Category Archives: Martial arts

Keaton Jones, Part 2

Sparked by the story of Keaton Jones, yesterday I blogged some advice for dealing with bullies.  Overnight the story continued to evolve and then devolve.  A brouhaha ensued.  Pictures circulated of Keaton’s family holding Confederate flags.  Allegations of racism started flying around.

And then the internet, which wanted Keaton and his family to be either saints or devils, did what it always does.  It drew apart to into extreme camps.  Because people want easy answers.

The irony is incredible.  What if Keaton and/or his family are bigoted?  I’m not saying that because I refuse to make a snap judgment based on the Twitterverse, and I believe one should first take the log out of his own eye before pointing out the speck in somebody else’s.

But let’s just say for argument’s sake that he/they are racists.  What do you think would change their point of view?  Do you think a multiracial and universal outpouring of praise and support would make them see the world differently?  Maybe.  But most of what was previously offered is now being withdrawn as the social media tide flips to the opposite extreme.

Racist or not, Keaton was bullied and his pain is real.  If the bullies have a legitimate problem with something Keaton said or did, the kids can work it out if they talk.  But if talking breaks down and one side gets physical, let the other side put up their dukes.  Both sides will soon learn that petty scuffles are stupid and that violence stinks (and it hurts).

Then, if they all apologize and can manage to forgive and forget, they can shake hands and treat each other with new-found respect.

So I stand by my advice of yesterday, to parties on all sides.


~Robert Mitchell

Keaton Jones, Put up Your Dukes

[I wrote a Part 2 to this post — read it here.  ~Mitch]

The internet’s response to Keaton Jones’ emotional video about his experiences being bullied has been remarkable.  I was heartened to notice that many folks, famous and otherwise, reacted the same way I did – they felt like Keaton was an incredibly likable kid, and that he ought to put up his dukes.

That was the advice I gave my son when he was getting bullied, some time around age 10 or so.  I told him “sticks and stones” — ignore all insults and taunts — but if a bully pushes you, push him back.  If he punches you, punch him back.

I was bullied as a kid. I know how it feels.  I also know how it feels the first time you let a bully know that you’re not going to take any more and you hit him in the chops one good time.  It feels pretty darned good, but not nearly as good as it does to walk to class with your head held high for change.

In support of my argument I present the following points:

  • Each time a kid lets it slide it’s more likely to happen again.  Psychologist David Coleman agrees, and he says parents should tell their kids to fight bullies.
  • Telling boys to “use their words” doesn’t work.  Young boys learn mostly by action not by talking, and when it comes to linguistic communication they might might not catch up with girls their age until high school or even later.  Both bullies and the bullied learn something from a scuffle.
  • Scientific evidence suggest that the Golden Rule isn’t as effective as an alloy. Carl Sagan explained it very well in Parade magazine back in 1993.  He calls it “the Gold-plated Brazen Rule” and it’s basically with works like this: Be nice at first.  If the other person persists not playing nice, give back what you got.  But as soon as they turn nice, forgive and forget.
  • Kids need to solve their own problems without excessive adult interference.  It’s how they learn to be functioning adults.

How do I, as an interfaith minister, a seminarian pursuing Holy Orders and a martial artist, reconcile all this?   Shouldn’t I be advocating the Golden Rule?

Well, the Golden Rule as given in Luke and Matthew is “Do to others what you want them to do to you.”  And there is also Proverbs 27:17 — “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”  I don’t think the Bible says you should never ever put up your dukes.  If I ever become a bully I want somebody to teach me a lesson so I learn to change my ways.

So, all in all, here’s my Interfaith, East-meets-West version of the Golden Rule that combines Confucius and Christ in equal measure:

“Repay kindness with kindness, evil with justice and repentance with forgiveness.”

~Robert Mitchell

Plateau Smashing and WOOTW #84

Yesterday morning I squatted 245 lbs with a hip belt for 3 sets of 5  and on November 3rd I did my first Handstand Push-up (videos at the bottom of the post).  Not superhuman, but not too shabby for a 56 year-old who only sincerely started trying to get stronger a couple of years ago.

But a while back I hit a plateau on both exercises.  I was sore, tired and feeling defeated.  I thought I was done getting stronger.  Then I did some reading, adjusted my diet and my supplement combinations, did some serious bootstrapping, and >bang!< — plateaus smashed!  What diet and supplement changes did I make?

I added what I call my Power Breakfast and started using a very simple, safe and effective combination of supplements.  If you’re interested in the specifics, dodge over to Patreon and get the lowdown for a donation as low as $1/month — and get access to much more patron-only and/or early release blog posts and videos!

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #84

  • 50 Duck Unders with a partner or 100 Combat Lunges if you’re training solo.  Watch this video. If you have a partner run it 50 times each person.  If solo, hang a rope or a chain to something sturdy to use in place of your partner’s neck.  Surge back a little and give the rope/chain a little yank, then lunge forward with sincerity as you move the opposite hand up into “hair-sweep” position so that your elbow creates space to get through.  Stand up and spin into seat-belt position.  From there you have lots of opportunities for take downs, cuffs, hammers, etc. (Hey Leo!  I’ve done the solo version of this drill three times this week — I’m gunnin’ for ya!)
  • Analyze a recent dream.  Pick one of your recent dreams and ask yourself what you can learn from it.  Can’t remember one?  Start writing down your dreams in your training journal and trust me, you will start remembering them.  Example: The other night I dreamt that I was doing a a helicopter survey of an area permanently flooded months before.  Everyone had left but one couple in a roofless house.  I looked through my binoculars and saw that the wife was cooking dinner on a gas stove in watery mud up to her knees, and the husband was in his recliner, half in and half out of the goop.  Huge snakes slithered in the muck.  Husband nor wife seemed to notice.  It occurred to me that they stayed because they were more afraid of the unfamiliar than they were of the muddy sewage water they were soaking in.  When I woke up I sat and had coffee, all the while asking myself what harmful thoughts, ideas and habits I might be clinging to out of familiarity.

One Wild Weasel of a Workout of the Week (#83 to be precise)

A weasel going after a basilisk

Are there weasels in the workout of the week?  Nope.  But as you’ll see in a minute there are crabs and bears!  The weasel is yours truly — because there’s so much going on around these here parts that I’m as wild as a weasel stuck in a corn bin!  

First off, the 501(c)3 paperwork came through, and Cabal Fang Temple is officially a tax exempt public educational charity.   I’m about to bust my buttons!

Second, we’ve got two big events at the temple this month — a Vigny Canne seminar in two weeks and a solstice event on the 21st. Both are going to be more fun than you can shake a stick at! ¹

Third — and the reason I’m using all this country hick verbiage — is that I’m happier than a pig in slops with the material I’m picking up in Mark Hatmaker’s Frontier Rough & Tumble martial arts program (you’ll have to subscribe to his RAW service to get the lessons but you can get a flavor for it on his blog).  What’s new is old and what’s old is new — more detail to come in future posts — but it’s fast becoming clear that some of the old world martial arts techniques I used to think were only side dishes just need a little extra pepper to look just like FRT, and then they can go smack dab in the middle of the table next to the biscuits!

And fourth, I’m really making progress in the Holy Orders program at Ekklesia Epignostika. It gets more and more beautiful and enriching (and more difficult!) the further I go.  More to come on that too, but in a year or so, you might be able to call me Father Mitchell.

Without further ado, this wild weasel presents the crabs and bears included in…

Workout of the Week #83

  • Warm-up thoroughly. Complete a full pyramid to 8 of Push-ups, Jumping Jacks and Zombie Squats (that’ll get you to 64 total of each).
  • Heavy bag PT circuit.  Put on your MMA gloves and go after your heavy bag with maximum malice, like your life depends on it, with full power and speed, until you gas out.  Then crab walk around the bag in an 8′ circle twice while you get your breath back — that’s about 50 yards. Then go at the bag again to failure, followed by two bear walk circles. Another round on the bag until you gas followed by crab walks, another go at the bag and then bear walks, and you’re done — four circuits total. Take as many 12-count breaks as you need to avoid throwing up.
  • Stretching contemplation.  Walk that off until your heart rate is under 100 bpm and then do some stretching contemplation.  Clear your head and stretch out as your normally would, only practice contemplation as you do so — that is, keep your 8/4/8/4 breathing pattern and let yourself “sink into zero,” the absence of thoughts.


¹ Vigny Canne is a form of walking stick self-defense?  “Shake a stick?”  Get it?  Look, these are the jokes.  They’re not near as funny if I have to tell you when to laugh!

The 50 Most Influential Books

Nobody does anything in a vacuum, sure as heck not yours truly.  We all stand on the shoulders of giants!

Many giants have taught, mentored and helped me in my search for martial and spiritual knowledge — some of them face-to-face and some by means of their incredible writings.

For those who’d like to browse the same stacks and walk the same library mazes that I have trodden, here is a list of the fifty books that influenced me most in my development of the martial art of Cabal Fang.   

[In alphabetical order by author’s last name:]

Simplified magic by Andrews, Ted
More Simplified Magic by Andrews, Ted
Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism by Anonymous
The Holy Bible (Revised Standard Version by Anonymous
Bulfinch’s Mythology (Laurel Classic) by Bulfinch, Thomas
Myths to Live By by Campbell, Joseph
The mythic image by Campbell, Joseph
Occidental mythology by Campbell, Joseph
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Carnegie, Dale
The Alchemist by Coelho, Paulo
Explorers of the infinite by Coffey, Maria
The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford by DuQuette, Lon Milo
The Story of Philosophy by Durant, Will
The Complete Michael D. Echanis Collection by Echanis, Michael D.
The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Emerson, Ralph Waldo
The 4-Hour Workweek by Ferriss, Timothy
The 4-Hour Body by Ferriss, Timothy
Karate-Do: My Way of Life by Funakoshi, Gichin
The Complete Guide to the Tarot by Gray, Eden
A Witch Alone by Green, Marian
Beowulf: Two Translations by Hall, Lesslie and Gummere, Francis
Tarot as a way of life by Hamaker-Zondag, Karen
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Hartmann, Thom
No Holds Barred Fighting by Hatmaker, Mark
The Clinch (No Holds Barred Fighting) by Hatmaker, Mark
No Second Chance: Reality-Based Self-Defense by Hatmaker, Mark
Boxer’s Book of Conditioning & Drilling by Hatmaker, Mark
The Gladiator Conditioning Workbook by Hatmaker, Mark
The Emerald Tablet by Hauck, Dennis William
Dark night of the soul by John of the Cross, Saint
Modern Man in Search of a Soul by Jung, C. G.
Modern Magick by Kraig, Donald Michael
The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus by Lachman, Gary
Tao of jeet kune do by Lee, Bruce
Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls by Leslie, Edward E.
A book of five rings by Miyamoto, Musashi
Living the martial way by Morgan, Forrest E.
Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance by Pirsig, Robert M.
Timaeus and Critias by Plato
The last days of Socrates by Plato
The complete idiot’s guide to shamanism by Scott, Gini Graham
Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition by Smoley, Richard
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Stone Jr., Brian
The Idylls of the King by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai by Tsunetomo, Yamamoto
Mysticism by Underhill, Evelyn
The Rider Tarot Deck by Waite, Arthur Edward
Nature, Man & Woman by Watts, Alan W.
Behold the Spirit by Watts, Alan W.
Myth and Ritual in Christianity by Watts, Alan W.

501(c)3 Update (and WOOTW #82 of course)

Here’s our 947 letter (with my thumb over my home address). It takes a few months to start showing up in the IRS Exempt Organizations Select Check online tool.

It’s officially official — Cabal Fang Temple, Inc. is now a 501(c)3 tax exempt public charity!  I say “officially official” because we were official when we formed our corporation back in February.  Now we’re an officially official, IRS-recognized non-profit.

What does that mean?  Well it means that you can make donations the Cabal Fang Temple and they’re tax deductible for you and we don’t have pay taxes.  It means that we can apply for grants (if we can figure out how!).  It means that doors are opened to us that remain closed to for-profit operations.

This is a great day!  And now for the workout of the week.

Workout of the Week #82

It’s still Mettlecraft Month in these here parts, so get ready for another workout that sure to stretch your limits inside and out.

  • Heavy bag carry.  Select the bag that’s right for you based on your size and fitness level.  Note: I used a full-sized #75 for this entire workout and by the end I prayed for a plane engine to fall out of the sky and end my misery.   Set a round timer for 3 x 3:00/1:00.  Put the bag on your shoulder and walk around for the 3:00, put it down and rest for the 1:00.  Then go straight into…
  • Grappling Conditioner #3.  Set a countdown timer for 10:00 mins and complete as many sets as you can before the timer beeps of 5 Bag Lifts, 10 mounted strikes, and 5 Splay ‘n’ Punch.  Here’s a video.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you need in order to finish.
  • Active Thanksgiving meditation.  Set a timer for 8 minutes, assume your meditative posture of choice, close your eyes and regulate your breathing.  Starting with right now, visualize your actions like a silent movie playing in reverse.  What have you done lately to show your thanks?  Not speak your thanks or think your thanks but to actually demonstrate your thanks by doing something?  When I did this exercise I made it back two weeks and I only came up with three tangible demonstrations of thanks.  Embarrassing!  When you’re done, do what I did — put a thing or two on your to-do list.  Give somebody a hand who helped you out, take somebody to lunch, make a charitable donation, or at least send somebody a card or a nice note.  Actions speak louder than words!



The Emerald Lamp Video Series

I just uploaded the first episode of my new video series entitled “The Emerald Lamp.”

In keeping with the Hermetic Quaternary — “To Know, To Will, To Dare: To Keep Silent” — the Emerald Lamp Video Series is intended to provide knowledge, inspiration, exercises and meditations for those intent on cultivating their better selves.

In the first episode: Series intro, the Hermetic Quaternary a.k.a. the Powers of the Sphinx, the Cross of Light, the compass, the inspiration of Bob Kelman, how to break exercise plateaus and a reading from Richard Smoley.

How do you get it?  You can watch it now by supporting me on Patreon — just $1/month will give you access! — or you can wait 30 days and view it on my Youtube channel.