CST & TACFIT
With the rising international proliferation and popularity of the Circular Strength Training (CST) System and the TACFIT Tactical Fitness System, questions have arisen as to their relationship and connection, as sole founder of both of these functional fitness modalities.
The distinction between the two systems is clear objectively, but because one man created both, it can be confusing as the two stories interweave through one history:
- CST is a three ringed (mobility, rotational resistance, compensation) health first fitness assessment system for the specificity of warmup, workout and cooldown in 6 degrees of freedom.
- TACFIT is a tactically-specific (reverse engineered from tactical skills) fitness system for recovery from intensity through workouts (4/7 day wave) and within the workout (breathing, vibration, heart rate recovery and biofeedback).
In its early years after official launch in 2002, CST’s educationally enormity addressed too many principles. I was forced to extract the “tactical” aspects of the system (reverse engineering, progression/regression component learning, recovery techniques, recovery protocols and recovering waving) to allow CST to concentrate upon the sophisticated assessment process of three rings. This extraction happened in 2005 as three years of officially teaching CST showed me that it was too large, and even the head coaches couldn’t absorb all of the principles efficiently.
Separating TACFIT from CST proved miraculous, in that though they are related in origin and overlap in principles, they distinctly focus on two different genre of functional fitness: movement health (restoration, coordination and refinement) and mind-body recovery (from sympathetic arousal, from biological stressors, and from psychological distress.)
Watching my family disintegrate from my father’s rage after returning from war led to my focus on the mind-body aspect of recovery in TACFIT. As a child, I could not comprehend what was happening to me or my family. I did not understand the rage I felt, the loss of conscious volition I experienced in my many childhood fights, or even the distinction between the later peace I felt in competitive fighting, compared to that of my opponents who behaved as if they were in a mortal conflict. The disparity between their reduction to base brain operational reflexes compared with the ease with which my coaches allowed me to mentally perform in combat sports held significant sway upon the later discovery I made as a USA National Team Coach.
TACFIT officially crystallized as a discovery in 1999 when I was the USA Police Sambo Coach at world championships: the amateur (non police) athletes did not perform as well under high stress as my police athlete, but my police athletes required three times the recovery duration. Asking why that data point appeared comparing the national amateur team vs the national police team, stimulated me to look back through my copious journals, and eventually formed the data for what became TACFIT.
Concurrent with the evolution of TACFIT, I asked the question of how I can access high skill despite my supposed genetic childhood limitations. Studying alternative forms of movement modalities beginning in early life (Total Physical Response, Chisanbop, 7 musical instruments, choir’s respiratory control, dramatic theater’s contact improv, etc) led me toward martial art, inevitably… The need for movement education stimulated CST’s incipience.
When I first saw my coach in Russia move, I knew instantly that he had an insight into the movement evolution I had been working my entire life to decode. I invested six years traveling to study with him, and practicing hours upon hours a day to internalize the process. CST remains heavily influenced by his fingerprint, but forged from a lifetime of seeking emancipation from the immobilized body and mind I had inherited.
CST and TACFIT are an entirely distinct streams of evolution, though wound within the life of one person, struggling to develop his movement, and to recover from conflict. If TACFIT and CST were created by two different people, you wouldn’t see such direct correlation. But because I created both, their distinction only appears to be unclear.
You can certainly practice both systems (or more). I created them for the purpose of sharing, to help others reclaim healthy movement mastery, and to recover quickly from life’s ubiquity of stressors. In tandem, you’ll find synergistic benefits, but you also can perform them individually without the other and reap 100% of their benefits.
Most importantly, you must forgive the many mistakes the founder made over the decades of their evolution, in assembling, creating and distinguishing their effects and benefits. Some of my errors were out of immaturity, others out of ego, and many as a result of pure passion for helping others surpass their goals and free their potential.
Looking back now, what I experienced looks like a logical sequence of development of both systems. But during, it felt like an entangled web of confusing experiences, unrelated bodies of knowledge, and independent disciplines, but they were formulated to distill their essence into rational, practical systems of healthy human performance. Hopefully, this helps distinguish the benefits of each system for you, without having to experience the lifetime of ambiguity and pitfalls I did in their creation.