Category Archives: Mysticism

Scarf Hold Escape


that I started making two videos a week? Martial arts on Wednesdays, religion and/or philosophy on Sundays. Go get some.



Behind us in a past far flung
beneath a billion trillion tons of ocean
in the icy cold and mineral dark
coral insects built their lonely temples
to a god they could not know
and their parishioners
flagellum waving, gills singing
silent cantos to a sun unseen
ever winking, twinkling still

And then, when tales were written
of trees and floods
of serpents, towers, pillars
came dwellers of land and air
and they, like those before
piled up stones, rose up temples
made sacrifices unfathomable
to gods they could not see
ever burning, burning still

And now, out of the unknown
whispering the nonsense sense
glimmers like a fairy light
invisible to most
a mysterious idea, a cosmic thought
And crawling after it broken priests
compound fractured body and soul
content to follow in pain and failure
Ever smiling and smiling still

When time lies dead in undying present
and the teaming millions reel
the glimmer will be eternal bright
and the deepest depths will know its light
bones will be healed
and the hidden revealed
crawling no more, standing to flower
coming into blooming eschaton
ever unfolding, unfolding still

“Hey Mitch, what’s this poetry thing all about?” I want to collaborate with Blue Öyster Cult and I’m hoping the Öyster Boys will think this would make a good lyric.

Did you know I wrote a paranormal/mystery/romance book inspired by Blue Öyster Cult’s lyrical themes?  Click here to download it here for free!

The cover to my book “Chatters on the Tide” inspired by the music of Blue Öyster Cult

Bodybuilders: Martial Arts Training Involution #182

It is Mettlecraft Month at Cabal Fang.  What does that mean?  Well, during Mettlecraft Month we make it a point to ask just a little more of ourselves than normal — we test, and build, our mettle.  For more on the topic of Mettlecraft read this.

This month we’re all going to go after the cord and rule program goal of 100 Bodybuilders in under 20 minutes.  Those of us who have already succeeded are going to aim for new PRs.  We’ll make a pass at it on Tuesday night 11/26 (our last meeting of the month).

Work your way up 100 Bodybuilders using what I call MBF — “martial base fitness” (more details will be in my forthcoming book “Martial Grit”).  Build a base level with the Bodybuilders (or any other exercise) by doing let’s say 10 or 20% of the goal per day — however many you can do without being sore.  After a week or two at this level, without soreness, take a run at 50% of the goal to see how you’re doing.  If your run at 50% works out well, without much soreness, up your daily count to 25% of the goal.  If you do poorly, add a second session at 10% of the goal — that would be 20% early in your day and another 10% later on.  You still shouldn’t be sore.  The goal isn’t to crush yourself — it’s to establish a base.

Here’s a fun way to incorporate your 20% base into a nice martial training session.

Bodybuilders: Martial Arts Training Involution #182

  • Bodybuilder HIIT.  After a full 8:00 warm-up, set a timer for  10 x 1:00 rounds (10 minutes total).  Square off against your heavy bag and get after it will malice for the full minute.  When the timer beeps, knock out as many Bodybuilders as you can for the minute (most folks get between 5 and 7).  When you gas out, take a 12-count break before you start your Bodybuilders. This should put your total Bodybuilder count somewhere around 20% – 30 % of this month’s 100-count goal.
  • Reflection.  Set a timer for 10:00 and assume your meditative posture of choice.  Regulate your breathing.  Spend ten minutes reviewing your training — not verbally but emotionally and visually.  Look at your training in your mind’s eye.  Don’t think in words but in images.  Have you been forging your mettle?  Are you ready for the 100 Bodybuilder challenge?

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books.  Why not check one out?

Mettlecraft Month is Here!

Well, it’s that time of year again — Mettlecraft Month at Cabal Fang.  Remote students of Cabal Fang past and present — please play along and share your progress in the comments and/or share videos of yourself facing the challenge!  

What’s the challenge?  In addition to constitutionals twice per week our goal this month is to complete…

100 Bodybuilders in under 20 minutes ( or as fast as you can).

The plan at the club in Richmond is to work our way up to 50 or 60 Bodybuilders and then rip off the band-aid at the final meeting of the month on Tuesday, 11/26.  And it should go without saying that anyone — remote or local — who wants to make multiple runs at the challenge over the course of the month is welcome to go for it anywhere or anytime!

For this month’s constitutional, click here.  My Wednesday martial arts video is below.

Now get moving!


Ice and Fire: Martial Arts Training Involution #181

Rountree’s “The Powhatan Indians of Virginia” contains a wealth of information and is surprisingly fun to read for a scholarly work of its kind.

My frontier lifeways research continues to pay dividends for both the Bobcat Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble program and for Cabal Fang martial arts.

A Powhatan warrior, I’ve discovered, was expected to be silent and taciturn when beaten for a criminal offense and, if tortured, his only outcry should be insults directed at his captors.

The Powhatan began at a very early age to inure themselves to discomfort.  In Rountree’s The Powhatan Indians of Virginia, I read that they took  daily, early morning baths in the nearest natural body of water, regardless of the season — men, women and children alike.  They told the English that they did it for two reasons – both to keep them clean and to harden them to the cold.

More indigenous training methods will appear in future Bobcat training modules — but some of them are so brutal that they will have to be modified, adapted, or even replaced with alternative analogs to make them compatible with modern sensibilities.

Stoicism — indifference to pain and discomfort — is an often-neglected martial skill.  It’s difficult to train safely and there’s a fine line between pain tolerance training and masochism or torture. Traditional martial artists use body toughening techniques like shin rolling, makiwara and wooden dummy training to instill pain tolerance. This is why in Cabal Fang we stress the importance of the forging post.

All of this leads us nicely to ice method of pain tolerance training — the “ice” in this week’s “Ice and Fire” training involution.

Ice and Fire: Martial Arts Training Involution #181

  • Ice.  Half fill a large pitcher with water and ice.  Set timer for 3 mins and plunge your open hand into it to test pain tolerance.  Do not squirm, make faces, or utter a sound.  If you can’t go the full 3 mins, practice daily until you can. Note: As shown in Mythbusters episode #142, holding a hand in ice water for ≤ 3 minutes is safe for people with no precluding health issues.
  • Fire.  Complete the following martial calisthenics: 50 Lunges (Drop Duck-under-style), 50 Reverses (Back Bridge to roll over), 25 Sit-out Push-ups, 25 Bear Walks (5 yards each), 50 Shots, 50 Sprawls, and 50 Sit-ups (from Bottom Scissors while thigh-squeezing a floor bag).  Beginners, do half.
  • Extra credit.  3 minute cold bath or shower.  Set timer and get in.  Do not squirm, make faces, or utter a sound. Tip: Meditate, contemplate, pray, or do what I do to pass the time: recite wisdom literature in your head.  My favorites are Matthew 6: 1-4, Philippians 4:4-9, The Lord’s Prayer, and the Emerald Tablet.

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books.  Why not check one out?

Update — Safari: Martial Arts Training Involution #180

My little suburban safari did not go as planned.  But that was the point — to go outside my comfort zone, to stretch my limitations, and to face the unexpected, the unknown, and the unplanned for.

The first thing that threw me for a loop was that, immediately after the first big turn, Hungary Creek transformed into a reedy, rivuleted flood plain covered in chest-high grass.  I had never previously navigated terrain like that, and it was more than a little nerve-racking.  That was a very, very long stretch for sure.  But I learned a little about nerve, and how to pick your way, and foot placement.  Proud to say I didn’t even once get myself sunk below the shoe tops.

Once I was back to woods and thickets I was alright.  It was easy walking for the most part, although circuitous because of fences and property lines.  Eventually however the creek ran through a narrow culvert.  When I emerged onto the road I found myself smack-dab in the middle of the Hoehns Lake gated community, surrounded by “No Trespassing” signs.  The creek was running straight down the middle, and they would’ve called the cops for sure if I had stuck to course.  Didn’t have much choice besides high-tailing it down the private road to the main road.

Of course, along the way I got barked at by several dogs and challenged by a frowning resident, but they weren’t anything I couldn’t handle with a few apologies, some raised hands, and some smiles.

Back on the main road I skirted the private property, regained the creek on the other side, and continued my adventure.  Eventually though I ran into an 8′ high chain link fence with barbed wire ontop — another community — Laurel Lakes this time.  See selfie at right.  It’s the only one I took during the trip, because that unfortunately the end.

I had covered roughly 5 miles at that point.  So I ambled over to Laurel Park, sat down in the shade of mighty pine, had a snack, and took a catnap.  Then I hiked the 3 miles home.

What did I learn this trip?

  • Don’t panic in high grass and start hurrying to get out — you might step in a hole and find yourself with a twisted ankle while up to your neck in mud.  Pick your way with your feet cock-eyed so you press the grass down ahead of you.  You can see where you’re headed quite a bit better,  you make a kind of mat that keeps your feet from sinking into the goop, and it gives the snakes more time to flee ahead of you.
  • As I’m getting older I have to slow down.  I am no longer as sure-footed as a billy goat.  If I was to stumble and jam my leg into a tangle of logs and flood debris, I’d spiral break a leg.
  • No matter how light you’re traveling, throw in a pair of dry socks.  I was lucky my feet didn’t get soaked.  If they had, I would’ve been miserable.
  • Old-fashioned blanket-covered canteens are twice as good as the modern kind.  They ride better and bounce less.  My 2-liter, pill-shaped canteen was more comfy that a 1-liter bullet-styled one.
  • Hemp-cotton blends dry almost as fast at poly-cotton blends.  My hemp-blend shirt kept me cool and dry.

Although I didn’t successfully walk the whole creek, it was still and fun and educational day!

Original Post from 10/26/19

At the time this post is scheduled to publish, I will be exploring the entire 6 mile length of Hungary Creek.  I’m only familiar with about a third of it, so this is going to be fun.

This suburban waterway runs through the  powerline easements of my neighborhood, between parks and housing developments, and winds its way in and out of dense thickets.

I’m calling it an suburban safari.

Once upon a time a safari was understood to be a trip to Africa to hunt large game.  Technically though, safari is a Swahili word that means “journey”  and that’s mostly what it means these days — a journey through unfamiliar territory.

Your assignment this week is to go on a safari.  Like me, you don’t need to go very far to find unexplored territory.

safari: Martial Arts Training Involution #180

Take a hike, go for a paddle or mountain bike ride, etc.  Carefully select an activity that will be challenging based on your experience level.   Beginners, seek the advice and help of friends and loved ones who know your skills and read my book The Wildwood Workbook: Nature Appreciation and Survival.  

At a bare minimum, tell at least two people where you’re going, take a fully stocked possibles bag, a fully charged cell phone, and plenty of water.  

If your situation won’t allow you to wander far from home, go out to your back yard or patio and climb a pyramid or ziggurat.   Now there’s an adventure of a slightly different kind!

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books.  Why not check one out?

Excuses Excuses: Martial Arts Training Involution #177

This laser-focused workbook could change your life.

What’s the difference between a reason and an excuse?  An excuse is a failure.  A reason is a delay.

You are either going to reach your ultimate  goal or not.  If you don’t reach the goal, your “reason” is an excuse.  But if you reach the goal, your excuses are valid reasons for being delayed.

This week’s T.I. is an excerpt from my most recent book The Hourglass Way: Transform in 12 Weeks with Cabal Fang.  Get it on Kindle, as a paperback, Nook book, or in any ebook format via Smashwords.



Things happen. People and situations are not perfect or ideal. You are going to have bad days, bad weeks, maybe even a bad month or year. So what do you do if you wake up one day and realize you haven’t touched this workbook for a while – a few days, weeks or even months? Well, did you read the section above or not?

If you mess up on the program, all you have to do is get up, dust yourself off, and get back to work. Cabal Fang will change your life – but only if you stay with it. If you only missed a few days, you can pick up right where you left off. If you fall out of the program for a couple weeks, back up a week and resume. If you drop out for a month or more, it’s probably best if you start over.

Have you ever heard the expression, “I don’t know where you’re going but you can’t stay here.”? You picked up this workbook because you know you need to work on yourself. Obviously you don’t want to stay where you are. Well, the only way to get to a better place is to move and keep moving.

Listen to the lies you are thinking:

* “I don’t have time to do this program properly right now.”  Nonsense. People make time for the things that are important to them. Take a little time away from TV, social media, web surfing, napping, snacking, partying, video games, etc. etc.

* “This is a great program but I can’t do it justice.” You know how you do justice to a great program? By not quitting it.

* “I don’t have the __________ (focus, strength, willpower, determination, etc.)”  Of course you don’t.  You know you don’t.  I know you don’t. That’s why you’re in the program you chucklehead. Just do the best you can.

Bottom line? Doing the program half-assed is better than not doing it all. Nothing’s stopping you from doing it over again later! In Cabal Fang, we don’t judge. But neither do we whine, complain, or make excuses – and especially we don’t quit. We modify, adapt and overcome.

Enough talk. Let’s get started.

Excuses Excuses: Martial Arts Training Involution #177

Last week we took it easy.   But not this week.

  • 20 minutes on the heavy bag. Warm up for 8 minutes while you decide if you want to work on speed, accuracy, form, endurance, mobility, or power (“SAFE MP”).  Don’t just wail away on the bag without any purpose.  Adjust round length to suit your goals (shorter when working on S or P, longer for E), add tape targets to the bag for A, etc.  For more ideas read this.
  • 20 minute Half Pyramid.  Then set a timer for 20 mins and climb as high as you can before it beeps — 1 of each, 2 of each, 3, 4, 5, etc. of the following: Sit-Out Push-ups, Shrimps, Drop Duck-Unders, Bear Walks (5 yards), Jump Squats, Bodybuilders, Jackknifes.  Don’t know an exercise?  Read this.
  • Complete a nice long sit.  Animals and humans, both predators and prey, have been doing it since the dawn of life on Earth.  Contemplation (a.k.a “passive meditation”) is baked into your DNA.  If you want to explore how your mind works, learn patience and self-control, slash your body’s production of cortisol and other stress hormones, relax more deeply than you thought possible, and strengthen your relationship with the divine, this is the thing for you.  Set a timer.  Beginners 10 mins., intermediates 30 mins., advanced folks 1 hour.  Assume your meditative posture of choice.  Narrow your eyes somewhat to minimize blinking.  Do not fidget, wiggle, or scratch.  Breathe in a slow, steady rhythm.  Don’t get up until the timer beeps.
  • Record everything you did and learned in your training journal.  If it’ ain’t in the journal, it didn’t happen.

DID YOU KNOW…that I have an awesome shop where you can buy all kinds of cool stuff, like martial arts training materials, bespoke books, artwork, and so on?  Check it out!