Tag Archives: frontier rough and tumble

Frontier Martial Arts Research Continues

Research for my Frontier Rough & Tumble (FRT) martial arts program continues hot and heavy.  Here’s a rundown of what I’ve been doing over the last month or so along with some pictures.

Onward and upward!

Field Research

  • This weekend I will be attending the 68th Annual Chickahominy Indian Pow-Wow.  I hope to learn more about indigenous culture and connect with fellow locals interested in both FRT and Powhatan Indian language revival.  Wingapo!
  • Last weekend I visited the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton Virginia (see photo set below).  I took numerous notes and photos and spoke with management about FRT teaching opportunities at the property.  Ms. Vaughn showed interest and we are going to try and put some demonstrations together.
  • Back in August I visited Crockett Tavern in Morristown, TN.  More about that trip here.
  • Camping.  Making an effort to get as much outdoor adventure time worked into my busy schedule as possible.

Books Read

Physical and experimental Studies

  • Movement experimentation, both armed and unarmed.  Including but not limited to obstacle clearing, safety rolling, vaulting, scrambling, running, and quad running.
  • Applications of traditional chores for strength building.  Repetitive hauling, lifting, digging, ramming, chopping, hammering, etc.
  • Meditation, contemplation and prayer practice.  Increased time commitment and added new emphasis on practical postures, less-than-ideal conditions, and lack of predictability.
  • Practical spirituality studies.  Exploring the places where Christian ideas, indigenous myths and stories, prehistoric art, and practical hunting, fighting, and observation skills all overlap.  Big discoveries here folks — big, Big, BIG.
  • Mark Hatmaker’s RAW Program.  And of course I am enrolled in Hatmaker’s distance learning program which includes, boxing, wrestling and FRT.  Mark is the man.

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The Nine Lives of the Bobcat!

The Nine Lives of the Bobcat is jam-packed the essential self-defense and prevention advice — and drills! — you need to avoid trouble and stay safe.  Contains 9 prevention skills, the 3 warning signs everyone should heed, 4 de-escalation tricks, 6 mindset drills, 3 ways to regain control when things start to get pear-shaped, 4 ways to leave breadcrumbs if you’re about to be abducted, and more! 17 pages, 3,500 words.


Introducing Frontier Martial Arts

This is the logo for my new Frontier Rough & Tumble Club. Currently we meet Sundays at 3 PM.

Mostly I blog about Cabal Fang martial arts.  But starting today I’m going to be more talkative about my other love —  Frontier Rough & Tumble.

Introducing Frontier Rough & Tumble Martial Arts

Frontier Rough & Tumble is a rustic martial art that incorporates the fighting methods, mindset and lifeways of North America, settler and native alike, between the years 1607 (the arrival of settlers in Jamestown) and 1912 (the year the last continental state was admitted to the Unites States, thereby meaning there was no longer a “frontier”).

Frontier Rough & Tumble training Material

Fisticuffs.  The way everyday people struck with their hands before the introduction of the padded boxing glove.  Kicking, especially purring and shinning.  Wrestling, tussling, grappling, clinching and throwing.  Reality-based Bowie knife and Tomahawk training.  Fitness.  Practical exercises that resemble frontier chores, such as swinging hammers, digging, hauling and lifting loads, running, etc. Survival skills, including the settler folkways and indigenous abilities.†

What makes Frontier Rough & Tumble great is…

In the frontier there were no excuses.  Often there were no police to save you, no doctor to patch you up, and no court to arbitrate your disputes if you caused trouble.  Check out the Bobcat Code we use at my club.  

Frontier Rough & Tumble is based on self-reliance.  When Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote his famous essay on the subject he chose to open it with a poem he wrote called “Power” which I’ve shared below.

My Time-Life encyclopedia of the Old West in 26 volumes. You can’t teach Frontier Rough & Tumble without knowing the historical milieu.

If you’re interested in Frontier Rough & Tumble martial arts, as far as I know there are only two instructors — Mark Hatmaker and myself.  Mark the genius behind it.  He got me hooked, and I’m studying from him.  You can too by subscribing to his RAW program.  Or, if you’re in Richmond, VA you can come train with me at Bobcat Martial Arts.

Cast the bantling on the rocks,
Suckle him with the she-wolf’s teat,
Wintered with the hawk and fox,
Power and speed be hands and feet.

[Ralph Waldo Emerson, from “May-Day and Other Pieces”, 1867]

My first Frontier Martial Arts-related book. Click here to download!

† Yes, the Ancient Greeks used calisthenics for war (I know this because I literally wrote the book on calisthenics) as well as a form of stone hand weight to build strength.  And they used a form of boxing glove, as did the Egyptians.    People have, for millennia, mostly understood that (a) linear training works and (b) if you hit hard things with a balled fist your hand will break.  That said, the modern idea of “physical fitness” didn’t exist in the frontier period.  Back then your “workout” was putting food on the table and “boxing” was bareknuckled.  Padded gloves, calisthenics and weights (barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc.) weren’t widely used until the late 1800s — at the tail end of the frontier period.



Weapon Command, Mastery and Retention in Martial Arts

If weapons are a part of your martial art your regime must incorporate command, mastery and retention exercises with realistically weighted training weapons.

Once your retention and command of the weapon are sufficient to insure safety, regular sessions with live weapons are essential.

In short, you need to be out there hacking stuff to bits, not pretending to hack stuff to bits.

Here’s a short video on command, mastery and retention for beginners. I made this for my Bobcat Martial Arts program where I teach Frontier Rough and Tumble, which includes Bowie and tomahawk, but it’s useful regardless of what weapon you use.

If you are training only with lightweight weapons and/or not actually hitting things you are doing interpretive dance, not martial arts.