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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Plyometric Jumps and the Angry German Moo Cow

So on a dark night in southern Germany back in 1989, I found out a functional use for plyometric jump training - the hard way.

I was on a reconnaissance training mission with my Long Range Surveillance Team. We had to recon an area where suspected enemy forces were staging armored vehicles for a big attack.

My team occupied a security halt position and I went out to scout the area for some good crossing points for some large open areas (cow pastures). The cow pastures were fenced in with electric fences.

I found a spot where it looked like we could cross, so I nimbly went over the waist high electric fence to check it out. We used our laminated maps as insulated covers for the fence so you wouldn't fry the jewels as you crawled over - very painful to take a full force charge to the crotch - only happened to me a few times too many.

So when I successfully negotiated the waist high electric fence, I moved in about 50 meters and scanned the area with my night vision goggles. I saw a bunch of legs and heads right in front of me. I thought it was a bunch of soldiers but to my surprise it was a herd of dairy cows. One big moo cow in particular was not fond of my presence and started acting like she was a bull. She started clawing up the dirt with her hooves and grunting in a very angry way. The rest of the Moo Cows started to gather behind her as a show of force and I took the hint.

I began slowly backing away from the cows and turned towards the fence. I bolted into a sprint and was like Flash Gordon on fire. To my horror, surprise and dismay, the ring leader Moo Cow was hot on my heels and closing fast running at full speed like a horse. I had no choice but to jump the fence so I flung my heavy rucksack over the fence and launched myself into the air.
With adrenaline and fear at super high levels, I managed to clear the fence and plummet towards the ground. I hit like a meteorite, tucked and rolled and continued my scalded dog rocket run.

Again in disbelief, I turned back in horror, to see the huge Moo Cow, hurdle through the air like a freight train. The big Cow cleared the fence, landed like a ballerina and kept on running without breaking stride. I had a split second to decide to go down a steep hill or up in a tree. The tree was closer so I jumped and grabbed the lowest limb and pulled myself up with a quickness. The angry Moo Cow had tree'd me like a hound dog. The Moo Cow circled the tree and stayed there for what seemed like hours until finally losing interest and moving on. Of course, my team, who offered no assistance or even cared where I was, cause they were racked out, didn't believe a word of it. After I rejoined my team (once I made sure the angry German cow was gone) and suffered through the ridicule, we continued on an alternate route and completed our mission.
Only the Moo Cows and I knew what had really happened.

Months later, during an evasion and recovery exercise in the same part of Germany, a team mate and I were walking along the outside of an electric fence. There was one large moo cow staring us down. I told my buddy to steer clear of the angry looking cow. He said I was high and that there was no such thing as Angry German Moo Cows that jump fences. So he continued to walk near the fence as I moved rapidly away. Flashbacks ensued as I saw the cow start scraping her hoove on the ground like a bull. I told my buddy to run as the cow took off in a dead sprint right towards him. He said the cow would never make as I was sprinting away. I heard him scream as the airborne moo cow easily cleared the fence and ran him down. Fortunately, he could run really fast. He took off like a raped ape and left the cow in the dust. The cow lost interest and trotted off. I finished the exercise by myself, only to find my buddy back at the campfire telling a story of an Angry German Moo Cow that could jump fences. Now everyone believed me.

Had it not been for my plyometric jump training, I would have never been able to jump the fence or jump up for the tree limb. Who Knows what the Angry German Moo Cow would have done to me? You may not encounter Angry German Moo Cows, but other life situations may dictate the need for explosive speed and power in a fight or flight scenario. So jump often and jump high. Those cows are out there waiting....

If you can't jump, now is the time to start. Begin the Journey!

Dempsey's Resolution Fitness
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