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Sacred Geometry Exercise Part 2 and WOOTW #54

Last week, as part of the Cabal Fang Workout of the Week, I suggested a meditative drawing exercise in sacred geometry that, if you did it, basically looks like the GIF on the right.

The day I posted that exercise was the most popular in the history of this blog.   Hopefully you folks like the sequel just as much.  Because the second step is to go from last week’s exercise to drawing a pentagram.  I’m not making a new video or photo set because somebody already made a really good one:

What does all this mean?  What in the name of all that’s holy does any of this have to do with martial arts — or with anything important whatsoever?

If it was explicable in 25 words or less, we wouldn’t need symbols would we?  And if it was obvious enough to grasp at first glance, I wouldn’t suggest that you draw it yourself!  

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #54

  • Kick Conditioner.  Complete a Half Pyramid to 10 of Kicks (to heavy bag, full power, first one leg then the other), Chin-ups, and Back Neck Bridge.  If you make it all the way to 10 (1 rep of each, 2 of each, 3 of each, etc.) that’ll be a total of 55 kicks per leg, 55 Chin-ups, and 55 Back Neck Bridges.  If this is too easy, add weight to Chin-ups and Neck Bridges.  Too hard?  Do Push-ups instead.  No heavy bag?  Make one or kick the air.  NO EXCUSES.  Try to get it done in 15 minutes.  Take as few 12-second breaks as you need to finish standing up.
  • Draw a 5-pointed star per the video above.  Watch the vesica piscis emerge, then the heart of the Cabal Fang symbol, then the star.  Record thoughts and impressions in your training log or journal.

 

Who Will Save Us From the Saviors?

A great review from a remarkable author. Beware — fascism and communism, as dangerous as ever, are known to shrug off the swastika or the hammer and sickle and slink about in other guises…

Gary Lachman

Here is my review of a recent book that, to my mind, offers a questionable solution to an undeniably pressing problem. We need to ensure that our cures are not worse than our afflictions. My thanks to Quest Magazine for posting the review, which originally appeared in their Winter 2017 issue.

How Soon Is Now? From Personal Initiation to Global Transformation
Daniel Pinchbeck
London: Watkins, 2017. 232 pp., hardcover, $24.95.

In September 2005, Daniel Pinchbeck had a revelation. In order to save planet earth, he would have to start a global revolution. Such thoughts were not foreign to him, or to many others at the scene of his visitation, the Burning Man festival, held in the Nevada desert.

Many were on his wavelength and shared his ideals. But a strange urgency had come over him, and he went through a kind of personal enantiodromia, when one’s values suddenly turn…

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Fish, Eyes, Rabbits and the Workout of the Week

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”  ~Ecclesiastes 1:9

One of my assignments in the seminary (did I mention that I’m an interfaith minister and I’m enrolled in an online seminary in pursuit of Holy Orders?) was to meditate on the image of the vesica piscis, otherwise known as the Christian fish symbol.  This meditation comes from Chapter 10 of Inner Christianity by Richard Smoley which is, by the way, a really excellent book.

Left: Eye of Horus. Right: vesica piscis

As I meditated on the symbol it began to fade in and out focus as often happens when meditating on objects and photos.  But soon thereafter, in its semi-focused state it seemed to look like an Eye of Horus. Once I saw the similarity it was hard to maintain focus because my mind began to race — and then I was involuntarily pulled out of the exercise by my intellectual mind’s desire to explore the similarities in the myths of Horus and Jesus.

 

Left: Isis and baby Horus. Right: Mary and baby Jesus. Note that Mary and Jesus are inside a flaming vesica piscis. That’s not a coincidence.

Certain things just make sense to humans — visually, mathematically, culturally, spiritually and so on — and those things just keep showing up across time and cultures.  Again and again and again.

This weekend Christian people are will be celebrating Easter, which typically aligns with Jewish Passover and is named after a pagan goddess named Ēostre (if you believe the Venerable Bede anyway).*

So no matter what your religious affiliation may be, give some thought to celebrating Easter tomorrow.  Color some eggs to symbolize rebirth.  Give the kids a chocolate bunny, or treat yourself.  The ancients believed that rabbits could reproduce without losing their virginity, so they were associated with Mary and Jesus.  And they were fertility symbols long before that.

To burn off all your eggs and peeps and chocolate bunnies, here is the Cabal Fang Workout of the Week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #52

  • Core Workout.  Set timer for 1:00 min rounds and complete alternating rounds of 8 Push-ups and 16 Neck Bridges (8 forward and 8 back) all on the minute (OTM).  In other words, do 8 Push-ups and then rest until the timer beeps.  Then do 8 Forward Neck Bridges, 8 back, and then rest until the timer beeps.  Repeat 6 times for a total of 12 minutes.  See video below for variations applicable to beginner, intermediate, and advanced players.
  • Meditation on Eye of Horus or vesica piscis.  Pick one and sketch it boldly on a piece of paper.  Set timer for 10 minutes.  Place your sketch at eye level, assume your preferred meditation posture, and focus your eyes on the object as you regulate your breathing (you may find it helpful to narrow your eyes a bit).  Record your experience in your training log or journal.

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* This is why the modern idea of “cultural appropriation” is a step backward rather than a stop forward — encourages people not to share ideas and think of themselves as one race, one species, and generally equal.  People have been sharing and borrowing and influencing each other since time began.  That’s called evolution, progress and dialogue, and it’s a good thing. Christians borrowed from Hebrews who borrowed from the Egyptians.  The Romans stole from the Etruscans who were influenced by the Greeks and the Phoenicians.  And so on.  Now, if you rip stuff off and pretend you invented it, well that’s called “theft.”  And that’s not nice.

 

Incorporation and WOOTW #51

Cabal Fang Temple, Inc. is now a real live corporation in the Commonwealth of Virginia and its 501(c)3 application is in the final review stage.  Fingers crossed, soon we’re going to be a real live, tax exempt non-profit.

In popular slang terms, “Cabal Fang is a thing.”

One of the things we’ve had to do is sharpen our message and streamline things so that there’s no ambiguity in our structure, message or actions.  What that means is that the Order of Seven Hills martial arts club — the first and founding Cabal Fang martial arts group — is going to be changing its name to the Cabal Fang Temple.  This was a tough call, but one that we agreed needed to happen in order to advance the art.

In order to honor the fantastic work we did, the discoveries we made and the camaraderie we shared under the old name, we’re going to incorporate two of the things we do at the club into the Cabal Fang canon — our pledge and our flag.  Look for them in the second edition of Cabal Fang: Complete Martial Arts Training Course from Querent to Elder.

More to come.  And now for the Cabal Fang Workout of the Week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #51

  • Practice the Star of Ishtar for a minimum of 10 minutes (that’s the Cabal Fang version of a “combat clock”).  Do this by attaching a pool noodle to a sturdy object at shoulder height using a bungee cord or rubber tie-down.  If you have 10 minutes you can make an arm out of a pool noodle, a scrap of shrubbery, and a meter of duct tape (see video below).
  • Full Pyramid of the following: Jackknife Push-ups, Jackknifes (bent or straight knee is fine), and Get-ups.  Beginners to a peak of 5, intermediate 7, advanced 10+.  The square of the peak = the total number of reps per exercise.

 

Time Machines, Transformations, Alternative Facts and WOOTW #46

Emerald Hourglass2Although time is theoretically fluid, in the realm of theory and mathematical calculations at least, we generally think of time as static, like past events recorded on video or in a history book.

But that isn’t true.  The video, even though it may be shot in the round, is only one perspective.  Another camera moved in a different manner shows different facts.  A video of a clash between protesters and government forces looks different depending on which side you support.  But Math is as true as truth gets.  The statement “2 + 2 = 4” is true on a level unattainable using surveillance camera footage.

Trust the math.  The past changes all the time.

For proof, compare any two history books from different eras.  As I more fully explained in a previous post, your value system determines what you see.  So when you get more information and your value system changes, the past changes too.  The twist ending of The Sixth Sense changes everything you saw for the previous two hours.  When you discover that your husband of five years has been cheating on you, he becomes a different person, both present and past, and so do you.  Everything you did and said takes on a completely different character.

This is more than a witty or entertaining observation.  It’s extremely powerful wisdom from which you can learn certain valuable lessons:

  • First, if the past is changeable, how much more changeable is the future?  Now that’s inspirational!
  • Second, if your value system is so powerful that it is essentially a time machine, you should probably start working on making it as strong and alive as possible.
  • Third, since a value system is just a framework for making decisions and choices, and since you know that new and increased information allows you to make better decisions,  then keeping your value system current and up-to-date is a good idea.  Whatever your value system is, it can’t be so wishy-washy as to be worthless, but it should be cautiously malleable rather than static.
  • And fourth, “alternative facts” have the process backwards.  They are an attempt to force a perspective change by first manipulating information.  Yes, past, present and future can change.  But they have to change organically through revelation and evolution, not by jamming.

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #46

  1. Full Pyramid to 7 of: Walking Push-ups (take 1 “side-step” with hands between each rep), Split Jump Squats and Get-ups.  Double up on the Split Jump Squats and do a hop-switch so that you get even exercise per leg.  That’ll be a total of 49 Walking Push-ups, 98 Split Jump Squats, and 49 Get-ups.  Take as few 12-second breaks as you can.  Get it done in under 12 minutes you got me beat (12:15 here).
  2. As many kicks as you can in 10 minutes.  Air kicks or vs. heavy bag, whichever you prefer.
  3. Hourglass meditation.  Choose a past event that nags at you, something that makes you feel strange or tangled up when you think about it — nothing traumatic or catastrophic — just something like a misunderstanding or an awkward conversation.  Assume your chosen posture, regulate breathing, close your eyes and clear your mind. Now step into that past scene and try to untangle that knot.  Really put yourself there.  Envision everything you can about the scene down to smells and sounds.  Relax into that slice of space-time and see if you can figure out what really happened.  There’s a reason why you’ve been avoiding sorting it out.  Untangle that knot.

 

 

 

 

‘An Inconvenient Truth 2′ Arrives In 2017

People seem awfully entrenched in their relative points of view. So, although I remain cautiously hopeful, I really doubt that climate deniers will pay $12 for a ticket and then sit through something that their preferred news outlets and blogs are already telling them is a total fabrication. But a guy can hope, right?

DPNews

When An Inconvenient Truth came out, there was plenty of reason to be worried about where the climate was heading. Part of Al Gore‘s deeply concerning presentation about where the Earth was going to be in the next few decades included an apocalyptic end game, one that seemed impossible but, in Gore’s direct and informed way of speaking, also felt plausible in a strange way.

Of course now, with a climate change denier heading up President-Elect Trump’s EPA and a former Exxon honcho looking at the Secretary of State position, Gore’s nightmare seems infinitely more likely and maybe even a little kind. So, as was learned over this past weekend, it’s a perfect time for An Inconvenient Truth 2 to be hitting theaters, even after the similarly provocative, Leonardo DiCaprio-fronted Before the Flood. The surprise sequel was announced to be likely hitting theaters sometime in 2017 and…

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The Five Goals of Training and WOOTW #15

Never walk up to a heavy bag and just start walloping it, or just start randomly throwing punches at the air, slinging dumbbells, or aimlessly jogging. Why waste valuable training time when you can train with a purpose?
In Cabal Fang there are 5 Training Goals, and they are Speed, Power, Endurance, Accuracy and Form. Before you start your workout, decide what you’re going to try and improve — then tailor the workout to drive improvement in that direction!

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week

Kicks in all 5 Ways (warm up thoroughly before you begin!)

SPEED: Set timer for 30 secs. Roundhouse kick  heavy bag as many times as you can in 30 secs. Rest 30 secs and repeat. If you don’t beat your kick count the second round, do 25 Push-ups. Remember that count and carry that number through the rest of this workout. 

POWER: Turn off timer. Whatever your kick count was last round, do that many kicks as hard as you can, with maximum malice. Take your time but don’t lollygag. Rest 30 secs and do it again. If you or any training partners think your power was less the second round,  do 25 Push-ups. 

ENDURANCE: Are you kidding? This whole workout in total is ENDURANCE practice! 

ACCURACY: Mark a spot on the bag no bigger than 2″. Kick to your count. Do 5 Push-ups per miss. Rest 1 minute and repeat. You guessed it — beat your score the second round or do an additional 25 Push-ups. 

FORM: With one hand on a sturdy object, complete your kick count very slowly and with perfect form. Rest 1 minute and repeat. If your or any of your training partners thinks your form was lower on the second set, do 25 Push-ups.