Katabasis: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #153

katabasis /kətă'bəsis/, IPA(key): /kəˈtæbəsɪs/ n. (plural katabases) From Ancient Greek κατάβασις (katábasis), from verb καταβαίνω (katabaínō), from κατά (katá, “downwards”) + βαίνω (baínō, “go”).

1. A journey downwards: a journey downhill, a decrease of winds, a military retreat, a trip to the underworld; a trip from the interior of a country to the coast.

For most of the world, today is a dark day.  For some it is the last dark day before the light returns tomorrow.  For others the darkness won't lift until next weekend.  Today is a good day to think about katabasis -- the idea of what it means to go dark.

Since our focuses this month are Basic Self-Defense and The Book (the Book of Hermes, a.k.a. the Book of Hermes-Thoth, a.k.a. the Tarot) we will explore the concept of katabasis with our bodies and with our meditations rather than with our intellects.

Katabasis: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #153

This week's T.I. is not easy, so buckle up, hold on tight, and don't forget: modify, adapt, overcome.

  • Warm up thoroughly (at least 8:00).

  • Sparring. Spar all-in for 30 minutes.  Adjust round length to suit your fitness level.  If you are going it solo, do Wrestling Conditioner #2 (see below if you don't want to get out the Cabal Fang Study Guide).

  • Constitutional.  Jump Squats (100), Lunges (100), Crunches (100), Bear Walk (100 yds), Get-ups (25), Mountain Climbers (100), Sprints (50 x 12').

  • Meditation.  Lay out the spread of cards below, print out the picture, or set up your tablet/laptop.  Set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes.  Look at the pictures.  What story does this little "chapter" of the Tarot "book" relate?  Don't think in words -- look at the pictures as if they are selected photos from a children's book.  What are the intervening pictures that complete the story?  What comes after?

  • Record what you learned in your training journal.  If it ain't in the journal it didn't happen.

Wrestling Conditioner #2: Set timer for 10 mins. Top Saddle a.k.a Mount your heavy bag and strike it 10 times as hard as you can. Drop, lock, and roll so that bag is on top of you. Knee boost or Reverse the bag as hard as you can back to Top Saddle.  Strike 10 times as hard as you can. Drop, lock, and roll so that bag is on top of you. Bridge the bag and roll it off to regain Top Saddle.  Repeat until timer beeps.

Pay Attention: Training Involution #152

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Why do you suppose it is that almost every religious symbol since the Egyptians screams out, "Pay attention!"?  A Celtic cross is basically a giant set of cross-hairs.  The Dharma wheel is a perfect target.  And the symbol of the Jains is literally a big hand saying, "Stop! Look at this target thingy right here!"

When you are giving something your full attention, time stands still.  When you are playing the guitar, making love, or getting hit in the face in a sparring match, you are essentially in touch with the eternal -- from the Latin aeternus , meaning atemporal.  In other words, outside the bonds of time.

Get this through your head right now.

  • Paying attention is the secret sauce that makes your martial arts burger tasty and delicious.

  • Paying attention is the splashy color that makes your oil painting fry people's brains out when they look at it.

  • Paying attention is the magic mojo that makes your lover want to hold your hand until the sun becomes a black hole.

  • Not paying attention is what makes you step on snakes and tumble down slippery slopes and fall on punji stakes and suffer a short a miserable life.

Pay Attention: Training Involution #152

This week do whatever you want -- as long as you do it with your whole heart, your whole mind, and your whole attention

It doesn't matter what you do as much as how you do it. 

This is why we journal in Cabal Fang -- to focus and refocus our attention -- and this is why journaling makes you powerful.  Do something with full attention and then write it down.

That is all.

HIIT Parade: Training Involution #151

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Last week's T.I. was a double-down.  So this week we're going to take it down a notch -- see below.

This month's internal focus is The Book, a.k.a the Tarot.  The Tarot is essentially an encyclopedia of symbolism in the form of a deck of cards, a way to train your mind to see the world in terms of story and symbol.  When used as a tool for reflection and psychoanalysis, Tarot is fun and beneficial beyond measure.

Tarot cards are not dangerous and scary unless you use them to tell fortunes.  The finest Tarot book ever written was penned by a devout Catholic.  Divination and magic, on the other hand, will get you into hot water. — we advise against it.

HiIt Parade: Cabal Fang Training Involution #151

A parade is a "succession, series, or display of items.” like a spread of cards for example. The origin of the word parade is the Latin paro which means to prepare, provide, or resolve. 

Let's do this.

  • Warm up thoroughly -- that's 8 minutes minimum.

  • Cabal Fang Grappling Conditioner #2. Set timer for 3 x 3:00/1:00.  For each 3:00, Splay-n-Punch 1-2, Splay-n-Punch 1-2-3-4, Splay-n-Punch 1-2-3-4-5-6, etc. up to Splay-n-Punch 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10, then start again.  If you're not dawdling you should be able to get at least 5 climbs done during every 3:00 round -- that's 25 Sprawls and 150 punches.  For the 1:00 "rests" body-lock a heavy bag and squeeze it as hard as you can.  Take as many 12-count breaks as you must in order keep from upchucking.  Just breathe.  I promise it'll be over in 12 minutes.

  • Scuffling, grappling and wrestling HIIT. Set a timer to beep every 40 seconds. Whenever it beeps take a 10-second break and then start the next exercise. Cycle through the following 6 times for a total of 16 minutes, each as many as you can for 30 seconds: Smearing Push-ups, Cross-arm Clinch Lunges (maximum cutting power!), Leg Triangles and Splay-n-Punch. See video below for details.

  • Tell a story. Shuffle your Tarot cards and deal out nine cards, all face up, in a 3 x 3 square.  Think of them as panels in a comic book of your life -- the top row your past, the middle row your present, the bottom row your future.  Come up with a plot that connects the pictures.  Spend some time asking yourself questions about the little story you made up.  Which episodes from your childhood are brought to mind by the first three cards?  Do you know why?  Does the story have a good or bad ending?  What could you do to change it?

  • Record everything you learned in your training journal.  If it ain't in the journal, it didn't happen.

New Month, New Constitutional, New Focuses, New Dispatch

This month’s focuses are Basic Self-Defense and The Book. Our new constitutional:

Jump Squats (100)
Lunges (100)
Crunches (100)
Bear Walk (100 yds)
Get-ups (25)
Mountain Cimbers (100)
Sprints (50 x 12')

There’s so much going on around here we can’t even see straight. As you can see by the picture on the right, we now have a new monthly constitutional and two new focuses.

In addition to that, thanks to our new newsletter editor James A. Williams, a big ol’ honkin’ Cabal Fang State of the Art Dispatch just got mailchimped out into the web-o-sphere this afternoon. It’s our biggest and most jam-packed issue ever. If you aren’t subscribed to the CFSOTAD, follow this link to read it online.

Ex Gladio Scientia!

Double Trouble: Cabal Fang Training Involution #150

We highly recommend doing a double-down day once every four to six weeks or so.  Pick a recent training session that didn't go well.  Then double it and try to find a way to modify, adapt, overcome and suffer through it.

If you listen to your body and you know your limits, and if you are cautious enough to do this safely, the benefits are out-of-this-world.

Double Trouble: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #150

We don't know what you're going to do, because we don't know what you will select to double!  But here's what Elder Mitch did.

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1. Forms.  I spent a full 10 minutes running through the Star of Ishtar, the Fool's Journey and the new Six-headed Hydra choke form, plus a quick run through a few of my favorite Korean Karate forms.

2. Double weights. Tuesday's session was weak sauce, so I just about doubled the reps.

  • T-handle Dead Lifts.  #70 @ 2 x 10  as warm-up.  #140 @ 4 x 5 + 1 set to failure (I made 5).  Here's a beast showing how it's done.

  • HSPUs.  2 x 10 Jackknife Push-ups to warm up, then 5 sets to failure.  I got 4, 3, 3, 2, 2.

  • Sandbag Shoulder Carry. #95  @ 4 x 50 yards+ 1 set to failure.  50, 50, 50, 50, 24.  Still cruddy, but getting stronger.

3. Ground Fighting Conditioner #1 -- twice.  The conditioner so nice you ought to do it twice.  Details here.

4. Weighted Shadowboxing. 10 mins with #2 weights on ankles and #2 dumbbells in hands.  Count your strikes (10-count combos makes it easy to keep track).  I made 520 strikes.

5. Stretching Meditation. Nice relaxing stretch, full 20 minutes, with total focus and body awareness -- no linguistic thinking or daydreaming.

Slug Fest: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #149

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According to the very nice county police officer who gave us a heads up Thursday night,  there's a chance we're going to be run out of the civic association park where we've trained since '09.  We're okay for now, but "No Trespassing" signs are likely going up soon.

Running is almost always the right answer in a self-defense situation.  But not this time.

Next week we'll be asking for a zoning variance at the monthly county board of supervisors meeting.  And I'll also be asking about the future of the park -- about the county's commitment to its upkeep, and so on.  Meetings are video taped and saved on the county website, so video to come.

Slug Fest: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #149

  • 9 mins of slugging.  Warm up thoroughly (at least 8 mins).  Set timer for 1:00 min intervals.  Bang the heavy bag for 1 min as fast and as hard as you can.  Then shadowbox as fast as you can for 1 min.  Then, based on your fitness level, hold a Handstand, Push-up Plank or Elbow Plank for 1 min.  Repeat twice more for a total of 9 mins.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you must in order to finish.

  • Ask Archangel Barachiel for intercession.  Light a white candle and/or burn some incense as an offering to Archangel Barachiel, our guardian angel, and spend a few minutes in silent reflection.  Request he lend his wisdom, guardianship, guidance, care, visitation, and defense to Cabal Fang as we struggle to keep our space.

 

Enduro: Cabal Fang Training Involution #148

In Cabal Fang we generally train for max output over a limited time.  Cabal Fang is a self-defense martial art.  Self-defense situations don't usually last for more than a minute or so.

But we also want Cabal Fang to be applicable in every day life.  Only cops, medics and soldiers will likely use their martial arts skills more than once or twice in a lifetime.  But if Cabal Fang makes you healthy and strong inside and out, you can apply that in a million different ways, all day every day.  And every day life sometimes will require you to work until you can work no more.

So once in a while we should shake things up and train for distance instead of speed -- for length of time instead of for output across a span of time.

Enduro: Cabal Fang Training Involution #148

  • 9 rounds of emergency action.  Only 8 breaks of 12 secs each, one break between each of the 9 rounds. Each round you'll go until you gas, take a 12 sec. break, then proceed to the next exercise: HBSC (Heavy Bag Shoulder Carry), Up Strikes, Bear Walks, HBSC, Mounted Strikes, Bear Walks, HBSC, Low Kicks, Bear Walks. No pacing or lollygagging on the strikes, but travel at a relaxed pace for the HBSCs and Bear Walks.  8 breaks only.  My time was a fairly pathetic 20:39. Post yours in the comments.  See video below.

  • Internal work for time. Assume your posture of choice and set a countdown timer for one hour.  Practice your choice of contemplation, meditation or prayer as long as you are able -- until your mind or body fails you -- or until the timer beeps, whichever comes first.  I made my hour.  Did you?

  • If it's not in your training journal it didn't happen.  Record all times and all self-realizations in your training journal.

Boy's Twelve: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #146

Apparently boys were pretty fit back in '45.

Check out this little fitness drill called the "Army's Daily Dozen" from the Boy's Fun Book of Things to Make an Do (Grosset & Dunlap, New York 1945) pages 142-143.  It's not as hard as Self-Destruct Sequence or anything, but it's no walk in the park either!

No rep counts or time guidelines are provided except for two exercises -- Burpees (40 minimum!) and the Banks Twists (30 minimum!).  For our purposes I have guesstimated what seem like reasonable numbers.

Now go see if you're as fit as little boys used to be back in the day.

Boy's Twelve: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #146

If you get this done in under 25:56 you got me beat.

  1. 40 Burpees (no hop, no Push-up)

  2. 25 High Jumpers (a.k.a Standing Broad Jump)

  3. 25 Squat Benders (Squat, then touch toes)

  4. 25 Rowing Exercise (a.k.a. Jackknifes)

  5. 25 Sit-ups with Plough (dead stop after each Plough)

  6. 25 Push-ups (narrow)

  7. 30 Banks Twists (a.k.a. Windshield Wipers, over-back = 1)

  8. 25 Side Benders (look at the drawing and good luck!)

  9. 25 8-Count Push-ups (Burpee with 2 Push-ups and no hop)

  10. 25 Squat Jumps (Split Jump Squats w/ hands on head)

  11. Stationary Run (100 taps of each foot)

  12. 25 Trunk Twisters (Windmills, elbow to knee, 25/side)

Escape Plan Revisited: Cabal Fang Training Involution #145

"Escape Plan Drill" a.k.a. "EPD" has been a fitness standard in Cabal Fang Martial Arts for many years, even before making its first appearance in a T.I. almost exactly four years ago.

If you haven't done it yet, you're in for a treat.

EPD is A+ because it shrinks to fit.  You can use whatever calisthenics you like based on your needs and/or fitness level.  And, since it's an "as-many-as-you-can" type of drill, its difficulty increases with the fitness of the user.

This week's variant uses martial-specific calisthenics.  Dig it.

Escape Plan Revisited: Cabal Fang Training Involution #145

  • Escape Plan Drill. Set timer for 1:00 intervals. Sprint for 1:00, Shadowbox or hit Heavy Bag for 1:00 then complete as many calisthenics reps as you can for 1:00. Repeat 4 more times for a total of 15 mins, taking as few 12-count breaks as you must in order to finish.  Your 5 calisthenics are: Sit-outs, Shots, Sprawls, Bear Walks, and Back Bridge.  On the Back Bridges, hold or pop reps based on fitness level.  This version of EPD could be called "Humility Sandwich." Try a bite and tell me if I'm wrong about the recipe.

  • Hagakure Meditation.   Escape is not always possible, certainly not in the end.  After cooling down, set countdown timer for 10 mins., then read the paragraph below and meditate as directed.  Seppuku is of course an ancient form of ritual suicide, so this is not to be read literally.  Read metaphorically it contains a wise but very hard teaching.  We are going to die, perhaps even by having to lay down our lives for what we value most highly.  We modern people struggle with these old, hard lessons.  But some things are worth the struggle.

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NEXT WEEK...

Are you more fit than a 12-year-old boy circa 1945?  Find out next week in Boy's Twelve: Training Involution #146!

BAGGAGE: CABAL FANG MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING INVOLUTION #144

Baggage: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #144

Fill a large gym bag with whatever you can find.  Use folded sheets and misc. athletic equipment for weight.  Then add in some of the detritus of your pathetic existence -- junk food  wrappers, tasteless magazines, empty beer cans, old video games, and bits of shameful clutter from your attic or garage.  And finally,  throw in a handful of promises you've broken or things you've said to friends and loved ones in anger. Take this part seriously.

  • Complete 100 Bag Lifts as fast as you can.  Beginners do them Cabal Fang-style, advanced, Kansas-style.

  • Complete 50 sieo nage as fast as you can.

  • Pick up the bag and cover 1-mile run as fast as you can.  Run, jog, walk, doesn't matter as long as you finish.

  • Make sure you warm up thoroughly before you begin and keep your heart rate within safe limits.  This one's a real humdinger.  If it doesn't trigger your vomit response, either your bag is too light or you aren't trying hard enough.

  • Cool down, then wrap up with the Cross of Light ritual and 10 minutes of contemplation.  The Cross of Light ritual is so packed with meaning that describing it fills a whole chapter in the Cabal Fang Study Guide.  Re-read as needed.

  • Record your time and what you learned in your training journal, then  share the less personal bits with the Cabal Fang Facebook group.

See video below if you need more detail.


 

A Farrago of Deracination: Training Involution #143

A Farrago of Deracination: Training Involution #143

A few days ago we announced that this week’s T.I. would be a brobdingnagian farrago of deracination.  Why ‘d we do that?  To get your attention of course!

  • “Brobdingnagian” means “huge.”  Brobingnag is the place where giants live in Gulliver’s Travels.

  • A “farrago” is an assortment, like a hodgepodge.

  • And “deracination” is a delightful mouthful that means “pulling up at the roots.”

Catch our drift?

A FARRAGO OF DERACINATION: TRAINING INVOLUTION #143

  • Write your own obituary.  Not some stupid joke thing, but a real obituary.  If it takes you less than fifteen minutes you didn’t sweat it enough.  Read example below.  You are going to die.  What do you want people to say about you when the day comes?

  • Take your shirt off and train.  Gents, go outside and take off your shirt.  Ladies, go as skimpy as you can — staying within safety and legal limits of course.  If you have not done this month’s constitutional twice, do it once now.  If you have, complete Escape Plan Drill (instructions to both below).  This has a profound effect on your mind, body and spirit.

  • What’s the point?  Life is not about what you look like, or your toys, or your image, or any of that.  Get beyond your skin, go past your comfort zone, embrace your impermanence — and go live the life you should be living.

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Escape Plan Drill

Set timer for 1:00 intervals. Sprint for 1:00, then Shadowbox 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 cycle.  Record total distance covered and total calisthenics reps in your training journal and beat it next time.

Feb 2019 Constitutional

Squats (100)
Push-ups (50)
Crunch’n’Punch (25/person or if solo, 50 Sit-ups with a Jab/Cross at the top)
Steam Engines (25/side)
Lunges (100)
Sprints (25 out/back)
Wall Touches (100)

Obituaries — Richmond Times Dispatch, 30 Sept. 2049

MITCHELL JR., ROBERT E. (“MITCH”) aged 88, of HENRICO, passed away on Tuesday Sept. 28, 2049 at his residence.  He is survived by his wife of 50 years Karen; son Robert; three daughters, Tiffany, Amber and Morgan; five grandchildren, Kota, Shunta, Audrey, Ryder and Jack Jr.; and four great-grandchildren, Zeke, Ken, Aiko, and Mary.  After thirty years in Credit and Accounting Management, Mitch retired, entered seminary, and was ordained as a priest in the Old Catholic line.  Re-inventing himself as Father Mitch, he operated St. Barachiel’s, a local community chapel and civic center, for over 25 years.  A world-renowned martial arts master and author, he was the founder of Bobcat Martial Arts, a frontier-styled martial arts club, as well as Cabal Fang Martial Arts, a non-profit martial arts organization with branches on three continents.  He wrote over 50 books on a wide variety of topics, both fiction and non-fiction.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Barachiel Chapel where services will be held on Saturday, Oct. 2nd at 2:00 PM, Bishop Alan Smithee presiding.

GROUNDHOG DAY 2015 & 2019: TRAINING INVOLUTION #142

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We won’t be selecting the February focuses until later this morning, so for now, let’s just just honor the holiday’s eponymous film by repeating the Training Involution  from this week way back in 2015.

GROUNDHOG DAY 2015 & 2019: TRAINING INVOLUTION #142

  • GROUND-FIGHTING CONDITIONER #1 (10 MINS, see below)

  • JUMP ROPE (10 mins w/ 1 lb. wrist weights, AFAYC)

  • CONTEMPLATION — 10 MINS

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GROUND-FIGHTING CONDITIONER #1

Set timer for two minutes and take as few few 12 second breaks as possible:

  1. Circle the bag for 2 mins: Forearms on bag and toes on floor are only points of contact. Circle the bag using only legs and feet, alternating directions, until the timer beeps.

  2. Mount the bag for 2 mins: Strike 10 times as hard as you can. Body lock the bag, barrel-roll, regain mount, and repeat until the timer beeps.

  3. Roll the bag for 2 mins: Lay on your back with heavy-bag perpendicularly on top of your body. Roll it up and down across torso, pushing and pulling like a rolling pin. From time to time, press up the bag and let it drop on your torso to maintain your tolerance for the stresses of wrestling. Continue for entire round.

  4. Defend the bag for 2 mins: Lay on your back with back 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 for two minutes.

  5. Side Mount the bag for 2 mins: Scissor legs each direction 3 times, then scramble over bag with forearms and toes only. Repeat. When the timer beeps, you’re done.

DEMON SLAYER: TRAINING INVOLUTION #141

Belphegor a.k.a. Ba’al Peor from Numbers 25:1–15

Belphegor a.k.a. Ba’al Peor from Numbers 25:1–15

Betrayed by a loved one?  Had a friend turn out to be a stranger?  Regretted something you did and wondered why you did it?  Faced down an addiction?  Clawed your way out of bad relationship?

Then you know that demons are “real.”  No, they can’t pass the Amazing Randy sniff test.  But if you conceive of them as harmful patterns of behavior that repeat across time, they are 100% real.

Demons don’t just take you over at random. You have to “invite them in.”  In the movies, you must buy the cursed book, say the forbidden words, or move into the evil house.  In real life you have to try that cocaine, visit that strip club, or gamble with your rent money.   That’s how the “demon” gets a foothold and you introduce the posibility of ending up addicted, sexually obsessed, or homeless.

Maybe believing that “demons” can “possess you” if you “let them in” is a useful fiction that prevents negative behavior patterns — you know, kind of like other useful fictions, such as “porcupines can shoot their quills” and “all guns are loaded.”  Behaving as if porcupines can shoot their quills and treating all guns as if loaded effectively help prevent pain and suffering.

But surely demons don’t have agency.  Or do they?  Does the rabies virus have agency?  Viruses aren’t conscious.  And yet rabies makes the infected want to bite, which is the primary means of transmission.  Sure seems like rabies has agency.  Mammon, demon of riches, seems to manifest whenever people obsess about wealth.  Is the demon Mammon a conscious entity repeatedly leading people astray?

Do demons have agency? Are they “real?” Real enough to be exorcised.

DEMON SLAYER: TRAINING INVOLUTION #141

What does it take to kill a demon?  Cold?  Fire?  Enchanted weapons? Exorcism?

  • Freeze.  For a 200 count (about 3 minutes), hold a pose taking as few 12-count breaks as you must. Beginners, hold a Horse Stance.  Intermediate, Plank.  Advanced, dead-arm hangs from a Pull-up bar or Crow-stands.

  • Burn. Complete 200 reps of an exercise.  Beginners, Bicycles or Crunches.  Intermediate, Push-ups on knees or Steam Engines.  Advanced,  Down-ups or Kettlebell Swings.

  • Slice.  Complete 200 strikes per hand with your practice weapon of choice.  Tactical pen or kubotan keychain, walking stick or cane, rattan stick, wooden knife, tomahawk, nunchaku or what-have-you.

  • Exorcise.  Set timer for 15 minutes.  Assume meditative posture of choice.  Whisper a 10-to-14-word prayer — aloud as you inhale, silently as you hesitate with lungs full, again aloud as you exhale, and once more silently as you hesitate with lungs empty.  Repeat until timer beeps — roughly 200 recitations.  This will force you into box breathing and facilitate a deeply meditative state.  Your prayer can be religious or secular, general or specific.  Even atheists can pray — pray to Light or Truth.  “O Light, drive away all darkness and show me the way I pray thee.” Christians can use the Prayer of the Heart: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Jewish persons can use the Shema Yisrael, "Hear, O Israel: the LORD is our God, the LORD is One."

Lapses and Slips: Training Involution #140

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Around here the focus is on excellence. But what are supposed to do when you can’t seem to get your act together?

Don’t think you have to be perfect.  Just do your best, maintain incremental improvement, and don’t quit.  If you mess up, don’t beat yourself up so much that you give up — just keep going and do better next time.

Lapses and Slips: Training Involution #140

This month’s focus is Self-Defense vs. Weapons. What if you get cut? Can you move with one limb incapacitated?  If you have to use a weapon to defend yourself, can you move around and fight without dropping it?

  • 10 minutes on a slip ball.  If you’re bored, try the drill outlined in the video below.

  • Armed self-defense gauntlet.  Set a timer for 2:00 rounds and pick up a wooden practice weapon — stick, knife, doesn’t matter.  Complete a round each of of strikes vs. Heavy bag, Get-ups, Sit-ups w/ Strike, Sprints w/ strike, and then do it again (16 mins total).  Drop your weapon penalty = 50 Push-ups.

  • Get it?  “Lapses and slips”?  The training sessions has slips and “lapses “– an obsolete word for intervals and the origin of the word “laps.”

  • Have you done two constitutionals this week?  If not, here you go.

  • Record everything in your training journal.

JOURNALS AND LOGS: TRAINING INVOLUTION #139

This month’s Cabal Fang focuses are Self-Defense vs. Weapons — with a touch of offense as well — and “The Quill” (journaling).  Try to make some kind of journal entry every single day this month, even if it’s only one sentence.

JOURNALS AND LOGS: TRAINING INVOLUTION #139

  • Complete this month’s log constitutional.  No partner? No log?  No problem!  Use a dumbbell instead of a log (I chose a #30).  Do not put the dumbbell down unless you’re doing an exercise that requires you to do so.   Rack the dumbbell two-handed and perform Log Press (25 full), Log Squats (25), Log Hops (25 full ), Log Sit-Ups (25), Log Lunges (50), Log A-Lifts (25) and Log Curb Touches (100).  See video below.

  • Choose your weapon and start attacking.  Choose the blunt weapon of your choice — wooden knife, walking stick, tactical pen, whatever you prefer — and set  a timer for 10 mins.  See how many attacks you can launch before the timer beeps.  Switch hands every hundred strikes or so.  I chose walking stick and completed 920 strikes.

  • Star of Ishtar form 25 times.  If you don’t know the form get the Cabal Fang Study Course and read up.

John Henry: Training Involution #138

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We haven’t picked our new physical and spiritual focuses yet this month, so this week’s involution is a flat-out physical challenge. It incorporates a delightful little piece of work called the John Henry — named after the hero of American folklore.

JOHN HENRY: TRAINING INVOLUTION #138

  • Warm up for at least 8 minutes.  Do some Half Squats, Push-ups on knees, Shadowboxing,  jump rope, arm swings, etc.

  • Heavy Bag Tabata for speed.  16 rounds x :20/:10 (8 mins total).   As many strikes as you can for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, repeat.   “As many strikes as you can” means literally that.  It doesn’t mean “as many as you prefer” or “as is convenient”  or “as many as it takes to get sweaty.”  We are not working out.  We are training.

  • John Henry.  A Slam and Squat Half Pyramid.  Get yourself a tire and either a sledge hammer, mallet, or mace ball.*  Start timer for 15 mins and start climbing the odd numbers only.   Hit the tire with your tool one time, then rest it on your shoulder and do one Squat.  Then do 3 Strikes and 3 Squats, 5 Strikes and 5 Squats, then 7 of each, etc.  Go as fast as you can.  Stop when you get to 25 of each or the timer stops, whichever comes first.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you need to keep from throwing up.  If you finish all the sets up to 25 of each, that’s 169 of each.  I got there there in 13:40.   And just remember that in the folktale John Henry beats the steam drill but dies.  Please be careful and don’t do that.

* If you don’t have hammer, mallet or mace, just do Tire Slams.  Facing the edge not the hole, pick up the tire with one hand on each side.  Lift and sling it over your head so that it touches the nape of your neck; then bring it forward and slam the tread onto the ground in front of you.

Year-End Review: Training Involution #137

get-out-of-your-own-way.jpg

YEAR-END REVIEW: TRAINING INVOLUTION #137

Most people set New Year’s resolutions that are largely arbitrary and then fail to establish any performance metrics.  Don’t do that.  Set meaningful goals with valuable payoffs and then monitor your performance to insure progress.

  1. Get out your training log and spend some time reviewing your entries.  You do keep a training journal, right?  Training journals are not optional in Cabal Fang martial arts.  Look, we don’t have very many rules, but keeping a training journal is one of them.  So if you aren’t journaling, go get a spiral note book or something and start writing stuff down so you can do a year-end review next December.

  2. Take as much time with your review as you feel is sufficient, necessary and/or available.  Might be fifteen minutes or three hours — whatever is necessary and sufficient to make sensible conclusions and set meaningful goals.

  3. What did you well in 2018?  What did you do poorly?

  4. What are you going to do better in 2019?  

  5. How are you going to do better in 2019? 

  6. What are your performance metrics going to be?

If you’re going to make 2019 your best year ever, the future is now.

RESTRICTED: TRAINING INVOLUTION #136

RESTRICTED: TRAINING INVOLUTION #136

Cabal Fang Temple here in Richmond VA volunteered to assist Food Not Bombs feed the homeless last Sunday.  Afterwards we washed dishes. We were too INVOLVED to take pictures of ourselves, and besides, we didn’t want to brag. Here’s a shot of the spread.

Cabal Fang Temple here in Richmond VA volunteered to assist Food Not Bombs feed the homeless last Sunday.  Afterwards we washed dishes. We were too INVOLVED to take pictures of ourselves, and besides, we didn’t want to brag. Here’s a shot of the spread.

  • Warm-up completely for at least 8:00.

  • Tuck your dominant arm in your belt and do some martial fitness.  Set timer for 8:00.  Do as many sets of 4 of each exercise as you can before the timer beeps: Jump Squats, Sit-outs, Shrimps, Push-ups (on knees if you can’t do one-arms).

  • Liberate your arm to go to the Heavy bag. 3 x 3:00/1:00 max power shots only.  When I say max power, I mean Serena-Williams-from-back-court-for-match-point-with-a-grunt-level power. First round, hands only.  Second round, legs only.  Final round, all in.  Count your strikes in the final round.  Write it in your training journal.  Beat it next time. 

  • Do your Constitutional.  Cabal Fang is the only martial art that has a base level fitness requirement.  Twice weekly constitutionals are required.  Details below.  Don’t have a tire?  Get one or sub a #20 sandbag and modify — modify, adapt, overcome!

  • What have you done for Spirit Month?  Did you participate in the Food Not Bonbs event because you’re a remote student, because you couldn’t make it, etc.? As it was suggested last week, did you volunteer, help out a sick or elderly neighbor or relative, help a friend, etc.? If so, you’re off this week on the spiritual portion.  If not, restrict yourself somehow until you decide on something and put it on your calendar.  Sleep without a pillow, give up soft drinks, beer, TV, your favorite food, etc.   Out of ideas?  The restriction should help, but ask your deity, higher power  or better self for insight. Be still and ask how you can be of service. Listen carefully — something will pop into your head that’s decent and true.  Do that.

December 2018 Constitutional

Tire Sit-ups (25)
Tire Lunges (25)
Tire Passes (25 full — 50 Tire Slams if you’re going solo)
Tire Squats (50)
Tire Burpees (25)
Tire V-ups (25)
Tire Jackknife Push-ups (25)

Involved: Training Involution #135

Why are our weekly training assignments called involutions?  What does involution even mean?

in·vo·lu·tion

/ˌinvəˈlo͞oSHən/

(noun)

  1. The act of fully taking part in an activity or task (q.v. involved)

  2. The inner path of a spiritual aspirant toward self-realization.

  3. The process by which the Divine manifests the cosmos.

This is what separates Cabal Fang from MMA, combat sports, and defensive tactics.  Sure, we borrow from all of those.  But we are involved in the process such that it becomes a spiritual endeavor.

We should always be asking questions like,  "How is this martial activity making me a better person?" or "How can this technique activity be fully contextualized?"  Instead of just learning the HOW of our techniques, we should be exploring the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY of them.

Involved: Training Involution #135

Our martial focus this month is Spirit -- which means putting your spirit in action! -- and our internal focus is prayer. So...

  • Get involved If you are in the Richmond, Virginia area, join Cabal Fang Temple as we feed the homeless tomorrow at Food not Bombs.  We'll be meeting at RVA Createspace, 607 Wickham St, Richmond, Virginia 23222 at 3:30 PM to help haul, serve and clean up.

  • Not in Richmond?  Do something else.  Don't just donate money.  Actually do something. Volunteer somewhere.  Do a chore or cook a meal for a sick or elderly neighbor or relative.  Ask someone you know if they need a hand with something.

  • Don't know what to do?  If you're atheist, ask your better self, otherwise ask your deity or higher power for insight.  This is called prayer.  Be still and ask to know how you can be of service.  Listen carefully -- something will pop into your head that's decent, true and kind.  Do that.

  • Complete this month's constitutional If you don't have a tire, use a #20 sandbag instead.  Or help clean up the planet by finding one of the tens of thousands of tires that are tossed into streams, left in medians and thrown into the woods every year.

  • Subscribe to the new Cabal Fang YouTube channel.