Soldiers of Success: Military Boot Camp Training Booms Coast to Coast

Soldiers of Success Military Boot Camp Training Booms Coast to Coast

Military Boot Camp — Called “fitness boot camp,” or “military bootcamp training,” this outdoor exercise class can be found in most larger cities.

Why are even men prepping for military service interested in finding out what military bootcamp training is? Is it meant for “civvies” like us? Or should this be left up to the big boys and girls?

You won’t be reading a book or checking your phone for messages if you’re serious about military bootcamp training. Think about the movie Rocky – when he gets back to basics in his training… which sequel was that… with the Russian dude? Unlike gyms, however, they are designed to “push” you harder than what you are accustomed to, using group competitiveness and an “enforcer” (much like a sergeant).

Classes are more often than not 4-8 weeks to attain optimum results, and may entail getting up at the crack of dawn (or earlier) to run a mile or two, do a series of plyometric exercises and interval training, sit ups and push ups, and very little relaxation in between.

Think you’re ready? It is scary, and it isn’t for everyone. But for those who are motivated to get in shape and need a motiviation from someone other than themselves, it is a terrific and inexpensive way to kick-start a long-term exercise lifestyle. I think that one of the best parts of military bootcamp training is that you’re outdoors. There’s just something about getting close to nature and working your muscles. It makes you feel, well, less “soft.”

What’s in store once you sign up? Often, it’s safety and orientation first. On the first day, you’ll probably be reviewing safety guidelines, filling out paperwork and performing a fitness appraisal. It’s good to have baseline of where you are so you know how well you’ve done when it’s all over.

Plus, you don’t want to injure yourself when it can be avoided. Each fitness session should start with a warm up of at least 10 minutes, which will be followed by a 30-40 minute workout that includes plyometrics, push ups, interval training, thrusts, lunges, squats, speed training, team competitions, core strength, obstacle courses and a cool-down period. At the end of the military bootcamp training, a fitness assessment will be again given to see how much progress has been made.

Military Boot Camp Training Booms Coast to Coast

Military Boot Camp Training Booms Coast to Coast

There are specialized military training classes available, too. Some cater to specific demographics, just for women, or those who have a specific goal in mind. Some of these specialized classes include: weight loss camps, boot camps for brides-to-be and sports-specific (soccer, running, skiing).

Afraid of possibly getting the “G.I. Jane” sergeant? Chances are more than likely you won’t find anyone nearly so mean–unless you want that, of course. Most trainers are pretty well-rounded with a goal of hussle, not intimidation. Face it, you may be a captive audience, but you’re a paying audience too. So they understand that you will expect results, but not expect to be “washed out” of this military training!

The goal is not to have you go ring that bell, but to stay with the program, complete it, and go with a feeling of accomplishment, self-regard and mental strength.

How do you know your Boot Camp is a healthy one? It pays to do your homework–and lots of it–online, via word-of-mouth, and perhaps going to watch a session or two at the local park or wherever a camp is practicing. But don’t get paralyzed by analysis and do nothing! You may even be able to try out in a session or a part of one to get a feel for the group dynamics, the instructor’s knowledge, and your capabilities.

But if you’re searching for visible improvement in a very short period of time, strap on those boots and “Hup! Two, three, four… ”

The use of child soldiers in military conflicts is an issue that has been documented by human rights organizations in countries around the world, Human Rights Watch currently estimates that approximately 300,000 children are currently “serving as soldiers for both rebel groups and government forces in current armed conflicts.”

You can read the next article about The Dogs of War

Some are forced to participate under threat, others are kidnapped and many volunteer to receive food and shelter in areas where resources are scarce. Due to children’s emotional vulnerability and immaturity they are often drawn to participate in the most violent actions of militia groups and terrorist organizations.

Children who participate in conflicts have considerably higher casualty rate than adults and those who survive suffer severe psychological distress and physical injuries but often receive little or no support for rehabilitation once the conflict is over.

The problem is a worldwide one but is most critical in African countries such as Burundi and Rwanda where the conscription age is as low as 15, in Uganda children as young as 13 are reported to have been conscripted with parental consent.

In Sri Lanka aid organizations have found that children have been kidnapped specifically to use in terrorist activities, UNICEF reports that the Liberation Tiger of Tamil have kidnapped an estimated 5,666 children for use in militia activities although the true number is likely to be much higher as they estimate only a third of these cases are actually reported to them.

In Chechnya boys and girls as young as 11 have fought and children are believed to have taken part in suicide bombings, the current estimates for this region are incomplete due to the ban of media and humanitarian organizations.

In contrast to the international efforts made to assist with the rehabilitation of child soldiers in Africa the US has reportedly subjected children as young as 14 to extraordinary rendition in the global war on terror, contravening the Geneva Convention which would have entitled them to an open tribunal to determine their status as civilians or prisoners of war.

The US government revealed to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that approximately 2,500 children have been held in US custody in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo up until 2008, stating that eight children were held in Guantánamo.

They later revised this figure to twelve minors detained including Yassar Talal Al Zahrani who was brought to Guantánamo at the age of 16 and committed suicide after over half a decade of detention at the age of 21. The recent evidence in the case of Omar Khadr, a child combatant who has been held as a prisoner at Camp Delta in Guantánamo Bay since the age of 15, corroborates that torture techniques were used in his interrogation.

The only industrialized nation which has recruited children as young as 16 into military service is the United Kingdom which has deployed minors as young as 17 to fight in armed conflicts. The British Ministry of Defence has confirmed that fifteen under age soldiers were deployed by Britain to serve in Iraq from June 2003 to July 2005.

It is estimated that 6,000 to 7,000 soldiers under the age of 18 are currently serving in the UK armed forces in violation of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child which it participated in ratifying in 1991 and the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict which was adopted by the UN assembly in 2000 and ratified by Britain in 2003.

Contrary to the clearly defined aim of the treaty, the UK accompanied its ratification with a declaration that under age soldiers may be deployed when there is ‘genuine military need’ and ‘by reason of the nature and urgency of the situation it is not practicable to withdraw such persons before deployment’.

Recent magnetic resonance imaging brain research conducted by the University of Pittsburgh’s Developmental Traumatology Laboratory has established that children exposed to violence exhibit hindered brain development, problems with cognition and impaired memory functioning.

In 2009 studies conducted by the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences indicate that children exposed to trauma exhibit genetic changes due to the chemical actions of stress response hormones.

This research confirms that long term damage can be caused by exposure to violence during the brain’s developmental period and imaging studies recently conducted for the National Institutes of Health show that anatomically significant changes in brain structure continue after age 18, suggesting that human brain development is not complete until our mid twenties. These studies may have implications for further legislation regarding the use of minors in the military.

Rehabilitation of child soldiers is a difficult process, the adjustment to normal life is fraught with the ghosts of their past; they have been the victims and perpetrators of brutality, many have been coerced into participating due to their family or communities ideology or politics, some have been orphans of war who were forced to fight and others join militias to avenge killings they have witnessed during conflicts. Girl soldiers have reportedly joined up to escape enforced marriage, sexual slavery, domestic violence, exploitation and abuse. Most come from impoverished areas and have not had the opportunity to acquire education or job skills which often leaves them with no other alternative.

International efforts such as the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and Red Hand Day, an annual commemoration held on the 12th of February are helping to raise awareness of the plight of child soldiers and to promote funding for rehabilitation programs that provide them with counselling and job skills that help them reintegrate back into society and lead productive lives.
by Naomi Pattirane

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