Category Archives: Writing

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Hitchhikers: Y or N? — and WOOTW#59

This is me holding the giant circus mallet that I made.  What’s if for?  All kinds of stuff.  Like that one thing I’m doing in the video below.

Last Sunday I was out running errands in my truck and a nondescript lady  who seemed to pushing 60 years of age flagged me down in the Starbucks parking lot.  I pulled over and rolled down the window a crack.

“Can you give me a ride home?  It’s only a mile or so,” she asked.

“Ma’am, are you alright?  Can I call someone for you?” I replied.

“No, I’m fine, thank you.  My car broke down and I had it towed.  I just need a ride, that’s all.”

I couldn’t imagine a tow truck driver not offering a ride to a gray-haired lady, and something about the situation seemed…off.  I didn’t exactly get a danger vibe from her, I just sensed she was being less than truthful.  And her entire aspect seemed strange, like a character from Twin Peaks or maybe like a pod person from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

“I’m sorry ma’am, but I don’t think that would be a safe idea for either one of us,” I said.  “Do you?”

“Never mind, that’s fine, I understand, I’ll ask someone else,” she said.  She turned around and walked down the sidewalk before I could say anything else.  I sat there with my jaw hanging open and watched her approach another man getting out of a minivan.  Another car pulled up behind me and I realized I was holding up traffic, so I went on with my business.

I still feel weird about the entire thing.  I mean, I’m trying to be the best person I can be.  What kind of person doesn’t give a lady a ride?  And yet my self-defense radar was pinging like a cash register on Black Friday.

What do you think?  Should I have given her a ride?  Or was I right to say “no”?

And now for…

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #59

  • Start with 100 Sledgehammer Double Wristlocks per side (see video below).
  • Then cover 2 miles as fast as you can.  Walk, jog, run, sprint, or any combination thereof.  Just get there.

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.

 

#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?

 

Coming Soon: Saturday Seminars

Which type of seminar would you most like to attend? Which do you think is likely to draw the most attendees?

Vote below — because when the new Cabal Fang Website is up (click here for a preview), I’ll be adding one Saturday seminar per month to the Cabal Fang Temple event schedule.  Some of these will be virtual using Facebook Live, and some will be physical.

Thanks for your help!

 

Syncretic Symbols, Sacred Geometry and WOOTW #53

The seal of biblical king Hezekiah. Note the winged scarab and ankh motifs.

Last week I posted about how certain symbols and ideas just keep showing up across time and cultures.  Now I see an article which points out that things often reappear because people love to borrow and re-use things that are powerful, meaningful, fit into their existing knowledge structures, and/or are just plain useful.

Specifically, the article I read was about the discovery of King Hezekiah’s royal seal (right).

Note the Egyptian winged scarab and the ankh.  On a Jewish king’s seal. 

This famous biblical king was comfortable borrowing symbols from the very society which had oppressed his people about 700 years earlier.  And yet, by the biblical accounts in the Book of Kings, he was a highly respected and conservative king, a reformer who “purified and repaired the Temple, purged its idols, and reformed the priesthood.

Religion is the technology of consciousness.  Like all sciences, it builds on the discoveries and innovations, the successes and failures, of previous thinkers.  

Judaism sprang from Canaanite and Babylonian religious ideas.  Judaism collided with Egyptian and Greek religion and spawned Christianity.  None of this is theft.  It’s the way humans and their cultures innovate, grow and evolve.

When we see further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants (if I may borrow and paraphrase from Isaac Newton). 

And now for the Cabal Fang Workout of the Week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #52

Wrestling Conditioner #1: Set timer for 5 rounds of 2:00 minutes each, 10 mins total.  Make sure you’re fully warmed up before you begin, and go all out with no breaks.

Round 1, circle the bag.  Place a heavy bag on the floor (if you don’t have a heavy bag, here’s how you make one).  Put forearms on bag and toes on floor — these will be your only points of contact for this 2 min round. Circle the bag using only legs and feet, alternating directions, until the timer beeps.

Round 2, mount the bag.  Mount and strike 10 times as hard as you can. Body lock the bag, barrel-roll, regain mount, and repeat until the timer beeps.

Round 3, roll the bag.  Lie on your back with heavy-bag perpendicularly on top of your body. Roll it up and down across torso, pushing and pulling like a rolling pin. From time to time, press up the bag and let it drop on your torso to maintain or establish your tolerance for the stresses of wrestling. Continue for entire round.

Round 4, defend the bag.  Lie on your back with bag on top of you longways to simulate an attacker mounting you.  Strike 10 times.  Body lock the bag, barrel roll until your back on the bottom and repeat until the timer beeeps.

Round 5, side mount the bag and scissor.  Side mount the bag and scissor your legs 3 times.  Keeping chest pressure on the bag, switch to face other end of bag and scissor 3 more times.  Scramble or circle to other side of bag with forearms and toes only. Repeat until the timer beeps and you’re done.

Drawing Meditation.  This is a lesson in sacred geometry.  Get paper and compass and sit down quietly at a table where you can work in comfort and silence.  Set countdown timer for 10 minutes.  Clear your head, regulate your breathing, and follow the steps in the photo set below to draw the central geometric shape of the Cabal Fang symbol.  When you’re done, spend the remainder of the 10 minutes meditating on the diagram before you.  Do the two circles seem symbolic of anything?  How about the area where they overlap?  What else speaks to you?  Record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in your training log or journal.