Best Defense

Australian military includes extreme sports as part of training

I learned a lot about my own cognition, stamina and decision-making from whitewater kayaking.

whitewater_-_triple_step_on_the_river_guil_in_french_alps

Adventurous Training Wing is the ADF centre of excellence for this adult learning in a reality based experiential environment. Whilst technical skills on a snow covered mountain, river, in a cave, canyon, or at sea are important; they are not the purpose. The purpose is to use that environment and the peers within a group to enhance their self awareness, impacts of behavior, cognition under combat stress, and how to deal with it all.

I like this idea. I learned a lot about my own cognition, stamina and decision-making from whitewater kayaking. Not all of it was good — once, as I approached a nasty rapid on the Cheat River, very tired after several days of hard paddling and distracted by off-river troubles, I idly stroked left when I should have stroked right. I wound up upside down in a big rapid with some broken ribs.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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