The Power to Climb a Rope

I’ve always wanted to be able to climb a rope.  Today I did it for the first time.  Let me tell you about the mindset you need to get this — and other hard things — done and dusted.


 


TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Live Holy Communion Sunday 6/13/21 at 9:30 AM

I’ll be attempting my first live Holy Communion on Sunday at 9:30 AM.  Watch and enjoy or prepare bread and wine and join in as appropriate.

Holy Communion is a sacred ritual.  Persons not baptized in the Christian faith should not partake of Holy Communion. If you are a sacramental Christian, please observe the guidance of your bishop as to whether or not, or in what manner, you should participate. Other baptized Christians should observe the guidance of their pastor.

holy communion live stream


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Sing Your Song: Mettle Maker #264

Opening liturgical prayers -Hymns img_5321 (1)

Pastor Cynthia Jackson of the Church of the Evangel (L) and her deacon (R) singing at the Feast of St. Andrew ordinations of Bishop Erik, Bishop Angela, Bishop Linda, and little old me to the role of deacon.

Sing Your Song: Mettle Maker #264

  • Hum your solfège before you break out into song.  To avoid injuries, warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes before you train. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope or footwork (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.  
  • Wreck your rhythm.  Disrupt your form by picking up an awkward object, like a hiking stick or water bottle, and go for a run.  It’s amazing how a little thing can make such a big difference in terms of cadence and therefore, energy demand.  Try it!
  • When it comes to your favorite weapon, change your tune.  With weapon in hand, can you safely run and perform key maneuvers like shoulder roll, side deadfall, forward dive, baseball slide, etc.?  If not, you should probably pause working on your fancy techniques and interpretive dance moves and start figuring it out.  If you can’t move with your knife, stick, tomahawk, gun, or what-have-you without killing yourself, that’s an issue.  Put in 10 minutes of movement practice with a dull/dummy version of your weapon.  Count the number of faults — times you touch yourself with the business end or point the weapon at yourself.  When your 10 minutes are up, perform 50 Push-ups for each fault.  For more help and guidance, sign up for the Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts Program.
  • Learn a bird song.  This is a Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) that I identified using the Cornel Ornithology Lab’s free Birdnet app.  The single “weep” call at dawn or twilight is indicative of a calm area free of aggression by other birds or predators.  Learning bird calls brings your landscape alive.  Get there. 
  • Sing a new psalm.  This month’s spiritual symbol is the Candle.  The wick runs through a candle the same way your spine runs through your body, and the flame at the top of the candle is analogous to enlightenment.  Try lighting your fire with meditative singing.  Chant or sing a piece of beloved scripture and see what happens to your head.  If you’re new to this, you’ll likely feel a little peculiar.  But if you stick with daily practice, in a few short weeks you will likely come to appreciate its affects.  I’ve pasted the words to one of my favorites below, as well as an audio recording.  A sung hymn, psalm or other “mantra” easily triggers a positively altered mental state.  Get there.  

Psalm 24, Responsorial Form

R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

June ’21 Focus, Symbol and Constitutional at Cabal Fang Martial Arts

The martial focus for this month is Sparring, the Symbol is the Candle, and the constitutional is:

2 minutes each of the following:

  • Tire Flips
  • Tire Burpees
  • Tire Lunges
  • Tire V-ups
  • Tire Squats
  • Tire Slams
  • Tire Hops

Video below.

 



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Blue Origin = Blue Sun = Amazon

Way, way back in 2015, I wrote a post called B&N, Crapazon, and Paper Books.  In that post I made an joke comparing Amazon (I call it “Crapazon”) to the evil mega-corp Blue Sun from the Firefly TV show

Well, what I didn’t know then but I just realized today, is that — coincidence?  I think not! — Jeff Bezos had already founded his space company back in 2000 and he had named it Blue Origin.  Did Joss Whedon do this on purpose?  Nope.  Whedon once said that Blue Sun was a combination of Microsoft and Coca-Cola.

For me though, Blue Sun is Blue Origin, and Blue Origin is Crapazon.

Back when I wrote my original post in 2015, I reported that Jeff Bezos was the fifth wealthiest person on earth, I warned that the big box bookstore was in just as much trouble as the now-D.O.A. corner bookstore (sure there are a few, like Book People and The Little Book Store, but they are now scarcer than hen’s teeth).

As of today, Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest man on earth, Barnes & Noble has closed numerous locations and is now privately owned rather than stock-market-listed.  

The march of Crapazon-Blue Sun continues.  Two-by-two, hands of blue — the hands of blue are coming for you.

The first great American Revolution was against the British monarchy. 

The next one will be against the mega-corps.

Browncoats unite!

 



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

I wasn’t able to video Holy Communion today.  But for those who are interested, here is my homily.  Yours in Christ,

Deacon Mitch

Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Sunday – June 6, 2021

Readings: Ex 24:3-8, Ps 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18, Heb 9:11-15, Mk 14:12-16, 22-26 (Alleluia Jn 6:51)

by Deacon Robert Mitchell

Brothers and Sisters, what is this rite that we perform, the one that we celebrate today, which is the Eucharist or Holy Communion?  What’s going on here?  Well, obviously it’s symbolic, deeply symbolic.  But it’s a particular type of symbol: an inversion symbol or a transgressive symbol.

The eating of human flesh and the drinking of human blood are forbidden in every culture.  The most enduring monsters of fiction are flesh-eating zombies and blood-drinking vampires.  This rite was particularly shocking to the Hebrews of Jesus’ time because their laws not only forbade the eating and drinking of human flesh and blood but the consumption of animal flesh and blood together.  Animal flesh and blood were never to be comingled as they are when the fraction is placed in the wine.

This rite is also a shocking reversal because, before Jesus’ institution of this new rite, an animal would’ve been sacrificed on the altar, and any meat not given over to the flames would’ve been consumed by the faithful as physical nourishment.  But this new rite is a human sacrifice, something forbidden in the culture.  And the nourishment gained is of an entirely different sort.

The third way in which the Eucharistic rite is upside down is that it flips the very idea of sacrifice on its head.  Previously the sacrifice of animals was intended to be pleasing to God so that the faithful could be blessed by God.  But in this new rite, God sacrifices himself so that we can be fundamentally transformed from within.

The fourth and final inversion of symbol is in the wafer itself.  In the world of men, kings, emperors, queens, and princes mint wafers of metal called “coins.”  They have put their faces on them, and we have to earn and trade these coins for the things of the world.  This little commercial disc rules over our physical existence.  But in the Eucharistic Rite, we have a little white coin of bread, embossed not with the face of a ruler, but with the Cross of the One True King.  And if we accept this free gift, we gain a nourishment which contains the hope of eternal life.

As symbols go, I struggle to see how the symbol of the Holy Eucharist could possibly any more revolutionary, any more taboo, or any more completely at odds with worldly life than it is.  This Rite smashes our sensibilities, flies in the face of convention, and turns our lives upside down.  Yes, it’s a symbol – the most powerful symbol there has ever been or ever will be.  But before you begin to think yourself around to the idea that the bread and wine are merely symbol – that they are not the actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ – let’s turn to John 6 from which our Alleluia was lifted for today’s service.

In this long and important chapter, Jesus explains the nature of the rite.

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.”

And what do they say?

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” 61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?

Now we’re getting to it.  Here’s the big finish, and there’s a nice coincidence here that makes this passage easy to remember.  It’s John 6:66 — that’s “666”! — and it goes,

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.

Does Jesus back off on this point?  No.  He doubles down.

67 So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”

 He says in essence, “Do you want to leave like they did?  Well there’s the door. Go!”  Brothers and sisters, if this is you, please think hard about the consequences of your belief or lack thereof.   Jesus knows that if we don’t believe and trust in the transformation that occurs in the Eucharist, how can we believe in the transformation that is in store for us in the Life to come?  The Church Fathers – Athanasius, Irenaeus, Clement, Theophilus, Gregory of Nazianzus, and others – were clear on this point.  God became Man, that Man might become God.

So is it a symbol?  Yep, sure it is, and that’s great.  But it’s so much more than that – it’s the ultimate reality!


If you enjoyed this content, please consider supporting my work by buying one of my ebooks, shopping at Mitch’s General Store, or supporting me on Patreon.

Contrarian: Mettle Maker #263

Earlier this week my wife said I was a contrarian.   

contrarian/ kän·’trer·ē·ən / noun. 1. one who espouses contradicting viewpoints, especially toward the majority 

I decided she was right and that I was okay with that. 

  • Religion is hemorrhaging membership in the U.S. So I headed off to seminary and built a temple in my backyard.
  • Most martial artists are doing either doing MMA, BJJ, Muay Thai, or traditional Eastern martial arts.  I’m practicing Western martial arts — Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble and Cabal Fang. 
  • The rest of the world likes e-books and digital music.  I read paper books and listen to CDs.
  • R&B, Hip-Hop, Rap and Pop dominate the music charts.  I prefer Blues, Rock, Metal and Punk.
  • If there’s a topic nobody wants to talk about, I usually bring it up.

The other night I watched a couple of videos about the ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine COVID controversies, and they scared my socks off.  The hydroxychloroquine video — an interview of Dr. Peter McCullough by NYT and Men’s Vogue award winner and best-selling author Peter Leake — had to be put on Vimeo to keep from being banned.  The other one was on the highly respected Dark Horse podcast with Brett Weinstein.  

Why are contrary viewpoints on COVID and other topics being banned on YouTube, Twitter and other platforms?  No tin-foil hats here.  I think it’s about money.  Advertising revenue drives the news and social media, corporations and their lobbyists drive our politicians, and the almighty dollar is in charge.

In 1776 — for the first time in human history! — a citizenry decided to take control of their government from kings, queens, emperors and princes.  Corporations are the kings and emperors of the 21st century.  The next revolution will be against Amazon, Pfizer, Facebook, and Google.  Don’t believe me?  Watch The Social Dilemma.

  • Revolt against your phone.  Put it down and read a book.
  • Resist your web browser.  Try Duck Duck Go.
  • Throw your Amazon boxes into the harbor and try buying local, or getting your books and CDs on Alibris.

Be a contrarian.  Come on in.  The water’s fine.

Contrarian: Mettle Maker #263

  • Warm up before exercise.  To avoid injuries, warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes before you train. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope or footwork (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.  
  • wp-1622825317882.jpg

    Wrestling dice ©

    Get out your floor bag or wrestling dummy.  Who trains catch wrestling techniques these days?  You do!  Set your timer for 12 minutes.  Complete as many sets as you can of Bottom Scissors (1 squeeze to failure), Shin Rides (10 each of mixed pop-ups and switches with perfect form from cross-body position), and Front Bridge (5 each mixed pop-ups and clocks from cross-body position). Created using the Wrestling Dice © program.  Get some
  • Run two miles in two parts.  Who breaks up their run into two parts?  A contrarian, that’s who!  Run 1 mile, stop and practice your forms, flow drills, or shadowboxing for 12 minutes, and then run your second mile.  
  • Try this month’s auto tire constitutional.  Who in their right mind uses auto tires for fitness?  A rebel, that’s who!  Complete 2 minutes each of Tire Flips, Tire Burpees, Tire Lunges, Tire V-ups, Tire Squats, Tire Hops, and Tire Slams.  Don’t know the exercises?  Read this.
  • Practice meditation with an unspoken mantra.  Who keeps their mantra to themselves?  A renegade, that’s who!  Before you sit down, select a sacred phrase 10 to 15 words in length.  I prefer “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner” or “That which is below is like that which is above.”  Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes.  Assume posture of choice.  Keep your eyes open.  Do not fidget, wiggle or scratch.  Breathe in as you say the phrase in your head.  Hesitate with lungs full and airways open as you recite the phrase again.  Repeat, reciting the phrase in your head as you breathe out.  Again hesitate with lungs empty and airways open as you recite the phrase in your head.  An unspoken mantra times your breathing to a steady rhythm without having to count, and triggers a positively altered mental state. Get there.  


TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Update on Travel and Art: Martial, Musical, and Both Types of Painting

As you guys know, I don’t gather much moss.  This weekend I painted the ceiling of the temple space to look like clouds and trimmed it out with gold molding.

The week prior I went on a little trip, read a few books, learned a new song on the guitar, taught a martial arts seminar, etc. etc.  Video below.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” ~Ecclesiastes 9:10



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Ruffle: Mettle Maker #262

¹ruffle \rəf·əl\  vb 1. to roughen or abrade 2. to stand up (as in feathers or a collar) 3. to flip through as in the pages of a book 4. to fold back and forth in accordion fashion

²ruffle \rəf·əl\  n 1. a state or cause of agitation 2. a commotion or brawl 3. a surface disturbance ie. a ripple  4. a strip of fabric pleated on one edge 5. a low vibrating drumbeat

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Bust of Patrick Henry at Scotchtown

Yesterday was Patrick Henry‘s birthday.  I’m a big fan.  I went to visit his house at Scotchtown last year.  Henry was a contrarian and an expert at ruffling feathers.  In honor of Patrick Henry’s birthday yesterday, allow me to ruffle your feathers with some of my favorite contrarian quotes from history and fiction.

  • “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”  ~Patrick Henry, Patrick Henry, Champion of Liberty
  • “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and generally more useful.” ~Mark Rippetoe
  • “When deep space exploration ramps up, it will be the corporations that name everything, the Microsoft Galaxy, the IBM stellar sphere, Planet Starbucks… “ ~Narrator, Fight Club
  • “We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.  Martha Stewart.” ~Narrator, Fight Club
  • “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
  • “Just because you are a character doesn’t mean that you have character.” ~Winston Wolfe, Pulp Fiction
  • “I saw that the State was half-witted, that it was timid as a lone woman with her silver spoons, and that it did not know its friends from its foes, and I lost all my remaining respect for it, and pitied it.” ~Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
  • “You don’t win wars with niceness, doctor. You win wars with guts.”  ~Col. Chester Phillips, Captain America: The First Avenger
  • “When you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. But lawyers have other strategies including buying a stronger whip, changing riders, declaring that the horse is better, faster and cheaper dead, and finally, harnessing several dead horses together for increased speed.”  Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, The Wall Street Journal, 2/18/99

Ruffle: Mettle Maker #262

  • Warm up before you train.  To avoid injuries, warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes before you train. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope or footwork (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.  Here’s a fun MBF warm-up: 8 minutes of low-intensity 4-rep sets of HSPU, Shots, Spike Sprawls, and Shoulder Rolls.
  • Don’t “work out.”  Train.  martial grit_1If you don’t have a plan or you’re just doing something to burn calories, you are “working out.”  Stop.  Think about where you want to go and devise a plan to get there.  What are the fundamental movements, fitness requirements, and success indicators in your martial art or sport endeavor?  What are you doing to tailor your training to suit them?  If you’re stuck, start here
  • Read a book.  Research indicates that reading rewires and strengthens the mind, increases empathy, builds vocabulary, fights cognitive decline, reduces stress, aids sleep, alleviates depression, and lengthens lifespan. Read more here.  I read three in the last two weeks — A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Old Catholic Church, Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies, and Relation of Virginia: A Boy’s Memoir of Life with the Powhatans and the Patawomecks If you want to read a book a week, you’re going to have to put down your cell phone, power off your Switch, and close your laptop.  Get there.
  • Go outside in the rain.
    20181119_064100-1.jpg

    A rainy day tire run


    Look, the holes are in bottom of your nose and your skin is uniquely suited prevent absorption of falling water.  I promise that, no matter how stupid you are or how wet you get, you will neither drown nor stay wet forever.  Few things are better for mood and resilience than cultivating the ability take joy in inclement weather.  Get dirty!
  • Practice contemplation — one of the four essential methods of spiritual development. Assume posture of choice and regulate breathing to a slow and steady rhythm. Keep your eyes open.  Do not fidget, wiggle or scratch. Allow your thoughts to dissipate like ripples on a pond and your mind to approach a state of calm and relaxed awareness.  Do not think at all, but especially not in words — do not evaluate, judge, make lists, fixate on emotions, let your mind wander, or any of that.  Just breathe and be.  Start with 5 minutes and work your way up to 20 minutes.  Eventually you should be able to do this for an hour if so desire.


TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

SISSIP a Poem

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SISSIP

katapeuk papasow
nehapi metoci shacahocan
sissip apiw numeskotut
aminekarak nummabukkamut

This poem is in Virginia Algonquian a.k.a. Powhatan.  Here it is in English:

BIRD

Spring, it is sunrise
I sit like a stone
A bird sits on my leg
Seeds in my head


“Hey Mitch, what’s this poetry thing all about?” I want to collaborate with Blue Öyster Cult and I’m hoping the Öyster Boys will think this would make a good lyric.

Did you know I wrote a paranormal/mystery/romance book inspired by Blue Öyster Cult’s lyrical themes?  Click here to download it here for free!

The cover to my book “Chatters on the Tide” inspired by the music of Blue Öyster Cult