Volition Magician: Martial Arts Training Involution #210


The Magician from my Hoi Polloi Tarot Deck — the one I’ve been working with since the 1970s

Today’s the fifth and final T.I. of the month centering around the Cabal Fang symbol the Chalice and the martial focus Striking.  May’s a long month which allows us five weeks to get into the weeds of this unique internal and external work combination.

The Chalice symbol has many associations, but the one most central is inherence.  The Chalice is about what you let into yourself, what you choose to allow to indwell in you.  Although the most obvious symbol on the Magician card is the infinity symbol, the largest one is The Chalice.

The Magician understands the concept of inherence like no other, and so should the martial artist.  Why?  Because 99% of magic is brute force.   My late friend Woody Landersone of the greatest close-up magicians in the world — once shared with me a wondrous secret.

Most magic tricks are based on the fact that the magician can do things that you assume cannot be done. 

Woody Landers

Woody could cut a deck of cards to the precise number desired.  I never saw him miss.  He would a few cards off the top of the deck and hand them to me.  “There’s seventeen. Count ’em.”  And there were seventeen.  And let me tell you, if you called Woody at 10 PM on a weeknight or at 2 PM on weekend, you were going to hear cards shuffling at some point during that call, guaranteed.  And he could memorize lists of numbers, names, etc. like nobody’s business.  He practiced that constantly.  Do you see the implication?

Woody could fan out a stack of cards, quickly memorize them, and then cut to any card he pleased after they were flipped.

And that is the level of mastery you need to have as a martial artist if you’re going to able to work your brand of magic — overcoming opponents larger, stronger, and faster than you, avoiding unseen dangers, and so forth.

Hocus-pocus isn’t real.  Real magic happens when you allow something to fully become a part of you.

What are you putting into yourself in terms of nourishment — intellectual nourishment (what we read, watch, and concentrate upon), literal nourishment (things we eat and drink), physical nourishment (the things we do and participate in), and spiritual nourishment (things we believe in and worship, Holy Communion, the Eucharist, etc.).

What are you focusing on?  What is your Holy Grail?  What are you allowing to colonize you? 

Volition Magician: Martial arts Training Involution #210

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • 15 minutes of punching half-pyramids for speed.  My old friend Woody understood the magic of repetition and so should you.  Get in front of your heavy bag and throw a half-pyramid of Left Jabs to  4 — that’s 1, then 2, then 3, and 4.  Do that five time — each set in the most rapid succession as possible without sacrificing form.  Switch stance and do it again with Right Jab.  That’s 100 Jabs total.  Now do Left Cross and Right Cross for a total of 100 Crosses.  Go back to the beginning and repeat until the timer beeps.
  • Contemplation.  Before you can fill yourself up with something great you must first dump yourself out and become empty.  Cool down for about 3 minutes, then set a timer for 10 minutes. Assume your posture of choice and regulate your breathing to insure a slow and consistent rhythm that completely fills and empties your lungs without bearing down on your breath. Eyes open. Gently allow your mind to empty and calm itself. Don’t make war with thoughts, just let them pass by, dissipating like ripples on the surface of a pond.
  • Record what you did and what you experienced in your training journal.  If you don’t measure performance, how do you know if you’re improving or not? Only that which is measured improves.

My new ebook “Martial Grit: Real Fighting Fitness (On a Budget)” releases July 1st.  Pre-order now at Barnes & Noble, iTunes or Smashwords.  Honed by 30 years teaching martial arts in inner city programs and in public parks for a non-profit, this is as real as it gets. 3 keys to proper mindset. Accelerate your training with the “S.A.F.E. M.P.” protocol. Dozens of drills and exercises using heavy bags, floor bags, dummies, slip balls, chains, weights, tires, sledges, pipes, mallets, etc. And DIY instructions for making your own gear for pennies.  


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