It has nothing to do with standing around an ash tray. A barbecue with a full rack of ribs. Murder. The smoke session I’m referring to is an intense, demoralizing session of physical activity in which the subjects are oftentimes in trouble for something or they are being evaluated for some illustrious position, such as candidacy for some elite military field. It can be done on a single individual, an individual and his buddy, or a whole group of individuals. Also called a haze session, probably because the subjects don’t want to be involved 99% of the time. The so-called “hazing” part of it mostly occurs, as mentioned above, when the subject is trying out for something. Those that don’t perform well get cut. The other reason – punishment – if done correctly can be an effective training tool to help mold an individual’s character, or to deter some action. This post will give you some tips on different tricks, tactics, and techniques you can use to hone your smoking skills. The important thing is to have fun. I’d like to thank all the assholes who smoked me for teaching me these wonderful things.
The first step to effective smoking is to establish a recognizable pattern of behavior on your part. What this does is trains the subjects to recognize the preemptive signs that they are about to be smoked. This is advantageous to you, as you can use it as a psychological tool to build anxiety. The subject will go through a cycle of thoughts, which will be something like this: 1) subject may acknowledge their error even before you say something; 2) subject will recognize the fact that they have your attention; 3) subject will anticipate something excruciating, and their minds will exacerbate the situation, thus making the smoke session more effective. Things you can do to facilitate this may include specific verbal commands, such as “Front-leaning Rest Position, Move” or “Team Leader, lead ’em!”
Once you have verbally initiated the smoke session, move on to the following methods. Vary them and utilize them often.
The best time to give a speech is when you have the subjects positioned in some draining isometric hold (front-leaning rest, plank, flutterkick, etc.). You can do this at any time during the smoke session, but it’s most commonly performed at the onset or at the very end. Take a few moments to gather your thoughts, then bestow your nuggets of wisdom (why X is so important), your censure (asking them why they X), or intimidation, as in cases where the subject’s fate is hanging by a thread (the “you don’t have what it takes” tirade). My personal preference is to do this at the beginning, because they will already be halfway smoked before they even start on any exercises! Additional tips: the longer the speech the better.
This is another good way to build anticipation. You put the subject in either a static position or have them begin an exercise (pushups or burpees or whatever), and just walk away. If you have established a pattern of behavior, they will know that they cannot recover until you allow them to. By leaving the scene, they don’t know when you will return, so take your time. The longer you wait to return, the more their mind makes the experience worse.
Similar to the Walkaway, you will leave the subject to his or her fate while you go about your business. The difference between the Excommunication and the Walkaway is that with this one, you’re still present, but you choose not to acknowledge the subject. Not only do they not know when they will be recovered, it is frustrating to be ignored. Your indifference to their plight exacerbates the entire experience. They recognize that you are not a pushover, that they must earn your mercy.
For this technique to work, you must first establish a tangible endpoint. For instance, you tell your subject to low-crawl 300 meters. They know they must complete this for sure; they may not know what comes next, which is good because for this to work there needs to be hope in the subject’s heart. Yes, he needs to hope that after he’s completed the task, everything is over. Let him think this, because you will come up with reason along the way why he must start over. This works best in a group environment because they will start to get pissed at one another and their frustration will compound exponentially. Usually, in cases like these, the group must complete a certain task as a unit, which makes it more difficult. Your imagination is the limit. This method works best with distances; also see The Perfectionist.
This is when you give your group a certain number of reps to complete, but they don’t count unless the group is in unison. It will take them a while to get in unison, especially if they are not accustomed to being the smokees. The more exhausted they are, the longer this method will last. Combine this with the Start-Over for maximum effect.
This is best used in a group setting. For this technique, you simply supply the group with a ridiculous, meaningless task (which you will supply a seemingly important reason for, like “attention to detail is what keeps your buddies alive” which is true, but the specific tasks you will delegate will have nothing to do with anything). Examples include making them configure gear or important items in strange, ridiculous way that are really difficult to pull off, especially as a group – and no matter what they do, it’s still not right.
Stump the Dummy
In this technique, you call out random questions that really don’t matter in the overall scheme of things. The best questions are gee-whiz questions, where the answer is just something that’s nice to know but doesn’t really matter. It’s designed so they get it wrong, and when they get it wrong, they exercise. The key to this is to give the lucky subject the appearance of a glimmer of hope, a hint that there is a way they can avoid physical torment.
For this, you tell them that if they can guess the next exercise, it will be the last exercise. If they get it wrong, they must do the exercise they mentioned as well as the one you were thinking of. If they get it right, they only have to do the one exercise. Of course, they will never guess the exercise, because no matter what, it will be the wrong one, because even if they guess correctly you will change the exercise in mind. Because they can’t prove they were right. You can also start off by establishing a time limit, like 30 minutes.
Too Fast, Too Furious
This is when you call out in rapid-fire succession a string of different exercises so that they have no time to get into position to do them. It would go something like “front leaning rest position, move!” and right when they get into that position you call out something else, so it’s constant movement. The transition to different exercise positions becomes the exercise, and it gets to be pretty draining quickly.
The Endless Task
For this you establish a chore for them to do, such as moving a stack of logs. They will think that when they are done, it is over, except when they finish moving them to one location, they find out they have to move them somewhere else. This is particularly maddening, especially because once you initiate the second round of the task, they’ve figured out what’s happening. The demoralization ebbs exponentially with each successive round.
This one only works when there are multiple smokers involved in the session, and they are participating. It’s usually done for a “normal” PT session in which at any given time, one instructor will be leading the group. As a rule, the other instructors won’t be participating in the exercises except at their discretion. They will most likely be “hovering” like vultures so they can swoop in and yell and scream at individuals for whatever. The instructors will take turns leading the group so they themselves don’t get tired, thus making it seem as if they are more studly.
You would only do this one if you are a stud at some specific exercise, which you know you can do for a long time. I used to love using pullups. Start out with The Speech. This will get them tired and will work more to your advantage. Then, explain to them that you will be doing one-for-ones, which is that you will perform one repetition, then they will perform one repetition. The session is over once you, the smoker, can no longer complete one full rep. There are some nasty tricks you can incorporate into this one, particularly The All-Together. Extra tip: after they know how the session will go, you can incorporate “Additional Remarks” while they do the exercise, such as “You see how this is going. I go, then you go. This is a representation of our relationship. I tell you to do something, then you do it. Me, then you. Not me, then you do whatever the fuck you want to.” You get the idea.
As mentioned in the previous section, Additional Remarks are caveats to your Speech which are thrust into the session during moments of action. So while The Speech is mostly done while they are in a position to best take in everything you have to say, Additional Remarks are short and to the point, so they are still likely to pay attention, and it will frustrate them more.
Yelling and Screaming
Can add flavor to any smoke session. Also, equally effective is the Whisper, which enables you to specifically demoralize only one individual, making them feel more isolated because otherwise there is still “somewhat of a chance” that an outside party will hear you and put a stop to it. You can use that to your advantage as well; make your words ultra vile and they just might believe it.
Occasionally it pays to throw accessories into the session, which the subjects will have to manipulate. Popular items include large logs, tractor tires, jerry cans of water, bricks, long pipes with rope carrying handles, and of course the rucksack.
You can effectively add to the demoralization of your subjects by initiating the smoke session, going on a long run filled with extra sensational exercises, only to return to the starting position with food set out, waiting for their return (usually in the form of MREs, Meals Ready to Eat). This tells them that they will be getting smoked for a long time, since you won’t be stopping for lunch.
Rules and Guidelines
You can make anything more difficult by adding crazy rules and guidelines. Things such as no swearing or puking on the PT field are good ones. Since they can’t puke on the field, you must supply them with an alternative location; some make their students puke inside their shirt. This might seem gross, but it’s mostly just water they’re puking up. Mostly.
This concludes my post on how to smoke somebody. Now go out there and be Machiavellian as possible. Have you ever been smoked? Did you learn anything? Have you ever smoked anybody? What are your thoughts on it? Do you think it’s hazing? Or do you consider it to be a benefit, as Jarred Taylor and myself have both gone on record to voice our support?