The title of this week’s mettle maker is a play on the term rigor mortis which literally means “stiffness of death” and refers to the tendency of corpses to become rigid for a fixed period of time after death.
Rigor fortis means “stiffness of strength.” Strength is mostly about suppleness, elasticity, and explosiveness. But sometimes it also about setting your face like flint.
Third Annual November Mettlecraft Challenge is in full swing.
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Rigor Fortis: Mettle Maker #236
- 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. If you really want to crush this month’s mettlecraft challenge, do MBF every day and incorporate at least 2 of its exercises in each session. Frequent low-intensity work between high-intensity work will shoot you forward like a slingshot.
- How’s your pain tolerance? Half fill a large pitcher with water and ice. Set timer for 3 mins and plunge your open hand and lower arm into it to test your 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.
- Five rounds of practical, solo grappling action. You’re doing intense fitness work on account of Mettlecraft Month, so take it down a notch and work the dummy. If you don’t have a dummy, make one (instructions in my e-book Martial Grit). Hang up your dummy and set timer for 5 x 3:00 (beginners add breaks if needed). Rounds as follows: 1) Grinding and Gouging 2) Striking 3) Choking, Holding and Locking 4) Throwing 5) Yanking. See video below for details.
- How’s your weather wisdom? Do you know which tidbits of old-timey weather wisdom are reliable and which are merely myths? Is a read sky at night really a sailor’s delight? Do trees really show the undersides of their leaves before a storm? Click the picture to enlarge and expand this excerpt from Robert Baden-Powell’s Scouting For Boys (7th Edition, 1915). Which of these are reliable and which are not? Answers next week.
- Can you set your face like flint? Has there been a time when you were beset by accusers, defamers, and smearers, by the cruel and the vindictive? If not, then you will at some point. Often this will happen when you are genuinely at fault to some extent. Blood gets in the water and the sharks descend. Mistakes are the best teachers and we all make them. But don’t let yourself be broken by those who heap on a level of derision out of proportion to your error. Accept your mistake. Repent, do penance, and take action to correct and prevent a recurrence. Set your face like flint. Look them in the eye, not with anger, defensiveness, or denial but with calmness and courage. Meditate on a time when this happened and evaluate how you’d behave if happened again. If this has never happened to you, meditate on this and be prepared. We moderns have lost sight of the important of this type of practice. The ancients would have called it stoicism, controlling the passions, and so on.
- If it ain’t in the training journal it didn’t happen. Do the work, the external and internal, and write about what you did and thought in your journal. Introspection, self-examination and measurement are the key to progress.
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