Category Archives: Mysticism

Douthat Adventures

CCC patch

Went on a little getaway this weekend.  Headed up to Douthat State Park with the family.  It’s the only park in Virginia (at least that I’ve found) where you can have fun camping in the middle of the summer.  It’s easy to beat the heat up there.  The park’s campling area is one of the highest in the state and there’s a sandy beach on the lake for swimming.

This park was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and it hasn’t changed much in the last eighty plus years.  The quality of the construction is such that many of the cabins and stone buildings are virtually unchanged and still in use.

Here’s a little handout concerning how Douthat State Park was built

I’ve waxed poetic about the CCC before.  Let me just say that I’ve heard a ton of talk about UBI — both for and against — but I haven’t heard a single word about any kind of work relief program.  And I sure haven’t heard a word about bringing back the CCC.

Personally, I think UBI and free college tuition are both hard sells when we have a national debt of $16 trillion.  But a program like the CCC — which is basically a work relief program that also provides vocational training — seems like something we could all vote for.

Anyway, here’s a little video about the trip.

Hugh Thompson Jr. : Training Involution #165

This week’s T.I. is in video format.  Dig it.

A Fisher of Men

Robert Mitchell — November 21, 1934 ~ July 8, 2008

Today is the 11th anniversary of my father’s passing. Pop was a pretty incredible person.  No, he was not a great businessman, scientist, inventor, writer, statesman or orator.  He wasn’t remarkably successful by any conventional measurement.

What made him incredible was that he spent the last decade or so of his life walking with Christ despite serious trials.  The more money the world took from him, the less materialistic he became.  As his health got worse, he only became more patient and at peace.  The more loved ones who were taken away, the more he loved those who remained.  The more the world conspired to try and make him bitter, the more he smiled.

And the closer death came the less he feared.

Pop’s pocket Bible — a special edition with instructions for bringing people to faith (a reference to Matthew 4:19 “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

As a young man Pop considered entering the clergy but decided against it.  His reason was the same he gave for not taking promotions at work and for not pursuing a career in law enforcement after his service in the Military Police.  He didn’t want to be the kind of person who told other people what to do or how to behave.  And he didn’t want to give anybody the impression that he thought he was better than anybody else.

The irony is that his humility made him the ideal clerical candidate, yet I’m the one I’m in seminary.  And my humility is far from legendary.  When I was a young man, my mom always said that my lack of humility would be my downfall if I didn’t overcome it. 

And so, on this anniversary of Pop’s passing, I sit and appreciate Mom’s warning and Pop’s example.  I admire my father’s humility and strength and try to emulate them as best I can.

And I pray that someday I will be a good fisher of men.

Sacred Words: Training Involution #164

Egyptian god Thoth

Should anyone other than a politically correct dweeb, a prime-time-ready talking head, garden-variety prude, holier-than-thou twit, or virtue-signalling chuckle-head want to clean up their potty mouth?

Sure.  Because speech is sacred.

Our greatest myths and holy books embody this truth.  According to the Egyptians,

“Thoth is the mediator through whom the world is brought into manifestation. He is the Tongue of Rā, the Herald of the Will of Rā,  and the Lord of Sacred Speech.”¹

God separates light from darkness — Sistine Chapel

In Genesis 1 of the Holy Bible, God speaks the universe into being.  He says, “Let there be light: and there was light.”  Later in John 1, when speaking of Christ, we hear,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

The ancients revered the ability to recite poetry and holy words.  They embodied the idea of sacred speech.   Modern people have mostly surrendered in the battle against profane, rude and crude speech.  And few are able to recite any beautiful words even if they wanted to.

When I was a kid, we had to memorize poems, speeches and scripture.  Why?  So that we could have command of the words on a fundamental level.

Sacred Words: Training Involution #164

Restriction breeds creativity, not freedom (for more on this topic watch this video).   Let’s put some restrictions on ourselves and see if it drives our creativity.

  • Warm up thoroughly, at least 8 minutes.
  • Hobble yourself.  Take a scrap of rope, an old Karate belt, Yoga strap, etc. and hobble yourself such that your ankles cannot get more than a shoulder’s width apart.²
  • Complete a gauntlet.  Set a timer for 8 x 2:00.  You may do this with hand strikes only or with a practice weapon, your choice (I used my walking stick).  Complete this twice:  (1) Strikes vs. Heavy Bag (2) Get-ups (3) Sit-ups with two heavy bag strikes at top of each (4)  Strikes vs. air while doing Prisoner Get-ups. ³
  • Cool down for  3 minutes and then hit the showers.
  • Hold your tongue.  Refrain from swearing for one week and see how you feel about it.  For extra credit, memorize some pretty words, some poetry, a piece of scripture, etc.  Write it down on a scrap of paper, put it in your pocket, and study it every hour or so for a couple of days until you own it.  Another way to do it is to make a voice recording on your phone and play it over and over until you can recite along with it.  This is good for your brain and for your soul.

¹ Mead, G. R. S, Thrice-Greatest Hermes, Vol. 1, [The Thesophical Publishing Society, London 1906]

² I do several of these sorts of training exercises every month for self-defense practice — hobbled, one hand tucked into my belt, one eye patched, a rock in my shoe, etc.

³  Prisoner Get-up: Drop to left knee, drop right knee to get on both knees, rise up to right knee only, then stand up.  Next time drop right knee first.  Alternate sides.

Snake, Fish, Dog, Owl: Training Involution #163 Live From Karate College

This week I’m broadcasting live from luxurious Tyler Hall dorm at Radford University in where I’m attending the Karate College 2019!  This will be my fourth time — I’m a graduate of ’03, ’05, ’17 and now ’19.

Karate College is a fantastic event.  For about $200 you get 2-and-a-half days of non-stop martial arts training from some of the best instructors out there.    This year’s attendance is the lowest I’ve seen, which is scary.  Come out and train people — you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone!

FYI, Training Involution #163 marks a little bit of a turning point.  From now on the weekly Cabal Fang T.I. is just going to be the T.I.  Why?  Because these T.I.s are also going to do double duty in my Bobcat Martial Arts program.  No big announcement, no drama queen antics.  Just sound martial principles.

If the drills are legit they’re applicable to every martial artist everywhere, not just to those practicing Cabal Fang.

Snake, Fish, Dog, Owl: Training Involution #163

The single most effective martial arts maneuver is running away.  Not literally running, but getting the heck out of Dodge City, evading, hitting the road, saying bye-bye.  A martial artist should be able to move.  And when the situation is over, be able to sit still.

Set timer for 7 x 4:00 mins, no breaks.

  • Rounds 1 & 2: Warm up thoroughly.  Light to moderate activity, low-key calisthenics like Jumping Jacks, Push-ups on knees,  Crunches, maybe some low-intensity  Jumping Rope, etc.
  • Round 3: Slither free like a snake.  Get your floor bag or grappling dummy and start wrestling.¹  Back Bridge it, Neck Bridge it, and Reverse it.  Squeeze, throw, and flip it.  Stand it up on end and practice your Shots against it, etc.  No striking — just wrestling — and no breaks longer than a 12-count.
  • Round 4: Swim away like a fish.  If you have access to a body of water, swim as fast as you can.  If you don’t, get on the floor and do a dry swim.  Alternate between Prison Push-ups, Swimmers, and Flutter Kicks.  When you gas, take 12-count breaks in Elbow Plank position.
  • Round 5: Run away like a dog.  Cover as much distance as you can in 4 minutes.
  • Round 6: Walk it off for 4 minutes.  Get your heartbeat down to normal.
  • Round 7:  Watch like an owl.  Now assume your posture of choice — seiza, lotus, half-lotus, cross-legged, sit in a chair, or have a seat in the grass and lean back against a tree.  Spend 4 minutes just sitting.  Don’t judge, don’t fantasize, don’t evaluate, don’t plan.  Just sit. 

¹ There’s no excuse for a martial artist not having a floor bag.  Buy a used bag on Craigslist for $10 or make one.

 

 

 

Flag Day: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #161

This week’s T.I. is out a day early so you can, if you desire, complete it on Flag Day.  Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14th, 1777.

Flag Day: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #161

  • 5 x 10 of Dumbbell Squats and Bench Presses (if you don’t have access to weights, just do 4 x 10 + 1 set to failure of Air Squats and Push-ups).  Choose a weight you think will work and get started.  If a set is easy, add a little weight on the next one.  If you can’t quite get your 10 reps, take a little off the next set so that you get as close to 5 x 10 as you can.
  • Heavy bag carry.  Pick up a heavy bag and carry it as far as you can without stopping.
  • 2-mile flag run.  Okay, fine, you don’t have to run with an actual flag.  But run with something in your hand, like a water bottle or my personal favorite, a walking stick.  It’s a heckuva lot harder than it sounds.
  • Flag Meditation.  Set a timer for 10 mins.  Use the flag as an object of meditation, either visual (q.v. mandala) or verbal (q.v. mantra).  If you choose the visual method, meditate on an actual flag or a photo of one; if you choose the latter, use the Pledge of Allegiance.  Silently recite it to regulate breath.  “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America (breathing in) and to the republic for which it stands (holding breath with airway open), one nation, under God, indivisible (breathing out), with liberty and justice for all (hesitating empty with airways open).  

Squiz: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #160

SQUIZ /skwɪz/
Britain, Australia, New Zealand, colloquial. Perhaps a blend of squint +‎ quiz

  1. [noun] a look.
  2. [verb] to peer at or eye suspiciously.

But because this month’s external focus is Self-Defense vs. Unarmed, we’re going to add a new definition:

3. a self-defense quiz (contraction of self-defense and quiz)

And since our internal focus is The Candle (meditation) we’re going to add in that element as well.

Squiz: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #160

  1. The last time you stayed in a hotel, did you request a room between the 2nd and 4th floors? (FYI, fire ladders don’t reach beyond the 4th)
  2. Do you know your spouse or significant other’s license plate number?
  3. Do you know the nearest safe harbors to both home and work? (A safe harbor is a location that’s open 24 hours which has some kind of security presence)
  4. Do you have your attorney’s phone number memorized in case you’re arrested?
  5. Do you know your state’s laws regarding use of force?†
  6. Is there at least a quarter of a tank of gas in your vehicle right now?
  7. Do you have a fully stocked first aid kit in your home that contains a first aid manual?

Expand your definition of meditation beyond sitting on the floor in lotus position reciting a holy mantra.  Your mind treats visualization like actual experience with 80% efficiency.  Which means that in addition to preserving your spirit, it might preserve you body in a self-defense situation.

  1. Have you spent at least five minutes this week visualizing what you would do if you were the victim of a violent attack, such as a carjacking, abduction or sexual assault?
  2. Have you spent at least five minutes this week visualizing what you would do if someone tried to force their way into your home or office?
  3. Have you spent at least five minutes this week visualizing your own demise?  “Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily.” ~Hagakure

That’s 10 questions.  How did you score?

10 = A
9 = B
8 = C
7 = D
6 or less = F

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† In my home state of Virginia, USA, our laws are basically “stand your ground lite.”  In other words, I don’t have to run, but I can use only sufficient force to ensure my safety.  Details here.