Ice and Fire: Martial Arts Training Involution #181

Rountree’s “The Powhatan Indians of Virginia” contains a wealth of information and is surprisingly fun to read for a scholarly work of its kind.

My frontier lifeways research continues to pay dividends for both the Bobcat Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble program and for Cabal Fang martial arts.

A Powhatan warrior, I’ve discovered, was expected to be silent and taciturn when beaten for a criminal offense and, if tortured, his only outcry should be insults directed at his captors.

The Powhatan began at a very early age to inure themselves to discomfort.  In Rountree’s The Powhatan Indians of Virginia, I read that they took  daily, early morning baths in the nearest natural body of water, regardless of the season — men, women and children alike.  They told the English that they did it for two reasons – both to keep them clean and to harden them to the cold.

More indigenous training methods will appear in future Bobcat training modules — but some of them are so brutal that they will have to be modified, adapted, or even replaced with alternative analogs to make them compatible with modern sensibilities.

Stoicism — indifference to pain and discomfort — is an often-neglected martial skill.  It’s difficult to train safely and there’s a fine line between pain tolerance training and masochism or torture. Traditional martial artists use body toughening techniques like shin rolling, makiwara and wooden dummy training to instill pain tolerance. This is why in Cabal Fang we stress the importance of the forging post.

All of this leads us nicely to ice method of pain tolerance training — the “ice” in this week’s “Ice and Fire” training involution.

Ice and Fire: Martial Arts Training Involution #181

  • Ice.  Half fill a large pitcher with water and ice.  Set timer for 3 mins and plunge your open hand into it to test pain tolerance.  Do not squirm, make faces, or utter a sound.  If you can’t go the full 3 mins, practice daily until you can. Note: As shown in Mythbusters episode #142, holding a hand in ice water for ≤ 3 minutes is safe for people with no precluding health issues.
  • Fire.  Complete the following martial calisthenics: 50 Lunges (Drop Duck-under-style), 50 Reverses (Back Bridge to roll over), 25 Sit-out Push-ups, 25 Bear Walks (5 yards each), 50 Shots, 50 Sprawls, and 50 Sit-ups (from Bottom Scissors while thigh-squeezing a floor bag).  Beginners, do half.
  • Extra credit.  3 minute cold bath or shower.  Set timer and get in.  Do not squirm, make faces, or utter a sound. Tip: Meditate, contemplate, pray, or do what I do to pass the time: recite wisdom literature in your head.  My favorites are Matthew 6: 1-4, Philippians 4:4-9, The Lord’s Prayer, and the Emerald Tablet.

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

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