Category Archives: Mysticism

Revisioning, Remodeling, Reinvigorating

This year I’ve been directing my focus toward responsibility and hard work.  When things aren’t the way I want them to be, I’m starting with the premise that it’s probably my fault and I’m probably not working hard enough.

So I recently asked myself if I’ve done everything humanly possible to show — not so say, or claim, but to really demonstrate — that Cabal Fang is a powerfully transformative and beautiful martial art capable of doing great things.  The answer was “no.” 

It struck me that the best way to convince people that Cabal Fang is beautiful on the inside is make everything about it beautiful on the outside. Beauty is an amazing saleswoman.

So I decided that I was going to make better, more interesting and more visually beautiful videos.  And the existing Cabal Fang Temple, which is need of some tender loving care inside and out, is getting a major face lift — before and after pictures below.

I asked myself if I’ve been doing everything humanly possible to raise money to for a new and expanded Cabal Fang Temple, one with space for classes, community events, and interfaith services.  The answer was “no.” 

So I launched an account at Patreon.  If you want to get exclusive patron-only content, get early access to videos and articles and generally support my mission, become a patron today.

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Where Lurks the Next Mass Shooter (and WOOTW #75)

I shouted out,
“Who killed the Kennedys?”
When after all
It was you and me
(Who who, who who)

~The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil”

In January of this year I had an awakening of sorts during which I realized that there might be a reason why I didn’t have a book on the New York Times Bestseller List, why my martial art wasn’t more popular, and generally why I wasn’t smashing goals left and right.

Why?  Because I need to write better books, I need to perfect my martial art and I generally need to work harder.  99 times out of 100, lack of success has to do with you — not someone else.  And guess what happened when I realized this?

Blog traffic increased.  My creativity and courageousness soared and things that had previously seemed like work felt like recreation.  I finally founded my non-profit.  I started hitting goals I hadn’t previously dreamed I could hit.  I know it makes no sense at all, but taking full personal responsibility for success or failure is actually liberating, and restriction — not freedom! — encourages creativity.  

And so, in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting, here is a video that I could not have made last year because (a) I wasn’t self-critical enough to have the insight, and (b) even if I had the insight I wouldn’t have had the courage to speak my mind on such a controversial subject.

Let me know what you think.

 

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #75

  • Inside/Outside Heavy Bag Drill.  Set a timer for 8 minutes.  Imagine that your heavy bag is a person — really imagine it! — or else this drill is worthless.  Throw combos of 2, 3 or 4 shots against the bag.  As you do, imagine what your opponent would be likely to throw back.  Get your head off center line while you strike by using slips/shoulder pops simultaneous to your strikes.  Move while you hit, hit while you move!
  • The “888” Workout.  Set a timer for 8 minutes.  Complete as many sets as you can in 8 minutes of 8 Prison Push-ups and 8 Jump Squats.
  • 8-count Self-Improvement Drill.  Sit down with your training journal and a pen and set a timer for 3 minutes.  Start the timer.  Before it beeps, write down 8 things you could do that would make you a better person and/or would make your life better.  Restriction — not freedom! — encourages creativity.  Thanks to the time limit you’ll be blurting things out on the paper that have been hiding in your subconscious.  Give your 8 ideas consideration and move them to your To-Do List as you see fit.
Did you enjoy reading this?  Then the Cabal Fang book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.

 

All Things are Possible

We don’t really know what the upper limits of human potential are.  Has there ever been a person who applied themselves fully?  We know what it looks like when a person makes a concerted effort.  These are the people in the history books and the heroes we hold dear.  Now try to imagine what 100% of personal potential might look like.

What could humanity do and achieve if everyone on the planet applied realized his/her full potential?  What would that look like?  Maybe that’s what the metaphor of heaven is meant to convey, yes?

What are you aspiring to?  Have you given up on something?  Something big, something small?  Why?

There’s more to you than you ever imagined.

Look, it’s a small thing, but maybe you’ll find it inspirational.  This morning I bridged a 60 lb. heavy bag for the first time — and I did it for 3 sets of 5 reps each (video below).

Yes, I know there are tens of thousands of folks in gyms worldwide who can bridge a heavy bag. But when I started pursuing this goal five months ago, a 15 lb sandbag felt heavy. Goes to show that if you apply yourself with intensity, you can make amazing progress at anything — inside the gym and out — even if you’re middle-aged.

Now it’s time to hit the next goal: the 75 lb. bag.  And also I have to raise the money to build a temple, and I have to save the world too.  So, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get crackin’.

 

Take One of Each: Workout of the Week #71

Foreground: Craft sticks (1 qt. paint stirrers) with workouts on written them to be pulled at random from a cup. Background: Linear progression training program.

The Cabal Fang Workout of the Week is a three-parter that starts with an analysis of your workout plan.

If you’re training in Cabal Fang you are already keeping a training log or journal.  But if that’s all your doing, and you have no firm workout schedule, you’re missing out on big gains in skills and fitness.

Here are some questions to ask yourself today:

  • Do you have a written workout/training schedule?
  • Is it structured such that it incorporates linear progression and or periodicity?
  • Does it have a cyclic structure, a.k.a. an “off season?”
  • Does in include an element of randomness, or at least some room to pick what you feel like doing from time to time?
  • Does it contain at least one rest day per week?
  • How about at least two yearly breaks of one week each during which you do not exercise at all?
  • Does it include a plan for when you miss a workout due to illness, work-life-family needs and the generally unexpected?
  • Do you have an Burnout Self-Check protocol?
  • Do you make frequent small adjustments and course corrections based on results or lack thereof?

My martial arts oriented workout plan looks like this:

  • Sunday: Rest Day
  • Mon – Sat: Body toughening (15 mins) and temple rites (meditation, contemplation and prayer).
  • M: Weights, run or bike (Run Fall/Win, Bike in Spr/Sum — always high intensity 10 – 20 mins), solo martial arts practice (2 sections of 10 – 15 mins each chosen at random — see photo above)
  • T: Solo martial arts practice (early AM), martial arts group training (PM, 90 mins)
  • W: Weights, solo martial arts, hike (#40 pack, 1 hour)
  • Th: Run or bike, solo martial arts (early AM), martial arts group training (PM, 90 mins)
  • F: Weights, solo martial arts, hike

Almost every aspect of the above training as a linear progression element to insure consistent improvement over time.  If you’d like to check it out in detail, click here to view the Google Sheet.  You’ll find every workout I’ve done since 2012 (I’ve been logging all my workouts for over 10 years, I just don’t have them all online).

Interested in those little paddles with the random martial arts workouts on them?  Next week I’ll explain why I’m using them instead of dice these and I’ll give you some helpful hings for designing your own.

And now for the actual workout part of the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #71

  • Pick one calisthenics exercise and complete as many as you can before the timer beeps.  Beginners set your timer for 5 to 10 minutes, intermediate 10 – 15 minutes, advanced players for 15 or 20 minutes. Pick any exercise you want.  I generally prefer whole-body ones for this (Bodybuilders, Splays a.k.a. Down-ups, Jumping Jacks, Burpees a.k.a. Squat Thrusts, etc.) but there’s something to be said for Push-ups and Squats too.
  • Meditation of One.  This month at the club our spiritual focus is the Emerald Tablet.  Start my memorizing the second line of the Emerald Tablet: “That which is below is like that which is above, and that which is above is like that which is below to accomplish the miracles of one thing.”  Now dim the lights, be seated in your favorite meditative posture and set a timer for 10 minutes.  Relax, close your eyes and and silently recite the line in your head over and over until the timer beeps.  Record in your training journal any thoughts, feelings, impressions and mental images that appear in your mind’s eye.
Did you enjoy reading this?  Then the Cabal Fang book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.

The “Kwy-EET-us” (Quietus): Workout of the Week #70

When I was a kid we used this word “quietus.” Hardly anybody uses it anymore.  Too bad, it’s a great word.  For the unfamiliar I’ve aggregated several different definitions into this one.

QUIETUSkwī.ēʹtəs

From the Latin quiētus (“at rest”).

  1. A stillness or pause; something that quiets or represses; removal from activity; especially: death.
  2. Final settlement (as of a debt).
  3. A wrestling hold or grip from which there’s no escape, a.k.a. the “sleeper hold.”

I’ve begun putting the quietus on myself with regard to things I’m not qualified to talk about.  I’ve started going through the blog and deleting old posts that are ranty, preachy or whiny.

I don’t want to be the kind of person who does nothing to solve problems but still claims the moral high ground and claims to know exactly what people should or should not be doing.

Many of the things my father used to say, I’ve realized, are a lot wiser than I previously realized.  Things like,

  • “If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.”
  • “Mind your own business, son.  Nobody likes a tattletale.”
  • “Sweep out the corners.  The middle of the floor can take care of itself.”

What I realized earlier this year is that I don’t want to be the kind of person who fools himself into thinking that typing a few words, or hitting a “share” or a “like” button, actually constitutes action.

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #69

  • Complete a constitutional in under 20 minutes.  Sprints (25 each — 5 to 10- yards, out and back = 1), Crunch ‘n’ Punch (25), Push-ups, reg. (to failure), Neck Crunches (25 each, front, left, right, back, total 100), Jump Squats, split (50), Jackknifes (25), and Push-ups, knuckle (to failure).  Take as few 12-count breaks as you need to finish.
  • What have you done lately?  Dim the lights, be seated in your favorite meditative posture and set a timer for 10 minutes.  Regulate your breathing for a minute or two.  Then close your eyes and imagine there are two movies playing on a split screen in your head.  The movie on the left side shows  the things you’ve done recently that are sincerely selfless and genuinely altruistic.  On the right screen are the things you’ve done that are self-serving, hollow and/or virtual.  Which movie contains more action, is more interesting, engaging and realistic?  When the timer goes off, get up slowly and stretch for a few minutes.  Then record your thoughts and realizations in your training log or journal.
Did you enjoy reading this?  Then my book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.

Fight? What fight? Workout of the Week #69

 

“Looking forward to the fight this weekend?”

The next time somebody asks me if I’m going to watch Mayweather vs. McGregor the top of my head’s popping off.

To start with, McGregor’s famous ring apology was the final straw — the reason why I stopped watching MMA altogether.  But the main reason I’m not watching the fight is that the behavior of both men has been despicable.  As sports commentator Mike Wise said in reference to the July promotional tour,

“Mayweather and McGregor didn’t just cross boundaries of race, bigotry, misogyny and profanity this past week — they obliterated them, bleeping their way through a two-continent, four-city tour of filth.”

So no.  I’m not watching the fight.  I’m not giving either combatant — or any of their managers, promoters, networks or affiliates — my hard earned money.

Martial arts, when practiced properly, are about mastery.  They are about confronting the dragon of chaos and constructing order from its bones.  They are about becoming the best possible people we can be.  And watching that fight wouldn’t move me forward one iota.

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #69

  • Grappling Conditioner #3.  Get yourself a heavy bag and set it on the mat.  No mat?  Put a tarp on the grass like we do at the club.  Don’t have a bag?  Make one.  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.
  • Why are you studying martial arts?  Get out your training log or journal and write 250 words about why you’re studying martial arts.  If you don’t know why you’re on this journey it’s going to be really hard to direct your training, much less your thinking.  Where does your martial arts story end?  Don’t forget — people don’t tell stories.  Stories tell them.  What’s yours going to be?

Did you like this article?  Then my book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.

A Monumental Effort: Workout of the Week #68

Last week I went to Libby Hill Park for the first time.  I’ve been trying to get in good enough shape to do some real hiking, and I figured the famous Libby Hill stairs would be a great training opportunity.

I put on my 40 lb. pack and explored the park.  Then I went down and up those 153 insufferable stairs four times.  They feel like standard 7.5″ steps, so each time up equates roughly to a 10 storey building — 4o storeys in all on the day.  I’m guesstimating of course, but that’s roughly equivalent to climbing the stairs of the James Monroe Building.

When I was done I met my friend Chris for coffee, after which I went with him to Shamballa meditation group at Ekoji Buddhist Sangha.  Yep, I’m in Christian seminary.  But I really enjoy sharing spirit with others, and there was a period in my life many years ago when I might’ve called myself a Buddhist.  During discussion at the end of the meeting, some in the group expressed complex feelings about having not gone to Charlottesville to stand against the white supremacists gathering around monuments there.  Some agreed with me that the most powerful message possible was to ignore them.

Later that day the tragedy in Charlottesville unfolded.  And no there’s even more talk about monuments.   I wrote another post about that, if you’re interested in such things.

 

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #68

  • Pick up something heavy and carry it up something steep.  Get the heaviest thing you can safely handle — backpack, auto tire, sandbag, weighted vest, whatever — and find the steepest hill or a flight of stairs in easy striking distance.  Get your heavy thing to the top as many times as you can in 40 minutes.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you need to finish, and be careful going down on noodle legs or you’ll fall.
  • Honor the chalice.  When you’re done, stand at the top and pay homage to the chalice by reciting your interpretation of the devotional from Chapter 15 of the Cabal Fang Study Course — feel free to make changes as needed to fit your spiritual worldview: “O Holy Chalice, blood of God and Goddess, blood of ancestors and kin, blood of friends and heroes, blood of sacrifice and nourishment — thank you for your love, support, and inspirational example. But most of all, thank you for my rich inheritances—material, emotional, spiritual and philosophical. Blessings to you all; please know that you all live on in me.”  If it wasn’t for the people who came before you, who carried some very heavy chores and responsibilities up some very steep inclines, you wouldn’t have most of what you have today.

Did you like this article?  Then my book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.

 

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