Category Archives: Mysticism

Updates: Travel, 501(c)3 Status, WOOTW, etc.

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Temple Fund Recycling Efforts

See slideshow above.  I’ve been accumulating aluminum and other recyclables to benefit the Cabal Fang Temple Fund.  This past Saturday I took the first batch up to C&C Cullet on Route 1.  Four bags of aluminum cans, two auto batteries and 80 pounds of scrap metal earned us $50.00 to add to the Cabal Fang Temple Fund.

What’s the Cabal Fang Temple Fund?  It’s the fund to build or buy dedicated space for training and other activities.  Current balance $388.00.

More to come!

Travel Postpones Next Workout of the Week

From Thursday through Saturday this week I’ll be in Radford, VA for Karate College 2017.  Workout of the Week #62 will be delayed until July 1st.  Can you make it a week without it?  Sure you can.

501(c)3 Tax Exempt Status

A couple of months back I mailed the IRS our 501(c)3 paperwork for Cabal Fang Temple, Inc.   What was their reply?  A letter stating that they will give their ruling in no more than 180 days.  Um, okay.

So, changing the subject…

My Vacation Pictures

Speaking of travel, a couple of weekends back the wife and I took a little trip out the western part of Virginia.  We stayed at Hotel Strasburg which was was fun, but to be honest, I really can’t recommend it.  It’s a 100+ year-old building packed with antiques and it could be the ultimate in “shabby-chic.”  Problem is, it really needs some TLC and a deep cleaning.

But the we stomped around town, went to Luray one day, spent hours in the Strasburg Emporium and the Strasburg Museum, spent a day driving around on Skyline Drive, and generally had a blast.

If you’re that area, by all means stop at E. Pearls.  What an amazing shop!  I was so wrapped up in the place and talking with the shop owner that I forgot to take pictures.   He sells art and terrariums, that’s it.  Somehow he makes those things fit together, and its fun and charming and different and really cool.

And of course we sent to Family Drive-In Theatre and Cooter’s Dukes of Hazzard Museum.  How could we skip those?

See you when I get back from Karate College!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bar and Grill: Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #61

This week includes a modified version a workout shared by the wrestling encyclopedia himself Mark Hatmaker.  Mark is a gentleman and a scholar, and I will be training with him next week at Karate College 2017.  Can’t wait!

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week  #61: DOWN AT THE BAR AND GRILL

  • Get yourself a bar.  Whatever you have available will work fine — an empty weight bar or a weighted workout bar is best, but a wrecking bar is fine (even two dumbbells if you have to, just go lighter than you think you should at first blush).  I used a #20 digging bar.    Whatever you pick up, do not put down for the length of the workout.  Do 25 Military Presses, 18 Walking lunges (bar at waist or chin, your call), 25  Knuckle Push-ups (squeeze that bar!), and 18 more Walking Lunges.  Do that 3 more times.  That’ll be 4 sets total, a grand total of 100 presses, 144 Walking Lunges, and 100 Knuckle Push-ups.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you need to finish.
  • Now grill yourself.  Not literally of course, but figuratively.  Think of a time when said or did something that makes you feel ashamed.  Analyze it completely, get down to the who-what-when-where-and-why of it.  No excuse-making.  Be honest with yourself.  What can you learn from this dissection?  Have you atoned?  If not, should you?  Did others forgive you, or have they held grudges?  Were you ever punished?  Were the consequences just?  How do you think others who make similar mistakes deserve to be treated?

Putting Out and WOOTW #60

This is a quote from “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig. The older I get the more sense this book makes. Haven’t read it? Do it.

Big Black a.k.a. Christopher Boykin — who just passed away last month of a heart attack at age 45 — had this catchphrase that I like.  It’s simply “Do work.”  And what that basically means is that you need to buckle down and put in some effort to be excellent.

“Do work” is a modern, slang, short-hand version of a very large and complex idea that’s explored, and think ultimately proven to be true, in the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  That idea is that the quest for quality is what gives birth to all great philosophies and religions, and that it has incredible power to transform individuals and cultures.

The short version goes like this: When people pay attention and strive for excellence they are on the right track.  But when they don’t pay attention and they don’t care about what they’re doing things go wrong.  That’s oversimplified by about six bushes and a peck, and there’s much more there of value that you’ll get if you read the danged book.

But in the meantume, just try it.  Pay attention, take responsibility, focus on quality and “do work.”  Everything that the pursuit of quality touches is made brighter.

And now for the Cabal Fang Workout of the Week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #60

  • Boxing HIIT for Accuracy: Setup a slip ball and a heavy bag so that you can switch between the two.  Set timer for 1:00 rounds and complete 20 of them, alternating between ball and bag.   On the heavy bag rounds, focus on hitting precise targets on the bag.  Put a few “Xs” on the bag with medical tape if your bag doesn’t have dots or targets.  On the slip ball rounds, focus on executing perfect and crisp pops and slips.  Muddy movements are easy for opponents to read!  When done, cool down by walking it off for 3 minutes.
  • Writing exercise.  Get out your training journal and write 100 words minimum about quality.  What does quality mean to you? Have there been times in your life when you have and have not done quality work?  Compare, contrast and explore.

Raccoon Confessional

No raccoons were harmed in the making of this blog post. [photo courtesy of Wikipedia]

My wife and I ordered three raccoons from a wild food coop.  At least, that’s what happened in the dream I had last night.  Are wild food coops even a real thing?

Anyway, in the dream we got the three frozen raccoons, skinned and dressed and wrapped in cellophane.  We were on vacation.  There was only enough room in the rental house fridge for two of the ‘coons.  So I found a trap door in the floor and stuck the third ‘coon in there.

But it turned out that the trap door in the floor was actually a laundry pit.  My wife threw in clothes and soap and pretty soon there was blood and suds everywhere.  So I cleaned up the mess, gathered up the raccoon remains, carried them to the empty rental house next door, and plastered them behind the bricks of the fireplace.

A couple of days later I saw the landlord and a work truck next door.  I went over and made conversation, pretending to be just another nosy tenant.  A workman was replacing the real bricks with fake bricks made of wood, and I was terrified that a fire would someday result and kill an innocent family on vacation.

I woke up — too soon to resolve whether or not I was going to come clean about what I did wrong and take responsibility for making sure the repairs were done right.  Why did I dream all this?  Because two things happened on Facebook over the last couple of days.

Confession box in the church of Hanswijk, Mechelen, Flanders [photo courtesy of Wikipedia]

#1: A friend of mine asked why confessionals are only a Catholic thing.  And, as an ordained interfaith minister, I sincerely offered my services as a non-denominational confessor.

#2: Another friend of mine posted a video involving a martial arts instructor whose material I think is substandard.  I over-reacted and said some very negative things.  Although I stand by my criticisms as valid, I don’t at all stand by my  condescending, sarcastic, ruthless and swaggering language.  Without qualification I completely, unreservedly and publicly apologized for my remarks.

I confessed.

Isn’t it fascinating how that worked out?  And isn’t it interesting how my dream showed me how lies, mistakes, and hidden things rot and fester in the dark until they’re dragged out into the light?

I’m still wrestling with how I acted, still trying to internalize what I’m learning, still trying to let go of guilt that seems out of proportion to just some harsh words.  This lesson is still unfolding.

What I’ve got so far is that everybody needs to apologize and confess their sins, especially confessors.  And the longer you wait the more it stinks.

 

Workout of the Week #58

First things first — Happy Memorial Day to all my friends in the USA!  Have a hot dog and a beer, relax, and enjoy your long weekend.

And now for something completely different: this time the workout of the week is all on video!

#Mettlecraft

 

 

\Met”tle*craft\, n.  mettle [E. metal, used in a tropical sense in allusion to the temper of the metal of a sword blade; substance or quality of temperament; spirit, esp. as regards honor, courage, fortitude, ardor, etc.; See {Metal}.] + -craft [AS. cr[ae]ft strength, skill, art, cunning; akin to OS., G., Sw., & Dan. kraft strength, D. kracht, Icel. kraptr; perh. originally, a drawing together, stretching, from the root of E. cramp.] 1. The art, skill and cultivation of physical endurance, unflagging determination and resolute strength of mind, body and spirit.

I made up this word to describe one of the primary goals of the martial art of Cabal Fang.  And, as my son recently pointed out to me, Cabal Fang isn’t as much as martial art as it is a way of being in the world, a way of making order out of chaos in tune with the logos.

Because, when it comes down to it, there’s really only one question with which everyone must grapple.  And that question is,

“How am I supposed to live in the world?”

And given that the world is always throwing things at you — trials, tribulations and tragedies of all descriptions — you had damn well better be unified in your mind, body and spirit or it’s going to be rough going.

There’s a lot of talk these days about being awakened, plenty of talk about “consciousness-raising,” and every time you turn around there’s a new awareness ribbon or colored rubber wristband intended to raise awareness of some problem, disease, or disaster.

Nothing’s wrong with any of that.  But until somebody does something about it, it’s all just pointing and talking.  Consciousness-raising doesn’t occur until someone looks inward and says, “I need to take action to stop this,” or “It’s my responsibility to fight that.”

Mettlecraft is the way we in Cabal Fang raise our consciousness and increase our awareness.  We look inward, analyze the state of our mind-body-spirit connection and take responsibility for how we live in the world.  

That way we create fewer problems for other people to point at, and we’re strong enough to help take responsibility for helping to solve the ones that loom.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #57

  • Ground-fighting Circuit.  Set a timer to beep ever 1:00 minute.  Put a heavy bag on the floor and do as many as you can in 1 minute of Prison Push-ups, Jackknifes and Side Lunges.  Then, for the fourth circuit, mount up your heavy bag and hit it as hard as you can 10 times.  Body lock it and roll to bottom position.  Hit it from the bottom 10 times.  Then bridge or roll the bag back into top position.  Keep doing that for the entire minute.  Repeat those four circuits 3 times for a total of 12 minutes.  Take as few 12-second breaks as you must.  Push as hard as you can and you’ll be drenched.
  • Untying knots. After you’ve walked off the circuit, cooled down, and your heart rate is back to normal, assume your usual meditative posture.  Regulate your breathing.  Close your eyes and begin searching your past for a time when you pointed out a problem but proposed no solution.  Look for things that you blamed on others but were actually your fault.  When was the last time you shirked a responsibility, left a mess for someone else to clean up, sat back and waited to see if someone else would fix a problem so you wouldn’t have to?  Find an incident and tease it apart.  Why did you do that?   How are you going to avoid repeating that behavior?

 

Special Polls, Barrel Rolls and the Workout of the Week

Before we get to the #WOOTW a reminder about the earlier announcement: I’ll be doing one seminar a month starting in June — some in person here in Richmond, VA and some web-based.

So please vote in the poll below so I can get a feel for which types of seminars are going to be most interesting to you folks!

Thanks for that!  And now, on with the show.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #56

  • Bad Karma.  Set timer for 12 minutes.  Finish as many sets as you can in 12 minutes of 8 each: Back Neck Bridges, Get-ups, Squats, and Sit-out Push-ups (a.k.a. “Barrel Roll Push-ups”).  Like this workout?  You’ll love my book The Calisthenics Codex (5 stars on Goodreads and in the Top 10 calisthenics books at Barnes & Noble).
  • Hand of Mystery Meditation.  Sketch a copy of the Hand of Mysteries or print out a copy of the picture above.  Set up the sketch or image at eye level and settle into your favorite meditative posture. Regulate your breathing, narrow your eyes, and spend 10 minutes meditating on the image.  Afterwards re-read Chapter 10 in the Cabal Fang Book.  Record your thoughts, experiences and insights in your training log or journal.