The Emerald Lamp Video Series

I just uploaded the first episode of my new video series entitled “The Emerald Lamp.”

In keeping with the Hermetic Quaternary — “To Know, To Will, To Dare: To Keep Silent” — the Emerald Lamp Video Series is intended to provide knowledge, inspiration, exercises and meditations for those intent on cultivating their better selves.

In the first episode: Series intro, the Hermetic Quaternary a.k.a. the Powers of the Sphinx, the Cross of Light, the compass, the inspiration of Bob Kelman, how to break exercise plateaus and a reading from Richard Smoley.

How do you get it?  You can watch it now by supporting me on Patreon — just $1/month will give you access! — or you can wait 30 days and view it on my Youtube channel.

Blood Compass: WOOTW #81

Workout of the Week #81 is wrapped around what we’re doing at the club this month.  So, since our external focus is Mettlecraft, the PT is extra brutal and the internal work is extra challenging.

If being enlightened was all just navel gazing, holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” then everybody would a flippin’ spiritual master. 

Real spiritual work is about self-examination, discernment, integrating the shadow, and all sorts of difficult and sometimes unpleasant endeavors.

Time to sack up or back up.

Note: Confused by all this talk of symbols and monthly focuses and so forth?  It’s all fully explained in  Cabal Fang: Complete Martial Arts Study Course from Querent to Elder which you can get on iTunes, from Barnes & Noble, KOBO or Smashwords in any format.

Workout of the Week #81

  • Half-hour Pyramid.  Select 4 to 7 calisthenic exercises. Less is harder because you’ll do more reps of the same exercise!  So beginners = 7, intermediate = 5 or 6, advanced = 3 or 4.  Set timer for 15 minutes.  Climb the pyramid until the timer beeps.  Finish the set you’re on, then try to climb back down before the half-hour is done.
  • Heavybag Compass Drill.  Set a timer for 4 rounds of 2:00/:30 or, if your round timer won’d to fractional intervals, use 3:00/1:00.  Resist the temptation to do longer rounds — you’ll start pacing yourself, and that’s not the goal.  Round 1 focus on Form.  Go slow and make your body mechanics as perfect as you can.  Round 2, focus on Accuracy.  Pick your targets carefully and try to hit them perfectly.  Round 3, go for Speed.  See how many shots you can throw before the timer beeps.  Round 4, go for Power.  Make every shot a knockout blow.
  • Blood Compass Meditation.  Set a timer to beep every 3 minutes.  Assume your meditative posture of choice, regulate your breathing, close your eyes and start the timer.  You’re going to do 4 segments of 3 mins each as follows:

1. Visualize a chalice hovering in front of your forehead and imagine that it contains the the blood of your chosen god or goddess.  Think about where you look for guidance and what you worship — not in theory but in practice.  Are you are properly demonstrating and directing your devotion?  When the timer beeps…

2. Imagine the chalice descends to hover in front your lower abdomen  and that it contains the blood of your ancestors and kin.  Think about what you’ve inherited biologically and emotionally from your ancestors.  Are you using discernment to determine what you’re carrying that’s positive and what’s negative?  Are you passing on the good an jettisoning the bad?  Are letting go of emotional baggage?  When the timer beeps…

3. Now the chalice hovers near your right shoulder and it contains the blood of friends and heroes.  Who do you associate with?  Who do you aspire to become?  Are you associating with, and looking up to, the right kinds of people?  If not, why is that?  What can you do to sort that out?

4. And finally, the chalice moves left and hovers near your left shoulder and it contains the blood of sacrifice and nourishment.  Are you making sacrifices for the benefit of yourself, your family, your community and your nation?  Are you respecting the sacrifices of others?  Do you respect the lives of the plants and animals that have died to nourish you?  Are your meals more sacred or decadent?

When you’re done, record your thoughts and realizations in your training journal and add action items to your To-Do List.

Quiet Badasses

Every morning on my drive to work I see dozens of bumper stickers proclaiming success, declaring pride, claiming this or that moral high ground, and generally announcing some kind of superiority.  A good person is a good person I guess and, with or without the sticker, I reckon a badass is still a badass.  Hell, I can’t run a damned marathon. 

But there’s something special about the quiet ones. 

Last night my truck broke down. I was stuck by the side of the road for an hour and a half and I couldn’t make it to my martial arts club’s 6 PM workout.  I felt awful about it because we meet outdoors at a local park and I had all of the equipment and the lights.  Last night it was 40° F and pitch black.  One of the guys tried to call me, but I was busy pushing the truck and dealing with the problem, so I missed his call.

You know that they did?  They worked out anyway.

No equipment?  Work around it.  No lights?  Workout in the dark.  No fanfare, no announcements, no excuses, no bullshit.  Did they get on Facebook and tout their determination?  Hell no.  In Cabal Fang martial arts, we call that mettle.

I am more proud of them for quietly doing what they did than I’d be if they climbed Everest and put stickers on their bumpers.

That’s what I call badass.

Thanks for the Shout-out Coach

This morning I was watching Mark Hatmaker’s monthly video  — RAW #180 to be precise — and to my surprise he sends me a shout-out at 12:45. Very flattered by that, I can tell you!

At that point in the DVD he’s talking about potentially chaining attacks into buzz-saw-like combos and suggesting that I might already be on it. And he’s right. In Cabal Fang — as in the Mark’s newly unfolding Frontier Rough & Tumble martial arts program — our first rule is to move in and to keep those hits coming!

I am, by the way, pursuing certification to teach Mark’s FRT curriculum in addition to my popular Cabal Fang martial arts program.  And there’s a shocking amount of overlap.

So if you want practical martial arts training I recommend two things:

First join the Cabal Fang Hermit Path Distance Learning Program. It’s a totally free, 12-month study at home martial arts program. No, you can’t learn to fight training solo.  But you can put your head in the right place — spiritually, philosophically and tactically — build a foundation in the basics and shift your fitness into high gear.  Email to enroll.

Second, go sign up for the ESP RAW Subscription Service. It’s top notch instruction at a bargain price.

What’s a Hero? Workout of the Week #80


In honor of our veterans this Veteran’s Day I offer…

What’s a hero? 

The world’s first recorded hero is Marduk, the Mesopotamian deity of the ancient mythic tale known as the Enuma Elish.  In that story, Marduk is the only god courageous enough to face Tiamat, the dragon of chaos.

iconThe oldest known hero recorded in the English language is Beowulf.  He is the only warrior with enough courage to pit his strength and prowess against the terrible Grendel and his even more horrific mother.

But lots of people are heroic and they’re not warriors.  Think about the people you look up to as heroes.  What characteristic do they share?  

A hero does what others are afraid to do. 

But it’s more than that.  If it heroism was just about being brave and overcoming fear, then criminals would be heroes because they have the courage to break laws.  A hero’s bravery must serve a noble purpose.

A hero behaves honorably. 

icon“Honor means recognizing your obligations, then having the courage to do what is right.”  ~Forrest Morgan, Living the Martial Way


Now let’s carry this brief exploration of heroism into…

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #80

1) Do something heroic.  Think of something you’ve been reluctant or afraid to do, something that serves a higher purpose, and make a plan for getting it done.  Doesn’t have to be earth shattering — smaller might even be better.  Maybe there’s a family member in need of an intervention, a friend who needs help with a daunting task, a volunteer job you’d have to bite the bullet to complete etc.

This workout appears in my Top 10 calisthenics ebook — click here to download!

2) Self Destruct Sequence.  See if you can beat my PR of 28:18.  This workout comes from my Top 10 calisthenics book The Calisthenics Codex (Click here to get it at Barnes & Noble, here to get it on iTunes/iBooks or go here get it at Smashwords in any format).

  • Zombie Squats (50)
  • Pushups, diamond (25)
  • Jump Squats (100)
  • Bodybuilders (25)
  • Pikes (25)
  • Jump Squats, split (50)
  • Pushups, barrel roll (25)
  • Bicycles (50 each side)
  • Burpees (25)
  • Twisters (25 each side)
  • Wall Touches (100)
  • Pushups, hopping/clapping (25)

3) Noodle around a little.  If you have a partner, spend 10 minutes practicing your standing locks a.k.a. “the Star of Ishtar.”  No partner?  Get yourself a pool noodle and bungee it to a tree, post or heavy bag to use as a training arm.  If you feel like making it fancy, put a fake elbow in it.







Alibris over Amazon

Amazon is the big dog on the block for sure, and plenty of people love them — including my wife.  She loves her Amazon Prime membership.

As an indie author though, I have a problem with their rock bottom royalties.  I make more money when somebody downloads a $4.99 copy of my calisthenics ebook at than I do when somebody buys a $12.99 paperback copy of my martial arts book on Amazon.  And I also just don’t like giant faceless conglomerates.  I like to spread my money around.

So I buy my books either from Book People over on Granite Ave. or I order from  I especially like the Multiple ISBN Search where you can plug in multiple ISBN numbers and it will give you the cheapest bundle.

I like Alibris so much that I decided to become an affiliate. As a blogger and educator I link to a ton of books on this site and I figured hey, why not support a company I like and maybe earn a couple of bucks commission?  I get 5% if you click over there and buy something.

Check them out!

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Nasty Nasty Workout of the Week #79

This month’s focus is Mettlecraft.  For those you haven’t read the book yet, you can find a full definition here.  For those who have, you know this is the month where you dig just a little bit deeper.  So the workout of the week is pretty darn nasty.

But in Cabal Fang we never ask anybody to do something we aren’t willing to do ourselves.  So WOOTW #79 is exactly what we did at the club this past Thursday.  And I’m going to inspire you to dig deeper by showing you a little video of me completing my first Handstand Push-up after 16 months of work.

It’s fairly sloppy and I look like a lumpy old grandpa in my faded sweatpants, but I hope it inspires you nonetheless.  I mean, just think — if I can go from regular Push-ups to Handstand Push-ups at age 56 then imagine what you can do!

And now for the nasty, nasty workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #79

  1. Complete the Monthly Constitutional as follows:
  • Walking Push-ups (25)*
  • Twisters (25)
  • Zombie Squats (50)
  • Burpees (25)
  • Curb Touches (100)
  • Lunges (100)
  • Flutter Kicks (100)

2. 8 minute Tire Run.  Set a timer for 4 minutes.  Pick something up and run as fast as you can until the timer beeps and then run back.  Beginners, choose something small and light, say a 5 lb. dumbbell.  Intermediate, choose something a little larger and more awkward, say a 10 lb. medicine ball.  Advanced players, use something like my personal favorite, the humble automobile tire (without the rim, obviously).  Cool down for 3 minutes and then meditate.

3. A meditation on the symbol of the Chalice.  Read or re-read Chapter 15 in the Cabal Fang book.  If you have a chalice of some sort in your home, set it up such that it’s at eye level when you’re in your meditative posture of choice.  If you don’t own a chalice, sketch or draw one, prop up a photo from a book, or print out the photo below.  Set a timer for 10 minutes, assume meditative posture, and regulate your breathing.  Do not squirm, wiggle, fidget or scratch — just look quietly at the chalice until the timer beeps.  When you are done, record your thoughts, feelings and impressions in your training journal.

A chalice (courtesy of Wikimedia)

* Take one “step” either left or right with your hands between each Push-up.