Goosed: Training Involution #93

In the old days, when people used quill pens, the often made from goose feathers.  There is also the expression “giving you the goose” which means to give a pinch in the rear to get somebody moving — the way geese bite you in the ass when you run from them.

Today I’m giving the goose in more ways than one.

Cabal Fang orients itself in the world Hermetically using the compass of the Hermetic Quaternary:

“To Know, to Will, to Dare; to Keep Silent”

So in Cabal Fang there are four different kinds of knowledge: Intellectual (“To Know”), Instinctual (“To Will”), Scientific (“To Dare”) and Mystical (“To Keep Silent”).  Developing these forms of knowledge makes you a better martial artist and a better person.

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We track our progress and integrate these forms of knowledge into a unified whole by keeping a training journal.  The Cabal Fang Study Guide provides a guideline for beginners.

I keep a spiral bound journal in which I log my thoughts, ideas, meditations and dreams exactly per that guideline. But I also keep a detailed log of all training sessions on a clipboard, and I update the log online each month (click here to view).  Detailed data deepens scientific knowledge and ensures improvement across all six dimensions: Speed, Accuracy, Form and Endurance, Mobility and Power (S.A.F.E. – M.P. = “Safe Martial Preparation”). 

Goosed: Cabal Fang Training Involution #93

Are you keeping a training journal?

  • If you ARE NOT keeping a training journal: If you’re not keeping a journal, you’re not practicing Cabal Fang.  Close your phone or computer right now and go buy yourself a spiral notebook so you can start.  If practical, put on a backpack and run/walk to the store to buy it and run/walk back.  This will give you a connection to your journal by increasing its value and emotional weight.
  • If you ARE keeping  a training journal: Open your journal to the workout you did on this day last year and see if you can best it. If your journal isn’t a year old yet, do the one I did last year.  I liked it so much I amped it up a little and made it the monthly Cabal Fang Temple constitutional. And our monthly focus is The Quill as well.


Book Sneak Peak: Mindfulness Exercise

I’m knee deep in the rewrite of Cabal Fang: Complete Study Guide from Querent to Elder.  In honor of the rewrite, and for those people who are really curious about what the spirituality of the martial art of Cabal Fang is really all about, I thought I’d post an excerpt.

The following mindfulness exercise is from Chapter 11: The Bell.

Living in the Moment

Plan to get out of bed about fifteen minutes early tomorrow so that you have enough time to brown bag your lunch for work or school. If you know that the cupboards are bare, go the grocery store the night before and get some things you think you might like. The next morning, rise a shade early and take a full fifteen minutes to prepare your lunch. Take extra care in the quality of the ingredients and how it is presented. Really make an effort to create a lunch that is nourishing yet beautiful, delicious yet simple and frugal. In a word, elegant. When done, don’t just chuck it in your purse or backpack. Pack it neatly and carry it respectfully.

When lunch time comes, get your lunch out of your bag, locker, or fridge and sit down to eat. If possible, sit alone to avoid distractions. Empty your head of any thoughts unrelated to this food and this meal.

Think about where the food came from. What does it mean that living things, plants and animals (if your meal contains meat), gave up their lives so that you could be nourished and live? What are you doing to make sure that the life you are leading is more meaningful and beneficial to the universe than the lives you have extinguished for your nourishment?

Eat slowly, chewing each bite thoroughly and carefully. Think about how nutritious and delicious the food is, what it tastes like, and so on. Take in all the smells, colors and textures. Think about the different mouth feels of each food item you included. Experience each and every bite to its fullest sensual extent.

If, like most people, you rush around like mad all day and never take the time to fully participate in many of your daily activities, this will probably be the most interesting and delicious meal you’ve had in six months — maybe ever.

Take this idea and expand it to include other experiences. When you kiss your lover goodbye, take a deep breath and enjoy his or her cologne as you lean in. Hold a kid’s sticky little hand and really listen to what she has to say. One night, right before you go to bed, go outside and look at the sky for five minutes. I mean really look at it. Take it all in.

That’s what mindfulness is – fully participating in the trillion little moments that make up your life.

CRUNCH! CRASH! BANG! Training Involution #92

CRUNCH! Crash! Bang! cabal fang Training Involution #92

  • Crunch through a hike.  Cover two miles with a weighted pack (#20, #40 or #60 by size/ability).  Finish up with 100 Squats before you drop the pack.
  • Crash into some combos.  7 x 2:00/1:00. Start each combo with a hard lead palm, a hard falling jab, or a forearm cram.  Finish each one with some kind of crash — a shoulder-slam, body lock, bear hug, bulldog,  single or double-leg take-down, etc.  If you have a partner, take turns exchanging combos.  No partner?  Use a heavy bag.  No heavy bag?  Shadowbox.  If working solo, spend your 1:00 breaks doing as many Sit-out Push-ups as you can, taking as few 12-count breaks as you need to survive.
  • Bang out a conditioning run.  CR10F Prisoner-style (hands behind your head).
  • Slice through your week.   While cooling down, think of a fumble you made in the last week, something you were involved in that went down awkwardly, inelegantly or uncomfortably.   How could you have been more elegant?  Then assume meditation posture, close eyes and regulate breathing and visualize the coming week.  See yourself acting with grace and fluidity, slicing through your week like a hawk through the air.  Don’t fantasize!  Imagine real situations on the actual horizon and really consider how you will need to behave in order to cut through your week.  When you’re done, record your thoughts and inspirations in your training journal and make notes on your To-Do list so you don’t forget.

Conditioning Run Protocol

The new Cabal Fang Training Involution scheme is laser-focused on building the knowledge, will, daring, composure, physical fitness and mettle to defend yourself and get to safety.

Short runs of up to 30 minutes are useful for building fitness and mettle — if  done with intensity.  So you’re going to start seeing Conditional Runs (“CRs”) showing up in the weekly Training Involutions from time to time.

Note: These intense runs are designed to prepare you to fight hard and escape fast, period.  What will they do to your next 10K  performance?  Might help, might hurt, don’t know, don’t care.  All I know is I feel stronger and fight better when I add a couple of intense runs per week to my martial training and I think you will too.

Here’s how the notations work:  

  1. After the “CR” which stands for “Conditioning Run” you will see a number, a letter, and perhaps another exercise or some other instruction.
  2. The number is the duration in minutes.
  3. The letter indicates the type of run.

Here are the types:

When you train Cabal Fang you do not muck around.  So, before you begin whatever you’re going to do — whether it is hitting a heavy bag, doing calisthenics, or even running — decide if you’re going to work on Speed, Accuracy, Form, Endurance, Mobility or Power.  If it helps to remember it, you you can abbreviate that SAFE-MP¹ for “safe martial prep.”  Here are the runs:

  • P = Power.  Intervals.  Alternate between running as fast as you can — full out sprint! — and either walking or calisthenics.  One of my favorites is  “CR15C, 20 Push-ups and 20 Squats alternating.”   I go the the local outdoor track, set a timer for 15 mins and then run a lap, do 20 Push-ups, run a lap, do 20 Squats, etc. and see how many laps I can complete before the timer beeps.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you must in order to finish.
  • E = Endurance.  Run while wearing a weighted vest or carrying a heavy or awkward object such as tire, sandbag or medicine ball.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you must in order to finish.
  • S = Speed.  Run as fast as you are able without breaking stride.  Try not to take any 12-count breaks.
  • M = Mobility.  Run on a trail, around cones, through mud  or water, run zig-zags across a field, up and down steep hills, run an obstacle course, etc.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you must in order to finish.
  • A = Accuracy.  Set a goal and try to hit the mark.  Pick a previous run and try to beat it in terms of fewer breaks taken, more distance covered, etc.   You are keeping a training journal, right?
  • F = Form.  Wreck your form.  Run backwards, run like an Apache, skip or side-gallop, run with your hands behind your head or behind your back, with one hand gripping your waistband, etc.  Experiment.  What if someday you have to run for your life with an injury or impairment?

Trust me when I say, you’re going to love to hate these runs!

¹ I’ve made dice of various kinds to create random workouts.  One of them is a 6-sided cube with sides that are S, A, F, E, M and P so I can generate focuses on the fly.



7 Big Things I’ve Learned from Bart Ehrman

Bart Ehrman’s book. It rocks. Click to order a copy on Alibris,

I’m reading Ehrman’s book for seminary and, although I’m not quite done yet, I can tell you that it is outstanding.  There’s a reason why this book is the NT textbook for so many 100-level New Testament classes.  Highly recommended.

Here are the seven things I’ve learned from reading it.



7 Things I’ve Learned from Bart Ehrman

(In plain English without any edu-babble)

  1. There are at least three different methods for analyzing the New Testament. None are lame, but the editorial comparative method cuts to the bone by asking “How and why did this author or authors add, delete or change the story?”
  2. In the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, people were a lot less orthodox and uptight than we are today.  Basically, everybody was Hellenized and was grooving on everybody else’s ideas.
  3. Judaism in the time of Jesus was virtually a Greco-Roman mystery cult.  Ever wonder why so many Jews have Greek names, like Stephen and James and such?
  4. The ancients were fully aware of the huge contradictions between the four gospels but they really didn’t mind all that much.
  5. The fact that the gospels contained fictional elements and were written by people — not by the hand of God — didn’t bother them all that much either.
  6. The idea of Christianity as a monolithic thing is silly.  There have always been tons of sects. Even the apostles disagreed.  Lots.
  7. The various Christianities of the ancient world can be seen as attempts at interfaith religion.  People were trying to reconcile the teachings of Jesus with Judaism, Greco-Roman paganism, Platonic Philosophy, Egyptian mystery cults, Helenistic Buddhism, and the myriad ideas of the period.

Choke, Don’t Choke: Training Involution #91

I have to admit that I love garment work.  Chokes, hockey jerks, sleeve pulls, all of it.   Yes, I know that choking a guy out with his own shirt isn’t “sporting.”  But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?

Self-defense is about escaping the clutches of attackers who are bigger and stronger than you.  What’s cooler than putting a 250 lb. killer to sleep with his own shirt?

This week’s involution is all about choking.  And not choking.

Choke, Don’t Choke: Training Involution #91

  • Choke. Put an old shirt or jacket on a sturdy wooden coat hanger and practice your basic chokes, like Old #7, Brace Choke, X Choke, Double Lapel Choke, etc.  If you feel creative, make a head-and-neck dummy (video below) and practice more complex chokes, like the Loop Choke, Squeeze Choke,  Paper-cutter, Jersey Choke, Guillotine Lapel Choke, and so on.
  • Don’t Choke.  Warm-up for 8 minutes.  Then select a sandbag (#20, #40 or #60) and set timer for 10 minutes.  Complete as many sets as you can of 7 SBGs (Sand Bag Get-ups), 7 SBLs (Sand Bag Lunges) and 14 SBPs (Sand Bag Presses).  This is for strength in the scuffle and the sand bag is your enemy.  So don’t “workout” — train.
  • 20-Minute Conditioning Run (Power).  Set a timer for 8:30.  Head out until the timer beeps, then head back.  Get home before it beeps again.  When it does, walk it off for 3 minutes and you’re done in 20.  A Constitutional Run means Constitutional Trial rules apply — take as few 12-count walking breaks as you need to finish.  Running for power means you run as fast as you can without pacing yourself.  FYI, there are several more types of Conditioning Run in the pipeline — watch for a blog post on Wednesday that will explain the protocol.


The Emerald Lamp Episode 2

Episode 2 of the Emerald Lamp Video Series is now live. If you liked episode 1, you’ll love episode 2. And if you like episode 2, well, you’ll have to wait until next month for episode 3 — unless of course you support me on Patreon. Patreon supporters get access to the Emerald Lamp series thirty days early (and lots of other cool perks too).

In this episode: The Hourglass symbol, death, rebirth, ideology, heroism, picking up heavy loads, and the mysteries of the holiday season.