Scarf Hold Escape


that I started making two videos a week? Martial arts on Wednesdays, religion and/or philosophy on Sundays. Go get some.



Behind us in a past far flung
beneath a billion trillion tons of ocean
in the icy cold and mineral dark
coral insects built their lonely temples
to a god they could not know
and their parishioners
flagellum waving, gills singing
silent cantos to a sun unseen
ever winking, twinkling still

And then, when tales were written
of trees and floods
of serpents, towers, pillars
came dwellers of land and air
and they, like those before
piled up stones, rose up temples
made sacrifices unfathomable
to gods they could not see
ever burning, burning still

And now, out of the unknown
whispering the nonsense sense
glimmers like a fairy light
invisible to most
a mysterious idea, a cosmic thought
And crawling after it broken priests
compound fractured body and soul
content to follow in pain and failure
Ever smiling and smiling still

When time lies dead in undying present
and the teaming millions reel
the glimmer will be eternal bright
and the deepest depths will know its light
bones will be healed
and the hidden revealed
crawling no more, standing to flower
coming into blooming eschaton
ever unfolding, unfolding still

“Hey Mitch, what’s this poetry thing all about?” I want to collaborate with Blue Öyster Cult and I’m hoping the Öyster Boys will think this would make a good lyric.

Did you know I wrote a paranormal/mystery/romance book inspired by Blue Öyster Cult’s lyrical themes?  Click here to download it here for free!

The cover to my book “Chatters on the Tide” inspired by the music of Blue Öyster Cult

Khufu Point: Martial Arts Training Involution #183

The pyramids of Giza in Egypt

It is Mettlecraft Month at Cabal Fang!  Last year we all faced “Self-Destruct Sequence.”  It was amazing — read about it here.  This year we’re going after the cord and rule program goal of 100 Bodybuilders in under 20 minutes which we’ll take a run at on Tues., 11/26 (the last meeting of Nov.).  Those who’ve already succeeded are aiming for new PRs.  

The way to work your way up 100 Bodybuilders is to use what I call MBF — “martial base fitness” (more details will be in my forthcoming book “Martial Grit” but in the meantime read last week’s T.I.).  One of the secrets of MBF is frequent, low-intensity sets.  

Pyramids are great low-to-medium impact training routines because they have a quasi-warm-up and quasi-cool-down built right in.  And there’s a psychological component too — almost like climbing a real hill or flight of stairs.

Why “Khufu Point?”  Because the Great Pyramid of Giza is also known as the Pyramid of Khufu and it has a point at the top — as well some really cool symbolism — and there’s also a “point” to this involution…

Khufu Point: Martial Arts Training Involution #183

  • Warm-up thoroughly.  Jog, jump rope, lightly shadowbox, etc. for a total of at least 8 minutes.
  • Run to the pyramid.  Complete a 1 kilometer run as fast as you can.  My PR is 4:40.
  • Bodybuilder pyramid. Complete a full pyramid  of Bodybuilders, Jackknifes, and  Steam Engines– that’s 1 of each, 2 each, 3 each, up to your peak and then back down.  Beginners peak at 5, intermediate 6, advanced 7 or more.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you need to finish.
  • Combo Pyramids.  Bounce on your toes in your fighting stance.  Shoot forward and throw 1 punch, then leap back.  Bounce for a few beats, then leap in and throw a 1-2 combo, and leap back.  Bounce for a few beats, then leap in and throw a 1-2-3. Continue up to 5 then back down to 1.  Take a short break, maybe 30 seconds, switch stance to other foot forward and repeat.  Beginners complete 2 sets each side, intermediates 4 sets/side, advanced folks 6 sets/side.  If you have a heavy bag, use it — otherwise punch the air, just make sure you imagine an actual opponent in your mind’s eye while you work!
  • Cool down for 3 minutes.  Walk around your training space and get your heart under 100 bpm.
  • Pyramid reflection.  Set a timer for 10:00 and assume your meditative posture of choice.  Regulate your breathing.  Spend ten minutes reviewing your training recently.  Evaluate emotionally and visually.  Visualize your training in your mind’s eye, thinking in images instead of words or numbers.  Have you been forging your mettle?  Are you “climbing the pyramid” in your training?  Are you ready for the 100 Bodybuilder challenge?

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books.  Why not check one out?

Bodybuilders: Martial Arts Training Involution #182

It is Mettlecraft Month at Cabal Fang.  What does that mean?  Well, during Mettlecraft Month we make it a point to ask just a little more of ourselves than normal — we test, and build, our mettle.  For more on the topic of Mettlecraft read this.

This month we’re all going to go after the cord and rule program goal of 100 Bodybuilders in under 20 minutes.  Those of us who have already succeeded are going to aim for new PRs.  We’ll make a pass at it on Tuesday night 11/26 (our last meeting of the month).

Work your way up 100 Bodybuilders using what I call MBF — “martial base fitness” (more details will be in my forthcoming book “Martial Grit”).  Build a base level with the Bodybuilders (or any other exercise) by doing let’s say 10 or 20% of the goal per day — however many you can do without being sore.  After a week or two at this level, without soreness, take a run at 50% of the goal to see how you’re doing.  If your run at 50% works out well, without much soreness, up your daily count to 25% of the goal.  If you do poorly, add a second session at 10% of the goal — that would be 20% early in your day and another 10% later on.  You still shouldn’t be sore.  The goal isn’t to crush yourself — it’s to establish a base.

Here’s a fun way to incorporate your 20% base into a nice martial training session.

Bodybuilders: Martial Arts Training Involution #182

  • Bodybuilder HIIT.  After a full 8:00 warm-up, set a timer for  10 x 1:00 rounds (10 minutes total).  Square off against your heavy bag and get after it will malice for the full minute.  When the timer beeps, knock out as many Bodybuilders as you can for the minute (most folks get between 5 and 7).  When you gas out, take a 12-count break before you start your Bodybuilders. This should put your total Bodybuilder count somewhere around 20% – 30 % of this month’s 100-count goal.
  • Reflection.  Set a timer for 10:00 and assume your meditative posture of choice.  Regulate your breathing.  Spend ten minutes reviewing your training — not verbally but emotionally and visually.  Look at your training in your mind’s eye.  Don’t think in words but in images.  Have you been forging your mettle?  Are you ready for the 100 Bodybuilder challenge?

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books.  Why not check one out?

Mettlecraft Month is Here!

Well, it’s that time of year again — Mettlecraft Month at Cabal Fang.  Remote students of Cabal Fang past and present — please play along and share your progress in the comments and/or share videos of yourself facing the challenge!  

What’s the challenge?  In addition to constitutionals twice per week our goal this month is to complete…

100 Bodybuilders in under 20 minutes ( or as fast as you can).

The plan at the club in Richmond is to work our way up to 50 or 60 Bodybuilders and then rip off the band-aid at the final meeting of the month on Tuesday, 11/26.  And it should go without saying that anyone — remote or local — who wants to make multiple runs at the challenge over the course of the month is welcome to go for it anywhere or anytime!

For this month’s constitutional, click here.  My Wednesday martial arts video is below.

Now get moving!


Ice and Fire: Martial Arts Training Involution #181

Rountree’s “The Powhatan Indians of Virginia” contains a wealth of information and is surprisingly fun to read for a scholarly work of its kind.

My frontier lifeways research continues to pay dividends for both the Bobcat Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble program and for Cabal Fang martial arts.

A Powhatan warrior, I’ve discovered, was expected to be silent and taciturn when beaten for a criminal offense and, if tortured, his only outcry should be insults directed at his captors.

The Powhatan began at a very early age to inure themselves to discomfort.  In Rountree’s The Powhatan Indians of Virginia, I read that they took  daily, early morning baths in the nearest natural body of water, regardless of the season — men, women and children alike.  They told the English that they did it for two reasons – both to keep them clean and to harden them to the cold.

More indigenous training methods will appear in future Bobcat training modules — but some of them are so brutal that they will have to be modified, adapted, or even replaced with alternative analogs to make them compatible with modern sensibilities.

Stoicism — indifference to pain and discomfort — is an often-neglected martial skill.  It’s difficult to train safely and there’s a fine line between pain tolerance training and masochism or torture. Traditional martial artists use body toughening techniques like shin rolling, makiwara and wooden dummy training to instill pain tolerance. This is why in Cabal Fang we stress the importance of the forging post.

All of this leads us nicely to ice method of pain tolerance training — the “ice” in this week’s “Ice and Fire” training involution.

Ice and Fire: Martial Arts Training Involution #181

  • Ice.  Half fill a large pitcher with water and ice.  Set timer for 3 mins and plunge your open hand into it to test pain tolerance.  Do not squirm, make faces, or utter a sound.  If you can’t go the full 3 mins, practice daily until you can. Note: As shown in Mythbusters episode #142, holding a hand in ice water for ≤ 3 minutes is safe for people with no precluding health issues.
  • Fire.  Complete the following martial calisthenics: 50 Lunges (Drop Duck-under-style), 50 Reverses (Back Bridge to roll over), 25 Sit-out Push-ups, 25 Bear Walks (5 yards each), 50 Shots, 50 Sprawls, and 50 Sit-ups (from Bottom Scissors while thigh-squeezing a floor bag).  Beginners, do half.
  • Extra credit.  3 minute cold bath or shower.  Set timer and get in.  Do not squirm, make faces, or utter a sound. Tip: Meditate, contemplate, pray, or do what I do to pass the time: recite wisdom literature in your head.  My favorites are Matthew 6: 1-4, Philippians 4:4-9, The Lord’s Prayer, and the Emerald Tablet.

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books.  Why not check one out?

Martial Arts Compliant Calisthenics

Click here to download!

I haven’t always done a perfect job of practicing my calisthenics in a”martial arts compliant” fashion.  I just sort of trusted that if I did my calisthenics I’d stay fit.  And to some extent that’s true.  From Sparta to Parris Island, calisthenics have always been the way to get human beings fit to fight.

But as I get older I simply cannot afford to throw sweat at the wall and see what sticks.  I just don’t bounce back after high volume training sessions like a used to.   To stay powerful and healthy I need to maintain intensity while cutting total volume.

That means I need to get maximum bang for every drop of sweat expended. That’s called efficiency.  And there’s nothing wrong with you being efficient either.

So what I’ve started doing with much more consistently is making my calisthenics “martial arts compliant.”  See video below.