Category Archives: Mysticism

The Climb: Training Involution #97

You can say it’s about the journey not the destination all you want to, and I’ll agree with every time on a philosophical level.  I get it.  But when you’re talking about climbing, you have to admit it’s all about the view.

Make it to the top of something high and you’ll never forget what it’s like looking down.

What’s the last height you climbed?  Was it a physical climb or an emotional, philosophical, religious or mental one?  What was it like looking down? 

Well if it’s been awhile since the last time you scaled a great height, let me introduce you to…

The Climb: Training Involution #97


  • Half Pyramid of Push-ups, Jumping Jacks and Squats (that’s 1 of each, 2 of each, 3, 4, etc.).  Beginners climb to 10 (55 total reps of each exercise), intermediate to 14 (105) , advanced to 17 (153).  Transition to Push-ups on knees or Half-Squats if you have to, just don’t quit.  Remember: this isn’t working out, this is training.
  • Heavy Bag Max Power Shots 5 x 2:00/:30.  Do your shots in combos half-pyramid-styled.  So throw 1 strike, skip a beat, then 2 shots, beat, 3 shots, etc. up to 10 shots.  Then start over until the round ends.  No lollygagging.  
  • Enjoy the view.  Cool down for about 2 mins and then set a timer for 10 mins.  Assume your meditative posture of choice, keeping eyes wide open as you regulate your breathing to your natural, regular rhythm.  Life is a climb and every moment presents its own unique view.  Look at it with your whole being.  Use your visual, symbolic, experiential mind not your linguistic mind.  Don’t let yourself think in words.  Reality is beautiful and everything is sacred.  Just look at it and experience it for 10 minutes.

Grab Bag: Training Involution #96

A high school student’s wonderful interpretation of Achilles’ shield as described in the Iliad of Homer.

“Grab bag” is the theme of the week, starting off with a grab bag of info you may find of use if you are new to the blog.

  • Want to get a sweat on?  Click here and pick one of hundreds of fitness training segments we’ve used at the martial arts club since 2009 (we call them ‘constitutionals’).
  • Want to read a great book?  Go here to view the 50 books that have most influenced the development of Cabal Fang martial arts (click the link and buy one from Alibris I’ll get a few cents commission).  Or read the Cabal Fang Study Guide!
  • Want to get stronger inside and out?  Practice Cabal Fang martial arts at home. Email me at to enroll in the 100% free Hermit Path Distance Learning Program.  Cabal Fang Temple, Inc. is a federally-recognized tax exempt educational charity — so it really is free.

Grab Bag: Training Involution #96

  • Grab your training dummy, set timer for 15 mins and execute your favorite throw as many times as you can before the timer beeps.  Don’t have a training dummy?  Stuff a duffel bag with tightly folded linens.  That’s what I did.  There will be a detailed breakdown of this drill on The Emerald Lamp Video Series Vol.1 Episode 4 which will be available to Patreon supporters tomorrow, others next month.  Episode 3 is now live (see below)!
  • Grab your heavy bag and complete Wrestling Conditioner #1.
  • Meditate on the Shield of Achilles.  Assume your meditative posture of choice and place the image above at eye height — either print it out or stand up your phone or tablet (making sure to adjust the sleep settings).  Regulate your breathing and fall into the image with your visual imagination.  Do not think in words — just experience the picture.  Some people think that Homer’s description is of an ancient Greek mandala.  When you’re done, think about why Homer describes the other character’s shields as being emblazoned with the heads of Gorgon and other monsters, images of panic and terror, and yet gives Greece’s most devastating warrior a beautiful one depicting the whole range of human life and experience within nature and culture.


Locus: Training Involution #95

Locus: Training Involution #95

Do not approach this week’s assignment intellectually.  Just dive in, participate sincerely and get involved in the experience.

  • The Fool’s Journey.  Set timer 15 mins.  Complete the Fool’s Journey Form as many times as you can — without sacrificing power and elegance! — before the timer beeps.  No experience in Cabal Fang?  Sub a form, drill or combo chain from your martial art/style.
  • Conditioning runCR15A
  • Bear hug carry.  4 x 1:00, 1 x failure.  Throw some weight into a backpack or military duffle or use your heavy bag (strap dumbbells to it if need be).   Start with an easy load.  Hug bag and walk circles inside your training area for 1:00 min.  Rest 1:00 while you add more weight.  Do that 4 times.  On the 5th round carry to failure.
  • Meditation.  After cooling down spend a few minutes looking at the pictures below.  Then set a timer for 10 mins, assume chosen meditation posture, close eyes and regulate breathing.  Allow images from your training session, mixed with recollections of the photos below, to play like a slideshow in your mind’s eye.  Use your imagination and do not think in words, only in pictures.  Hopefully you’ll see the symbolism that ties all four aspects of this training involution together.  Record thoughts and experiences in your training journal.


Temple Financials and Training Involution #94

Here’s a lovely shot of the existing temple all covered in snow. We like it. But it sure would be nice to have a proper one that’s not on my personal property, one big enough for dozens of people to train in and open to the public…

I completed the Cabal Fang Temple, Inc. financial statements for 2017 — check them out on the Cabal Fang website by clicking here.

After 1 year of incorporation as an officially recognized 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit, the Temple Fund for buying or building a state-of-the-art temple is up to a whopping $1,032.00.  At this rate we’ll able to break ground in about 200 years.

But this is Cabal Fang, and we don’t give up so easy.  If that’s how long it takes, that’s how long it takes.

Sometimes gains are made in great dramatic leaps.  But most of the time, success is the result of the daily grind — consistent work over the long haul.

The Grind: Cabal Fang Training Involution #94

  • Push-up Grinder.  After a thorough 8-minute warm-up, complete a full pyramid to 10 of Prison Push-ups, Back-ups, Regular Push-ups, Jump Squats.  Take as many 12-count breaks as you need to finish, and do the Regular Push-ups on your knees if/when you burn out.
  • 1 long round on the heavy bag.  10 minutes for accuracy, no breaks.   If your bag doesn’t have targets on it, put some Xs on it with sports tape.  Throw combos at the marks with realistic malice.  Count your misses until times’s up and then — did you see it coming? — do Push-ups for each miss — beginners 1, intermediate 2, advanced 3 or more.
  • Jump rope for 15 minutes.  If you aren’t good at it don’t worry about looking cute.  Doesn’t matter if the rope hits your feet a hundred times, just start again when it does and keep getting over the rope for the duration.  Grind it out.
  • Pick one of the internal exercises from the Cabal Fang Study Guide and do it every single day this week no matter what.  Practice contemplation, do one of the Meditations of the Rose,  meditate on one of the Five Vital Graces, complete the Salutations of Sun and Moon, etc.  Just pick one and stick with it all week.

Footnote: During a seminar at Karate College, Karate Legend Joe Lewis once told me and the other guys in attendance that, in order to hone a true weapon, he stopped practicing dozens of kicks and stuck with only a few.  He concentrated particularly on Side Kick.  He would stay in the gym late and do thousands of them.  People thought that he was an overnight success when we won the Jhoon Rhee Nationals in 1966.  But leading up to that were two years of Side Kicks numbering in the tens of thousands.  Breakthroughs are real.  But the grind is realer.

Is Christianity What We Think It Is?

Something a little different this Sunday…

Goosed: Training Involution #93

In the old days, when people used quill pens, the often made from goose feathers.  There is also the expression “giving you the goose” which means to give a pinch in the rear to get somebody moving — the way geese bite you in the ass when you run from them.

Today I’m giving the goose in more ways than one.

Cabal Fang orients itself in the world Hermetically using the compass of the Hermetic Quaternary:

“To Know, to Will, to Dare; to Keep Silent”

So in Cabal Fang there are four different kinds of knowledge: Intellectual (“To Know”), Instinctual (“To Will”), Scientific (“To Dare”) and Mystical (“To Keep Silent”).  Developing these forms of knowledge makes you a better martial artist and a better person.

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We track our progress and integrate these forms of knowledge into a unified whole by keeping a training journal.  The Cabal Fang Study Guide provides a guideline for beginners.

I keep a spiral bound journal in which I log my thoughts, ideas, meditations and dreams exactly per that guideline. But I also keep a detailed log of all training sessions on a clipboard, and I update the log online each month (click here to view).  Detailed data deepens scientific knowledge and ensures improvement across all six dimensions: Speed, Accuracy, Form and Endurance, Mobility and Power (S.A.F.E. – M.P. = “Safe Martial Preparation”). 

Goosed: Cabal Fang Training Involution #93

Are you keeping a training journal?

  • If you ARE NOT keeping a training journal: If you’re not keeping a journal, you’re not practicing Cabal Fang.  Close your phone or computer right now and go buy yourself a spiral notebook so you can start.  If practical, put on a backpack and run/walk to the store to buy it and run/walk back.  This will give you a connection to your journal by increasing its value and emotional weight.
  • If you ARE keeping  a training journal: Open your journal to the workout you did on this day last year and see if you can best it. If your journal isn’t a year old yet, do the one I did last year.  I liked it so much I amped it up a little and made it the monthly Cabal Fang Temple constitutional. And our monthly focus is The Quill as well.


Book Sneak Peak: Mindfulness Exercise

I’m knee deep in the rewrite of Cabal Fang: Complete Study Guide from Querent to Elder.  In honor of the rewrite, and for those people who are really curious about what the spirituality of the martial art of Cabal Fang is really all about, I thought I’d post an excerpt.

The following mindfulness exercise is from Chapter 11: The Bell.

Living in the Moment

Plan to get out of bed about fifteen minutes early tomorrow so that you have enough time to brown bag your lunch for work or school. If you know that the cupboards are bare, go the grocery store the night before and get some things you think you might like. The next morning, rise a shade early and take a full fifteen minutes to prepare your lunch. Take extra care in the quality of the ingredients and how it is presented. Really make an effort to create a lunch that is nourishing yet beautiful, delicious yet simple and frugal. In a word, elegant. When done, don’t just chuck it in your purse or backpack. Pack it neatly and carry it respectfully.

When lunch time comes, get your lunch out of your bag, locker, or fridge and sit down to eat. If possible, sit alone to avoid distractions. Empty your head of any thoughts unrelated to this food and this meal.

Think about where the food came from. What does it mean that living things, plants and animals (if your meal contains meat), gave up their lives so that you could be nourished and live? What are you doing to make sure that the life you are leading is more meaningful and beneficial to the universe than the lives you have extinguished for your nourishment?

Eat slowly, chewing each bite thoroughly and carefully. Think about how nutritious and delicious the food is, what it tastes like, and so on. Take in all the smells, colors and textures. Think about the different mouth feels of each food item you included. Experience each and every bite to its fullest sensual extent.

If, like most people, you rush around like mad all day and never take the time to fully participate in many of your daily activities, this will probably be the most interesting and delicious meal you’ve had in six months — maybe ever.

Take this idea and expand it to include other experiences. When you kiss your lover goodbye, take a deep breath and enjoy his or her cologne as you lean in. Hold a kid’s sticky little hand and really listen to what she has to say. One night, right before you go to bed, go outside and look at the sky for five minutes. I mean really look at it. Take it all in.

That’s what mindfulness is – fully participating in the trillion little moments that make up your life.