Tag Archives: cabal fang

Dear Hock


I practice martial arts for my health, for fun, to promote the health of my friends and the community, and so forth. But mainly to tip the scale in the favor of good over evil — to help protect the the small, weak and innocent. — like my granddaughter.  Ain’t she cute?

Dear Hock:

Although I appreciate your self-defense training materials (your Military X Knife Module is one of my favorite martial DVDs ever) and I generally enjoy your Force Centric blog, this one got under my skin a little.

What bugs me isn’t what you say — because you make some solid points — it’s what’s between the lines.  It’s your implication that martial arts that involve “art for art’s sake,” “self perfection,” and other “esoteric and abstract pursuits” are suffering from a “lack of reality focus” and “fighting athleticism.”

I agree that martial arts without sincere contact and real fitness are just interpretive dance.  But when you take out the work of the spirit, martial arts become blood cults, dark arts that put pain and punishment on a pedestal.

Without a spiritual center, martial arts are naked weapons, sharp blades left on a table where anybody can come along and hurt somebody with them.  Weapons should come with safety instructions, right?  I know you agree to a certain extent, because you teach the force continuum — when it’s right to strike, cut, stab and shoot.  The spiritual parts of a martial art are the instruction manual.  They’re there to prevent things from being taught out of context.

Context is important because, when you take violence out of its context — you isolate the fight from the fighter, the art from the warrior, and the heart from the fist, the human from humanity — you are engaging in compartmentalization.  People who compartmentalize say crazy, stupid things.

“Sorry, but this is business,” said the gangster.

“My country wrong or right,” said the zealot.

Tenno Heika Banzai!” yelled the kamikaze.

This is why I often refer to my martial art as “Full Context Martial Arts.”

Seems to me the perfect comparison is the true martial spirit and heroism of judoka Jeremy Glick vs. the fully compartmentalized martial training of the terrorists on board Flight 93.

The whole point of martial arts is to aid the best of us in prevailing over the worst of us, to promote good in the fight against evil, and to  rage against the dying of the light until our last breath.






Montreal Meatballs and Your Psyathlon WOD


This is what it looks like before you add the seasoning and put it on the grill.

It’s been too long since I posted one of my super- simple, 4-ingredients-or-less recipes.  Check out this one!  Your WOD is after the break

Montreal Meatballs

  • 1 lb organic ground beef, lean
  • 2 pounds of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 medium onion, cut chunky
  • 1 package of McCormick Grill Mates™ Montreal Steak Marinade

Montreal Meatballs

Cook frozen veggies for for 1/2 of the time listed on the bag (if you don’t they won’t be done at the same time as the meat).  While they’re going, form your ‘burger in to golf ball sized meatballs and throw then into a 9″ x 13″ aluminum pan.  Chop up onions and add them in.  Add veggies when ready.  Sprinkle on the seasoning.  Put pan on grill, cook uncovered with smoker lid closed for 15 mins, stirring every 5 mins.   While eating, try not moan like Meg Ryan from When Harry Met Sally.


Now for your Cabal Fang WOD, which is a “Super Sprint Psyathlon.”  For people who don’t have access to a pool or a ton of equipment, my Psyathlons are meant to simulate, if not physically then at least mentally, the Triathlon experience.  Today’s Super Sprint Psyathlon is 47 minutes, about half the length of the previously-blogged Psyathlon which is 90 minutes.  An actual Super Sprint Triathlon would be a 400 m (0.25 mi) swim, a 10 km (6.2 mi) bike ride, and a 2.5 km
(1.6 mi) run.

Super Sprint Psyathlon

Tabata Dry Swim.  8 x :20/:10 ea. of Prison Push-ups, Swimmers, Flutter Kicks, Front Plank (16 mins)

Bike.  Ride AFAYC for 15 mins on any available bike, actual or stationary, recumbent, upright, Airdyne, etc.

Run.  Run AFAYC for 15 mins, outdoors, on a treadmill or, if you prefer, jump rope.








Wonder: The First Vital Grace of Cabal Fang

Here’s a teaser for the next martial arts book which I’m working on now — the 100,000+ word redux of the Cabal Fang Martial Arts Manual which will be released later this year.  This is the section on WONDER, the first and foremost of the Five Vital Graces of Cabal Fang, which are WONDER, SAGACITY, FRUGALITY, INDOMITABILITY, and FRATERNITY/SORORITY.



It’s impossible to find your way in total darkness.  And so, because it’s the light of Wonder that illuminates the work of transformation that is the ultimate goal of Cabal Fang, Wonder is the first and foremost of the Five Vital Graces.

Some of us are blessed with an easy path through the world, but for most of us the quest to find our better selves often leads through tangled, troubling territory.  It may be tempting to think of Wonder as the light at the end of the tunnel, but Wonder is something far more complex and powerful.  Wonder is every light at the end of every tunnel; it is the very idea that light exists on the other side of every darkness.  For without a sense of Wonder, the world is flat, hopeless, featureless and dead.  Wonder is, in essence, the experience of our internal voice speaking the words, “Let there be light.”

Our wonder is with a capital “W”, that is to say, it’s “the father of all works of wonder in all the world” or as it is written, “Pater omnis telesmi totius mundi est hic.” This quote is from a Latin version of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, a very ancient and important document which will be fully introduced and covered in Chapter 5.  Now this word telesmi which is italicized in the quote above is an important choice of words.  Telesmi is a Latinization of the Greek word telesma, “a rite of consecration” which is in turn related to télos “a payment, accomplishment, or initiation” which comes I suspect from the myth of the departed paying the ferryman to guide the way across the river Styx.   Telesma and télos are the root from which the word talisman originates, a talisman being a magical charm conferring benefits, powers, and/or protection.

What this means is that Wonder is our talisman – our antidote to and protection against cynicism, pettiness, triviality and darkness – and it encompasses all three of the telelsmi – consecration, initiation, and protection — into its three-parted light.

There is the light of the Sun, which is the creative light; the light of the Moon, which is the reflective light; and there is the light of the Stars, which is the revealed light.  In the terrestrial, material world, the Sun’s light is responsible for the growth of all things.   Without it our planet would be a frozen rock.  None of the humans, plants or animals we take for granted, and none of the ecosystems they make up, could possibly exist.  Metaphorically, this is paternal power of creativity, processes, organization, and structure.  We are manifesting Sun power whenever we plant a garden, organize our personal lives, form our thoughts, frame an argument, start a company, construct a building.  The light of the Moon is the reflected light of the Sun, beloved of all wayfarers, the nighttime light that guides us through a dark world.  It is the maternal, accepting, gentle, empathic, and flexible light.  When we sit quietly on our back porch and “reflect” on the events of the day we are manifesting the light of the Moon.  The light of the Stars, the revealed light, is the light that shines through the pinpoints of the heavens.  This is the light of knowledge and insight that comes to us from beyond, from angels, ancestors, and forces that we can barely comprehend if we can at all.  When, upon reaching adulthood, we suddenly understand the wisdom of our parents, or when something brilliant suddenly dawns on us, we are experiencing starlight.

And so, when we gaze out at some breathtaking vista, from a high mountain top down onto a beautiful valley; when we stand at the base of a mountain and look up at its snowy top; when we see fish jumping in the rolling hills of the deep green, unbridled sea; when we suddenly understand that we are witnessing a miracle, like the embrace of a true friend or the delicate face of our firstborn child, we are struck by the threefold light of Wonder.  We are overcome by the creative light, the light of the majesty of creation.  At the same time, the reflective light fills us with empathy, making us feel small and yet somehow also important in the grand scheme; and finally we are struck by sudden awareness and deep, unbidden feelings and insights that are revealed to us as if by starlight.

This is why it is written, also in the Emerald Table, “Thus thou wilt possess the glory of the brightness of the whole world, and all obscurity will fly far from thee.”

Drill, Drill, Drill — That’s the Key

Update 7/18/19:  My club still uses the flag but we’re now called Cabal Fang Temple, and we’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational charity.  Visit our website or purchase our 12-week personal growth program at Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, or wherever fine e-books are sold.


Original post:
imageBefore we get to your Workout of the day, let me show you something.

This is not a Buck Rogers ray gun — it is a work of art, a Thor model #5576 electric drill made in the 1940s by the now defunct Thor Power Tool Co.  It belongs to an associate of mine.  He brought it over just so that I could admire it, because he thought I would.  And he was right.

Why did we stop making functional things beautiful?

And now for your three-part Cabal Fang Workout of the Day, as follows:

  • Dumbbells. Each DB – 10% BW.  AMSAYC in 8:00 of (8) ea. Pump Curls, (8) Squats and (8) Plank Rows.
  • PTDICE.  AMSAYC in 8:00 of (8) ea. Prison Push-ups, Bodybuilders and Squats.
  • Kicks.  250 kicks AFAYC vs. heavy bag  (25 with each leg of Knee, Stamp, Side, Round, Coup Italienne).

What’s the key?  In martial arts, the key is drilling!  

But on this blog, in the Cabal Fang WODs and in my personal workout log, this is the key — the key to all the abbreviations I use that is (some of which are borrowed from Crossfit™):

  • A:AA/B:BB = Expresses rounds in terms of work and rest, so that “3:00/1:00” means (3) minute rounds with (1) minute breaks.
  • A x B = “A” means number of sets or cycles, “B” refers to either the number of reps or the duration of rounds.
  • AFAYC = As fast as you can.
  • AHAYC = As hard as you can.
  • AMAYC = As many as you can.
  • AMRAYC = As many reps as you can.
  • AMSAYC = As many sets as you can.
  • ATG = “Ass to grass” in other words, get low into your squats!
  • BW = your bodyweight.
  • BT = “Body toughening” such as rolling shins, hitting the forging post and makiwara board, etc.
  • CON = Contemplation.
  • DB = Dumbbell
  • DOC = Deck of Cards, standard challenge: red = Push-ups, black = Squats
  • FPD = Full Pyramid, as in Ascending reps from (1) to the peak then back down to (1).
  • FZG = a Full Ziggurat, a timed Pyramid, as in  :30/:30, 1:00/:30, etc. up to 3:00/:30 and back down to :30/:30, for a total of 23 minutes.
  • GH = grip health physical therapy and stretching.
  • GS = grip strength training.
  • H2TS = Head to toe stretch.
  • HB = Heavy bag.
  • HPD = Half Pyramid, as in Ascending reps from (1) to the peak, as in 1,2,3,4, etc.
  • HZG = Half Ziggurat, a timed Half Pyramid, as in  :30/:30, 1:00/:30, etc. up to 3:00/:30, for a total of 13 minutes.
  • MED = Meditation.
  • O7H = The Order of Seven Hills, my martial arts club, an order of Cabal Fang.
  • PT = “Physical Training” or “Physical Therapy” depending on context.
  • PTDICE = dice used to create calisthenics workouts that are available at PTDICE.com.
  • PYR = Prayer.
  • RB = Resistance bands.
  • Reps = repetitions.
  • SBX = Shadowboxing.
  • STF = “Sets to failure” in other words, 3 STF of Push-ups and Jump Squats means that you do as many Push-ups as you can without resting followed by as many Jump Squats as you can without resting, and then repeat twice more for (3) full sets.
  • TR = Temple Rites.
  • WOD = “Workout of the Day.”




Blood on the Wallpaper (and your WOD)


I use PTDICE (buy a set at PTDICE.com) and an assortment of homemade randomization tools to create workouts. Why do I do this? Because (a) I work out at 5:00 AM and it’s really hard to come up with workout ideas when you sill have crunchies in the corners of your eyes, and (b) as a martial artist I think it’s good for me to have to deal with the random crap that the world throws at me.

First your Cabal Fang WOD.  This is nothing on paper.  It only takes about 30 mins and my heart rate never got over 150.  And yet it was ridiculously hard for me.  I would love for somebody to try it and post their feelings.

  • Animal Tabata (16 x :20/:10, cycling through Crab Walk, Gorilla Walk, Mule Kicks, Monkey Rolls, 8 mins total)
  • PTDICE (4 sets to failure of Hindu Squats, Mtn. Climbers, Full Stop Push-ups, and Jackknifes)
  • Heavy Bag Boxing Power Drill (8x:30/:30.  Complete as  many max power shots as you can in :30, rest for :30, repeat.  8 Mins total).

And now for the rest of the story…

Sorry for the dramatic title, I just couldn’t resist.  I probably should’ve called this post, “Wallpaper in my Blood” but “Blood on the Wallpaper” is much more enticing.

Flashback.  When I was a kid my father used to run a small remodeling company on the side.  I started off young helping out around the shop, but as I got bigger I started taking on more responsibility.  One of the things I seemed to have a knack for was wallpapering.  By the time I was 17, Pop was sending me solo on wallpapering jobs in million dollar homes.  I probably shouldn’t be allowed to wallpaper a doghouse these days, but back then, I was the stuff.

Fade in.  Among my mother’s things I found her father’s business card.  Grandfather Naff passed away when I was a youngster, so I only met the man once.

Here’s his card.  As you can see, it says, “J. W. Naff — Exclusive Paperhanging.”

And so it goes…


Two Books, a Movie, and your WOD Walk Into a Bar

Here’s a movie for you: Bone Tomahawk.  People are dismissively calling this a “Horror Western.”  It is a Western and it is Horror, but it has zero in common with something like the abysmal Jonah Hex.  This haunting period piece, complete with appropriate attire and spot-on dialogue, is touching, funny, eerie, and downright shocking.  Kurt Russell, Matthew Fox, Patrick Wilson, and a very endearing performance by Richard Jenkins.  IMDB gives it 7.1 stars, I say 7.5.

Right now I’m reading The Phenomenon of Man by Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.  It has been called both “the greatest spiritual book of the century” as well as “the quintessence of bad poetic science.”  Which is it?  Too soon to tell.  But so far it’s a little dry, and I suspect that is the fault of the translator rather than the author (Chardin wrote it in French).  I really wish my French was a bit stronger so I could read it in the language it was written.  Anyway, I’m hoping it will widen my perspective the same way that this next book did.

Haven’t read William Irwin Thompson’s incredible book The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture?  Get it and read it immediately.  I’ll give you one quote, probably the most popular:

“Because we have separated humanity from nature, subject from object, values from analysis, knowledge from myth, and universities from the universe, it is enormously difficult for anyone but a poet or a mystic to understand what is going on in the holistic and mythopoetic thought of Ice Age humanity. The very language we use to discuss the past speaks of tools, hunters, and men, when every statue and painting we discover cries out to us that this Ice Age humanity was a culture of art, the love of animals, and women.”

It will make you see the Universe, and humanity’s place within it, in an entirely different light.  Pure genius.

And here’s today’s CABAL FANG WOD — it’s the workout we did this past Saturday at the martial arts club.  Try to get this done in under 30 mins — we did, but just barely.

  • 240 Kicks.  Complete 20 with each leg of Coup de Pied Bas, Knee, Coup Italien, Side Kick, Roundhouse, Stamping Kick.
  • Constitutional.  Front Lunge (100), Diamond Push-ups (25), Legs up Crunches (50), Left Planks (60 secs), Right Plank (60 secs), Burpees (25), Pikes (25), Squats (100).

Why did I title this post the way I titled it?  As a reference to what was, in my opinion, the funniest commercial of Super Bowl 50 (looks like they gave up on using Roman numerals, or else it would have been Super Bowl L).







O2 Killer WOD

I inherited this O2 meter from my mother. It's fun to put this thing on at the end of a workout.

I inherited this O2 meter from my mother. It’s fun to put this thing on at the end of a workout.

I inherited an O2 meter from my mother.  It’s fun to put this thing on when you finish a workout.  See photo at right — It said 79%/160 bpm but by the time I got out my phone and snapped the picture, both numbers had quickly started to normalize.  You can get these things for about $50.00 at Walgreens.

If you’re into working out, oximeters are super for making sure that you keep your heart rate within safe limits, for downshifting into and maintaining optimal fat burning heart rate, etc. etc.  Lots cheaper than those fancy ones that you synch to your phone, wrist watch or other smart fitness tool.

Anyway, here’s the Cabal Fang WOD that sent my oximeter into a tizzy.

30 min. Heavy Bag Dumbbell Conditioner

Set timer for 8 x 2:00/1:00 and select two dumbbells each ≥ 10% body-weight.  Start timer.  Punch heavy bag with good form for 2:00.  When bell rings to start 1:00, pick up dumbbells and complete 13 Pump Curls.  Put down dumbbells and rest for remainder of 1:00.  Next round, kick heavy bag for 2:00 with good form and, when bell rings, pick up dumbbells and complete 13 Squats.  Repeat that 4 more times for a total of 10 rounds — that’s 65 Pump Curls, 65 Squats, and 30 mins of action.

Romaine Tacos and A WOD That’ll Fry Your Wontons

American Asian Romaine Tacos

Chicken Romaine Tacos with a side of cucumbers.  Sliced cukes, carrots, celery sticks, etc. help keep from reaching for tortilla chips, potato chips, etc.

It’s been a while since I put up one of my quick-n-dirty, four-ingredients-or-less recipes.  So let me show you what I had for dinner one night last week and then give you a WOD that will fry your butt into a crispy wonton.

Chicken Romaine Tacos

  • Fresh, all natural or free range chicken tenders
  • Romaine lettuce leaves
  • Sriracha mustard (I use Kroger sweet hot mustard)
  • Mayonnaise (I use Duke’s Olive Oil Mayo in the squirt bottle)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Spray a nonstick frying pan (or griddle) with oil and turn on medium heat.  Put chicken on, salt and pepper liberally, and set timer for 4 mins.  While chicken is cooking, rinse lettuce leaves and pat dry.  When timer beeps, flip chicken, salt and pepper liberally, and set timer for 3 mins.  Wash, peel, decorate and slice cucumbers to suit your fancy.  When timer beeps again, check the fattest tender with a meat thermometer and make sure it says 155 F.  If it does, put chicken on a plate to rest and reach 160 F (2 or 3 mins).  While you wait, put a stripe each of mustard and mayo in each leaf and put a fan of cukes on each plate.  When the chicken has rested, slide a tender or two into each leaf and you’re ready to eat.

The Fried Wontons WOD

  • Weights — 5 x 10 of Shrugs, Squat Press, Sit-ups, Goblet Squats
  • Calisthenics — AMSAYC* in 8 mins of 8 ea. Staggered Push-ups, Side Crunch, Zombie Squats, Full Stop Push-ups, and Twisters.  If you don’t get through 5 sets in 8 mins, tack on 100 Squats.
  • Kicks — Heavy bag Strike Count Drill.  4 x 1:00/:30 AMAYC* with Right Leg Roundhouse. If strike count for 4th round is less than the 1st, do 100 Squats. Repeat with Left Leg Roundhouse.  Again, if strike count for 4th round is less than 1st, do 100 Squats.
  • After this you should pretty much be fried crispy.


* AMSAYC = “As many sets as you can” and AMAYC = “As many as you can.”

A New Offer and Your O2Max WOD


Stay tuned for the WOD that follows this special offer because it is a real beauty.  Seriously. But first…

From now until January 1st 2016, if you sign up for the Cabal Fang Distance Learning Program,  which is only $10/month, you will receive $20.00 off any order at PTDICE.com  — and I’ll throw in a free t-shirt with your order.  Or, if you’d rather, we’ll give you your first two months free.  After you sign up, just email your preference to first.elder@cabalfang.com and we’ll either email you a PTDICE.com coupon code or refund you two months tuition.

What is the Cabal Fang Distance Learning Program like?  Look, you can’t learn martial arts by working out solo at home.  But what you can do is practice the fitness and the philosophy of Cabal Fang martial arts.   It works like this:

  • You’ll be keeping a training journal.  Each month you’ll scan and submit your journal for review and receive new assignments.
  • In addition to getting your body in shape with fitness drills, you’ll improve your mental and spiritual strength as well.   Cabal Fang philosophy is based on Hermetic concepts, the so-called “secret wisdom” of the Western Esoteric Tradition that pervades all great spiritual paths.  
  •  You’ll be given free self-exams (we call them “trials”) for rank advancement when you’re ready.  There are no additional fees for rank advancement, nor are there any hidden or surprise fees of any kind.
  • Very little equipment is required.   But if money is tight, we can assist with our wholesale supply accounts and/or give you instructions on how to make some of your equipment yourself.  About 100 square feet of training space would be great, but if you’re comfortable training outside, you don’t even need that.

This is an exciting, one-of-a-kind educational opportunity.  Take advantage of it while it lasts.

And now for your Workout Of the Day, a.k.a. your WOD.  Since it’s Mettlecraft* Month at my martial arts club, I decided to push it a little this morning.  Here’s a 30-minute O2Max WOD that’s one one the hardest workouts I’ve done this year.  Beware: This workout is not for beginners.  Monitor your heart rate and keep it within safe limits!

  1. Box.  Set timer for 15 mins and hit your heavy bag as hard and as fast as you can until it beeps, taking as few 12 second breaks as you can to avoid collapsing (I had to take 7).
  2. Calisthenics.  Set timer for 15 minutes and cycle through these exercises until it beeps, taking as few 12-second breaks as you can to avoid collapsing (I had to take 8).   Go to failure or 50 reps, whichever comes first of:


  • Diamond Push-ups
  • Front Lunges
  • Crunches, legs up
  • Bodybuilders
  • Half Squats
  • Bicycles



*Mettlecraft (noun) is a term we use in Cabal Fang that refers to the art or practice of cultivating one’s mettle.  What’s “mettle?”  The word mettle, which dates back to the 1500s, is a variant of the world metal.  It means courage, character, toughness, determination, endurance, and grit.

Your WOD and Three Genius Actors

What the…?  Did you know that Robert Forster (from the movie Jackie Brown) is a member of the Tripe Nine Society (people with IQ higher than the 99.9%)?

And how about that James Franco?  He got his BA in English from UCLA in 2006, graduating with a 3.5 GPA.  He obtained his Master’s in Fine Arts from Columbia in 2010.  And he’s an accomplished painter.

Nolan Gould, the kid from the TV show Modern Family, graduated from high school at age 13.  He is a member of the high IQ society Mensa and plays six different musical instruments – double bass, banjo, mandolin, sitar, and didgeridoo.

Now for your Cabal Fang WOD.

  • Rope Weight Combo Conditioner.  Set timer to beep at 1 min. intervals.  Select 2 dumbbells 40% your 1RM.  Complete 4 sets of Dumbbell Presses, alternating (1:00), Squats (1:00), Jump Rope (2:00).  Total = 16 mins.
  • Ground-fighting Conditioner #4.  Put on your MMA gloves and set timer for 10 minutes.  Shin or Knee Ride bag, face post, and punch “head” 10 times.  Slide leg over into mount and strike 10 times.  Body lock bag and roll to guard.  Push up bag with one hand and strike it 10 times with the other.  Hip escape and advance back to Shin or Knee Ride and repeat as many times as you can before the timer beeps.