more helpful and competent is priceless (and we learned a lot in only 36 hours! ), but the opportunity to connect is also vital.
While the Muster fosters incredible friendship among the men who come each year, the men return to their homes throughout the nation after the Muster is complete. The Vanguard has the benefit of being an extension of an organization that is already physically anchored in a location. That’s where you’ll find a thriving sense of community.
People nowadays need assistance in taking their acquaintances outside of the gym, job, or church in order to form true connections. A wonderful method to achieve this is to attend an event like the Vanguard. Almost everyone there was an Atomic Athlete member. These were already good friends, and the weekend provided an opportunity to further their friendship around shared values. As a result, an event like the Vanguard is a fantastic way to create something that modern men desperately need: a tribe.
So the key lesson from my weekend was that other guys could do something similar in their own part of the woods, with their own tribe, with just a little effort and organization. It doesn’t have to be a branch of a gym or a church, but that would be ideal. You may also have a peek at your circle of friends to see what abilities they all have. Perhaps one of you is trained in first aid, and another in combatives.
Make a weekend commitment to all of you to go camping and teach each other these skills. Tod and Jake did just that. All of the teachers were Atomic Athlete gym members who offered their time to educate their fellow tribe members.
If none of your friends have any experience with a talent you wish to acquire, have everyone chip in some money to pay someone in your region who does.
It doesn’t have to be flawless or disciplined in any way. Maintain a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere. All you have to do now is take action.
Really. That’s all there is to it.
Tod and Jake, as well as the rest of the Atomic Athlete team, deserve special appreciation for allowing me to enjoy this event with them. I definitely suggest the Atomic Athlete’s online training if you’re searching for a new fitness regimen this year. I did it for three months and the exercises were brutal.
White Blaze Media owns the rights to all of the pictures (Brian Flannery- who also happens to be a solid dude)
The “atomic athletics llc” is a new company that has recently released their first product, the Atomic Athlete Vanguard. This review will give you an overview of what this product can do and some of its features.
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