What Can The Game of Thrones Tell Us About Training


One of the best dramas to come out on TV 


But what the hell has this got to do with training..

This show is loosely based on a broad period of our History, of Medieval Europe (Wars of The Roses), of Mongul Hordes (Dothraki), sagas of the Viking Age (Iron Born) etc.  It shows a real mix of basing the lifestyles of it’s characters on actual periods of history.  As you can tell I am no historian but I do have an interest in our past, where we came from, what life was like back then, how people trained for battle, how hard physically it must have been to work the land/travel.  I bet to the millions and millions of viewers which have been avidly watching this show, this is some of the biggest interest they have ever taken in studying what it may have been like to live 500-1000 years ago.  It’s like one of those great lessons at school when the teacher hasn’t been able to prepare anything, so he puts on a Film for you to watch instead, with some light resemblance to learning the curriculum whilst he nips out (for a coffee).

People have been glued to their laptops, Ipads and flatscreen TVs watching every new episode of this show, imagining (whilst eating popcorn) they could wield a great sword like ‘ICE‘, when most can’t even muster the strength to lift a flat screen onto a wall bracket from B&Q.  Oh how the world has changed, the Knights would roll around laughing at the average man today, they’d cut the TV in half and hook him on the bracket instead (probably only Lannister Knights would be mean enough to waste a good TV though).

If you take Medieval Europe that was, this only ended around  500 years ago or approximately 20 generations.  Have a think about that for a second, 20 generations or even 25 generations does not seem that long ago, my point is this, look how these people were living, now I don’t mean with Dragons hanging around but as a general idea. They obviously have very few modern comforts, security was a problem, rule of law was not exactly fair or consistent, travel required lots of effort, so did obtaining food, healthcare was bit worse than the NHS etc. This is not long ago and look how we have changed,  far few sword fights down the local water hole, you rarely go days without food, a month or a winter.  Security is far better, transport is still dangerous (especially in Spain) but not quite like walking 300 miles to a fort to get some supplies with the chance of a wolf attack.  Life is a whole lot easier physically nowadays, if you could tell a medieval knight what amenities we have now, he would think we would have it made.  In his time the general population spent most of their days just making sure they had enough food and water, a roof over their heads and some security to protect all of it.

Times have changed but our bodies haven’t and this is my point.  In a few short years the western populations through technology have transformed the way we do things.  Apart from the few rich nobles you wouldn’t see many fat people back then, there wasn’t enough food and it took a lot of effort to earn or collect what you got.  Someone with a low metabolism today who puts on weight easily and struggles to keep it off, back then would be in a far better position (and probably live longer) to have some reserves to call on when in a famine, they wouldn’t be as big by todays standards but they just wouldn’t be as terribly skinny as their unfortunate high metabolism friends.  We are programed to like food a lot and when it is around eat it, store up energy reserves for when it is not.  This used to happen a lot not so long ago but far less so now.

Then when you think modern humans have been around for 200,000 years (ish) and a lot of our inbuilt physical and mental traits still relate to that period and well beyond, then we are in trouble.  How can we change 100,ooo’s of years of traits and subconsiousness to match the last 100 years or so of computer based lives with easy transport and easy food.    Unless something radical happens like the government putting a lot more tax on food or say a food group (like sugar) then people will have to keep voluntarily restraining themselves and ensure they get rid of excess energy.  We thrive on getting rid of energy, it was what our bodies were designed for, we were not designed to work computers and drive in cars.

When I watch these programs I think about how these people worked and trained, how knights may have trained.  What attributes of fitness you would need.  How hard it must have been to fight for hours by sword. I think about what training I would do to make the perfect knight (well I am a bit passionate about training/mental).  You would want to make sure your training stood up as your life would depend upon it.   A knight would not have to generally spend his days finding food, they would have good access to it, so they could concentrate on preparing for fighting.  That’s another blog but keeping vaguely to the point, our populations need to exercise a lot more, schools need better funded and more P.E, corporations need to be encouraged to encourage exercise, it’s hard when you don’t have to, so it’s good when you have to.  It’s harder to see the cause and effect when you don’t exercise much and then over time you pick up a disease because of the lack of it, it’s easier if you see your friend can’t hold a sword for longer than 10 minutes and gets chopped up in the next battle, the incentive to train is blatantly there.   If I gave everyone the choice, go and work the land by hand from dawn til dusk or live like a knight, but you better be fit otherwise you’re going to die in the next battle, I think we would see a lot of knights (as it looks a better lifestyle as peasants get taken into battle anyway and killed)  but we would see lot of people getting healthy fast.

What’s the answer, it’s not easy one… but for starters when everyone next watches the Game of Thrones, they do 20 pressups everytime someone dies, 30 burpes when they see a dragon, 50 squats when the Dwarf gets beaten up and run on the spot for as long as it takes Sam Tarley to get his words out, at least a few millions westerners will be getting healthier and more like their recent ancestors.

50 X Squats For A Dragon or The Dog Gets It.


I may see if they want to do a Game of Thrones Fitness DVD..