Mettlecraft Month 2020 is Here!

Update — We are extending the challenge until 12/1 to give some of our members to take one more shot at the challenge — but this Tuesday 12/1/20 is it!

Well, it’s that time of year again — Mettlecraft Month!  Everyone — students past and present, old friends, new friends — please play along and share videos and/or photos of yourself facing the challenge.  Watch this space for updates!

So what’s the challenge?

12 Minutes of Very Bad Karma plus as many kicks as you can in 8 minutes

Like video? See below.   If you prefer written instructions:

  1. Set timer for two intervals — 12 and 8 minutes with no break. [Tip: if you only have a repeating countdown timer, just set it for 4-minute repeats and listen for 3 cylcles and then 2 cycles].
  2. “Very Bad Karma” from my e-book The Calisthenics Codex. Select a rep count for the four exercises — Sprints (12′ out and back = 1), Split Jump Squats (jump, switch, jump = 1), Get-ups and Knuckle Push-ups.  I started with 5.
  3. Complete as many circuits as you can at your selected rep count in 12:00 minutes.
  4. Immediately start doing kicks.  Do as many kicks as you can with good form in 8:00 minutes.
  5.  Add rep counts together for your total score.
  6. Example: You pick a rep count of 5 — 20 reps per circuit.  You complete 8 full circuits plus 4 Sprints before the timer beeps.  That’s 164 reps.  Then you do 180 kicks.  Your total score is 344.

November 24 Results

Mitch Mitchell — 176 + 303 = 479 (my best yet!)

November 23 Results

James Williams — 203 + 331 = 534 (2nd highest score so far)

November 19 Results

I tried to get 50 of each exercise in order to break 200 total reps during the Very Bad Karma phase.  Didn’t make it.  Here’s the video.

November 17 Results

Mitch Mitchell — 150+ 250 = 400
Morgan Mitchell — 150+ 240 = 390
Jack Bloor — 278 + 266 = 544 (highest score so far)

November 16 Results

James Williams —  203 + 264 = 467

November 12 results

Mitch Mitchell — 176+ 263= 439

November 10 results

Everybody’s numbers came up this week!

Mitch Mitchell — 175+ 218 = 393
Morgan Mitchell — 162 + 236= 398
Jack Bloor — 240 + 259 = 499

November 3 Results

Mitch Mitchell — 136 + 242 = 378
Morgan Mitchell — 160 + 200 = 360
Jack Bloor — 205 + 280 = 485  Way to go Jack!

Now get moving!

14 responses to “Mettlecraft Month 2020 is Here!

  1. James A. Williams

    Great challenge and an inspiring start on the part of everyone there! Count me in . . . I’ll keep you posted.

    -James in the StL

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  5. Hi Mitch and company,

    I hope all are well, and congrats on great numbers all around! I did my first pass at this year’s Mettlecraft Challenge this morning, so a late start but I plan to get after it hard over the next couple of weeks. It was a blast (in an agonizing sort of way)! No video this time around, but here are the details . . .

    Start time: 10:15a.m. CST; Weather: 52F and sunny (perfect in other words)

    Sprint/Jumping split squat/Get-up/Knuckle push-ups @ 5 reps each per set
    Total: 10 complete sets + 3 sprints = 203

    Kicks (snap, side, knees, “jab”, etc., though nothing above about waist high)
    Total: 264
    Grand total: 467

    Notes: So, this was tough, tougher than I maybe anticipated. Took me a couple of minutes to really get into a rythym for the calisthenics portion and I’m certain I need to clean up my form on the get-ups.

    For the kicks portion I’m happy to report that I managed to get in a good variety (it was pretty tempting to just do knees at one point to conserve energy) but I started by doing, say, twenty reps of one technique then switching to another. Pacing myself, so to speak. I stopped doing that maybe three minutes in and then did each technique basically to exhaustion before switching. This approach seemed more in keeping both with the challenge and a central principle of sport fighting and self-defense: If it’s working, keep doing it!

    Thanks for putting this together! I’ll keep you posted as I do further attempts . . .



    • Excellent score James, especially for a first shot
      ! Yes, it is far more challenging than it seems on the surface…I noticed that it’s bumping up against my weight training pretty hard, so much so that I’ve had to back off the weights a little bit this month or else fall too far behind you guys! I’ve tried 5, 6 and 4 reps per exercise and my best results were with 4 reps. When I did 6, I was so gassed my kicks suffered (I too wanted to slack off and throw lazy knees!). I do my kicks in combos until things get tight (I like [Stamp, RH, Back kick], [Lead Snap, Lead Crescent, Rear RH], and from the Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble arsenal [Bark, Hop Bark, RH]) and then throw singles until I loosen up, then do more combos. If you do the MBF method from “Martial Grit” I bet you can beat Jack’s score! That’s what I’m doing 🙂

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  7. Hi Mitch and friends,
    Great numbers! Here’s the update for my second attempt at this year’s Mettlecraft Challenge (undertaken this morning at about the same time as last week, though it was a bit chillier).

    Calisthenics sequence @ 4 reps per exercise:
    12 complete sets + 11 = 203
    Kicks = 331
    Grand total = 334

    Notes: So, obviously I did the exact same number of calisthenic reps as previously, but I cleaned up my form on the get-ups, so I’m counting this as an improvement! 🙂 I’m going to stick with the 4-rep format for future attempts with the aim of bumping this number up.

    I went out fast with the kicks this time around–no pacing!–and while I did briefly pause a few times over the course of the eight minutes, it paid off.

    One week to go . . . Will anyone break the 600 barrier? Let’s hope so!


    James in St. Louis

  8. Whoops . . . That grand total should read “534”.



  9. Ha! I’m feeling very mortal today, painfully so in fact! Even after a 45 minute massage stick and foam roller session my legs are so sore climbing the stairs feels like ascending the final stretch of Everest. But it’s not called Mettlecraft for nothing!

  10. Pingback: Rigor Fortis: Mettle Maker #236 | Robert Mitchell Jr.

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