"The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat." When I read that, I stopped, reread it, thought about it, reread it, thought about it, repeat. There's so much truth in that quote, and that resonated with the fighter in me. Koukl (and I supposed the Marines :) are emphasizing a point that I make when I help train taekwondo fighters.
In 2014, I competed in the USA National Taekwondo Championships here in Houston. I was part of a five guy junior team that started training in June, and began our more intense training in August. Our training was the most intense I'd ever done up to that point, consisting of two of my ordinary classes a week, two extra classes, and a six hour crossfit/sparring/taekwondo workout on Saturday... in an unairconditioned warehouse in Houston.
Anyone who lives in Houston in August knows that over 100 degree days are common. I remember our team doing hundreds of squats, getting out of pushup position and leaving literal puddles of sweat, and I have permanently seared onto my mind the image of sweat dripping my face while I did burpees. We worked, we ran, we pushed, we fought, and we trained in the hardest circumstances I'd been in... and it made us ready.
Nationals was in December, and I was able to win two bronze medals. Without a doubt, what won me at least one of my three fights that night was my conditioning. The more I worked in training, the more I could relax while sparring and trust my skills and my endurance to get me through the fights. That was an important lesson to learn: the harder I worked in training, the more confident I could be in the fight to trust my training. I'd put in the time and work, and I could trust my training.
This is what Koukl says as well. This is what the Marines do. Marines are among the best armed forces in the world because they train constantly and rigorously... and if an apologist would like to be able to adequately defend his view, he too must train constantly and rigorously.
The key to having a grasp of your beliefs is not only in listening to others speak, though that is an enormous tool. The ultimate key to having a grasp of your own personal beliefs held from a rational position is by putting in the effort. It's not easy. It's far easier to sit down with a computer game or a fun fiction book than it is to sit down and listen to Christopher Hitchens speak on moral relativism, I know!
I'm a teenager! I know the temptation and I fall to the same things. I too find far too many excuses to avoid training to adequately "be ready to give an answer". It's easier to go fishing or even just burn time than to actively invest in sharpening my mind and my grasp on worldviews.
However, if we are going to represent our beliefs well and rationally through college and adult life and eventually as parents, husbands, wives, friends, and leaders, the foundations are laid now, before our faith comes under active fire. Now is when we can study and think when the pressure is off, when no atheist professor is there demanding answers in your college philosophy class. Redeem this time! Study, listen, and THINK!
The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat. The more you sweat it studying, the less you bleed in discussion. The more you sweat in thinking, the less you bleed in debate. Take the time and invest the energy in training, and you'll come through far more ready for combat.
I hope a second challenge in a row on the same topic is not seen as out of place. I believe this is an important topic, and one that far too many Christians, in particular youth of my age range, choose to ignore in favor of 1.) apathy, 2.) accepted ignorance, 3.) gullibility. Don't let any of those three take your life. Choose to invest your time in actively pursuing a Biblical worldview, a rationally thought through, consistent, Biblical worldview, now, while you're a teen. Try it. You might be smarter than you think. :)