Tag Archives: hand of mysteries

Throwing Hands: Martial Arts Training Involution #175

Giant hand sculpture outside Squash-a-Penny

Since I’m camping this weekend, this week’s T.I. comes out a day early.  It flows out of last week’s theme about dogs and ties into the monthly internal focus at Cabal Fang which is the Hand of Mysteries.  The details following are an excerpt from a forthcoming module of my Frontier Rough & Tumble martial arts program. on animal teachers.

Throwing Hands: Martial Arts Training Involution #175

  • No talking, groaning,  grunting or complaining for the duration of the training session.  Let your hands do the talking.
  • Put your hands on the enemy.  Complete 100 Duck-Unders with the best form you can manage.  If you don’t have a partner, just do them shadow-style.  This is not a lunge.  Keep your spine perpendicular to the ground, head up, and pull hard on the rear hand.  Check your form here.
  • Throw some hands.  Heavy bag form drill.  Set a round timer for 3 rounds of 3:00/1:00.  Get after that bag with perfect form — practice your falling step, make sure your hips are fully involved, strike using the “right” part of your hands (based on your personal thoughts and/or martial style) and so on.  Count the strikes that you think are are not up to your usual snuff.  When all three rounds are over, do that number of Push-ups and write it down in your training journal.  Come back in a few days and beat your number.
  • Speak to the hand.  Not literally, figuratively.  Are you at least as evolved as a cave painter was 15,000 years ago?  Set a timer for  15 minutes and think about it.  What are your goals and aspirations?  What do you feel about  so strongly that would brave a dark cave with only a torch just to paint it on a wall?  Have you put in place an organizational method that insures you are setting goals and aiming at them?  Do you keep a journal?
  • Journal.  And, as always, record your performance, thoughts and realizations in your training journal when you’re done.

Of Hounds and Hands

The words hound and hand likely have the same origin in the Proto-Germanic word handuz.  What does handuz mean?  Well, as with most of these proto-lingual words, which are mostly interpolations and guesses, linguists aren’t exactly sure.  The best guess is to reach for” or possibly “to obtain.”  I’d add “to grasp” to that list. 

Think about it.  That’s what hands and dogs do, right?  Grab and hold?  I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that both seem awfully close to the word “hunt” which means to grab a-hold of something to eat.  Makes sense, doesn’t it, when you consider that hunting dogs are very important whenever and wherever you have to hunt in order to get fed?

Now let’s look at it another way.  One of the oldest symbols known to mankind is the hand outline.  It is very common, found across the globe in cave art created by prehistoric hunters.

Look at the example on the right from the Cave of Hands in Argentina.  These hands were made using a form of prehistoric air-brushing.  The painters placed their hands on the cave walls and used hollow bones to blow colored liquids onto the surface so that a negative would be left when the hand was removed.   

The Latin aspiro means “a puff of air.”  An aspiration is an expulsion of air following a choke.  But an aspiration is also a hope, dream or goal which one seeks to obtain, grasp or take hold of — something you hope a favorable wind will blow upon.  Is there a connection here?

So you see, the cave painting above literally screams aspiration.   There is even a target on the far left toward which everything in the entire painting is headed, as if toward some grand intersection.

The artists could have held an animal carcass or bone against the wall and created a negative in the same way the hands were created.  Or the hands could have been sketched to match the style of the animals.  But neither is the case.  The animals and geometric shapes are sketched and the hands are traced with realism.  So why is one sketched and the other rendered using the prehistoric equivalent of a photocopy?

Because the animals are symbolic.  They are the dream, the aspiration, the hope.  But the hands are real.

The animals in the painting are virtually identical.   Because you see, it doesn’t matter what the specific animal is.   Each animal in the picture is at once any animal and every animal.

The painting proclaims that if the human mind can conceive it and believe it, the human hand can achieve it.


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The Fiery Fish: Training Involution #122

The Hand of Mysteries. Like the Hamsa, except there’s a fish in the palm instead of an eye. But the fish is the ichthys, which is the vesica piscis, so a fish is an eye. Sort of.

Here at Cabal Fang HQ this month’s internal focus is the Hand of Mysteries and our martial focus is a two-fer — Counter-punching & Sparring.

The fiery fish that’s in the middle of the Hand of Mysteries symbolizes our ability to thrive in chaos, to adapt and overcome.

What’s with the symbols, and what good are they?  Well, symbols speak to our subconscious minds in ways that mere words cannot.  They are experienced and understood viscerally and visually.

With that in mind, and without further ado, I’m pleased to offer you…

The Fiery Fish: Training Involution #122

  1. Add a handicap.  Slip on a weighted vest, put one arm in a sling, wear an eye-patch, practice in the rain, train on uneven ground, etc. Use your common sense –don’t do anything ridiculous or unsafe! — just disrupt your usual body mechanics and/or routine.
  2. Complete this months’s Constitutional, “Escape Plan Drill.”   Set timer for 1:00 intervals. Sprint for 1:00, then Shadowbox or hit the Heavy Bag for 1:00 then pick a calisthenic and do as many reps as you can for 1:00. Repeat 4 more times for a total of 15 mins, picking a new calisthenic each round.  If you did this last week you should have written down your total laps/sprints your number of calisthenics reps.  See if you can best it despite your impairment.
  3. Now, despite your handicap, get through Wrestling Conditioner #1.  Set timer for 2 minute intervals and complete 2 minutes of each for a total of 10 minutes: 1. Circle the bag (forearms on bag and toes on floor, circle the bag using only legs and feet, alternating directions), 2. Mount and strike the bag (strike 10 times as hard as you can, body lock the bag, barrel-roll, regain mount, and repeat until the timer beeps).  3. Rolling pin the bag (Lie on your back with heavy-bag perpendicularly on top of your body and roll it up and down across torso, pushing and pulling like a rolling pin; press up the bag and let it drop on your torso to maintain your tolerance for the stresses of wrestling if you’re able),  4. Defend the bag (Lie on your back with bag on top of you longways. Push up the bag w/ left hand and strike it five times with the right, then switch and strike with the left hand, repeat) 5. Side Mount and Scissor (Scissor legs each direction 3 times, then scramble over bag with forearms and toes only, repeat).
  4. Watch the video below, then mediate on the Hand of Mysteries.  Don’t forget to write about what you learn in your training journal!

WOOTW #12

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.

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Original post:

The Hand of Mysteries

The Cabal Fang workout of the week is this month’s Constitutional at the Order of Seven Hills. See if you can get this done in under 18 minutes:

  • 100 Jump Squats
  • 25 Sprints (out and back to point 6 – 8 meters/yards away counts as 1)
  • 25 Help-ups*
  • 1 minute Front Plank
  • 25 Dive Bomber Push-ups
  • 100 Wall Touches
  • 25 Pikes

I’m so convinced you’ll love this workout that, if you do this work out and post in the comments below a link to a video of you doing so, I’ll send you a coupon for a free download of the Calisthenics Codex and put you down for a free download of the next martial arts book just as soon as it hits the street!

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* Clasp opposite hands with your partner in bro-handshake grip. Partner A squats and Partner B helps him/her up with a forceful bicep curl. Switch roles and repeat. That’s one rep. Switch hands half way through.