Category Archives: Mysticism

Rope and Rag: Martial Arts Training Involution #223

Are you enjoying the new four-fold format?  Please comment and let me know!

Rope and Rag: Martial Arts T.I. #223

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • 8 mins of martial fitness.  You can do this one unarmed or, if you train with weapons, with a dull training weapon.  Set timer for 8 x 1:00.  Round 1: strike the air while doing Russian Squats.  Round 2: Low Crawl forward and backward up and down your training area making sure your profile is as low as possible.  Round 3: Get-ups.  Round 4: Strikes vs. heavy bag.  Repeat once more for 8 total rounds.  The first time you hit the heavy bag do so standing, the second time do so grounded.  Consider tying a rag to your heavy bag (s) to simulate hair.  See video below.
  • 150 max power kicks vs. heavy bag.  Go as fast and as hard as you can.  Record your time in your training journal and beat it next time.
  • Learn to tie a bowline knot.  The right knot at the right time can save your bacon.  If you need a cinch-proof loop in the end of a line, say you need loop to make a lasso or anchor a line to a post or branch, then you need bowline knot.  See photo set below.   Practice makes perfect.  Tie it and untie it 25 times until you have it down.
  • Sacred reading part 4.  As we’ve learned in previous weeks, the essence of sacred reading is to analyze the things you read in four different ways: literally, morally, allegorically and anagogically.  Consider that these ways of reading can be applied to all forms of input, not just to sacred literature.  Try reading a newspaper article or interpreting a friend’s story in these four ways.   Everything is a story, and every story has at least four layers of meaning awaiting discovery.
  • Journal As always, log everything you did and thought about in your training journal, even if it’s only a few lines.  If it ain’t in the training journal it didn’t happen!



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is a martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. If Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912) — is more to your liking, check out Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts, my for-profit martial art project. Click either photo to get started today!

I Know What We Did This Summer

big run hike

Robert, me and Morgan at the Big Run overlook

My son and his family re-located to Japan.  It is profoundly sad to have them so far away from me.  But rather than be all weepy and mopey, I’m focusing on the positive.

For one thing, I’m really proud I have a son who’s smart enough to land a high-powered international job and courageous enough to take it.

Deadlift weights

My son lifting with the new Deadlift rig

For another, my son and I had an incredible couple of months.  Due to COVID-related visa snags, my daughter-in-law and two oldest grandsons were allowed in first.  They went over in June to get the boys in school on time.  My son wasn’t allowed in until earlier this week.  This gave us more one-on-one time than most thirty-something sons and almost-sixty-year-old dads can manage.

In no particular order, here’s a rundown of what we accomplished together followed by a photo collage.

  1. Trained martial arts together many times
  2. Hiked Cold and Pleasant Mountains with my daughter Morgan and crew
  3. Installed a new dishwasher
  4. Went shooting
  5. Vistited Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown
  6. Watched the entire Firefly TV series
  7. Sculpted the Petrænigma and wrote the secret codes and ciphers
  8. Built a Deadlift machine
  9. Lifted weights together — with his help and insight I broke my plateaus and set PRs in every lift!
  10. Hiked Big Run Gap with Morgan (it was hot Hell’s front porch and I nearly croaked)
  11. Cleaned out the spare bedroom and created my new office
  12. Built a shelf to hold my cargo boxes
  13. Played RPGS a half-dozen times — got Mo and Jack to play for the first time! — and planned improvements to the Spaz Zone vehicle maneuver rules too
  14. Replaced the backdoor threshold on the rental house
  15. Put the TV in my wife’s crafting area onto a swinging mount

And by the way, the subject of this post is a play on a movie title.  Did you get it?

Martial Arts Training Involution #222 — NEW FORMAT!

phototropism

All about phototropism!

Starting with this week’s T.I. there will be a whole new format!  Each T.I. will include a foursome feast:

  • A fitness element — something to work your martial grit
  • A fighting element — something to work your martial skills
  • A faith element — a meditation, contemplation, prayer or sacred reading.  And finally the fourth element, which is all new…
  • A frontier element — a technique, skill, insight or tip relating to old-time lifeways, like nature observation and such.

Why?  To shake things up a little and promote my Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble  (“FRT”) program of course!

Sign up for the Bobcat FRT program  at Mitch’s General Store for just $19.99/month.  When you sign up you get a Bobcat Martial Arts hat and t-shirt ($29.98 value), a white bandanna and membership certificate ($9.99 value), a paperback copy of The Wildwood Workbook ($7.99 value) and your first training module ($9.99 value).  Each month you get a new module, book or other set of assignments and a 30-minute coaching call.  Just keep a training journal and send it in each month for evaluation and promotion.  You’ll be feeling fine as frog fur!

And now without further flourishing…

Phototropism: Martial Arts T.I. #222

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • Escape Plan. This one combines the fitness and fighting elements into a single delicious layered casserole of goodness.  See video below.  Set timer for fifteen intervals of 1 minute.  Run a minute, shadowbox for a minute, and do martial-relevant calisthenics for a minute.  Repeat four more times and your done.  Adjust running speed down to jogging or walking, and add rest breaks as needed, to suit your fitness level.  When you’re done, cool down by taking a walk and look at some trees.
  • Learn to find north using phototropism.  Plants naturally grow toward the light — even trees (see picture above).  Branches on the north side of a trees tend to be more vertical, those on the south more horizontal.  Go for a walk on a tree-lined street that runs east-west and look at the trees.  Ain’t that something?  Could save your life someday!
  • Sacred reading part 3.  This month’s symbol is the Book.  The essence of sacred reading is to analyze what you read in four different ways: literally, morally, allegorically and anagogically.  Last week you did some reading and some analyzing.  This week, memorize a meaningful snippet of sacred literature and recite it to yourself often during the week.  Memorizing sacred words gives you a special type of understanding — not so that you can impress your friends or hit people over the head with fancy words, but so that your command of the ideas can shape and hone they way you think.
  • Journal.  As always, log everything you did and thought about in your training journal, even if it’s only a few lines.  If it ain’t in the training journal it didn’t happen!



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is a martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. If Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912) — is more to your liking, check out Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts, my for-profit martial art project. Click either photo to get started today!

Plug and Play: Martial Arts T.I. #221

First a couple of plugs and then we can play.  And when we play, we’re going to plug in the moves of your choice.  Make sense?  No?  Just stick with me.

First plug is about SHIFT, the new-ish newsletter  I launched in April.  It isn’t exactly off to a scorching start.  If you signed up for it, please share your thoughts and opinions below so that I can make it better.  Thanks for your feedback!

Click here to visit Mitch’s General Store

Plug #2: Did you know that I have a quirky little online shop called Mitch’s General Store in which I sell all manner of unique fitness tools, martial arts modules, original artwork, books, and so forth?  Check it out.

 

And now on with the show, this is it.

Plug and Play: Martial Arts Training Involution #221

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • Wrestling Conditioner #2. This one’s should be a mainstay in your rotation.  Get out a floor bag, grappling dummy or silent partner and set a timer for 10 mins.  Strike 10 times from Top Saddle then drop and roll to Bottom Scissors.  Strike from bottom 10 times.  Hit your reversal of choice — Hip Heist (full or half), Kick Stand, DWL Sweep, etc. — and get back to Top Saddle.  Repeat until timer beeps.  Is this Greek to you?  Sounds like you need to start training — either IRL in Richmond (once COVID lifts) or via distance learning.  Links below.
  • Hike 1 mile with a heavy pack.  Heavy carries build real-deal strength.  Select a bag appropriate to your size, strength and fitness level and get walking (#30, #45 or #60).
  • Sacred reading part 2.  This month’s symbol is the Book.  The essence of sacred reading is to analyze what you read in four different ways: literally, morally, allegorically and anagogically.  This is called the Quadriga (see video below for more info).  Spend 15 minutes reading something of a spiritual, or at least philosophical, nature — the Holy Bible, the Tao Te Ching, the Meditations, whatever suits your fancy.  Apply at least two of the four types of reading to your selection and record your insights in your journal.

 



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is a martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. If Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912) — is more to your liking, check out Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts, my for-profit martial art project. Click either photo to get started today!

Dollar Short: Martial Arts T.I. #220

My apologies for the tardiness of the weekly T.I.  I got a little tied up, what with everything going on in these here parts, including but not limited to my adult son living with me for the last couple of months on account of his COVID-related visa struggles and blah blah blah (those of you who have my cell or email, reach out and I’ll share the boring details).

Anyway, without further ado, I present…

Dollar Short: Martial Arts Training Involution #220

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • Complete this month’s constitutional. Walking Push-ups (25), Wall Touches (100), Monkey Rolls (25), Crunch’n’Punch (25), Lunges (100), Jumping Jacks (100), Steam Engines (25).  Get it done in under 16:40 and you have us beat (so far).
  • Sacred reading.  This month’s symbol is the Book.  Spend 15 minutes reading something of a spiritual, or at least philosophical, nature — the Holy Bible, the Tao Te Ching, the Meditations, whatever suits your fancy.  Make sure you record in your journal any and all realizations and reflections come to you as you read.


TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS ARE AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is a martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. If Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912) — is more to your liking, check out Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts, my for-profit martial art project. Click either photo to get started today!

Slack nor Howl: Martial Arts T.I. #219

“Slacker” was a term for citizens who were uninvolved in the war effort during World War I, and a “calamity howler” was a fear-mongerer.  When the Spanish flu hit in 1918,

“the term slacker took on the added meaning of one who went out in public while ill, coughed and sneezed openly and in the presence of others, and generally disregarded the prudent recommendations of city authorities. The calamity howler became one who spread unfounded rumors of hundreds of influenza deaths in one day and vituperated health officials’ inability to minimize the spread of the contagion.”¹

Here are some of the things people did to keep society moving during the Spanish Flu epidemic when schools, churches, offices and civic centers were closed:

  • Kids were encouraged to do use their knitting, crocheting, sewing, wood-shop and arts and crafts skills to make new or repair damaged hats, gloves, and toys for the needy.
  • Churches teamed with Boy Scout Clubs to deliver stay-at-home Sunday school lessons to the homes of parishioners.
  • High School students were expected to be prepared for exams when they returned to school.  Teachers were available to assist struggling students by phone.
  • Outdoor schools, opened to fight tuberculosis, continued to operate throughout the early 20th century.  Kids didn’t just make do with outdoor schools, they excelled. Evidence suggests that students actually learn better outdoors than they do within.²

We are martial artists.  We should neither slack nor howl, but get our butts in gear.

Slack nor Howl: Martial Arts Training Involution #219

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • Crack yourself a sack.  Get a floor bag (a heavy bag with chains taped).  Make one if necessary.  Set timer for 10 mins.  Scissor lock the bag from the bottom and squeeze as hard as you can.  Straighten your trunk while you hit the top of his “head” with hammer fists.  When your legs gas, swap top/bottom foot position.  If you can’t make the whole 10 minutes, alternate Smearing Push-ups on the bag and Hatmaker’s Kansas Burpees until the timer beeps.
  • Get your crack out of the sack.  Run 1 mile as fast as you can.
  • Sack up and crack right back.  Whatever pressures are putting the squeeze on you —  social, work, health, financial, etc. — there is always something you can do.  Restriction breeds creativity, not freedom.  Get paper and pen and set a timer for three minutes.  Don’t analyze and think deeply — you’ll do that later — just throw out ideas!  Write down as many things as you can that might help your current situation.  When the timer beeps, calmly review and analyze the list.  Pick the three best ideas.  Put them on your to-do list, set completion dates on your calendar, and so on.  Taking action — any kind of action — is better than laying there and letting life, your opponent, or your assailant, crush the life out of you.

¹ How Did LA Cope With The Influenza Pandemic Of 1918?

² Schools Beat Earlier Plagues with Outdoor Classes.  We Should Too.



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS ARE AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is a martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. If Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912) — is more to your liking, check out Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts, my for-profit martial art project. Click either photo to get started today!

Dismantling Gnosticism

In this video I dismantle Stephan A. Hoeller’s Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing.

Stickin’ and Movin’: Martial Arts T.I. #218

This month’s martial focus is sparring.  All month long we’re providing solo drills to keep you sparring-fit during the pandemic.  Week one, a striking drill.  Week 2, a grappling drill.  Week 3, a wrestling fitness drill.  Week 4, a weapon drill and a two-part movement drill.

First, don’t forget that there’s only 1 week left for followers, friends and family to get my newest book for half price.  The  50% off pre-sale ends on 8/1/20.  Click here to get it before the price doubles.

Stickin’ and Movin’: Martial Arts Training Involution #218

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • Stickin’ drill.  What is your everyday carry weapon of choice?  Pepper spray?  Kubotan keychain? Folding knife? Walking stick?  Banana?  Take a dull version of your weapon of choice and go after your heavy bag for 3 x 3:00/1:00.  Get as close as you can to the same size and weight as the actual weapon and practice with both hands so that your practice will directly translate in a life or death fight.  Here are some photos of my training weapons.

    training weapons

    Training weapons — stand-ins for tomahawk, navaja, Bowie, etc.

  • Movin’ drill.  Could you quietly navigate your home or apartment in the dark if you had to evade an intruder?  Could you avoid all of the creaky doors, squeaking boards and popping stairs?  How about your yard?  Could you make it off your property in the dark in any direction without making noise, stepping in a divot, or tripping over a root?  Start practicing today.  See video below for tips.
  • Practice the Rule of Five. This month’s symbol is the Pentangle or 5-pointed star ★ (more about its symbolism here).  After you’ve cooled down for 3 minutes, spend some time organizing your life by the Rule of Five.  Divide a sheet of paper into two columns. Then cut the right column into four equal parts so that your paper is divided into five sections.   Label the left column “Misc.” and the four sections on the right side, “Today,” “This Week,” “This Weekend,” and “This Month.”  List all goals and to-do items under “Misc.”  Then move three things into each of the blocks on the right, crossing them off the left as you go.  When you’re done you’ll have three things to do today, three this week, three this weekend, three this month, and a slew of things on the left that are on deck.  Work and maintain a list like this and it’ll change your life.  For more on this program see The Hourglass Way: Transform in 12 weeks with Cabal Fang.


TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS ARE AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is a martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. If Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912) — is more to your liking, check out Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts, my for-profit martial art project. Click either photo to get started today!

Shove and Yank: Martial Arts T.I. #216

This month’s martial focus is sparring.  All month long we’ll be giving you solo drills you can use to stay sparring-fit (not everyone has sparring partners living in their households like I do).  Last week we did some striking stuff.  Today we’re going to do some grappling work.

Not a lot of preamble today guys — I need to wrap up the manuscript for Martial Grit and submit it to the publisher today because release date is Aug. 1st.

 

Shove and Yank: Martial Arts Training Involution #216

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • Three rounds of grappling dummy clinch punishment.  Set a timer for 3 x 3:00/1:00 and get your floor bag or grappling dummy (or just stuff a big gym bag with soft equipment and linens. Round 1, put it up against a wall and shove, grind, push, cram, gouge, knee and elbow.  Round 2, body lock your dummy and squeeze the life out of it with a good palm-to-palm grip and proper forearm cutting.  Round 3, back to the wall.  Advanced players skip the round breaks and press on.
  • Yanking practice.  Put a rope on your floor bag or grappling dummy and spend a few minutes warming up.  Reeling the bag towards you across the mat/floor, lightly pull and yank, etc.  When you’re ready to go, set timer for 30 second intervals and practice yanking that bag with maximum aggression.  Alternate 30 seconds of action and 30 seconds of rest.  Imagine this is your opponent’s arm and really go to town.  5 to 8 minutes of that should be more than enough.  Video below.
  • Pentangle meditation. This month’s symbol is the pentangle or 5-pointed star ★.  In addition to symbolizing the five wounds of Christ, it symbolizes the knight in action, the unification of all five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) and all five faculties (faith, effort, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom).  After you’ve cooled down for 3 minutes, set a timer for 10 minutes. Assume posture of choice and regulate breathing to a slow and steady rhythm. Keep your eyes open and do not fidget, wiggle or scratch. Visualize a five-pointed star.  Do not think about it in words — just experience the symbol as it is in a state of calm and relaxed awareness. When the timer beeps, record what you did and what you experienced in your training journal. 



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS ARE AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is a martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. If Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912) — is more to your liking, check out Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts, my for-profit martial art project. Click either photo to get started today!

Yanking Your Chain

I am going to yank your chain…

And as a true Christian Hermetic, I’m going to yank it in four ways — literally, allegorically, morally and mystically.

Literally…

Yanking is a martial arts tactic too often neglected.  Pretty or flashy? Not even a little.  Elegant?  Only in it’s efficiency.  Brutally effective?  Heck yes.  Intro video below.

Allegorically…

Nobody likes being pushed and yet, in martial arts as well as in life, pushing is the norm.  Parents push kids, spouses push spouses, bosses push employees, and so on.  Pulling, on the other hand, often works better if you have the patience.

Extend your hand and people will usually take it.  Give it a gentle pull and they will walk with you.  Wait for an employee to step up and then pull them into a project and you will get far better results than if you pushed.  Create an opportunity vacuum and pull collaborators into the open space.

In martial arts, if you are patient, wait for your opponent to push and then give a yank.  Then watch what happens.

Morally…

Moralizing — a.k.a. “finger-wagging” — is as old as time.  Interestingly, despite the fact that it doesn’t work,  everybody hates it, and God said not to do it, holier-than-thou behavior is never out of style.

Here’s the thing: people are really smart, and they copy other people who are smart, successful and worthy of admiration.  The best way to get people to clean up their behavior is to shut your mouth and focus on cleaning up your own.  Pull other people in the right direction, like moons pulled into a planet’s orbit by gravity.  Everybody will be happier including you.

and Mystically

Something that pulls without touching is called alluring which has the same root as lure.  A lure is of course a thing used to get a fish on the line so that you can pull it in.  So, to pull you into the project that my son and I started this past weekend I’m just going to allure you with a photo set and minimal words.  How’s that for yanking your chain?

[Today is the 12th anniversary of my father’s passing and during the project I was conscious that the date was approaching.  He was on my mind.  And I thought that if he was around, he would’ve really appreciated the mysterious thing that we’re creating.  So I made sure to use my father’s tools so that he could be in the project with us.  Rest easy Pop, thanks for the help!]

 

 

 

 



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS ARE AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is a martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. If Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912) — is more to your liking, check out Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts, my for-profit martial art project. Click either photo to get started today!