Action Gospel: Sunday Message

Maybe you didn’t know that I make a video every Sunday.  Here’s this week’s message — hope you like it!

Take ‘Em Down and Put ‘Em Up: Martial Arts Training Involution #187

MBF dice (“Martial Base Fitness”)

There are certain martial movements so fundamental that someone who doesn’t drill them, it could be argued, is not a martial artist at all.

I have an entire program called MBF (“Martial Base Fitness”) that’s designed to make sure you have a firm foundation in these essential exercises.  Click here to order your copy for $9.99 — it even comes with some handmade dice to add an element of randomness and fun!

Two of the MBF movements are going to form the “Take ‘Em Down” half of this week’s T.I.  For the second “Put ‘Em Up” half we’re going to be putting up our dukes against a heavy bag.

Take ‘Em Down and Put ‘Em Up: Martial Arts Training Involution #186

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes.  I like to do 2 minutes each of jump rope, light calisthenics, shadowboxing, and dynamic stretching (never stretch static when cold).
  • Full pyramid to 7 of Shots and Sit-Outs.  Perform 1 Shot and 1 Sit-Out, then 2 of each, 3 of each, etc. up to 7.  Then do 6, 5, 4, etc. down to 1.  That’s 49 Shots and 49 Sit-Outs.  Modify as needed based on experience and fitness.  Beginners, sub Russian Squats if and when you gas on the Shots.  Experts, after every Sit-Out go to plank position and complete a Push-Up, then go straight to the next rep (no resets).  Take as few 12 count breaks as you need in order to finish.  If you don’t know how to do a wrestling Shot or Sit-Out, looks like you need my program!
  • 3 rounds on the heavy bag.  Go all in — punches, crams, braces, palms, kicks, knees, etc.  — and all out for speed and power.  Beginners run 2:00/1:00 rounds, intermediates 3:00/1:00, and experts can skip the round breaks and take three 12-count breaks max.
  • 10 minutes of meditation or contemplation.  After you cool down — for about 3 minutes or until your heart rate is below 100 bpm —  have a seat and do 10 minutes of internal work.

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books.  Why not check one out?


Two More Beat the Bodybuilder Challenge!

This past Saturday two more stalwart members of Cabal Fang headquarters completed the 100 Bodybuilder challenge!

Morgan (my daughter – proud papa here) got it done in an impressive 15:59!  Just to put her time in perspective: my initial benchmark about ten years ago was 18:35.  15:59 is no joke!

Jack (Morgan’s fiance by the way) set the new club record at 12:14.  Way to go Jack!

2019 Bodybuilder Challenge Times

Morgan Mitchell 15:59
Mitch Mitchell 13:15
Robert Mitchell 12:47
Jack Bloor 12:14
Mark Hatmaker 10:45 (not a member of the club but he took the challenge anyway).

Feel free to take a whack at it and post your time in the comments!

This is my Top 10 calisthenics ebook — click here to download!

Does this look fun?  Why not read my bestselling calisthenics book, face one of the challenges in it, and get your name in the Calisthenics Codex Hall of Fame?

My Ordination and Realization

You could’ve knocked me over with a feather when I got an email from the seminary stating that I was one of just four people selected to be sent on an all-expense-paid trip to New York City to participate in the consecration of bishops and to be ordained as a deacon.  I accepted the honor — and the responsibility — and off I went to Brooklyn, NY.

The Ordination

And so, on November 30th of 2019, on the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle at the Church of the Evangel, in Brooklyn, NY, Ekklesia Epignostika Church and Seminary consecrated new bishops and ordained new deacons and sub-deacons — and I was there to help.

Father Clyde Kuemmerle

Bishops Linda Blakeney Jarvis, Erik Eberle Weaver and Angela Elizabeth DeBry were those officially consecrated, Bishop Benjamin Evans of the Old Catholic Diocese of New Jersey presiding.  Later in the day Jeremy Di Salvo was ordained as a sub-deacon and I was ordained as a deacon. 

This is my chalice and paten set from the church supply catalog. I didn’t feel comfortable taking a picture of the actual set gifted to me by Bishop Linda. Now that they’ve held the wine and host and have been consecrated, they are too holy to be photographed.

The high point was being taught the preparation of the Holy Eucharist by Father. Clyde.  As an additional honor, Father Clyde selected my new chalice and paten to be used during both services that day.  He showed me how to fill the burse, fold and prepare the corporal and the purificator, etc.  For someone who believes that the wine and the host are the body and blood of Christ, and that the Eucharistic Rite is at the center of the Christian life, it was amazing and beautiful and  too much for words.

The Realization

So it’s official — I’m a clergyman. 

The funny thing is, this was sort of written in the stars.  Years ago, when my girls were little and I was an Accounting manager, I thought about making a career change.  It must have been somewhere around 1993.  I decided to go over to J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and take their career placement test.  It was a long and complicated evaluation, taking over 2 hours.  I took the test and a few days later I went to meet with a counselor to review and interpret my scores.  What were the results?  Clergy.  “Clergy?” I thought.  “Seriously?  A preacher?  You have to be kidding.  This test was a stupid waste of time!”

And now here I am.  Now I’m an Accounting Director — but I’m also a deacon.  Bishop Linda said that I was born to wear the collar — one of the finest compliments I’ve ever been paid.  And you know what?  She’s right. I was a nervous wreck leading up to the event.  I was terrified about traveling in clerical attire and worried sick about botching my lines.  I kept imagining worst-case scenarios — tripping up, spilling the wine, dropping the host.

But once I put on that black suit everything changed.  I was as relaxed and as comfortable as I am wearing a Karate uniform or a pair of sweat pants.  And that relaxed, easy comfort didn’t go away.  When I was in front of the congregation I was perfectly calm, even when I read the Holy Gospel.  The selection I was given to read was the Parable of the Lost Sheep.

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’  Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

[Luke 15 Revised Standard Version (RSV)]

Some friends and even family members didn’t know I was in seminary until I had to explain where I was going.  I don’t talk about it all that much, for several reasons.  Firstly, I want to keep my ego small.  My pursuit of the priesthood is between me and God, and someday, my flock.  Secondly, I don’t want anyone to treat me differently.  And thirdly, I’ve never trusted people who flaunt their religiosity.  Christ said to pray in private, not in the streets (Matthew 6:1-6) and I take that seriously.

Since the ordination the question I get asked most is “I thought priests couldn’t be married?”  Well, that’s Roman Catholics.  I’m an Old Catholic.  Old Catholics and Eastern Catholics admit priests who are married, and many Old Catholics even ordain female priests.  If you want to know more about Old Catholics, check out the information below.

If things go as planned I’ll be ordained as a priest in a year or two.  What happens then?  Who knows.  I’m praying about that, and I will go and do whatever God wills for me.

That is, after all, the point.

What is an “Old Catholic?” 

Old Catholics were part of the Roman Catholic Church until Vatican 1 in 1874 when the Immaculate Conception was made dogma and the Bishop of Rome was made a Bishop above all other bishops. Half of the bishops left the Council.  The remaining half voted to to change the governance of the Catholic Church despite the schism.

Five bishops in Holland, Switzerland & Germany set out the Doctrine of Utrecht stating they would adhere to the “old” governance of the Catholic Church with all bishops being co-equal.  Old Catholicism was born.

As a result, Old Catholics recognize the pope as the western patriarch yet do not adhere to Roman Catholic canon law.  In the eyes of Rome, the Old Catholic Church is considered illicit but not illegal — schismatic but not heretical.  In Europe there is a union of Old Catholic Churches with a presiding bishop, but in the U.S Old Catholics are either autonomous or grouped in loose affiliations.

Cut ‘n’ Run: Martial Arts Training Involution #186


On the right is a picture of me doing some shirtless winter-time training. 

Try it sometime.  Who cares what you look like or if it’s a little chilly?  If my shriveled up carcass can do it, you can too.  Get out of your head, shake things up, and start being the person you know you can be.  You’re capable of far more than you think you are! 

This week we’re going to use our imagination to create a 20-minute survival scenario.  Does this look fun?  You bet it does!

Why not come out and train with us at Richmond’s only free, non-profit martial arts club?  Or, if you prefer, arrange some private lessons or arrange to have me run a seminar for you and your martial arts school,   Click here to make that happen.

Cut ‘n’ Run: Training Involution #186

  • Ready your equipment and set the stage.  Pretend you are in the middle of a bad situation — there’s been a riot, there’s a state of civil unrest, etc. and you’re in the middle of a melee.  To set this up you’ll need (1) something you can vault over safely, such as a fence or an 8′ long 2″ x 4″ lashed to a couple of sawhorses, etc. You’ll also need (2)  a blunt training weapon (rubber, wooden, etc.), (3) a heavy bag with chains removed or taped up, (4) a 50 yard distance marked off, and (5) a timer set for 20 minutes.
  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes.  I like to do 2 minutes each of jump rope, light calisthenics, shadowboxing, and dynamic stretching (never stretch static when cold).
  • Start your 20 minute timer.  When it beeps at 20 minutes, this training session is over no matter where you are, so flat out hustle for the duration.  Take as few 12-second breaks as you need in order to get through.
  • Deploy your training weapon and attack as you Split Vault over that fence or rail 50 times.  Pretend you are beset on all sides by assailants and obstacles.  Place off-hand on rail and send the attacking hand and same-side foot over at the same time.  As you get airborne, go belly down and pull the opposite foot and arm over.  Land on the first foot, pivot, and keep running.  Confused?  Watch Allen do a Split Vault at the 2:00 minute mark in the video below.
  • Sheath your weapon and pick up your heavy bag.  Pretend you got clear of the bad guys and now you need to get an injured person to safety.  Complete 10 Shoulder Carries of 50 yards each.  Swap sides as needed.
  • Drop the bag and scramble.  The bad guys are back and now the terrain is harsh! Get on all fours and scramble like a raccoon 5 x 50 yards as fast as you can.
  • Run.  Start running and don’t stop until the timer beeps.  The faster you do the first three segments the longer you’ll have to run.
  • 10 minutes of meditation or contemplation.  After you cool down — for about 3 minutes or until your heart rate is below 100 bpm —  have a seat and do 10 minutes of internal work.

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books.  Why not check one out?


100 Bodybuilders: Martial Arts Training Involution #185

November is Mettlecraft Month at Cabal Fang and the time has come to face the 100 Bodybuilder Challenge!  Go get it done.  Post links to photos, blogs and videos in the comments below.

We took a shot at it on 11/26 and we’re going to do it one more time on Tuesday 12/3.  So far the record is held by Mark Hatmaker at 10:43.  Where are you going to come in?

Need some last minute prep work to get ready for next Tuesday night?  Video below!

100 Bodybuilders: Training Involution #185

  • Warm-up thoroughly.  Jog, jump rope, lightly shadowbox, etc. for a total of at least 8 minutes.
  • Complete 100 Bodybuilders. My method is to set a 1 minute interval timer and complete about 7 reps “OTM” which stands for “on the minute.”  That gives me about 20 seconds of rest between each set of 7.  My son Robert prefers to do them “Cabal Fang Trial Style” — he does as many reps as he can until he gasses, takes a 12-count break, and repeats until he gets his 100.  See technique video below.
  • 10 minutes of meditation or contemplation.  After you cool down — for about 3 minutes or until your heart rate is below 100 bpm —  have a seat and do 10 minutes of internal work.

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books.  Why not check one out?


100 Bodybuilder Challenge

Me and the boy last night

UPDATE — 11/27/111:37 AM EST

Mark Hatmaker just posted in his Vale Alliance private FB group that — despite still rehabbing after knee surgery! — he just crushed the challenge in 10:43.  What can I say?  The man is a beast.

ORIGINAL POST 11/27/19 7:;30 AM EST

Last night we crushed the 100 Bodybuilder challenge!  I got them done in 13:15 and my son Robert finished in a blistering 12:47.

I set the original benchmark at 18:35 years ago.  Then my son carved off a minute or so, and I took off a minute, and we’ve batted it back and forth ever since.  Robert had the previous record at just over 15 minutes.

My 100 Bodybuilder time 11/27/19

Robert’s 100 Bodybuilder time 11/27/19

But last night was the first time we ever did it together.  The competition, camaraderie, and perfect weather just came together to create one of those moments.  I still can’t believe we shaved almost 3 minutes off our record times!

It’s going to be really hard to beat that 12:47.  Why don’t you go take a whack at it?  

In fact, next week on Tuesday night at Cabal Fang, my daughter Morgan and her fiance Jack are going to take the challenge.  I can’t wait to see what kind of time they put up!

How do you do a 10-count Bodybuilder?  It’s basically a Burpee with a Jumping Jack at the beginning, a foot maneuver in the middle, and no jump at the end:

  • Jumping Jack (1,2)
  • Squat down (3)
  • Shoot feet back to Plank (4)
  • Spread feet wide apart (5)
  • Bring feet back together (6)
  • Push-up (7,8)
  • Pop feet back to Squat position (9)
  • Stand up (10)

Navy Seal Mark Divine says that we are capable of 10 times more than we think we are, and he’s very clear that he’s not spouting hyperbole or metaphor.  I agree with him.  

Post your times in the comments!

Also, I put out two videos a week — martial arts videos on Wednesdays (see below) and religious videos on Sundays.