Category Archives: Mysticism

Journals and Logs: Training Involution #139

This month’s Cabal Fang focuses are Self-Defense vs. Weapons — with a touch of offense as well — and “The Quill” (journaling).  Try to make some kind of journal entry every single day this month, even if it’s only one sentence.

Journals and Logs: Training Involution #139

  • Complete this month’s log constitutional.  No partner? No log?  No problem!  Use a dumbbell instead of a log (I chose a #30).  Do not put the dumbbell down unless you’re doing an exercise that requires you to do so.   Rack the dumbbell two-handed and perform Log Press (25 full), Log Squats (25), Log Hops (25 full ), Log Sit-Ups (25), Log Lunges (50), Log A-Lifts (25) and Log Curb Touches (100).  See video below.
  • Choose your weapon and start attacking.  Choose the blunt weapon of your choice — wooden knife, walking stick, tactical pen, whatever you prefer — and set  a timer for 10 mins.  See how many attacks you can launch before the timer beeps.  Switch hands every hundred strikes or so.  I chose walking stick and completed 920 strikes.
  • Star of Ishtar form 25 times.  If you don’t know the form get the Cabal Fang Study Course and read up.

 

Year-End Review: Training Involution #137

From Christmas Eve through New Years Day I don’t do much training.  Just my forms (Star of Ishtar, Fool’s Journey and my old Korean Karate forms) and my health maintenance stuff (grip health, therapy rollers and bands, etc.).

You don’t have to take the holidays off like me.  Push through if you want.  But I highly recommend you take at least two weeks off training per year — preferably in two, one-week chunks.   I usually take off 12/24 – 1/1 and then a second week in the late summer for my annual beach trip to OBX.

But, whether you’re on a break this week or not,  you should take some time to complete a Year-End Review.

If you don’t review your year, how are you going to do better in the next?

I just finished my new Action Plan for 2019 — you can look at it here.  What I do is print this thing out once per month and paste it into my training journal.  Any unrealized goals from the prior month get moved the new sheet, and all month long I put the hash marks in the “(     )” slots to keep track of how I’m doing on the daily/weekly/monthly tasks.  Here’s a pretty thorough rundown of my organizational method over on my Patreon page.

Year-End Review: Training Involution #137

Most people set New Year’s resolutions that are largely arbitrary and then fail to establish any performance metrics.  Don’t do that.  Set meaningful goals with valuable payoffs and then monitor your performance to insure progress.

  1. Get out your training log and spend some time reviewing your entries.  You do keep a training journal, right?  Training journals are not optional in Cabal Fang martial arts.  Look, we don’t have very many rules, but keeping a training journal is one of them.  So if you aren’t journaling, go get a spiral note book or something and start writing stuff down so you can do a year-end review next December.
  2. Take as much time with your review as you feel is sufficient, necessary and/or available.  Might be fifteen minutes or three hours — whatever is necessary and sufficient to make sensible conclusions and set meaningful goals.
  3. What did you well in 2018?  What did you do poorly?
  4. What are you going to do better in 2019?  
  5. How are you going to do better in 2019? 
  6. What are your performance metrics going to be?

If you’re going to make 2019 your best year ever, the future is now.

 

The Hermetic Mysteries of Christmas Revisited

I’ve written about the Hermetic Mysteries of Christmas before —  here and here.  What’s a “mystery?”  In the religious sense, “mysteries” are the wondrous things we feel when we put ourselves inside a myth and allow ourselves to fully experience it as if we are there.  The word mystery comes to us from Greek musterion and Latin mysterium where it means “a secret rite or ritual.

Within Catholic and Orthodox Christianity we see embedded the esoteric methods and essential nature of the Greco-Roman mysteries — updated to serve the goal of Christian salvation.

Four Ways to Seek the Christmas Mysteries This Year

  1. Gospel Reading Meditation.  Get out your Bible and turn to the gospel of Luke.  Read Luke 2:1-20.  Then close your Bible, shut your eyes, and regulate your breathing to a steady rhythm.  Imagine that you are one of the shepherds, sitting by the fire with your friends and brothers, watching over the flocks, when an angel appears.  Allow the story to unfold in your mind’s eye.
  2. Go to a live Nativity Scene.  Try, despite the presence of the other viewers, to imagine you are one of the shepherds as outlined above.
  3. Experience the Joyous Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Click here for instructions.  If you have never prayed the Rosary before you are in for a treat.  The basic idea is that you repeat certain prayers while you meditate on the Joyous Mysteries — the Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary, the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, the Nativity of Jesus, the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple.
  4. Watch this amazing lecture by Jonathan Pageau.  See below.  Jonathan is an Orthodox Christian icon carver, a skilled artisan who understands Christian symbolism as deeply as any churchman — perhaps even more deeply — having spent so many intimate hours carving these sacred images.

Experiencing the Christmas Mysteries as if we are fully present within them is the greatest Christmas “present” we could ever hope for.  

Restricted: Training Involution #136

Cabal Fang Temple here in Richmond VA volunteered to assist Food Not Bombs feed the homeless last Sunday.  Afterwards we washed dishes. We were too INVOLVED to take pictures of ourselves, and besides, we didn’t want to brag. Here’s a shot of the spread.

The other day I posted a video about how restriction breeds creativity while freedom breeds laziness.  Don’t believe me?  Read the post and watch the video because this week’s involution is based on that premise.

Restricted: Training Involution #136

  • Warm-up completely for at least 8:00.
  • Tuck your dominant arm in your belt and do some martial fitness.  Set timer for 8:00.  Do as many sets of 4 of each exercise as you can before the timer beeps: Jump Squats, Sit-outs, Shrimps, Push-ups (on knees if you can’t do one-arms).
  • Liberate your arm to go to the Heavy bag. 3 x 3:00/1:00 max power shots only.  When I say max power, I mean Serena-Williams-from-back-court-for-match-point-with-a-grunt-level power. First round, hands only.  Second round, legs only.  Final round, all in.  Count your strikes in the final round.  Write it in your training journal.  Beat it next time. 
  • Do your Constitutional.  Cabal Fang is the only martial art that has a base level fitness requirement.  Twice weekly constitutionals are required.  Details below.  Don’t have a tire?  Get one or sub a #20 sandbag and modify — modify, adapt, overcome!
  • What have you done for Spirit Month?  Last week I suggested that you volunteer, help out a sick or elderly neighbor or relative, help a friend, etc. Did you do that?  If so, you’re off this week on the spiritual portion.  If not, restrict yourself somehow until you decide on something and put it on your calendar.  Sleep without a pillow, give up soft drinks, beer, TV, your favorite food, etc.   Out of ideas?  The restriction should help, but ask your deity, higher power  or better self for insight. Be still and ask how you can be of service. Listen carefully — something will pop into your head that’s decent and true.  Do that.

December 2018 Constitutional

Tire Sit-ups (25)
Tire Lunges (25)
Tire Passes (25 full — 50 Tire Slams if you’re going solo)
Tire Squats (50)
Tire Burpees (25)
Tire V-ups (25)
Tire Jackknife Push-ups (25)

Action Figure: Training Involution #134

The Cabal Fang external focus of the month is Spirit and the internal focus is the Rose (prayer).  How in the world, you may wonder, can an external focus be Spirit?  By putting your insides on the outside — by putting your spirit into action.  Here’s an excerpt from the Cabal Fang Study Course:

In Mettlecraft month you harden that which is soft; in Spirit Month you temper that which is hard so that it becomes flexible. As the old sage Lao Tzu said, strength and hardness are associated with death, while softness and flexibility are associated with life.  Aspire to maturity and strength without being jaded and inflexible, to being childlike and full of life without being naïve and helpless.

Spirit month means that you show your spirit in action.  The month the group here in Richmond is collecting food and money to feed the homeless.  We’ll be delivering what we’ve collected to the local chapter of Food not Bombs next Sunday 12/16, and then we’ll be hanging out to physically prep and cleanup a meal.

What are you going to do this month?

Action Figure: Training Involution #134

  • 30 minutes of action.  Warm up thoroughly.  Then set a repeating timer for 10 minutes.  For the first 10 minutes, complete as many sets as you can of 4 Jackknife Push-ups (HSPUs if you’re advanced), 4 Sit-outs, 4 Jump Squats, and 4 Wrestling Shots.  For the next 10 minutes, go at your heavy bag, punching and kicking with constant contact.  Then, for the final 10 minutes, go for a run.  Advanced players, add a weighted vest (I used a #5).  Constitutional trial rules apply for the entire half hour: take as few 12-count breaks as possible — push!
  • Pray for 10 minutes.  Even atheists can pray, because “to pray” simply means “to ask.”  Assume your posture of choice, regulate your breathing, and spend 10 minutes in prayer.  Ask your god or higher power what you could do, personally, this month, to physically put your spirit into action for the benefit of your family or community.  If you’re an atheist, pray to Truth and try to tap into your subconscious.  When you’re done, formulate a plan.  Actually set a date for whatever you decide upon doing.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye. shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh. findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” ~Matthew 7:7–8

Two Seminarians Walk Into a Bar

Actually, we don’t walk into a bar.  We talk via zoom.

Ben and I just met recently as we are now cousins by marriage.  We are both seminarians, but our interests, goals and focuses are very different.  Ben’s focus is historical and academic, whereas mine is mystical and experiential.  Ben is in a Methodist seminary, whereas I’m in a liberal Catholic one.  Ben’s work in the seminary will support his research and his writing.  I’m in seminary because I’ve been called to pastoral work — my dream is to run a community chapel.

We’re planning to do these things at least once a month.  Ben’s a smart guy and fun to talk to!

Happy Thanksgiving: Training Involution #132

Happy Thanksgiving Cabal Fangers!

I’m posting this week’s T.I. a couple of days early because we’ve got lots to do before Mettlecraft month ends in just eight days and you need time to work!

Training Involution #132

    • Let’s all smash Self-Destruct Sequence on Thursday, Nov. 29th!  Members of the Richmond temple, see you at the park Thursday night!  Distance learners, play along.  Share pics and videos via social media or in the comments below.
    • Put deep ruts in the road.  As many times as you can  before bed Wed. night (but no more than 3 times/day) do 1/4 of the reps in SDS.  If you get the slightest bit sore, drop to 1/5 or 1/6.  The goal: cut up SDS into little bites and eat most of it every day for the 7 days — without getting sore.  For more info on this “flow theory” read this.
    • Prepare mentally.  Perform the Caduceus Ritual once/day between now and Thursday. Visualize being a conduit between the Above (potentiality) and the Below (actuality).  Allow the Caduceus Ritual to train your subconscious mind while you eliminate all thoughts about impediments from your conscious mind.  When Thursday comes, you are going to get out of your own way and allow the incredible to occur.