Victory Flow: Martial Arts Training Involution #211

Victory is attained through flow not by force.

To lead a group you must be in dialogue with its members.  To win a fight you must work with your adversary’s openings.  To physically train your body for fitness, you have work with your body or you will destroy it.

Forcing people destroys teams and groups.  Forcing a given strategy onto set of conditions loses matches, fights and battles.  Forcing your body leads to injury.  And please tell me how it’s at all possible to force a relationship with your higher power?

The monthly focus and symbol are both related flow, which is the conversation and interplay between contrasting elements — you and your higher power, you and your martial opponent, the present state and the goal, etc.  Common symbols for this are pictured on the right.

Clockwise from the upper left: The Chariot Tarot card depicts a chariot drawn by two sphinxes, one light and the other dark.  The rider is being drawn along by the flow.  The stag, a crepuscular animal active only at dawn and dusk, is awash in the conversation between light and dark.  The Luminaries are the two heavenly bodies, one to light the day and the other to light the night.  Boaz and Jachin are the pillars of Solomon’s Temple, Boaz often depicted as black and Jachin as white, evoking ideas similar to the divine twins astride horses — one dark the other light — and  to the taijitu or “yin-yang” symbol — the unity of opposing forces.

The cross, this month’s symbol, is also about flow.  There are four ways of approaching biblical interpretation (allegorical, moral, anagogical and literal) and they are collectively known as the quadriga — a chariot drawn by four horses — a call-back to the symbols pictured above.  The cross, which is after all compass and the “X” that marks the spot, warns you that if you fail to acknowledge the flow you will surely lose your way.

Victory Flow: Martial arts Training Involution #211

  • 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.
  • At least 11 minutes of flow drills. Get our your grappling dummy or floor bag and set a timer for at least 3 x 3:00/1:00.  Put in at least 3 rounds on flow drills.  Start with a chain of two moves.  Add one or two moves per round, slowly building up your flow drill from the bottom.  Don’t force.  Let the drill modify itself as you go.  See what “flows” and what doesn’t.
  • Complete this month’s constitutional.  Pikes (25), Push-ups, uneven (25), Jump Squats (100), Reverse Bridges (25), Curb Touches (100), Ploughs(25), Burpees (25).
  • Contemplation.  Contemplation is about being in, and a part of, flow.  Dump out your intellectual mind for a few minutes, become empty of words, and marinate in the flow.  After you’ve cooled down for about 3 minutes, 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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One response to “Victory Flow: Martial Arts Training Involution #211

  1. Pingback: No Reins: Martial Arts Training Involution #213 | Robert Mitchell Jr.

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