Even though Smith and Anderson were trained in various martial arts, nothing could prepare them for what they experienced on their quest. In every country, the master trainers thought that Anderson and Smith were actors first and fighters second. This was something they both worked hard to undo. Anderson says:
"The first day they either try and go easy on us because they think we're actors, or they go hard on us cause they want to watch us fold up and quit. Neither method worked. Either way, by the end of the first day we're getting the real deal. What was often the case is that they'd go in and say 'We're gonna try to break these guys.'"
Since they trained separately, they typically had drastically different experiences. In the Philippines, Smith trained in a traditional, if rudimentary, gym. Anderson found himself crawling face down through mud pits in what can only be described as a jungle boot camp. While Smith worked out with punching bags, Anderson went through a series of ceremonies and rituals. At one point, he was laid on a cot with his eyes closed while Filipino kali masters beat his stomach and slapped his face. They finished off the session by sacrificing a chicken and drizzling the blood over his face and body. Anderson called it "the most grueling physical challenge of my life."
In Japan, Smith trained in a gym in Tokyo while Anderson headed for the mountains to the north. Doug toughened his knuckles by punching trees and walking up flights of stone steps on his fists with someone holding his legs. Jimmy built his strength breaking boards, ceiling tiles and baseball bats with his fists and feet. He also ate the traditional Japanese "fire curry" which had him and his training partners dripping sweat and guzzling water.
In Mexico, Jimmy lived and trained with Olympians and Golden Glove champions in Mexico City. Doug was taken to ancient Aztec ruins 10,000 feet above sea level. The altitude was one of the most challenging aspects of the training. Doug did squats holding huge rocks and cut through large fallen trees with an axe. While it seemed like Jimmy had it easier, his training sessions with the Olympians were brutal and "bordered on hazing."
In the next section, we'll look at the brutality of the final fights, from broken faces to infected feet.