Muscles and Mannerbunds: What Kind of Group are you in?
The Dissident Right talks a lot about pool parties, mannerbunds, IRL groups, etc. You can look here for more info if you haven’t explored the concept before, but the gist of it is fighting back against postmodern atomization with good ol’ fahsioned community among men. Some guys might say that it is more political than that, it’s more for coordinating passivist takeover or planning activism – something along those lines. That’s because there are two kinds of mannerbund, fraternities and activist groups, and yours likely falls somewhere between them on a spectrum.
A fraternity is that kind of mannerbund that exists for improving the conditions of the men in it. The whole point is community, and it fits well with a more casual reactionary outlook.1 One guy needs a job – the others can help him out. Another guy wants a wife to start a family – his buddies can play matchmaker. One of you needs a drink after a hard week – well, Bill’s got you covered with some Jack Daniels in his freezer. Mannerbunds consist of men that actually care about each other in a world that wishes they were dead. Fitness enters the picture when, as the informal leader, you realize that everyone dying of heart disease will put a damper on the whole project. Some outreach is done as the group gets larger or looks for more recruits. TRS “Pool Parties” and most of my NW Alt Right friends tend to fit into this kind of structure.
An activist group is the mannerbund that engages in wholesale political operations. This could range from an NRx passivist support center to a Nationalist cadre preparing for Road War. Making a group like this work necessitates being more organized, more disciplined, and more demanding. While a fraternity helps guys improve themselves, an activist group demands they do it on their own time. There are a lot of hikes and survival training involved here. When I was part of such a group, it was somewhat militaristic, but more cooperative. If you could not improve yourself on your own, they would be willing to give you a leg up.
Fitness for Fraternities
Seeking health for fraternity members is both liberating and restricting. Case example is my friend, who requested he be referred to as “Vanilla”2 for this article. We started out as neighbors that chatted and hung out together on occasion. At one point, I talked about getting a steel mace to supplement my kettlebell workouts, just for fun. Having played D&D, Skyrim, and every other fantasy medieval game out there, Vanilla’s curiosity was piqued, and he asked if he could join me in a workout sometime. Then he got his own. Then we ended up doing mace workouts every week.
Vanilla is close to fifty years old right now. While he is a former bodybuilder, he had not worked out in about fifteen years; at the start, he had difficulty raising his arms above his head during warm-ups, felt winded after just a few reps, and ended up having stomach cramps when we did any core work. In a few short months, he does not have these difficulties. Vanilla took to it with passion because maces are cool, and in the process we reversed a lot of his aging. Recently we have added boxing and calisthenics days to the weekly program, to increase stability and cardiovascular health.
There are a few difficulties that I can foresee with some fraternities though, if you are leading the fitness aspect. The mannerbund I’m part of is relatively small. If you should find yourself with twenty men in fellowship, individualizing exercise plans will be increasingly difficult. It is better at that point to go in a more standardized direction, like the following.
Another issue is that not everyone will be on the same page. A fraternity recognizes that each member will have his own preferences, problems, and hobbies in physical culture; it ought to be assumed that every guy is doing his own thing in addition to whatever you do together. If you did not have your own independent workouts, then you might find yourself either catching up (if you’re out of shape) or losing your gains (if you are the most in shape). Have your own program, and then let exercising together contribute to it.
Fitness for Activist Groups
An organization with broad infrastructure is going to benefit from a more regimented style of exercise, provided everyone can show. In a fraternity, the best men reach down to pull their brothers up – you qualify to others and help them. In an activist group, the common members reach to pull themselves up to their leaders’ level – they qualify to you. At this point, having prerequisites for entry and periodic assessment standards will do a lot of good. Again, this assumes a larger group of twenty or more.
These periodic assessments are something to be trained for. If you base your test on the American Army’s PFA,3 then having your guys do regular runs and basic calisthenics would do the trick. If everyone’s schedules cannot be aligned, a general guide aimed at the test will help. “Run for at least 30 minutes a day, do at least 250 pushups and situps throughout the day” was one example I recall seeing.
Military readiness tests might not be your thing. After all, cardio is the largest part of all of them, and your group is more interested in short-term combative scenarios, a la protests. Into MMA? The Russian Kettlebell Challenge is a good, if excessive, goal for explosive power and general strength. Is powerlifting the preferred sport for your guys? Here’s a tiered sheet on standards for the big three lifts. If you decide to make your own, it would be wise to include both upper and lower body movements to avoid any nasty surprises when a camping trip goes awry with an injury or an Antifascist kicks one of your guys in the weaker leg.
Throughout this article I have been working under the assumption that you, dear reader, are in a position of leadership in your mannerbund. If you are a leader, then you are responsible for the success of your men, whether the fellowship is casual or serious. This first means being more fit than the others. Leadership is by the qualified. If you are not the most powerful man in your group, you should at least be close to it, and you should definitely be the most knowledgeable.
Second, there is the care aspect. In a fraternity, your failure to adequately care for your friends will result in age, injury, or weakness hitting them where it hurts. My friend Vanilla has some stiff joints; making him go through standard calisthenic workouts would have ripped his rotator cuff in half months ago. Instead, taking time in the workouts to warm up properly and work on his mobility have made him both stronger and more flexible. In an activist group, whatever standards you set will give you a picture of the kind of members you will have. If you do not require recovery (stretches, enough protein, etc.), then that picture of your standard member is covered in casts and bandages. Same goes for the necessary balance between cardio and strength. If you don’t test for cardio, you should at least include it in general exercise – fat guys postering a university can’t exactly run away from security or chase after pink-haired communists, can they? Again, I can’t stress it enough: you are responsible for these men. If you fail, then you could end up ruining their lives. If you succeed, then your mannerbund will be effective, powerful, well-bonded, the stuff of legends.
1That is, guys with more to lose. Jobs, age, family, and other community responsibilities take a greater toll on a man’s ability to give his all for a dissident cause. It’s no wonder that my Dollar Store Reaction article got more positive feedback from married men than from singles.
2That is, Whiter than White.