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Former Navy SEAL Bill Rapier discusses combatives, self-defense, physical training, following Christ.

Physical and Spiritual Strength and Becoming an Order of Magnitude More Dangerous with former SEAL Bill Rapier

Bill Rapier a former Navy SEAL and the owner of American Tactical Shooting Instruction. He retired from the military after 20 years of service, runs multiple small businesses, and now lives in Idaho with his wife and seven kids. In this episode, Nathan and Bill discuss knife combatives, strategies for mental toughness in grueling circumstances, how to train up boys to be strong men in Christ, and the proper mindset for physical, spiritual, and self defense training.

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Show Notes

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Show Summary

  • Introduction and welcome. 0:01:48
  • Military guys load up their plate with lots of things after getting out. 0:01:58
  • that’s a daily conversation with my wife Bill. 0:02:10
  • Discussion of driving the same truck, a 7.3 L Ford diesel. 0:03:59
  • What is your biographical information and history? 0:04:38
  • I’m bringing as a missionary kid overseas. 0:05:12
  • Learning to read and write German before English. 0:05:38
  • Move to the states San Jose/Southern California. 0:05:44
  • Living in South Africa. Being exposed to rugged individualism. 0:06:17
  • Finishing high school in Colorado Springs. 0:06:45
  • Military aspirations and encouragement from family to go to West Point. 0:07:00
  • Hanging out with the wrong crowd in high school and not performing well. 0:07:43
  • Bill’s criteria for joining the military: Hardest unit to get into and most likely to see action. 0:08:01
  • Decision to join the SEAL Team, choosing to become a corpsman. 0:08:18
  • Why it took Bill nearly a year to go through BUD/S. 0:10:07
  • How forgetting long division caused him to fail the first time.
  • Physical and mental toughness required for BUD/S. 0:14:08
  • Mental toughness strategies for surviving grueling situation. 0:14:51
  • The importance of meditating on “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13) 0:17:02
  • How Bill faced the uncertainty of knowing whether he was going to quit.
  • Why it’s important to not quit as a man. 0:17:59
  • Our goal is to stand before our King and hear “well done thy good and faithful servant.” 0:21:00
  • I got to preach the Sunday. Topic: what are you spending your self on 0:21:15
  • When faced with challenging tasks, focus on one step at a time. 0:22:18
  • Facing the idol of being a SEAL. 0:24:39
  • Driving through the desert and praying “God give me a desire to follow after you.” 0:25:29
  • Being grill during various counselings regarding Christian faith and explaining the warrior nature of David, the man after God’s own heart. 0:27:49
  • The ethics of killing in self-defense circumstances. 0:31:19
  • You don’t get to call yourself meek unless you have the tools and the know how to do violence. 0:33:29
  • Why people give lip service to nonviolence. 0:34:4
  • Lead, follow, or get out of the way. 0:35:36
  • Marriage, kids, and deciding to leave the military. 0:35:47
  • Spending single days shooting and doing a lot of jujitsu. 0:36:55
  • “When I was ready for it, God blessed me with a godly woman.” 0:37:06
  • Not wanting to be like 20 year veterans who hadn’t done anything for real. 0:38:43
  • Deciding to focus on the greatest place of impact by serving the Lord, being a good husband and raising kids to know and love Jesus. 0:39:46
  • “It doesn’t matter how many battles we win down range if our kids grow up not knowing Christ.” 0:40:08
  • Military culture;, the false assumption that your wife is along for the ride no matter what. 0:40:48
  • “If your primary identity is as an operator, then that’s misplaced.” 0:41:16
  • “You are replaceable in your job, but your family should be there for life.” 0:41:45
  • “Serving your nation is a high calling, but it is not the highest calling.” 0:42:19
  • Asking the question: What is my primary identity? 0:42:25
  • Pros and cons of operator life. 0:42:56
  • Why the best time to work on restoring relationships is now. 0:44:07
  • Post-active duty life. 0:45:24
  • Living in a 32’ RV on friends farm. Driving west as a family. 0:46:03
  • Moving to Idaho for cost of living and conservative values. 0:46:48
  • Enjoying homesteading. 0:48:05
  • Being involved with church first as a deacon and now as an elder. 0:48:43
  • Serving on church leadership is harder than active duty. 0:49:00
  • Starting a father-and-son ministry program. 0:49:17
  • Goals of the ministry: Teaching our boys to know and love Jesus and to be capable young men. 0:49:30
  • Bill’s desire to teaching boys things that he was deficient on when leaving home at 17. 0:51:46
  • Original vision for the program: outreach and discipleship. 0:52:59
  • Structure of how the group is run. 0:55:10
  • Whatever you teach it needs to be real, and it needs to be difficult. 0:56:05
  • Why Bill thinks the grappling arts are the place to start with martial arts. 0:56:57
  • Reminder that working through the meat and potatoes of the Gospel is super valuable 0:59:40
  • Discussion of Bill Rapier’s businesses. 1:01:22
  • How Bill Rapier got into teaching and started American Tactical Shooting Instruction. 1:02:38
  • Why Bill Rapier things guys benefit the most from pistol combatives. 1:05:18
  • Summary of what pistol combatives is. 1:05:28
  • How teaching combatives skills makes guys an order of magnitude more dangerous. 1:06:17
  • Overview of AmTac Blades. 1:07:01
  • How the Northman fixed-blade knife was born. 1:07:55
  • Overview of Amtac Gear. 1:11:11
  • Caution about self-defense and tactical advice on the Internet. 1:12:05
  • Why Bill Rapier never wants to take a fight to the ground. 1:13:21
  • There’s good jujitsu stuff that will get you killed in real life. 1:14:51
  • Everything about combatives training is in support of the main effort, which is to protect you and your family. 1:15:52
  • Practicing El Presidente drill over and over. 1:16:18
  • Good versus bad reasons to train at the range. 1:16:59
  • Training traps that Bill has fallen into. 1:17:29
  • To be good at combatives, you actually need to be good at a lot of things. 1:17:52
  • “The most important protective detail you’ll ever be on is every time you’re with your family.” 1:20:02
  • It’s important to do physical training, but it’s even more important to do spiritual training 1:20:52
  • Why Bill listens to sermons on his runs. 1:21:43
  • Make your physical training count for spiritual training as well. Take time to meditate on God’s word. 1:24:57
  • Concluding thoughts. 1:26:25

Scripture in this Episode

  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
  • “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8)

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