Century of fighting fit

Department of Defence

Physical Training Instructors (PTIs) don’t march on parade, they run.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but those in the know say it comes from the Royal Navy.

Same with the dress.

The crossed-clubs emblem on their student uniform dates back to the mid-1800s and the use of Indian clubs for strength training.

The newest graduates of ADF Physical Training School at HMAS Cerberus wore their training gear for the final time last month, before showing off the latest edition to their wardrobe: PTI hats, shirts and shorts.

It was the first graduation for 2023, an event that also marked the 100-year anniversary of Navy PTIs.

Graduates jumped, swung and heaved their way through weightlifting and gymnastics.

The demonstration was a look into their day-to-day life for the family members and dignitaries, including Deputy Chief of Navy (DCN) Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley, gathered to watch the ceremony.

The 18-week course covered topics such as human anatomy and physiology, first aid and strength and conditioning training methods, knowledge the new PTIs will take to their new units.

Student of Merit Corporal Kieran Delaney will return to the School of Infantry, having just completed a stint as a section commander.

He said his infantry background would place him well to develop initial employment training’s combat fitness, with an emphasis on battle physical training.

“I know the skills and knowledge required of the infantry and I’m looking forward to training the workforce and getting them ready for their jobs,” Corporal Delaney said.

Before the day was done, Rear Admiral Earley helped cut a cake, celebrating 100 years of Navy PTIs.

Keeping with tradition, the youngest to graduate, Able Seaman Vanessa Bouffier, grabbed the sword with Rear Admiral Earley and sliced the white frosting.

She became a Navy PTI after a gap year at the HMAS Stirling gym and said the course was a great opportunity to further her career.

But the icing on the cake came at graduation.

“We were so lucky to have DCN there,” Able Seaman Bouffier said.

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