Mark Twight is a man who has found success in many arenas.  When I first heard his name, he was described as an Alpinist, an expert in the outdoors.  The description did not do the man justice. 

Mark was not only an alpinist, he is an author, the founder of Gym Jones, an accomplished cyclist, and at one time a trainer to many stars that most would recognize from movies such as 300, and Man Of Steel. 

Mark and I met in 2005, while I was slowly climbing out of the hole that an injury from work, plus my own poor choices, had put me in.  Our initial encounter was “exercise” based, and the lessons he exposed me to still frame the way I train now, and eventually led to a short lived career in the “fitness world.” 

He is one of the most unique human beings I have ever encountered, with an intensity and drive that can burn most to the ground.  It is what I admire most about him. 

This conversation was over 1 year in the making.  We both wanted to wait until we were in the right spot, and I believe we finally arrived there. 

Todays episode is Q and A from the internet, with a twist.

As fate would have it, my father and brother in law are here in Montana on vacation. As I was reading through the questions, I realized that they are both a wealth of knowledge from different backgrounds, and that their insight into the questions is equally, if not more valid than my own.

Jason has been serving as a firefighter for the city of San Diego for over ten years. They operate in small elements, requiring teamwork, communication, leadership, and individual responsibility. I would say the community has more similarities to the SEAL Teams than differences.

My father has worn many hats throughout his life. He is a Vietnam veteran, small business owner, school teacher, sport coach, and after today, a podcaster! I learned many of the lessons that have served me well throughout life working beside him on construction sites.

Between the three of us I think we had some good answers.

Enjoy

At the age of 19 Jessica Lynch joined the Army, and just over one year later she found herself staged for the invasion of Iraq.  During the initial surge towards Baghdad, her unit became separated from their convoy, and found themselves in the town of Nasiriyah.  Her smaller unit was ambushed, and she became the first American POW (Prisoner of War).  

As Jessica and her unit were staging for the invasion in Kuwait, my unit was in Saudi Arabia, doing the same thing.  As the war began, we began working through our target deck, until actionable intelligence was received about her location.  After a quick forward staging, planning, and limited rehearsal, we assaulted the hospital, and recovered her on 1 April 2003.  It was the first successful of an American POW since WW2. 

Jessica was immediately taken to a higher level of medical care, and slowly began her journey home to the US via Germany. 

There has been much controversy over what happened during the events leading up to the rescue, and of the rescue itself.  It is safe to say, in my opinion, that the military used the operation to serve their needs at the time. 

I had not spoken to her until this recording, and it was great to revisit the events of 15 years ago from both sides of the same coin. 

You had military questions, I had answers.  I did my best to work my way through them and answer as many as possible….Quiet professionals, leadership strengths and weaknesses, DEVGRU, preparing for combat physically and mentally, pros and cons of military service, etc. 

I will try to do a military specific episode every so often, as there is obviously a desire, and no lack of questions. 

Enjoy

Round 2 with the one and only Josh Bridges.

Josh is a retired Navy SEAL. We met when I was putting him through basic SEAL training known as BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL). Post training we served together at SEAL Team Three. Post military our paths constantly crossed in the competitive CrossFit ecosystem.

Josh has been competing in the CrossFit Games since before he left military service, meaning he found the time to train in the limited off time associated with an already arduous job. His best finish at the Games to date has been 2nd place in 2011.

Our conversation last year occurred just after his Regional competition, this year it is just before. We talked pre, active, and post military life. Training style and philosophy, and how he dealt with last years competition not sticking to the script he had planned for it.

Enjoy.

A Thunder Chicken is a turkey, at least that is what I have been told. This episode is from our hunting camp deep in the back country of Kansas, where we were competing in the World Turkey Hunting Championships.

Spoiler alert, we did not win. After two days in a blind I did not see a single turkey. I heard one, I think.

The best part of any hunting trip for me so far has been the people, this trip was no different. Instead of being the new kid on the block in the archery world, I got to watch my good friend Trevor Thompson begin his journey.

If you have ever reached out to me with questions about where to start with archery equipment or training, this episode is for you. John covers in depth strategies to purchasing you first equipment, and then training with it.

Other than the endless political banter, guns, and specifically school shootings have lead the headlines recently, and for good reason.

My children are now being called the “Mass Shooting Generation,” a term I wholeheartedly disagree with. Our use of language, much like our objectivity, has been utterly lost.

We can continue to look for “light switch” solutions to these complex issues that did not arrive overnight, or we can, as a society, agree that there is a problem, and commit ourselves to the work needed to create an actual change.

It all starts with remaining objective, and not giving in to our emotions.

I did my best to answer a variety of questions received over the last six weeks from social media. Topics varied, but I covered everything from training, mullets, challenges and difficulties of being a military parent, blessings in disguise, skydiving and BASE jumping, broadheads, back country split boarding, and more.

Thank you for all of the questions and support, I’ll answer more of the questions in another podcast soon.

John Barklow is the Big Game Product Manager for Sitka, a hunting brand based in Bozeman, Montana.

Prior to his current profession, he served for 26 years in the United States Navy as a Diver. We met in 1997, when I was a punk new guy, and he was running the dive locker for SEAL Team Five. His background and experience is diverse…In addition to classical dive training, he is a wealth of knowledge in climbing, skiing, back country travel, snow safety, and survival, to mention a few. For 15 years he worked at, and lead the Kodiak training facility where all SEAL candidates now go for their cold weather and survival training.

To add icing to the cake, he has been a bow hunter for 30 years, and we recorded this podcast at the end of an epic bow hunt for Axis deer on Lanai, Hawaii.

www.sitkagear.com