Category Archives: Martial arts

Syncretic Symbols, Sacred Geometry and WOOTW #53

The seal of biblical king Hezekiah. Note the winged scarab and ankh motifs.

Last week I posted about how certain symbols and ideas just keep showing up across time and cultures.  Now I see an article which points out that things often reappear because people love to borrow and re-use things that are powerful, meaningful, fit into their existing knowledge structures, and/or are just plain useful.

Specifically, the article I read was about the discovery of King Hezekiah’s royal seal (right).

Note the Egyptian winged scarab and the ankh.  On a Jewish king’s seal. 

This famous biblical king was comfortable borrowing symbols from the very society which had oppressed his people about 700 years earlier.  And yet, by the biblical accounts in the Book of Kings, he was a highly respected and conservative king, a reformer who “purified and repaired the Temple, purged its idols, and reformed the priesthood.

Religion is the technology of consciousness.  Like all sciences, it builds on the discoveries and innovations, the successes and failures, of previous thinkers.  

Judaism sprang from Canaanite and Babylonian religious ideas.  Judaism collided with Egyptian and Greek religion and spawned Christianity.  None of this is theft.  It’s the way humans and their cultures innovate, grow and evolve.

When we see further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants (if I may borrow and paraphrase from Isaac Newton). 

And now for the Cabal Fang Workout of the Week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #52

Wrestling Conditioner #1: Set timer for 5 rounds of 2:00 minutes each, 10 mins total.  Make sure you’re fully warmed up before you begin, and go all out with no breaks.

Round 1, circle the bag.  Place a heavy bag on the floor (if you don’t have a heavy bag, here’s how you make one).  Put forearms on bag and toes on floor — these will be your only points of contact for this 2 min round. Circle the bag using only legs and feet, alternating directions, until the timer beeps.

Round 2, mount the bag.  Mount and strike 10 times as hard as you can. Body lock the bag, barrel-roll, regain mount, and repeat until the timer beeps.

Round 3, roll the bag.  Lie on your back with heavy-bag perpendicularly on top of your body. Roll it up and down across torso, pushing and pulling like a rolling pin. From time to time, press up the bag and let it drop on your torso to maintain or establish your tolerance for the stresses of wrestling. Continue for entire round.

Round 4, defend the bag.  Lie on your back with bag on top of you longways to simulate an attacker mounting you.  Strike 10 times.  Body lock the bag, barrel roll until your back on the bottom and repeat until the timer beeeps.

Round 5, side mount the bag and scissor.  Side mount the bag and scissor your legs 3 times.  Keeping chest pressure on the bag, switch to face other end of bag and scissor 3 more times.  Scramble or circle to other side of bag with forearms and toes only. Repeat until the timer beeps and you’re done.

Drawing Meditation.  This is a lesson in sacred geometry.  Get paper and compass and sit down quietly at a table where you can work in comfort and silence.  Set countdown timer for 10 minutes.  Clear your head, regulate your breathing, and follow the steps in the photo set below to draw the central geometric shape of the Cabal Fang symbol.  When you’re done, spend the remainder of the 10 minutes meditating on the diagram before you.  Do the two circles seem symbolic of anything?  How about the area where they overlap?  What else speaks to you?  Record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in your training log or journal.

 

 

 

Like the WOOTW? ( )Y ( )N ( )Other

Owls symbolize wisdom. Part of being wise is knowing that meaning resides at the intersection of change and stability, that it is the respiration between chaos and stagnation.

This past Saturday I posted Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #50.  In a couple of weeks I’ll be completing my commitment to do these for a full year without missing a single week.  Question is, should I keep going or change direction?

Do you want me to keeping posting the workout of the week?   If so, show love in the comments.  If not…

Lack of praise for the #WOOTW and/or few replies will indicate that I need to be wrapping up this dog and pony show and coming up with something fresh and new.

If you’re sick of the workout of the week, make suggestions.  What do you want — a technique of the week, a pitfall, drill, concept of the week, or what?

Let me know.  Because this stuff isn’t for me it’s for you.  I’m going to be working out and coming up with new drills, workouts, ideas and concepts whether I blog them or not.  You just gotta tell me what you want on the menu!

 

Truth and Consequences: Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #50

The other day I posted a video analysis of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.  One of the things I mentioned was the nature and symbolism of Prince Philip’s Sword of Truth and Shield of Virtue.

During his fight with Maleficent in her dragon form, Prince Philip loses the Shield of Virtue because that’s what we all do.  We’re human.  We mess up, we make mistakes, we do things that we know are not in keeping with our own moral and ethical codes.  But as long as we hold tight to truth the way that Prince Philip does in the movie, we can slay any dragon and ultimately regain our virtue.  Because making a commitment to speak the truth is more than just a speech modifier.  If you do things you’re ashamed of you’ll have to lie about what you did.  So telling the truth is a behavior modifier too.

Truth may be the highest ideal known to man.  That’s why it figures so prominently in the initiations of Cabal Fang.  Individuals and cultures that do not revere truth may reap short-term rewards of one kind or another but eventually they will completely lose their virtue and have no way to regain it — and some dragon or other will eat them up in their bankruptcy.

Hold tight to truth my friends, and aim your compass toward it like it’s true north.  You’ll screw up because we all do.  But at least you’ll be able to get back on course!

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #50 — Slip and Bob Drill 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

  • 10 minutes of slipping and bobbing.  Set a timer for 10 minutes and practice the 4 slips and the bob outlined in the video below.  When you feel comfortable, start trying to do them along with someone calling out random number patterns.  If you train solo, use this audio recording or make your own using the voice memo app on your phone.
  • Heavy bag 4 x 2:oo/:30.  Go after a heavy bag with maximum ill intent, just make sure that between each combination you (a) complete at least 2 slips or bobs, and (b) you circle the bag rather than standing stock-still.  Hit while you move and move while you hit.
  • Meditation on Truth.  Look into your past starting with most recent history and find a time when you were less than truthful.  Now set a timer for 10 minutes and assume your chosen meditative posture.  Untangle that lie through meditation.  Use your imagination to step into the scene.  Relive the incident.  See if you can come to understand why you weren’t truthful, what you should have done, and what you think you might do the next time you’re in a similar situation.

Workout of the Week #49: Slip Ball

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #49 is simple: work with a slip ball for a minimum of 20 minutes.

That’s it.  

I made a video for you to make it as simple as possible.  Check it out below.  The challenge is to maintain focus on one and one thing only for a full 20 minutes or more.

 That’s it, because that’s enough.

The Cabal Fang Workout of the Week is usually challenging physically, mainly because we expect that pushing through the pain of exhaustion will translate to the ability to push through the pain of a self-defense situation.

But maybe we should consider the possibility that pushing through the frustration of repetition — maintaining focus no matter what — will translate to the ability to maintain focus in our daily lives.

Go ahead, try it.  No excuses.  Put a handful of rice in a sock and hang it from a pair of shoelaces if you have to.  Just start training.  But if you want to get all fancy and make a your own slip ball by putting a tennis ball on a piece of para cord you can read this post.

After your 20+ minutes, let me know what you think.

Exploring Pyramids (and the #WOOTW)

Real pyramids vary by culture, but they are generally known to contain secret chambers and the resting places of the dead. But mainly they are repositories of the unknown. “What’s in there?  Why was it built, and by whom?  How did they make it?” we all ask.

What lies within the pyramid?  The unknown.  

And what happens when the hero confronts the unknown?  He learns something about himself.

Look, you’re unlikely to ever have the opportunity to explore an actual pyramid. Fortunately for you, I have an alternative, and it comes complete with a valuable life lesson packed inside.

What you do is far less important than how you do it.

If you approach the things you do with full attention and execute them to best of your ability, you get better, smarter, faster, stronger and so on.  And then you make better decisions about what you should be doing.  Which means if you do things right, what you do takes care of itself.

Trust me when I say that if you do this workout as designed below — if you climb to the top of this pyramid to the best of your ability — you will see inside the pyramid and inside yourself.

 Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #47

Full Pyramid of the following 5 exercises.  That’s 1 rep of each exercise, 2 of each, 3, 4, etc. to the peak, then back down to 1 of each.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you need in order to finish.

  • Push-up, Full Stop (hands off floor for split second at bottom of each rep)
  • Neck Crunch (front on way up the pyramid and back on way down, or left on the way up and right on the way down)
  • Bodybuilders
  • Bicycles
  • Squats

“How do I find my peak?”  Good question.  How many strict Push-ups or Squats can you do?  Index on the chart below to find your peak.  And this is the central, ‘secret chamber’ of this whole pyramid thing.

If you can do 15 Push-ups and/or 30 Squats in one shot without resting, your pyramid peak = 7.  So, even though you’ll never do more than 7 at one go, you’ll do 49 of each exercise total.  But a Bodybuilder contains a Squat and a Push-up.  Which means that this pyramid tricks you into doing way more reps than it seems like you’re doing.  It pushes you beyond your ordinary limits.

It’s not a contest with anyone other than yourself.  Just finish the darn thing without taking any breaks longer than a 12-count — take as few 12-count breaks as you need.

Max strict Push-ups no rest Max strict air Squats no rest Pyramid Peak
5 – 10 10 – 24 5 (25 reps each exercise – about 10 mins)
11 – 25 25 – 49 7 (49 reps each exercise – about 20 mins)
26 – 49 50 – 99 10 (100 reps each exercise – about 40 mins)
50+ 100 + 12 (144 reps each exercise – about 1 hour)

Use your common sense.  If you don’t exercise regularly and/or you haven’t seen a doctor lately, I strongly recommend that you consult with your physician before trying this workout and/or beginning any exercise program.  Proceed at your own risk.  All exercises and/or exercise programs entail the possibility of physical injury.

 

DIY Double-end Balls for Boxing and Martial Arts

What does it mean when your martial arts club is free, open to the public, and meets at the park?  Well, it means no money and no permanent equipment installations. These constraints force a certain amount of creativity.

Note: Creativity and freedom are not as closely linked as most folks think. Restrictions are what drive innovation, the same way that predators drive the evolution of prey animals, the weight of soil shows seedlings which way to grow, and the way Blues music sprang out of dirt poor people’s need to express their situation with the instruments they could afford.   Examples abound. Think about it.

So I made these horizontally mounted double-end balls for striking practice.  Before I show you how to make them, here’s a video of me playing with one for the first time:

Anyway, here’s a photo gallery showing how I made the “sharpshooter” tennis ball one.  Follow the captions below the photos.  Once it’s done, all you have to do is anchor your ball to opposing surfaces or sturdy objects — hooks in walls, posts, pillars, or what-have-you — using bungee cords.

Be prepared though — these seem to be bit harder to hit that vertical double-end balls!

 

The Rogers Axiom and Your Workout of the Week

Too exhausted to take my own photo. Courtesy of Wikimedia.

Too exhausted to take my own photo. Courtesy of Wikimedia.

Yesterday morning I slept in.  The night before I forgot to swap out my dress watch for my casual watch, which meant that I didn’t have a wake-up alarm on my wrist.  I also forgot to set up the coffee pot that night.  I just staggered off to bed without my usual prep.

So, instead of getting up at 4:30 and starting my workout by 5:15, I didn’t roll out of bed until 5:30.  I awoke with a headache and a  stiff neck.  My arms and legs felt heavy and my head was foggy.  I made coffee and performed a self-check.

I asked myself,

Over the last 7 days, how many of these have you experienced?

  1. Headaches
  2. PR failures †
  3. Concentration lapses (daydreaming, dropped tasks, missed to-dos)
  4. Diet transgressions

I counted 3 headaches, 2 failures to PR, 4 concentration lapses and 2 diet plan transgressions for a total of 11.   In a typical week that total is somewhere pretty near zero.  The message was clear — I’m over-training and I need a break.  So I didn’t work out this morning and I’m going to take off a few days to rest.

Everybody’s different, so your self-check questions may differ.  Feel free to share them in the comments below if you have other ideas.  Bottom line: you need to be sufficiently in touch with your body-mind-spirit that you can tell when it’s time to rest.  Or, as the the great American sage Kenneth Ray Rogers famously expressed it in what I like to call The Rogers Axiom,

“You gotta know when to fold ’em, know when to hold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”

And now for the Cabal Fang Workout of the Week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #45

Perform the above self-check.  Are you over-training?  If not, got get one of the constitutionals off of the Order of Seven Hills website and get it done in less than 20 minutes.  If you are over-training, take a flipping break.  Cabal Fang is full-context martial arts.  You don’t have a title on the line and there’s no Olympic medal in play.  You’re not in a self-defense situation and you’re not fighting for your life.  In fact, if you’re walking around exhausted you’re not in optimal condition to protect yourself or your loved ones.  Rest up.


† “PR” stands for “personal record.”  In a progressive workout plan, such as weights, running, etc., you should be striving to PR every workout.  Either in weight or reps, time or distance, etc.