The Fiery Fish: Training Involution #122

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This month’s internal focus is the Hand of Mysteries and our martial focus is being split between Counterpunching & Sparring.

The fiery fish that’s in the middle of the Hand of Mysteries symbolizes our ability to thrive in chaos, to adapt and overcome.

With that in mind…

THE FIERY FISH: TRAINING INVOLUTION #122

  1. Add a handicap.  Slip on a weighted vest, put one arm in a sling, wear an eye-patch, practice in the rain, train on uneven ground, etc. Use your common sense –don’t do anything ridiculous or unsafe! — just disrupt your usual body mechanics and/or routine.

  2. Complete this months’s Constitutional, “Escape Plan Drill.”   Set timer for 1:00 intervals. Sprint for 1:00, then Shadowbox or hit the Heavy Bag for 1:00 then pick a calisthenic and do as many reps as you can for 1:00. Repeat 4 more times for a total of 15 mins, picking a new calisthenic each round.  If you did this last week you should have written down your total laps/sprints your number of calisthenics reps.  See if you can best it despite your impairment.

  3. Now, despite your handicap, get through Wrestling Conditioner #1.  Set timer for 2 minute intervals and complete 2 minutes of each for a total of 10 minutes: 1. Circle the bag (forearms on bag and toes on floor, circle the bag using only legs and feet, alternating directions), 2. Mount and strike the bag (strike 10 times as hard as you can, body lock the bag, barrel-roll, regain mount, and repeat until the timer beeps).  3. Rolling pin the bag (Lie on your back with heavy-bag perpendicularly on top of your body and roll it up and down across torso, pushing and pulling like a rolling pin; press up the bag and let it drop on your torso to maintain your tolerance for the stresses of wrestling if you’re able),  4. Defend the bag(Lie on your back with bag on top of you longways. Push up the bag w/ left hand and strike it five times with the right, then switch and strike with the left hand, repeat) 5. Side Mount and Scissor (Scissor legs each direction 3 times, then scramble over bag with forearms and toes only, repeat).

  4. Watch the video below, then mediate on the Hand of Mysteries.  Don’t forget to write about what you learn in your training journal!

Listen to the Hand: Training Involution #121

 "The Hand of Mysteries" original artwork graciously donated by Cabal Fang Hermit Path Distance Learning student Arman Achuthan (copyright 2018 Cabal Fang Temple, Inc., all rights reserved)

"The Hand of Mysteries" original artwork graciously donated by Cabal Fang Hermit Path Distance Learning student Arman Achuthan (copyright 2018 Cabal Fang Temple, Inc., all rights reserved)

At Cabal Fang Temple this month’s internal focus is the Hand of Mysteries.   Our external focus is being split between Counterpunching and Sparring.  With that in mind, I humbly submit for your approval…

LISTEN TO THE HAND: CABAL FANG TRAINING INVOLUTION #121

  • Warm up thoroughly for a minimum of 8 mins.  Typically I will complete 25 Jumping Jacks, 25 Windmills, 25 Push-ups on knees, and 25 Half Squats.  Then I’ll jump rope or just bounce on toes for 2 – 3 mins, followed by Shadowboxing at 2/3 speed for another 2 – 3 mins.  And lastly I’ll run through my forms with full visualization and intent.
  • Backfist Half Pyramids (video below).  Throw a lead hand backfist vs. air. Then throw a mid-high double — don’t stop or stick between them, just a partial recoil.  Then throw a mid-high-mid triple, a mid-high-mid-high quadruple, etc.  Keep going up to 10.  Change stance and do it with the other hand.  Repeat as many times as you can for the duration.  Beginners 3 minutes, intermediate 6 minutes, advanced 10+ minutes.  Note: Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Do this drill 3x/week for a month and see what happens!
  • Escape Plan Drill.  An outdoor track is ideal for this drill, but sprints indoors are good also.  Set timer for 1:00 intervals.  Sprint for 1:00, then Shadowbox (3+ count combos only) for 1:00 then pick a calisthenic and do as many reps as you can for 1:00.  Repeat 5 more times for a total of 15 mins, picking a new calisthenic each round.  Record your numbers — total laps/sprints, number of combos, and calisthenics reps — and try to best it next week.
  • Hand of Mysteries Quiz and Meditation.  Look at the picture above (thanks Arman for creating the artwork and for you okay to use it).  Do you know which of the Five Vital Graces of Cabal Fang are associated with which symbol? Do you know which symbol equates to which finger?  If not, re-read Chapter 10 in the Cabal Fang Study Guide.  Then sketch your own version of the Hand, assume your meditative posture of choice,  prop your picture at eye level, and meditate on the image for 10 mins.

THE BLACK ROSE: TRAINING INVOLUTION #120

Last week we did a rose meditation that involved the unfolding of a rose bud -- this week we meditate on the fading of the bloom.  

THE BLACK ROSE: TRAINING INVOLUTION #120

  • Sharpshooting (video below). 10 x 1:00/:30 as fast as you can.  If you don’t have a sharpshooter ball, click here to learn how to make one.  Or put a small “X” in medical tape on a regular double end ball.
  • Kicks.  Set a timer for 7:00.  Pick the two kicks in your repertoire at which you most stink.  Do as many as you can before the timer beeps.  I picked Flying Side Kick and Jump Front Snap Kick and I did 35 of each for a total of 70.  Practical kicks for self-defense?  Nope.  But I figure if my Flying Side Kick is good, my regular Side Kick will be amazing.
  • Bear Walks.  Set timer for 7:00.  Bear Walk until the timer beeps.
  • Conditioning Run.   CR2S.
  • Black rose banishing meditation.  Cool down thoroughly after your run.  Then set timer for 10:00.  Assume meditative posture of choice, close eyes, and regulate breathing.  Imagine a black rose.  This black rose is your fear of trying hard things, your fear of failure, or perhaps even your fear of success.  Visualize the petals falling off the rose as it slowly dies, and as it does, allow your fears to die along with it.
  • Write it down.  As always, record all of our activities and realizations in your training journal.

If you just said to yourself “I can’t do this!” you're probably mistaken.  You can do five times more than you think you can.  Just modify or substitute exercises to allow for your fitness level and/or special needs, take as many 12-count breaks as you need, and keep your heart rate under your max safe rate (220 minus your age = theoretical max). 

You can do this.

The Rose: Cabal Fang Training Involution #119

Archangel Barachiel, guardian angel of Cabal Fang

Barachiel is the guardian angel of Cabal Fang.  One of his symbols is a white rose.  Roses are powerful symbols, and each color of rose has a different association.

Rose Color Symbolism

  • White: Heavenly love, purity, innocence, peace and harmony
  • Red: Passionate love, desire, sacrifice and courage
  • Pink: Friendly love, family love, grace, joy and empathy
  • Yellow: Self-love, joy, calm, focus, health and clarity
  • Coral: Sincere love, thanksgiving, enthusiasm, happiness
  • Lilac: Magical love, wonder, enchantment, change, and success
  • Black: Carnal love, rebellion, rebirth, protection, silence
  • Variegated Rose: Combinations and mixtures of other colors

THE ROSE: TRAINING INVOLUTION #119

  1. Inverted Pyramid of Combos and Calisthenics.  Advanced start at 12 (78 of each exercise total), Intermediate 10 (55), Beginners at 8 (36).  Exercises are Striking Combos (3 count min), Push-ups (HS or hardest type you can manage), Wrestling Combos (2 count min), and Get-ups.  So beginners are going to throw 8 striking combos, do 8 Push-ups, execute 8 Wrestling combos, and then 8 Get-ups. Then 7 of each, 6 of each, etc. down to 1.  Video below.
  2. Meditation on a Rose.  Select a color of rose that reflects a mental state you want to cultivate.  Set a timer for at least five to ten minutes. Assume your meditative posture of choice, regulate your breathing, and then imagine a rosebud of the chosen color. As you meditate on the bud, imagine in your mind’s eye that the bud is slowly opening. As the bud opens into a blossom, so does your mental state open up and flower into the desired state.

Cord and Rule: Cabal Fang Training Involution #118

Lots of new developments here at the temple.  Here's the rundown:

  • We are testing a new Cord and Rule program to track attendance and keep students motivated.  More info below.
  • We're starting to get our heads around this nonprofit thing -- reading books, making calls, getting on grant application email lists, etc.  Time to start attracting high-powered board members and big donors!
  • Toward that tend, no more being shy about asking for donations.  All events and services will be on a "please give what you can" basis.  Yes, we're a non-profit.  But it takes money to keep up with web-hosting, legal services and basic program materials, and we want to save up money to build a fancy new temple.
  • Another student in the Hermit Path Distance Learning Program faces his Constitutional trial this month.  The program is virtually free (please give what you can) and there's only one text bookEmail to get started.

Stay tuned!

Cord and Rule: Cabal Fang Training Involution #118

  1. Work your body.  Set timer for 8:00.  Complete as many strikes as you can vs. your heavy bag before the timer beeps.  If you don't have a heavy bag,  make one; if you don't have anywhere to hang it indoors, throw a rope over a tree limb or lash it to a tree or post.  When done, shoulder your bag and see how far you can carry it, switching shoulders as needed.
  2. Work your mind. Write down your strike count and the distance carried.  Are you writing down measurable metrics for all training sessions -- such as rep counts, time elapsed, distance, etc. -- and trying to improve?  If not, you aren't training -- you're mucking around.  "That which is measured improves."
  3. Work your spirit.  Set a timer for 10:00 and assume your meditative posture of choice with a chalice (or an image of one from a book) at roughly eye level.  Regulate your breathing as you stare at the chalice.  Allow thoughts, feelings and images to manifest.  What can you learn from the chalice?  As always, record everything in your training log.

The Cabal Fang Cord and Rule Concept

Babylonian "Queen of the Night" (Likely Isis or Ereshkigal) holding the cord and rule

As a way to motivate students, add more structure, deepen the mind-body-spirit connection through mettlecraft, and better track attendance, we're adding a rule to our knotted cord.

Since ancient times the mark of a "ruler" was the holding of a knotted cord and a hashed rod or rule - the cord for measuring long distances, such as in surveying land, laying out a building's foundation, measuring the speed of a ship in "knots," etc., and the rule for measuring shorter, more precision distances.

Mesopotamian god Shamash holding the cord and rule

According to ancient myths, deities only bestowed cords and rules upon human leaders who were competent to rule.  A "ruler" should be is a person we can all measure ourselves against -- someone we respect, admire, and believe is worthy of being emulated and followed. Our cord and rule will remind us to strive to become people we feel are worthy of respect, admiration and responsibility.

The cord and rule are mentioned in the Old Testament, Ezekiel 40:3: "So He brought me there; and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand; and he was standing in the gateway."

A blank ruler will be issued to each student at the beginning of the third month of study.  Starting after the first trial, the rule will be stamped with various words and symbols to mark monthly training milestones, to commemorate the completion of trials for rank advancement, etc.

Marking and maintaining the metal rod ties into Mettlecraft -- it is a tangible item of "metal" that is marked based on one's "mettle." Our cord and rule help us determine how we "measure up" against the people we were when we started.

YOU COULD LEARN A LOT FROM A DUMMY: CABAL FANG MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING INVOLUTION #117

YOU COULD LEARN A LOT FROM A DUMMY: CABAL FANG MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING INVOLUTION #117

  • Heavy bag power punching.  Set timer for 10 minutes and work your combination of choice, applying the Dempsey falling step.  Suggestion: Lead Jab, Rear Cross, Lead Hook.  Sink into that Lead Jab. Then, when throwing your Rear Cross, get your rear heel off the ground and really bite into the ground with the ball of that foot as your lead foot creeps out a jot more. Then surge in on the bag and uncork the Lead Hook — “slam the door” with max power as you straighten your knees a tad and pop up after the two previous falling step punches.  Rules 1 through 3 are (1) move in, (2) move in, and (3) move in.
  • Work your dummy.  Get out your dummy, pick a throw or clinch technique, and work it for 10 minutes.  I prefer either Seoi Nagi or Duck-Unders (which I always finish with a takedown — either a back ride to the mat or a knee breaker to put him on his back).  10 minutes is enough if you don’t muck around.  If you don't have a dummy, make one, or use a big athletic bag filled with towels, sheets, etc.
  • Complete a this month’s constitutional.  Leg Lifts (50), Jumping Jacks (100), Push-ups, Hop/Clap (25), Crunch’n’Punch (50), Help-ups (50) (if solo substitute Steam Engines), Burpees (25), Jump Squats, Split (50).
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Kicking It with Self-Destruct Sequence: T.I. #116

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KICKING IT WITH SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE: TRAINING INVOLUTION OF THE WEEK #116

1. Shadowboxing Kick Combos (180 kicks total).  Keep your usual fighting shape throughout — trust me these combos still work — and don’t muck around.  Kick like you mean it.

  • 10 @ L. Knee + R. Roundhouse
  • 10 @ R. Knee + L. Roundhouse
  • 10@ L. Stomp + R. Push Kick + L. Roundhouse
  • 10 @ R. Stomp + L. Push Kick + R. Roundhouse
  • 10 @ L. Side Kick + R. Back Kick + R. Side Kick + L. Roundhouse
  • 10 @ R. Side Kick + L. Back Kick + L. Side Kick + R. Roundhouse

2. “S.A.F.E. M.P.” Kicks vs. Heavy Bag.  Set timer for 1:00 rounds.  Complete two sets of “SAFE MARTIAL PRACTICE” (12 mins total), taking as few 12-count breaks as needed to finish without throwing up:

  • S. = Speed (as many kicks as you can)
  • A. = Accuracy (Add Xs with tape and hit them)
  • F. = Form (best form possible)
  • E. = Endurance (no rest breaks no matter how bad it hurts)
  • M. = Mobility (lots of foot maneuvers, head movement, and off-angling)
  • P. = Power (max power shots only — try to split the bag open)

3. Self-Destruct Sequence

Doesn’t matter if you break it up in pieces, do it in circuits, or rip it straight through; doesn’t even matter if you have to substitute an exercise or two because of your fitness level.  Just modify, adapt, and get the damned thing done.

  •  Zombie Squats (50)
  • Push-ups, diamond (25)
  • Jump Squats (100)
  • 10-Count Bodybuilders (25)
  • Pikes/Leg Triangles (25)
  • Jump Squats, split (50)
  • Push-ups, Sit-out (25)
  • Bicycles (50 each side)
  • Burpees (25)
  • Twisters (25 each side)
  • Wall Touches (100)
  • Push-ups, hopping/clapping (25)

Straight Blast: Training Involution #115

he JKD and Wing Chun folks teach the "straight blast" -- rapid-fire, vertical-fisted, hand-over-hand punches delivered at an opponent while running straight forward.  The term "straight blast" has become an standard term in the martial arts lexicon.

In Cabal Fang there's no need to get finicky about the particulars.  The attacks you launch can be palm strikes, punches, chops, elbows, hammer fists, or what-have-you.  You can fight power hand forward or weak hand forward, whatever feels strongest.  And you can advance with an accelerated fencer's creep, a series of short, double-speed steps, or a dead on run -- doesn't matter as long as you keep charging forward.  Our three rules are...

The Three Things You Must Do in a Self-Defense Situation

  1. Yell.
  2. Move in, move in, move in.
  3. Keep techniques short and center of gravity low.

Let's incorporate the straight blast into the T.I. #115, shall we?

Straight Blast: Training Involution #115

  1. Star of Ishtar.  This month's martial concentration is Self-Defense vs. Weapons.  Practice the Star of Ishtar¹ form against a partner or vs. a homemade training arm which you can make out of a pool noodle from the dollar store in 5 minutes.
  2. Straight blast.  Set a timer to beep every 40 seconds.  Or, if you have an interval timer, like the one on my Timex Ironman Triathlon watch, set an assortment of rounds between 20 seconds and a minute  -- this will keep things unpredictable and supercharge the drill.  Start the timer.  Blast forward, striking as quickly and powerfully as you can, ignoring the timer, until you gas.  Maybe you'll make it two rounds, maybe six, doesn't matter.  Just rest until it beeps and start again.  Complete a total of 18 rounds (12 minutes).
  3. Sandbag OTM.  PIck your sandbag weight of choice (beginners 2o lbs, advanced 40+ lbs).  Sandbag Get-ups, Sandbag Cleans and Sandbag Thrusters (instructions here).
  4. Contemplation.  Complete the Cross of Light.  Then have a seat in your chosen posture and practice contemplation for 15 minutes.

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¹  Don't know the form?  Get a paper copy of the Cabal Fang Study guide here or download the ebook.

Training Involution #114

TRAINING INVOLUTION #114

This week’s training involution is a two-parter.  Start with the 500-rep All-in Conditioner (video at the bottom of the post) then move on to a Cross of Light exercise.

500 Rep All-In Martial Arts Conditioner

  • Warm-up with 8 minutes of light cardio.  Then, at 50% power, complete 10 to 20 reps of each exercise to make sure you’re fully warmed up and ready to go all out.
  • Perform every exercise with maximum power and precision. Take as few 12-count rest breaks as you must in order to finish — see video below.
  • 100 Paces of Press Walks.  I used two #25 dumbbells but you can substitute a sandbag or another heavy object.
  • 100 max power strikes vs. upright heavy bag.
  • 50 Push-ups.
  • 50 Circles vs. floor heavy bag.
  • 100 mounted strikes vs. floor heavy bag.
  • 50 reverses from bottom position.
  • 50 pop-ups to shin ride position.

A Cross of Light Exercise

When we try to orient ourselves we instinctively think of four directions.

In Cabal Fang we orient ourselves with the Hermetic Quaternary: To Know, To Will, To Dare — To Keep Silent.  But there are tons of other things that map onto this — like the Four Heavenly Creatures, the four classical elements, and rather significantly, the Four Evangelists.  I’m convinced that’s why there are four gospels in the New Testament — because it instinctively makes sense that there should be four different versions of Christ’s story, each one from one of four different angles.

What else maps onto the Cross of Light?  How about The Four Characters from the Wizard of Oz Film? 

  • The Cowardly Lion goes in the East — he’s in search of courage or daring.
  • The Tin Woodsman is in the West.  Water made him frozen and silent, and he’s after a heart which equates to the water of tears of joy, sadness, sympathy, etc.).
  • Dorothy belongs in the South because she is human, and her defining characteristic is her will to go home.
  • And lastly, Scarecrow maps to North because he’s searching for knowledge— but his quest doesn’t begin until he’s cut down and he falls to earth.

See what else you can map onto the compass.  Here are some ideas: The Fantastic Four, The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, the Four Horsemen, the four fixed signs of the Zodiac, the four ways of seeing, the Four Alchemical Elements, Plato’s four qualities.  Sketch a cross and start mapping.  Then, when you’re done, perform the Cross of Light ritual from Chapter 17 of the Cabal Fang Study Guide.

Martial Fitness: Training Involution #113

Today the Cabal Fang Temple is hosting our annual Martial Fitness Seminar.  This week's T.I. will be two play along.

Martial Fitness: Training Involution #113

  • Review your prevention and mindset.  What are the four things you should do to prevent getting into a physical self-defense situation? (Hint: the acronym is P.A.D.E. ) If prevention doesn't work, what are the three things you must do if you think something is about to go down? (Hint: P.R.A.).  When things get physical, what are the three things you have to do? (Hint: Y. M. K.).  If you don't know the answers to these questions, re-read your manual!
  • Can you handle your body weight?   Complete the following constitutional: Zombie Squats (50), Push-ups (50), Get-ups (25), Wrist Waggles (1:30), Mountain Climbers (100), Crunch'n'Punch (50), Splays (25).
  • Can you use a weapon?  News flash: weapons were invented because they're more effective than bare hands.  Select a dull training weapon such as a stick or wooden knife.  Set up your space with two heavy bags -- one hanging and the other vertically on the ground (in a corner or strapped to a post works nicely).  Set timer for 2:00 min rounds and cycle through this twice, a total of 16 mins: Hanging Heavy bag strikes max power, Get-ups (switch weapon hands between each one), Sit-ups w/ max power strikes to floor bag, Combat Sprints w/ air strike (16 mins total).  See video below for excerpts from last year's seminar.
  • Are you centered?  Cool down and then practice basic contemplation for 10 mins.

Polls, Goals, and Folderol: Training Involution #111

TAKE THE POLL

We really want to the temple to be attractive to the general public.  So CLICK HERE to vote in the temple paint job poll.  You made time to take the “Which Jedi are you?” poll on Facebook, right?  So make time for ours, willya?

SET A GOAL

Stop futzing around — do you want to get somewhere or not?  Get yourself a planner, set some goals, and start making a plan to achieve them.  That's why keeping a training journal is central to the Cabal Fang Hermit Path Distance Learning Program.  How do you know where you're going if you don't know where you've been?  

DITCH THE FOLDEROL

There are only so many hours in the day.  Keep your martial arts training focused.  The Master says, “To find water, dig one well.”

This gets even more important with age.  The older you get, the shorter, more intense, and more focused your training needs to become.  As recovery times slow, trade volume for intensity to maintain performance.  Work harder and rest more.

As the 60+ bike riding phenom Ned Overend says, “Training with an emphasis on high-intensity intervals has been my preferred method of preparing for races throughout my career.  I’ve learned that by reducing volume, I’m more rested for high-intensity sessions, and by being rested I can push myself harder during the intervals.” (read more here)

And with all this in mind…

TRAINING INVOLUTION #111

Tune up.  Remember doubling down?  I still recommend that once in a while.  But today, do the opposite.  Instead of doubling a lackluster training session to break through a plateau or stretch a limit, pick something you crushed — something that seemed rather easy — and make it harder by removing the dead wood or increasing the intensity.  Don’t lengthen it, tighten it.  Put it in a pressure cooker.  Example One: Let’s say this month’s constitutional is easy for you.  Try this — drop the two easiest exercises and see if you can cut your time by at least 33%.  Example Two: Let’s say you did Wrestling Conditioner #4 and just wasn’t that hard.  Try adding a #10 weighted vest.

 

 

Bagged: Training Involution #110

 

June’s martial focus is Wrestling and the internal focus is the Hourglass.  Are you ready? Because this week’s involution is going to push you past your perceived limits — inside and out!

BAGGED: TRAINING INVOLUTION #110

  • Heavy Bag Wrestling Half Pyramid (video below).  Put a heavy bag on your mat (or on a tarp out on the grass if you have no mat).  Get underneath your bag and and complete 1 of each: Shrimp, Buck, Reverse, Circle, and pop up into Shin Ride.  Then do 2 of each, 3 of each, 4, etc. up to 10 of each — that’s a total of 55 each.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you need to finish as fast as you can.  Finishing this with proper form is admirable.  In under 20 mins is solid, under 15 is good, and anybody who gets it done in under 10 mins is a beast.
  • 20-minute object run.  Run for 20 minutes while carrying an object in one hand, such as a water bottle, walking stick, dumbbell, etc. You may switch hands as often as you like, but keep a steady pace and do not break stride if at all possible -- but if you do, walk for no more than a 12-count before you resume running.
  • Draw and explore the hourglass.  Sit down with your training journal and a pen.  Draw an hourglass — nothing fancy, just a quick sketch.  Then, as you sit and look at your drawing, list the first ten words that come to mind.  When you’re done, have an honest conversation with yourself regarding the drawing and the words you wrote.  Psychoanalyze yourself.  What did you learn about yourself from this exercise?  What did you learn about the hourglass symbol?  Record everything in your training journal of course.

 

Retro Miscellany: Training Involution #109

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We managed to accumulate a busted washing machine, a busted generator, 35 gals of crushed aluminum cans and some scrap steel to recycle -- all to benefit the temple.  Can you believe all we got was $20.20?  It looks like they coded everything as misc ferrous scrap.  But you know that generator core had 5 or 10 lbs of copper wire in it, and the washer motor almost as much.  Didn't think of that until after we left.  Next time I'll rip out the motors and demand separate weights.  Should've gotten $75 at least.

And now for your 12-month-old flashback...

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #60  Training Involution #109

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  • Boxing HIIT for Accuracy: Setup a slip ball and a heavy bag so that you can switch between the two.  Set timer for 1:00 rounds and complete 20 of them, alternating between ball and bag.   On the heavy bag rounds, focus on hitting precise targets on the bag.  Put a few “Xs” on the bag with medical tape if your bag doesn’t have dots or targets.  On the slip ball rounds, focus on executing perfect and crisp pops and slips.  Muddy movements are easy for opponents to read!  When done, cool down by walking it off for 3 minutes.
  • Writing exercise.  Get out your training journal and write 100 words minimum about quality.  What does quality mean to you? Have there been times in your life when you have and have not done quality work?  Compare, contrast and explore.

"Lightning hits! Quality! Virtue! Dharma! That is what the Sophists were teaching! Not ethical relativism. Not pristine "virtue." But aretê. Excellence. Dharma! Before the Church of Reason. Before substance. Before form. Before mind and matter. Before dialectic itself. Quality had been absolute. Those first teachers of the Western world were teaching Quality, and the medium they had chosen was that of rhetoric." 

~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Hermetic Warrior: Training Involution #108

May's Cabal Fang concentrations were Wrestling and the Hourglass.  But since we gave over one session to a member trial and were several times forced by rain into doing stand-up work inside the park shelter, we decided to carry over both concentrations for another month.

It's really difficult to wrestle in the pouring rain.  We did it once and it was actually really fun.  It's the wet gear and drive home that stinks.

So it's still Wrestling Month and we're still focusing on the Hourglass symbol (see Chapter 9 in Cabal Fang: Complete Martial Arts Study Course from Querent to Elder).  But just because our martial focus is the same, that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep your non-wrestling skills sharp.  So...

Hermetic Warrior: Training Involution #108

  • As many kicks as you can in 20 minutes.  Count them, log them in your training journal, and next time you work the drill beat your number.  If it's not in your training journal it didn't happen.
  • Weapon half pyramid to failure.  I used my cane but you work with a non-lethal version of your chosen EDC (wooden knife or training folder,  rubber gun, flashlight, tactical pen, etc.).  Perform 1 of each exercise, then 2 of each, then 3, etc. See how high you can "climb" before you have to take a break longer than a 12-count.  Jackknifes, Get-ups, Side Lunges and Push-ups.  Attack while you move whenever possible and don't drop or put down your weapon for the duration.  Better figure out those Push-ups during training -- do them with one hand in a fist, wrist bent, etc. -- or risk getting stuck with no answer in a self-defense situation.
  • Learn a little about Hermeticism.  Watch the video below.  My Patreon supporters got it last month by the way.

Truth and Its Consequences: Training Involution #107

Truth and Its Consequences: Training Involution #107

Are you just checking off boxes or really digging into your training -- not just physically but mentally and spiritually as well?  

  • Double down.  Remember "doubling down?"  That was T.I. #88.  Find a training session you think you can double and get it done.  Listen to your body and ditch if you have to -- safety first! 
  • Figure out something you can't make sense of.  Maybe you, or someone in your life, did something and you don't know why.   Perhaps you had a strange encounter or you read or saw something in the news that defies your view of the world.  A seemingly trivial non sequitur might be a doorway to a greater understanding of yourself or the world.  Write about what you learned in your training journal.

Get Real: Training Involution #106

Get Real: Training Involution #106

  • Wrestling Conditioner #4.  Set timer for 10 mins.  Shin Ride your heavy bag and strike x10, mount and strike x10, roll to bottom position and up-strike x10, then bridge, knee boost, or hip escape from under the bag, and repeat as many times as you can before the timer beeps.  Strike full power -- as if your life depends on it! -- and take as few 12-count breaks as possible in order to finish.
  • Jump rope for 10 mins, as fast as you are able.  Take as few 12-count breaks as possible in order to finish.
  • Have you memorized the Emerald Tablet yet?  Yes?  Good job!  No?  Well get going! The Emerald Tablet is a 1,000+ year-old piece of wisdom literature that describes "reality" as a conversation between consciousnesses -- and so does this 20-minute TED talk by Donald Hoffman, which tackles the idea that consciousness is prime, not matter.

One Trick Pony: Training Involution #105

Our focuses this month are Wrestling and The Hourglass.

  • Bad Karma calisthenics session.  Set timer for 12 minutes.  Finish as many sets as you can in 12 minutes of 8 each: Back Neck Bridges, Get-ups, Squats, and Sit-out Push-ups (a.k.a. “Barrel Roll Push-ups”).  
  • One trick pony a weak spot.  What's the weakest part of your Wrestling game?  Is your Sit-out washed up?  Is your Shrimp dead in the water?  Is your scrambling game hard-boiled, or is it not what it's cracked up to be?  Whatever your weakest move is, set a timer for 10 to 20 minutes and do nothing but that one move for the entire duration.  Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
  • Start memorizing the Emerald Tablet.  The Emerald Tablet just may be the world's first piece of interfaith literature -- revered by the wise and educated of every nation across the ancient world from its first appearance in 8th century Persia to the desk of Isaac Newton all the way down to today.  Do yourself a favor and memorize it (it's required of all Cabal Fang distance learning students by the way).  Full text below.  If you memorize this bit of wisdom literature it will pay dividends as long as you live.

The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus

True it is, without falsehood, certain and most true. That which is above is like that which is below, and that which is below is like that which is above, to accomplish the miracles of one thing. 

And as all things were by contemplation of one, so all things arose from this one thing by a single act of adaptation. 

The father thereof is the Sun, its mother the Moon.

The wind carried it in its womb, the earth is the nurse thereof.

It is the father of all works of wonder throughout the whole world.

The power thereof is perfect.

If it be cast on to earth, it will separate the element of earth from that of fire, the subtle from the gross.

With great sagacity it doth ascend gently from earth to heaven.

Again it doth descend to earth, and uniteth in itself the force from things superior and things inferior.

Thus thou wilt possess the glory of the brightness of the whole world, and all obscurity will fly far from thee.

This thing is the strong fortitude of all strength, for it overcometh every subtle thing and doth penetrate every solid substance.

Thus was this world created. Hence will there be marvelous adaptations achieved, of which the manner is this.

For this reason I am called Hermes Trismegistus, because I hold three parts of the wisdom of the whole world.

That which I had to say about the operation of Sol is completed.

(Steele and Singer translation, 1927)

CIRCUIT BREAKER: TRAINING INVOLUTION #104

This morning two representatives of Cabal Fang Temple -- First Elder Robert Mitchell Jr. and Athanor Robert Mitchell III -- are on their way to Virginia Motor Sports Park in Petersburg, Virginia to run in the Rugged Maniac obstacle course to benefit the temple (click here to donate $10.00 to sponsor us).

Unfortunately it’s too late to run with us.  But if you’d like to “play the home game” you can take a whack at...

CIRCUIT BREAKER: TRAINING INVOLUTION #104

Simulated 5K obstacle run.  CR45P.  Ideal when done at an outdoor gym or fitness trail.   Set timer for 9 x 3:00/2:00 (45 mins total).  For 3:00 interval, run fastest manageable pace without breaking stride.  For first half of  the 2:00 interval perform as many Chin-ups (Clap Push-ups or Push-ups if there’s no equipment) as you can, Squats for the second half.  Repeat 8 more times.  When you gas —  unless you’re Captain America you will — just jump up to the bar and do negative Chins (or Push-ups on knees). 

If you’re kinda big for your britches, Circuit Breaker will stretch to fit you just fine, assuming of course you don’t lollygag and that you are training (not “working out”).   Look at your watch and manage your time so you don’t rest and/or waste time switching between exercises.  No rest — just adjust your pace so that you work as hard as you can for the whole 45 mins.