How to Stimulate Your Creativity

It’s more than counter-intuitive.  It just plain doesn’t make sense.  And yet, here it is in all its messed up, crazy, inside-out glory — one of the most powerful and yet simple methods for stimulating creativity and creative ideas.

Try it.  Let me know how it works by commenting below.

Involved: Training Involution #135

Why are our weekly training assignments called involutions?  What does involution even mean?


  1. The act of fully taking part in an activity or task (q.v. involved)
  2. The inner path of a spiritual aspirant toward self-realization.
  3. The process by which the Divine manifests the cosmos.

This is what separates Cabal Fang from MMA, combat sports, and defensive tactics.  Sure, we borrow from all of those.  But we are involved in the process such that it becomes a spiritual endeavor.

We should always be asking questions like,  “How is this martial activity making me a better person?” or “How can this technique activity be fully contextualized?”  Instead of just learning the HOW of our techniques, we should be exploring the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY of them.

Involved: Training Involution #135

Our martial focus this month is Spirit — which means putting your spirit in action! — and our internal focus is prayer. So…

  • Get involved If you are in the Richmond, Virginia area, join Cabal Fang Temple as we feed the homeless tomorrow at Food not Bombs.  We’ll be meeting at RVA Createspace, 607 Wickham St, Richmond, Virginia 23222 at 3:30 PM to help haul, serve and clean up.
  • Not in Richmond?  Do something else.  Don’t just donate money.  Actually do something. Volunteer somewhere.  Do a chore or cook a meal for a sick or elderly neighbor or relative.  Ask someone you know if they need a hand with something.
  • Don’t know what to do?  If you’re atheist, ask your better self, otherwise ask your deity or higher power for insight.  This is called prayer.  Be still and ask to know how you can be of service.  Listen carefully — something will pop into your head that’s decent, true and kind.  Do that.
  • Complete this month’s constitutional If you don’t have a tire, use a #20 sandbag instead.  Or help clean up the planet by finding one of the tens of thousands of tires that are tossed into streams, left in medians and thrown into the woods every year.
  • Subscribe to the new Cabal Fang YouTube channel.  



A Rough and Tumble Buck Walk in the Snow

Last month my martial arts club and I stared down the calisthenics nightmare known as Self-Destruct Sequence. World renowned coach Mark Hatmaker decided to play along and do it right along with us.

So when Hatmaker suggested I try his Rough and Tumble Buck Walk, I couldn’t say “No!” Video below. Now, to be fair, I butchered it a bit. It was supposed to be as follows: 100 yards of Lunges while going uphill and carrying an Olympic weight bar overhead. Every tenth Lunge, as a “rest,” complete three Swing Cleans. Then do it again 100 yards back downhill.

On account of the snow I couldn’t go to the park to do it on a 100 yard hill, so I did three, seventy-five yard circuits my yard which is sloped but not really hilly. And I didn’t have an Olympic bar, so I used my #20 digging bar. Honestly, if I had gone to the park and tried this thing with a proper bar and a proper hill, I don’t think I could’ve finished it. Legs? Maybe. Arms and shoulders? No way. She’s a shoulder killer.

Thanks for the adventure Mark!

Action Figure: Training Involution #134

The Cabal Fang external focus of the month is Spirit and the internal focus is the Rose (prayer).  How in the world, you may wonder, can an external focus be Spirit?  By putting your insides on the outside — by putting your spirit into action.  Here’s an excerpt from the Cabal Fang Study Course:

In Mettlecraft month you harden that which is soft; in Spirit Month you temper that which is hard so that it becomes flexible. As the old sage Lao Tzu said, strength and hardness are associated with death, while softness and flexibility are associated with life.  Aspire to maturity and strength without being jaded and inflexible, to being childlike and full of life without being naïve and helpless.

Spirit month means that you show your spirit in action.  The month the group here in Richmond is collecting food and money to feed the homeless.  We’ll be delivering what we’ve collected to the local chapter of Food not Bombs next Sunday 12/16, and then we’ll be hanging out to physically prep and cleanup a meal.

What are you going to do this month?

Action Figure: Training Involution #134

  • 30 minutes of action.  Warm up thoroughly.  Then set a repeating timer for 10 minutes.  For the first 10 minutes, complete as many sets as you can of 4 Jackknife Push-ups (HSPUs if you’re advanced), 4 Sit-outs, 4 Jump Squats, and 4 Wrestling Shots.  For the next 10 minutes, go at your heavy bag, punching and kicking with constant contact.  Then, for the final 10 minutes, go for a run.  Advanced players, add a weighted vest (I used a #5).  Constitutional trial rules apply for the entire half hour: take as few 12-count breaks as possible — push!
  • Pray for 10 minutes.  Even atheists can pray, because “to pray” simply means “to ask.”  Assume your posture of choice, regulate your breathing, and spend 10 minutes in prayer.  Ask your god or higher power what you could do, personally, this month, to physically put your spirit into action for the benefit of your family or community.  If you’re an atheist, pray to Truth and try to tap into your subconscious.  When you’re done, formulate a plan.  Actually set a date for whatever you decide upon doing.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye. shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh. findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” ~Matthew 7:7–8

Mettlecraft Month 2018 Recap and T.I. #133


The calisthenics nightmare that is Self-Destruct Sequence is a great way to find out if you scare easy.  But we stared it down.  And guess what we found out?

We are capable of more than we ever thought possible.

Everybody got it done under the 40 minute time limit.  Scott thought I was crazy — but he finished it twice.  Three of us set personal records (James 22:55, Robert 24:38 and me 24:45).  Arman set the new Cabal Fang organization record (21:15).  Two people who aren’t even in the organization were inspired to take a shot at it!  One was legendary martial arts coach Mark Hatmaker (who holds the all-time record by the way at 21:05).


And now for the Cabal Fang training involution of the week.

Training Involution of the Week #133

  • If you only took one nibble of Self-Destruct Sequence this month, go take another bite and see how it tastes the second time around.  Instructions below if you need reminding. Make sure you warm up thoroughly before you start!
  • If you took two or more stabs at Self-Destruct Sequence this month, then you deserve some rest.  Spend 20 minutes on form and technique.  If you’re solo, spend 10 minutes on forms and 10 more on the heavy bag at 2/3 power making sure everything looks just so.  If you have a partner, spend 20 minutes at half power working on Flow Drill #1.: A: Cram w/ Decolage Right to L Roundhouse Kick. B: Fade away overhook kick catch, block down foot, spiral takedown to Hanging Achilles Lock. A: Roll out. B: Follow, step over to Half Crab.
  • Walking meditation.  Go for a walk, at least 30 minutes.  Think about what you learned from Self-Destruct Sequence this month.  Now you know you’re capable of more than you thought possible.  How can you apply that to other dimensions of your life?  Are you capable of more intellectually?  Emotionally? Spiritually?  Come out of your walk with a new stretch goal.  Maybe you want to read more books or take more classes, save more money, spend more time with your kids, or to finally learn to play to guitar.  Cabal Fang is full context martial arts.  The lessons of martial arts are no good if you don’t apply them across all four dimensions.

In case you’re late to the party, here’s the challenge: Get this done in under 40 minutes.

 Self-Destruct Sequence

Zombie Squats (50)
Push-ups, diamond (25)
Jump Squats (100)
10-Count Bodybuilders (25)
Pikes/Leg Triangles (25)
Jump Squats, split (50)
Push-ups, Sit-out (25)
Bicycles (50 each side)
Burpees (25)
Twisters (25 each side)
Wall Touches (100)
Push-ups, hopping/clapping (25)

Exercise illustration video here.


Training Randomness in Martial Arts

Over the years I’ve talked a deal about the importance of introducing randomness into martial arts training.  Although some things seem to mesh better with linear progression training, like lifting weights (for me at least), introducing some randomness into training has real benefits.

One of the benefits you get from introducing randomness in your martial arts training is the ability to deal with the unexpected.  Chaos is really annoying.  But its real and you to learn to handle it.

Here’s an overview of what is and is not random in my training regimen these days.


Solo martial arts practice (four days/week).  I select random martial arts focuses by pulling labeled Popsicle sticks out of a pile.  Why not roll dice?  I want some randomness, but I need to cover all bases.  This method insures that, assuming I get through all the sticks in two weeks, I never get rusty at anything.

Running (twice per week).  I roll dice using the following program.  I have no idea if I’m running 3 miles for pace, half a mile as fast as I can, shuttle runs with a weighted vest, or what-have-you.

Extra calisthenics (whenever I feel like it).  I use PTDICE.  I have a few sets left.  Email me and I’ll sell you a set for $15 postage paid.

Not Random

Group martial arts training.  We stick with one  martial concentration and one constitutional (a 7 exercise deep calisthenics routine) for a full month before switching.

Weights (twice per week).  Still, I rotate out all exercises every 6 weeks.  Here’s some info about LPs.

Grip training (5 days/week).  Heath/maintenance 3 days/week,  pushing limits 2 days/week.  I’ve written a lot about this over the years, but recently I’m getting better results more safely.  More to come soon.

T.I. #132 Update: Ramp up to SDS

T.I. #132: As flow conditioning” for our attempt to set personal and/or club records on Thursday, complete a portion of Self-Destruct Sequence (“SDS”) up to 3 times/day until bedtime Wed. 11/28. 

So far I’ve completed 10 iterations (see pic at right) at varying percentages.  In total I’ve completed SDS 2.2 times over the last 6 days — with zero soreness.  See two tables below — one showing the number of reps per exercise at the varying percentages and another showing how I got to that 2.2 number.

Let’s say I’m able to complete 25% of SDS once more today and three more times on Wednesday.  Come Thursday night, I will have completed SDS a total of 3.2 times.  I’m betting that’s going to really change the game, but who knows?

Sure can’t hurt. Literally.  Because I trained without soreness.  If I beat my personal record, I’m taking this as evidence that this method works.

Those who taking the challenge, please comment or email with your results and whether or not you prepped with flow conditioning.

Partial Reps by Percentage
Self-Destruct Sequence
Full reps in parenthesis
1/4th (25%) 1/5th (20%) 1/6th (17%)
Zombie Squats (50) 12 10 8
Push-ups, diamond (25) 6 5 4
Jump Squats (100) 25 20 17
10-Count Bodybuilders (25) 6 5 4
Pikes/Leg Triangles (25) 6 5 4
Jump Squats, split (50) 12 10 8
Push-ups, Sit-out (25) 6 5 4
Bicycles (50 each side) 12 10 8
Burpees (25) 6 5 4
Twisters (25 each side) 6 5 4
Wall Touches (100) 25 20 17
Push-ups, hopping/clapping (25) 6 5 4


My total as of this morning:

11/22/2018 25%
11/22/2018 25%
11/24/2018 20%
11/24/2018 20%
11/24/2018 20%
11/25/2018 20%
11/25/2018 20%
11/25/2018 20%
11/26/2018 25%
11/27/2018 25%
Total: 220%