Switch-up: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #158

Greetings from Clayton, NY! It’s Saturday morning and I’m vacationing with relatives on the beautiful Saint Lawrence River for Memorial Day weekend. Make sure you take a moment to remember our fallen heroes.

This week we’re switching the emphasis around a little bit. We wouldn’t want you folks to get bored now, would we?

Switch-up: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #158

  1. As many kicks as you can in 15:00 — no knees or roundhouse allowed.
  2. As many shadowboxing hand strikes as you can in 8:00 — no knuckle punches allowed.
  3. Half pyramid to 10 of Knee Ride Switches and Smearing Push-ups — see video below.

My Yoke Is Easy and My Burden Is Light

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

My stole resting on my home altar

Last night I entered the transitional diaconate, was elevated to deacon, and accepted my deacon stole.  I am a transitional deacon because I will be continuing toward ordination in the priesthood¹ rather than remaining a deacon permanently.

The word deacon derives from the Greek diákonos meaning “servant.”  When I look at some of the most famous deacons in history its clear I have big shoes to fill.  St. Francis of Assisi was a deacon, as was the first Christian martyr, St. Stephen.

But although I don’t feel worthy of this responsibility my heart is still full of joy and gladness because, it seems to me, this feeling of unworthiness only means that I am appropriately humble before Christ through whom all things are possible.

My sincerest thanks and blessings to Brother Leo for standing with me in the ceremony, to Bishop Katia, Bishop Timothy and Father Erik for the trust, education and direction, and to all of the other students in the seminary  — without your participation and energy there would be no seminary for us all to benefit from and enjoy.  And thanks also to my wife and family for your support and for the sacrifices you’ve made so that I can do this work.

But most of all, thanks to God.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5


¹ My seminary is in the Old Catholic line in which priests are permitted to be married.

 

AZIMUTH a poem

Nihility, lack of ability, post truth fragility
Thanatophility, intractability, lies and puerility
I won’t be protesting Bilderberg this year
I’m staying home for the season finale and a beer

My old conspiracies gave way way to social media
Men in black have been replaced by deep fake ophidia
I watch steam rising from boiling old avenues
Giving rise to clouds about the azimuth

I search for a torch to drive away this fog
For a light, a lost pyramid or its analog
Maybe there’s a banner of stars temporarily obscured
We could find out there, I can’t be sure

So I ignore the haze and recall the old magic spell
Hand over heart turning my back to this hell
I say the words king and queen forbade
And invoke the oath our ancestors made

Fidem meam obligo vexillo Civitatum Foederatarum Americae et Rei Publicae, cuius vicem gerit, uni nationi, sub Deo, individuae, praebenti libertatem iustitiamque omnibus.


“Hey Mitch, what’s this 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. Read more here.

Coming Soon: Dime Magazine #1

It’s really hard to make money if you’re not selling anything.

Not making money is fine in the case of Cabal FangThat’s the point.  It’s a charity whose only purpose is to provide free support, to anyone who wants to practice martial arts as a form of personal development.

But I got bills to pay and a retirement to fund.  So, in addition to Cabal Fang, I started Bobcat Martial Arts as a for-profit club and opened a shop that really doesn’t sell much in the way of martial arts stuff.

And then it occurred to me: It’s really hard to make money if you’re not selling anything.  What kind of chuckle-head takes three months to figure that out?  Anyway, at least I did.

I’m starting with the “Bobcat Martial Arts Dime Magazine Series.”†  These will be .pdf magazines for download, all priced at ten bucks.  They will contain all kinds of new material, tightly focused on specific subjects, and they’ll include links to unlisted YouTube videos that you can’t access any other way.

Cool, huh?  Stay tuned.


† Those of you who’ve been following this blog since the beginning will immediately see the inspiration for the format and style of this product.  Although I’m no longer active, I have been a zinester since the 80s, on and off.  Zine culture roots are pulp and indie.  And since Bobcat Martial Arts is my vehicle for teaching Frontier Rough & Tumble and walking stick self-defense — both of which reached their pinnacle in the 19th century — a penny dreadful, dime novel kind of vibe just made sense.  Nowadays a dime is ten bucks instead of ten cents, which is also my price point.  And so voilà!

 

Firefly Style: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #157

“If you can’t run, you walk.  If you can’t walk, you crawl.  If you can’t crawl, you find someone to carry you.”

This week’s T.I. is about understanding the power of realizing you are not alone.

Yesterday, when I did this week’s T.I., I thought of the above quote from Firefly, one of my favorite TV shows.  This T.I. was so hard that the only way I could make it through was to think about the fact that if we were training together — me, you, and the rest of the Cabal Fang crew — none of us would ever let anybody quit.

So I imagined you were there with me, that you were there encouraging me, helping me, making suggestions on how to modify exercises,  and asking me to dig deep.

Your brothers and sisters in Cabal Fang are right there with you.  Now go get it done.

Firefly Style: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #157

  • Warm up for a full 8 minutes.
  • 3 sets of HSPUs to failure.  If you can’t do HSPUs, do Jackknife Push-ups.  If you can’t do them, do Regular Push-ups.
  • 3 sets of Squats. 2 x 5 + 1 set to failure.  Pick a weight that works for you (I used 110 lbs).
  • 10 x 10 yards of Heavy Bear Walks. Select two hex dumbbells.  Go way lighter than you think you need.  I used 10 pounders.  Bear Walk with dumbbells in hand for 10 yards.  Stop and do 10 Push-ups with a Plank Row between, alternating sides.  Repeat 10 more times for a total of 100 yards of Bear Walks, 100 Push-ups and 100 Rows.
  • Unless you are Captain America, you are going to fail at this.  When you do start failing, imagine me and all of the other people in Cabal Fang working right there with you.  If you gas on the Bear Walks, drop the dumbbells and go on without them.  If you gas on the Push-ups or Plank Rows, come up and do them on knees.  Switch to lighter dumbbells halfway through if necessary.  Make whatever changes you have to make and take as many 12-count breaks as you need.  The only rule is don’t give up.
  • Cool down for 3 minutes.
  • Stretch and practice contemplation.
  • Record what you learned in your training journal.

I Want to Collaborate with Blue Öyster Cult

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

News broke that Blue Öyster Cult is working on a new album.  While that fills me with joy and anticipation, I’m also disappointed that I won’t be showing up in the album credits.

I want to collaborate with Blue Öyster Cult.

I truly believe that the band could return to packing stadiums like they did in the 70’s — and I think I could show them how.  Yes, I know that’s a bold statement , borderline whacko in fact.  But let me break it down.

How am I qualified to be a collaborator with Blue Öyster Cult?
  • My moderately popular novel Chatters on the Tide , inspired by their lyrics, themes and music, has been downloaded thousands of times and is currently #11 in Metaphysical Fiction at Smashwords.com.
  • Blue Öyster Cult is my favorite band.  I know their lyrics backwards and forwards (pun intended) and I practically have the Blue Öyster Cult FAQ memorized.
  • I’m a martial artist master, spiritual teacher, executive manager, and skilled negotiator.  I’m not intimidated by big obstacles or difficult situations and my specialty is consensus building.  I’m an expert at bringing people together to realize a common vision.
What makes you think Blue Öyster Cult could return to packing stadiums like they did in the 70’s?
  • Talent deep and wide.  They’re a team of master musicians featuring seasoned veterans as well as cracking young guns.  See video below.
  • They’ve got legs.  Here’s a sample of their YouTube view totals: Don’t Fear The Reaper 6.8 million views, Veteran of the Psychic Wars 3.3 million views, Burnin’ For You 1.3 million views.
  • Elite Prog Rock roots. Modern Prog Rock bands like Coheed and Cambria are selling like hotcakes and filling venues,  Why not the masters?
  • J. K. Rowling is a big fan. She named a book after one of their albums and referenced their lyrics.  Doesn’t prove my point but it’s a fun factoid though.
What should I do if I think you’re right?
  • Share this post.  Tweet it, Facebook it, go hog-wild.
  • Reach out to the band.  Six degrees of separation, right?  Somebody reading this right now knows somebody who can get me in front of the band for a sit-down.
  • Share your ideas with me. Post in the comments.
  • Watch this space. I’m going to start sharing poetry and ideas that could be used for thematic and/or lyrical inspiration.  Follow and share.

Now watch this preposterously good video featuring Blue Öyster Cult’s youngest member, Richie Castellano.

 

Pinking Shears and Fishers of Men

Pop passed away back in 2008 and Mom followed him in 2016.  But the home in which I was raised — the home my parents bought for nine thousand dollars in 1962, back when nine thousand dollars was a lot of money — is still in the family.

Although the house has been rented out for almost ten years now,  Mom and Pop have yet to be driven out.   They are in that house, in every crack, nook and cranny.  A house that old, inhabited for so long by a family, cannot be emptied of its essence in a mere decade.

Their belongings still come to the surface in that house, emerging like clay tablets from the sands of Mesopotamia.  Things are drawn out from the backs of closets.  They shake free, fall out, bubble up.  Slivers of paper, notes, ballpoint pens.  Old keys.

The other night I was over there getting ready for the next tenant and I found a tiny box in the attic.  It contained a letter and a Bible.  The letter is dated November 19, 1957 and was sent from my grandmother to my father to wish him a happy birthday while he was in basic training at Fort Gordon, GA.  The Bible is The Testament for Fishers of Men. and the inscription says it was given to him my Aunt Jane in 1954.

Tucked inside the Bible was a newspaper clipping my mother gave him.  How do I know Mom gave it to him?  Because it was cut out with pinking shears, and because it’s a love poem.  My mother was many things.  First, she was the woman who loved my father most.  Second, she was an accomplished seamstress who definitely owned a pair of pinking shears.  I know this because I still have her shears stowed away in an old sewing box.

Here’s the poem, a love message from Mom to Pop from long ago.

This Much I Promise

This much I promise you my sweet
By all the stars above
There is no other soul on earth
To whom I give my love
I cannot promise I will be
The picture of perfection
Or that you will not know a day
Of sorrow or dejection
I cannot sear that you will use
A gold or silver spoon
I cannot pledge a kingdom or
The surface of the moon
For I am only human as
A being God created
And I can only undertake
The things He contemplated
But I can promise  you this much
Whatever else I do
I love you, and as long as life
I will be true to you.