Aletheia: Training Involution #131

Aletheia is the Greek goddess of truth, and she holds a mirror.  Why do you suppose that is? When you perform the Caduceus Ritual, and usher the light from above into the below, what are you enacting?

ALETHEIA: TRAINING INVOLUTION #131

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  • Are you still working on completing Self-Destruct Sequence in under 40 minutes?   If  so, take a shot at the whole thing if you’re ready.  But if you’re still ramping up, that’s fine — just do a few more reps of each exercise this week.  For instructions click here.  Did you even try?  There are no excuses in Cabal Fang.  Work around handicaps and limitations.  Modify or substitute exercises as needed.  If you’re wheelchair-bound, equate 12 exercises as closely as you can to the 12 in Self-Destruct Sequence and go bite off a piece.

  • If you’ve finished Self-Destruct Sequence in under 40 minutes, go hit another fitness goal from the Cord and Rule Program.  See if you can complete 100 Bodybuilders, 100 Get-ups, or complete a 3-mile tire run in under 40 minutes. 

  • Your spiritual assignment is to speak the truth for the upcoming week.  Make yourself a conduit between the above and below — usher truth into the world with nobility, empathy, strength and grace.   Avoid white lies, but absolutely do not utter any black truths — use no facts to cause deliberate pain.  This month’s focus is the Staff, so stand tall and do your Caduceus Ritual at least twice a week.  Don’t know the Caduceus Ritual?  It’s in the book.

Incredible Energy Surrounds Mettlecraft Month 2018

The energy around Mettlecraft Month is incredible this year! We’ve smashed records of all kinds — folks are are motivated and engaged than they’ve ever been, and we destroying records left and right!

Here’s a list of the November milestones so far:

 Mitch morning after completing 100 Bodybuilders in 16:16.

Mitch morning after completing 100 Bodybuilders in 16:16.

Tues. 11/13/18.  Mitch and Robert made an assault on the 100 Bodybuilder Challenge.  Both set personal records, but Robert’s was a club record! Mitch got it done in 16:16, Rpbert in 15:55.  They did it by doing them 6 reps OTM getting to about 75 reps and then blitzing to the end.

 Scott’s text message

Scott’s text message

Sun.11/11/18. Scott modified, adapted, and overcame, coming out with a great time of 31:50 at Self-Destruct Sequence! Way to go Scott -- this is an impressive time for a first attempt!

 Robert smashes Self-Destruct Sequence

Robert smashes Self-Destruct Sequence

Tue. 11/6/18.  Robert utterly destroyed Self-Destruct Sequence with a time of 29:02. Club record!

Mon. 11/5/18:  More buzz around Self-Destruct Sequence. Hermit Path student James announces that he’s training and for an assault on the summit soon. Same day, Leo knocked it out in a a blistering first attempt of 32:24.  Well done Leo!

 Leo’s text message

Leo’s text message

 Thur. 11/1/18. Robert and Mitch got Self-Destruct Sequence done in 30:58, almost beating the previous record of 30:20 from back in 2016. 



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Stand Tall: Training Involution #130

 The Magician — he is standing tall and acting out the Hermetic axiom, “As above, so below.”

The Magician — he is standing tall and acting out the Hermetic axiom, “As above, so below.”

This month our martial focus is Mettlecraft and our internal, symbolic focus is the Staff.

Mettlecraft month means we’re all digging deeper.  Those of us who haven’t licked Self-Destruct Sequence in under 40 mins quite yet are working our way up to it.  For the Staff, we’re finishing every club meeting with the Caduceus Ritual (see Chapter 19 of Cabal Fang: Complete Martial Arts Study Course).

The Caduceus Ritual aligns your spine — physically, intellectually and spiritually.

  • Physically, you stand straight, breath deeply, and vocalize certain tones.   This slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and so on.

  • Intellectually and mythologically you see yourself as a conduit through and between the energies above (sky) and below (earth).

  • Spiritually you allow yourself to fully experience the ritual absorb its significance.

Let’s go put all of this together.

STAND TALL: TRAINING INVOLUTION #130

  • Did you finish Self-Destruct Sequence in under 40 minutes last week?  For instructions click here.   If so, do half of the reps as a recovery this week, and think about beating your record next week.

  • Did you get through at least half of the reps?  If so, do 2/3 of the reps this week.

  • Did you get less than half of the reps?  No problem, just try to do more reps this week than last.

  • Did you fail to even try?  There are no excuses in Cabal Fang.  Work around handicaps and limitations.  Modify or substitute exercises as needed.  If you’re wheelchair-bound, equate 12 exercises as closely as you can to the 12 in Self-Destruct Sequence and go.

  • Embody the Caduceus Ritual for the rest of the coming week.  Practice standing tall.  Hold your spine upright, keep your shoulders back, and look people in the eye when you talk to them.  Log your performance in your training journal.

Don’t talk about what you can’t do. Only talk about what you can do.

WEEK 1 RUN-UP TO SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE: TRAINING INVOLUTION #129

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Thursday night was the first new month under the new Cord and Rule program.  We reviewed our journals to demonstrate we’d done our homework and stamped up our rules accordingly.  The thud of the hammer and the visible mark on the brass to signify your work feels fantastic.

NOVEMBER IS METTLECRAFT MONTH.  TIME TO DIG DEEPER.

Whether you are on the fraternal path in Richmond, VA or on the hermit path and training at home, your goal is to ramp up all month and complete Self-Destruct Sequence by before November is over. See below for the exercise list and an instructional video.

WEEK 1 RUN-UP TO SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE: TRAINING INVOLUTION #129

  • Warm up for at least 8 minutes.  Hop from foot to foot, trot, skip and jog, and rotate all joints, and do the Fools Journey form for about 5 mins.  Then spend 3 mins doing a few reps of each exercise (see below for exercise list and instructional video).

  • Complete SSM-1 of each exercise in Self-Destruct Sequence.  SSM stands for “single set max.” So “SSM-1” means you do as many of each exercise as you can but you stop on the rep just before you think you’ll probably fail.

  • Shadowbox 10 mins for form.  Don’t go all out, just relax, let if flow, and work on your form.

  • Cool down for 3 min. 

  • Complete the Caduceus Ritual.  See Chapter 19 of the Cabal Fang Study Guide for instructions.

  • Record what you did in your training journal.  If it ain’t in the journal, it didn’t happen.  “That which is measured improves,” as the saying goes.

 Self-Destruct Sequence

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)


Flashback: Training Involution #128

Flashback: Training Involution #128

Open your training journal to exactly one year ago.  If you didn't train that day, turn back to the next one.  Do that.  Only better.  If you ran 2 miles in 20 minutes, run 2 miles in less than 20 minutes.  If you boxed 3 rounds, box 4.  Find a metric and do better.

If you haven't been keeping a journal for a year, do the First Elder’s training session for 10/27/17 as follows:

  • Warm up for a full 8 minutes.

  • Squats, Bench Press, and Weighted Back Bridges.  Complete a 2 x 10 with 50% of your 1 RM, and then 3 x 5 with your working weight.  If you're not experienced at lifting weights, or if lifting's not your thing, substitute body-weight Squats, Push-ups, and unweighted Back Bridges.  Do two warm-up sets, each about half as many your single-set max, and a final set to failure.  One minute rest between each set.  Rest a couple of minutes.  Then...

  • Run 2 miles as fast as you can.  When you're done, walk that off for at least three minutes to cool down. Then...

  • Complete the Cabal Fang temple rites.  No time for that?  Assume your posture of choice, regulate your breathing, and practice contemplation or meditation for at least 10 minutes.

Dark Forest: Training Involution #127

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“Gawain, the nephew of King Arthur, rose and suggested a vow. ‘I propose,’ he said, ‘that we all now set forth in quest to behold that Grail unveiled.’ And so it was that they agreed. There then comes a line that, when I read it, burned itself into my mind. ‘They thought it would be a disgrace to go forth in a group. Each entered the forest at the point that he himself had chosen, where it was darkest, and there was no way or path.’ No way or path! Because where there is a way or path, it is someone else’s path. And that is what marks the Western spirit distinctly from We the Eastern.”

― Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That, Transforming Religious Metaphor (The book Campbell is referring to is the 13th century work “Queste del Saint Graal.”)

The insight of the 13th-century author who so inspired Campbell is amazing.

THEN AS NOW, OUR QUEST IS TO FIND OUR WAY IN THE WORLD — TO EXPLORE THE DARK AND FEARFUL PLACES WE INSTINCTIVELY FEAR TO GO.

Sir Gawain’s shield bears the five-pointed star, a symbol of truth and revelation.  The truth lies in the darkness of the unknown forest. Pursuing the truth requires bravery and the willingness to accept the truth once you find it.

Here’s some truth for you regarding my rule progress under the new program.  This month I’m working on getting my “B” (daily contemplation), “Q” (daily journal entries) and “O” (a three-mile tire run in under 40 minutes).  So far I haven’t missed any journal entries or contemplation days, and I’ve carried that insufferable tire through 6 runs, one that was 2 miles, but I still haven’t hit the 3-miles-in-40-minutes mark yet.

Where are you in the program?  Which marks are you going to earn this month?  You must enter the forest where it is the darkest, thickest, and most tangled.

DARK FOREST: TRAINING INVOLUTION #127

  1. 4 x 4 all-in conditioner.  4 sets of each: 4 Handstand Push-ups (substitute Jackknife Push-ups if needed), 4 Wrestling Shots each side (4 with left foot lead, 4 with right foot lead), 4 Back Bridges (the heaviest bag you can manage — I used a #80), and 4 max power combos vs. heavy bag (min 8 strikes per combo).

  2. Explore the Dark Forest.  Pick one of the 39 achievement marks and get started.  Many of them require consistent actions over the course of an entire month, but some of them you might be able to achieve right now!  And if you don’t have a ruler because you’re not a member of the Richmond temple or you aren’t enrolled in the Cabal Fang Hermit Path Distance Learning Program — what are you waiting for?  It’s free — shoot me an email and let’s go!

Square 1: Training Involution #125 and an Announcement

 Sir Gawain as described in :Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” (from Chapter 18 of the Cabal Fang Study Course)

Sir Gawain as described in :Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” (from Chapter 18 of the Cabal Fang Study Course)

Earlier this week we announced our revised rank and achievement tracking program called the Cord and Rule. First Elder has issued the following statement:

“I founded Cabal Fang martial arts, I wrote the curriculum, and I’ve met every requirement hundreds of times. But hat doesn’t mean I’m any better than anybody else. That’s why I’m starting over…I’m untying all the knots in my cord and I’m starting with a blank ruler as if I was a new student. Leaders lead from the front.”

SQUARE 1: TRAINING INVOLUTION #125

  • 100 Get-ups.  Beginners, get it done in under 15 mins.  Intermediates, 10 mins.  Advanced, finish in 8 mins or less.

  • 1 mile tire run.  Pick up an auto tire, put it over your shoulder like a courier bag, and run one mile.  No tire?  Use a backpack with water bottles.  Switch shoulders often.  Gloves and a sweatshirt advised.  Beginners use smaller tires and take your time.  Tire sizes are complex.  Roughly speaking, the bigger the final two digits in the tire size (the diameter of the hole in inches) the heavier the tire.  A 14″ tire averages about 15 pounds, a 15″ about 20 lbs., a 16″ about 22 lbs and a 17″ tire can weigh up to 35 lbs.   I used a 16″ (a 205/65R16) and finished in a rather middling 14:32.

  • Cool down by walking it off for 3 minutes.  Then stretch out.

  • Re-read Chapter 18: The Pentagram in the Cabal Fang Study Guide.  “Gawain was faithful in five and five-fold, for pure was he as gold, void of all villainy and endowed with all virtues. Therefore he bare the pentangle on shield and surcoat as truest of heroes and gentlest of knights.”  From the 14th-century masterpiece  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

New Cord and Rule Program is Live

After some preliminary teasing and a lot of work, the new Cabal Fang Martial Arts Cord and Rule program is official.  In a nutshell, every month we'll be stamping each member's rule with certain marks to indicate achievements in terms of attendance, fitness and rank.  Rulers will be handed out at Thursday night's session.

Here is a link to the full program handout that explains the symbolism and outlines the process, and below are the pictures of the first set of rulers sitting on the temple's anvil.  The holes in the end are so that we can attach the cord -- we also tie knots in a personal cord in order to keep track of certain other milestones.

This process fits in nicely with something that in Cabal Fang we call "mettlecraft."

\Met”tle*craft\, n.  mettle [E. metal, used in a tropical sense in allusion to the temper of the metal of a sword blade; substance or quality of temperament; spirit, esp. as regards honor, courage, fortitude, ardor, etc.; See {Metal}.] + -craft [AS. cr[ae]ft strength, skill, art, cunning; akin to OS., G., Sw., & Dan. kraft strength, D. kracht, Icel. kraptr; perh. originally, a drawing together, stretching, from the root of E. cramp.] 1. The art, skill and cultivation of physical endurance, unflagging determination and resolute strength of mind, body and spirit.

This is the next step in the evolution of Cabal Fang.  Onward and upward!

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The Flow: Training Involution #124

The Flow: Training Involution #124

  1. Create a flow drill and work it for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.  Ideally your flow drill will have give-and-take (or if solo, anticipated defenses).  And, in a perfect world, it will have at least 8 beats or moves.  Videos of two flow drills below.

  2. If you don’t have a partner, don’t sweat it.  You can work with noodlesmake a wrestling dummy, practice your Double Wristlock using a sledgehammer, work on your katas, or just shadowbox.  No excuses.  Get in the flow!  

  3. Meditate on the caduceus.  The caduceus, or the Staff of Hermes, is an ancient symbol of the flow — the give and take between opposing forces that gives rise to equilibrium, understanding and transcendence.  Assume your meditative posture of choice, picture the symbol in your mind, and step into the symbol for at least 10 minutes.

Stick and Move: Training Involution #123

STICK AND MOVE: TRAINING INVOLUTION #123

A competent fighter moves while hitting and hits while moving.  These drills should help with that.

(A) Set your timer for 3 rounds of 3:00 mins each.

  • Round 1 — 3 minute Constant Action Drill.  Shadowbox — with constant action! — until the timer beeps.  Plenty of slips, pops, bobs and weaves please.  And as Mark Hatmaker would say, “no lollygagging.”

  • Round 2 — 3 minute Lightning Bolt Drill.  Assume your fighting stance.  Punching all the while, surge backward at a 45° angle toward rear foot. Then surge 90° back in line with the lead foot.  Repeat to the extent of your training space.  Your path will resemble a lightning bolt.  Now surge forward, away from your rear foot, at a 45° angle, followed by a 90° surge back to center line.  Move like a fencer and never stop punching!  See video below.

  • Round 3 — Double-end Ball.  Get right on top of your double-end ball, so close that it will hit you in the face when it comes back, and fight with it for 3 minutes.  Hit while you dodge, dodge while you hit!  Don’t have a double-end ball?  Make one for less than $5.

(B) Complete a 1/2 mile Balboa Run.  I know, a half mile doesn’t seem like much.  But trust me, if you do it “Balboa-style” — arms punching the whole time — and you go as fast as you can, it’ll feel like a half marathon.  Still too easy?  Add a weighted vest (I used a #5 and that was plenty) or carry hand weights.

(C) Meditation.  After a thorough cool-down, set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes, assume your meditative posture of choice, and regulate your breathing.  Then pick one of the seven symbols in the Hand of Mysteries — the key, the lantern, the sun, the star, the crown, the moon, or the fiery fish —  and meditate on it’s meaning.  When done, as always, record your performance and your realizations in your training journal.

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.