The Rose: Training Involution #119

Archangel Barachiel (art by yours truly).  His primary symbols are the rose and the lightning bolt.

The following is an excerpt from Cabal Fang: Complete Study Course from Querent to Elder.  If you like this, you’ll love the book.

Barachiel, Guardian Angel of Cabal Fang

Depending on the Hebrew spelling, Barachiel translates as either ”Blessing of God” (Barachiel) or “Lightning of God” (Baraquiel). He doesn’t appear in the traditional biblical scriptures, only in the apocryphal books of Enoch. In 1 Enoch, he is Baraquiel, the “Lightning of God”, a fallen angel who is one of the 200 rebellious angels known as Watchers.

But in 3 Enoch, where his name appears with both spellings used interchangeably, Barachiel is an angelic prince who rules over the second of the seven heavens.

With this conflicting and confusing information in mind, views and interpretations of Barachiel vary widely. To a person of Orthodox or Catholic persuasion, Barachiel is an Archangel and a saint, the supreme leader of all the guardian angels. He is depicted in religious art as a radiant figure holding a white rose, a basket of bread, or a lightning bolt. Believers in folk magic may see Barachiel as a spirit or saint who can be petitioned for help in matters of luck and games of chance, or to prevail in a contest.

Barachiel’s symbols are the rose and the lighting bolt.

The Rose: Training Involution #119

  1. Inverted Pyramid of Combos and Calisthenics.  Advanced start at 12 (78 of each exercise total), Intermediate 10 (55), Beginners at 8 (36).  Exercises are Striking Combos (3 count min), Push-ups (HS or hardest type you can manage), Wrestling Combos (2 count min), and Get-ups.  So beginners are going to throw 8 striking combos, do 8 Push-ups, execute 8 Wrestling combos, and then 8 Get-ups. Then 7 of each, 6 of each, etc. down to 1.  Video below.
  2. Meditation on a Rose.  Select a color of rose that reflects a mental state you want to cultivate (see list below if needed).  Set a timer for at least five to ten minutes. Assume your meditative posture of choice, regulate your breathing, and then imagine a rosebud of the chosen color. As you meditate on the bud, imagine in your mind’s eye that the bud is slowly opening. As the bud opens into a blossom, so does your mental state open up and flower into the desired state.

Rose Color Symbolism

  • White: Heavenly love, purity, innocence, peace and harmony
  • Red: Passionate love, desire, sacrifice and courage
  • Pink: Friendly love, family love, grace, joy and empathy
  • Yellow: Self-love, joy, calm, focus, health and clarity
  • Coral: Sincere love, thanksgiving, enthusiasm, happiness
  • Lilac: Magical love, wonder, enchantment, change, and success
  • Black: Carnal love, rebellion, rebirth, protection, silence
  • Variegated Rose: Combinations and mixtures of other colors

Camping Pics and Insights

Dinner Saturday night: Jiffy cornbread, Nathan’s all beef hot-dogs with Saverne sauerkraut with dill, and Bush’s baked beans. Heaven on a plate.

My adult son and I went camping at the Peaks of Otter this past weekend.  Here are some pics.

I took only a few because I had the phone off most the trip.  And, as often happens, when I ditch the tech and get out in the woods I start seeing things more clearly.

Camping never fails to teach me something.

If you’d like more details, check out this rare public post on my Patreon blog.

A fawn still showing spots. Mommy was just off frame to the right.

Perfect cornbread — hot, moist, and not sticking — cooked in a vintage M-1942 US Army mess kit. Camp with me sometime and I’ll show you how it’s done.

Our parking pass from Peaks of Otter Campground.



Cord and Rule: Training Involution #118

I’m camping with my son this weekend, so T.I. #118 is posting early this week.  Lots going on around the Cabal Fang Temple these days.  Here’s a quick rundown:

  • We are testing a new Cord and Rule program to track attendance and keep students motivated.  More info below.
  • Started getting my head around this nonprofit thing.  Started reading books, making calls, getting on grant application email lists, got a Linkedin profile, etc.  Time to start attracting high-powered board members and big donors!
  • No more being shy about asking for donations.  All events and services will be on a “please give what you can” basis.  Yes, we’re a non-profit.  But it takes a few hundred dollars a year just to keep up with web-hosting, legal services and basic program materials, and we want to save up money to build a fancy new temple.
  • Another student in the Hermit Path Distance Learning Program faces his Constitutional trial this month.  The program is virtually free (please give what you can) and there’s only one text bookEmail me to get started.
  • As part of my continuing martial arts education I’ll be headed to Tennessee in October to attend a Western Warrior Boot Camp hosted by Mark Hatmaker — two full days boxing, wrestling and hanging out with some of the toughest guys on planet Earth.

Stay tuned!

Cord and Rule: Cabal Fang Training Involution #118

  1. Work your body.  Set timer for 8:00.  Complete as many strikes as you can vs. your heavy bag before the timer beeps.  If you don’t have a heavy bag,  make one; if you don’t have anywhere to hang it indoors, throw a rope over a tree limb or lash it to a tree or post.  When done, shoulder your bag and see how far you can carry it, switching shoulders as needed.
  2. Work your mind. Write down your strike count and the distance carried.  Are you writing down measurable metrics for all training sessions — such as rep counts, time elapsed, distance, etc. — and trying to improve?  If not, you aren’t training, you’re mucking around.  “That which is measured improves.”
  3. Work your spirit.  Set a timer for 10 mins and assume your meditative posture of choice with a chalice (or an image of one from a book) at roughly eye level.  Regulate your breathing as you stare at the chalice.  Allow thoughts, feelings and images to manifest.  What can you learn from the chalice?  As always, record everything in your training log.

Ancient Mesopotamian tablet showing the god Shamash holding the cord and rule.

The Cabal Fang Cord and Rule Concept

As a way to motivate students, add more structure, deepen the mind-body-spirit connection through mettlecraft, and better track attendance, we’re adding a rule to our knotted cord.

Since ancient times the mark of a “ruler” was the holding of a knotted cord and a hashed rod or rule – the cord for measuring long distances, such as in surveying land, laying out a building’s foundation, measuring the speed of a ship in “knots,” etc., and the rule for measuring shorter, more precision distances.

According to ancient myths, deities only bestowed cords and rules upon human leaders who were competent to rule.  A “ruler” should be is a person we can all measure ourselves against — someone we respect, admire, and believe is worthy of being emulated and followed. Our cord and rule will remind us to strive to become people we feel are worthy of respect, admiration and responsibility.

Babylonian goddess, likely Ishtar or Ereshkigal, holding cord and rule

The cord and rule are mentioned in the Old Testament, Ezekiel 40:3: “So He brought me there; and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand; and he was standing in the gateway.”

A blank ruler will be issued to each student at the beginning of the third month of study.  Starting after the first trial, the rule will be stamped with various words and symbols to mark monthly training milestones, to commemorate the completion of trials for rank advancement, etc.

Marking and maintaining the metal rod ties into Mettlecraft — it is a tangible item of “metal” that is marked based on one’s “mettle.” Our cord and rule help us determine how we “measure up” against the people we were when we started.

You Could Learn a Lot from a Dummy: T.I. #117

The finished dummy.  I used blue duct tape to finish him off.  Feels like you’re beating up a member of Blue Man Group.

With some pipe scraps and an investment of about $20 in duct tape, zip ties, and one $3 length of PVC plumbing pipe, I made a grappling dummy.  There’s a photo set of the construction at the bottom of the page.

Why did I make such a thing?  Because you can learn a lot from a dummy.  Plus, with the price of shipping, these things cost over 200 smackers — and I’m way too frugal for that.

If you don’t have a dummy and you don’t feel like making one, you can always substitute a large athletic bag full of folded sheets or something — but since your bag won’t have legs, your starting position will have to be on top of a weight bench or plyometric box, which will interfere with your footwork.

You Could Learn a Lot from a Dummy: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #117

  • Heavy bag power punching.  Set timer for 10 minutes and work your combination of choice, applying the Dempsey falling step.  Suggestion: Lead Jab, Rear Cross, Lead Hook.  Sink into that Lead Jab. Then, when throwing your Rear Cross, get your rear heel off the ground and really bite into the ground with the ball of that foot as your lead foot creeps out a jot more. Then surge in on the bag and uncork the Lead Hook — “slam the door” with max power as you straighten your knees a tad and pop up after the two previous falling step punches.  Rules 1 through 3 are (1) move in, (2) move in, and (3) move in.
  • Work your dummy.  Get out your dummy, pick a throw or clinch technique, and work it for 10 minutes.  I prefer either Seoi Nagi or Duck-Unders (which I always finish with a takedown — either a back ride to the mat or a knee breaker to put him on his back).  10 minutes is enough if you don’t muck around.
  • Complete a this month’s constitutional.  Leg Lifts (50), Jumping Jacks (100), Push-ups, Hop/Clap (25), Crunch’n’Punch (50), Help-ups (50) (if solo substitute Steam Engines), Burpees (25), Jump Squats, Split (50).





Cane Defense Seminar August 4th

Feel like a road trip?

I will be teaching a walking stick self-defense seminar this Saturday August 5th from noon to 1:30 PM at West End Manor Civic Association, 8600 Lakefront DriveHenrico, VA, 23294United States (map).  Details below.

You can register two ways — either sign up at the Cabal Fang website or on the  Facebook event page.

See you there!

About la Canne Vigny — Walking Stick Self-Defense

This is a donation-only event — make a contribution of $5, $10, $20, or whatever you can afford.  We’re a non-profit group and every little bit helps!


French Master-at-arms Pierre Vigny (b.1866) was an Army veteran, a combatives instructor, and chief instructor at the now famous Bartitsu Club operated by Edward William Barton-Wright.  Vigny specialized in French savate and the sportive style of stick fighting known as la canne which he modified for more effective self defense.


H.G. Lang was a Superintendent of the Indian Police, and he drew heavily on Vigny’s method when training Indian officers in cane defense.  In 1923 Lang published his book Walking Stick Method of Self Defence which became the basis for self-defense training for tens of thousands of Jews living in Palestine during the 1940s.


The IIFYM Experiment Week 10

Even though I haven’t been posting much on this topic, behind the scenes I’ve been trying to stick to the plan, which is basically eating anything you want as long as you get the right amount of protein, carbs, fat and fiber your body needs based on your activity level, exercise regimen and age.  Hence the IIFYM — “If It Fits Your Macros.”  And I’ve still been monitoring my digits.  Problem is, after 5 years on a low-carb diet with a one-day-per-week cheat days, it has been really hard to stick to it.  In other words, I’ve been cheating on Saturdays.

Still and so, my results have been remarkable:

Date Body Fat %¹ Muscle Weight Fat Weight Total Weight
5/21/2018 23% 123.1 36.4 159.5
7/27/2018 17% 128.2 26.3 154.5
Change -6% +5.1 -10.1 -5

But that’s not even the whole story.  My energy level is up, I feel better overall, and I’m enjoying my food far more.  And those are not insignificant benefits!

I’ll probably stop posting on this topic because the results are pretty much in.  IIFYM isn’t a silly fad — it’s real science and it works.

¹ Measured with suprailiac crest  body fat calipers.  Not super accurate, but better than guesswork.

The Afterlife: A Silly and Dangerous Idea?

These days the idea of an afterlife is derided as either childlike and old-fashioned or downright dangerous.  Belief in an afterlife (the story goes) is motivation for religious extremists to commit acts of evil, right?

But what if it’s more than that?  In this video I take a walk through the ancient and nearly universal idea in an afterlife.