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The Fan Dance | SAS Selection | SF Experience | von Elliot James Fitness   3 years ago


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A short film of my experience completing the 'Fan Dance'. The Fan Dance hosted by the Special Forces Experience on the 21st January 2017. Load bearing category, 16 +kg. I completed in 04 hrs 10 mins, coming in 7th place of 300+. Fantastic greeting at the finish from Colin Maclachlan.

A Bit Of History

The Brecon Beacons are the mountains and the challenge they hide is the Fan Dance- the infamous run taken on by potential members of British Special Forces as part of their selection process. Since the end of the Second World War, the Brecon Beacons have served as the proving ground for Britain’s elite soldiers, with the SAS in particular basing a large part of their selection process in the hills. The essential elements of the “Selection” program have remained constant and unchanged since 1956, a series of back to back self-navigated, heavy load-bearing test marches, wearing boots and carrying an assault rifle over arduous mountain terrain, whatever the weather condition. Throughout four weeks of physical assessment there are a number of standout tests, “The Fan Dance” is one them. The infamous 24km route over both sides of Pen y Fan at the end of Week 1 has always been considered the yardstick of a candidates potential to reach Test Week and ultimately pass the Special Forces “Selection” program.

Although more than 50 years old, the original challenge route is still used as a real test for all potential SAS recruits. It’s not too hard to spot them with anyone running in tiny shorts with a fridge-sized pack on their back being a likely suspect.

What Exactly Is The Fan Dance?

In the true military sense, The Fan Dance is essentially a TAB (Tactical Advance to Battle). What that means in essence is covering a lot of ground quickly, whilst remaining self-supported and carrying everything (essential personal equipment, weaponry and ammunition supplies, radio communication devices and food and water) you need across all terrains. That is why, during the ‘official’ military Fan Dance, participants are required to carry such a heavy load on their backs. Official military entrants also complete the dance with a rifle in hand too. Of course, that isn’t strictly necessary, and perhaps a little distracting for everyone else out in the hills too.

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