Tag Archives: involution

Beat It: Martial Arts Training Involution #203

Setting goals is not optional.  If you are not setting goals and doing what it takes to hit them, like establishing performance metrics and tracking methods, developing programs, setting benchmarks, etc., you are not going to get past the intermediate level — at anything.

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In this week’s T.I. you are going to start setting goals, and maybe even beat the old man at his own game.

I’m so sure this will benefit you, and so excited to see you try, that I’m giving away a 25% off coupon good at Mitch’s General Store to everyone who faces any of the benchmarks in this week’s T.I.!  Just post a link to a video in the comments below.

If this sort of stuff interests you, you might really enjoy my new newsletter SHIFT which goes live April 30th.  Sign up now to get tips, fun and inspirational articles, quizzes, meditations, exercises, and more — all 100% free — and guaranteed to shift you in a new whole new gear.  SHIFT isn’t a martial arts newsletter.  It’s where everything I do and teach comes together — fitness, motivation, nature observation and primitive skills, martial arts, management, coaching, financial advice, DIY, and of course my spiritual teaching.  

Beat It: Martial Arts Training Involution #203

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. I generally do 8 minutes of MBF or either 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work.
  • 150 max power kicks vs. the heavy bag.  Warm up by doing 8 x 5 kicks with each leg at 50% power, alternating legs each set.  Take a 1 minute break and then start your stopwatch.  Kick the bag with maximum power 150 times as fast as you can.  Switch legs as needed.  Write down your time me and make regular attempts to beat it.  I hit my personal record (PR) earlier this week.  It was 4:00.
  • Constant Contact Drill.  Walk off the kicks for 3:00.  Now glove up and go after your heavy bag with hands, feet, elbows etc. with maximum speed.  There should be some part of your body in contact with that bag pretty much at all times.  See how long you can go before you have to stop.  Write down your time me and make regular attempts to beat it.  I set my new PR this morning.  It was 2:27.
  • Balboa Run.  Start a stopwatch and run your chosen distance — punching the air the whole time.  Beginners go 1/2 mile, intermediate and advanced, 1 full mile.  If you have to rest, do so in place and leave the clock running.  When you finish, write down your time me and make regular attempts to beat it. My half mile PR is 6:15 and my 1 mile is 14:29.
  •  ReflectionCool down for about 3 minutes, then sit down with your training journal and do a goal review.  Are you hitting goals, establishing proper metrics, setting PRs, structuring your training in order to hit goals and PRs, etc.?  If you don’t keep a training journal you had better start! 

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books and other products.  Why not check them out?

 

Rock and Roll: Martial Arts Training Involution #202

I’m sick of talking about “the ‘rona” (as the kids are calling it these days) but the fact is, as martial artists, it’s going to be a little bit longer before we can train together.  Gotta stay active in the meantime folks — gotta keep movin’.  And I’m here to help you with that.

But first, a brief commercial break.

On May 1st my new newsletter SHIFT goes live.   This is where everything I do will come together — my fitness work, my primitive skills and martial arts material, my management, coaching and financial advice, and of course my spiritual teaching.  Sign up now to get tips, fun and inspirational articles, quizzes, meditations, exercises, and more — all 100% free — and guaranteed to shift you in a new whole new gear.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled program already in progress…

Rock and Roll: Martial Arts Training Involution #202

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. I generally do 8 minutes of MBF or either 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work.
  • Forms.  Set a timer for 15 minutes and perform every form you know.  If it takes less than 15 mins, repeat the ones you know until the timer beeps.  If you don’t do forms in the traditional sense, do flow drills, technique chains, and/or combos.
  • A modified constitutional.  In Cabal Fang we create a new constitutional every month and we complete it twice a week.  That can get a little boring when you’re training alone.  Thank goodness nobody ever said we have do them the same way every time!  Jazz up this month’s constitutional by spreading out the Sprints and throwing in some vaults and rolls.  Here’s how.  Find yourself an obstacle — a fence to vault, a park bench to run along, etc. and get started as follows:

Lunges(50)
4 x 10 yard Sprints with 1 Vault or Roll midway through each
Push-ups(50)
4 x 10 yard Sprints with 1 Vault or Roll midway through each
Get-ups(25)
4 x 10 yard Sprints with 1 Vault or Roll midway through each
Crunches 3-Way (25)
4 x 10 yard Sprints with 1 Vault or Roll midway through each
Prisoner Squats (50)
4 x 10 yard Sprints with 1 Vault or Roll midway through each
Wall Touches (100)
4 x 10 yard Sprints with 1 Vault or Roll midway through each
Sprints (25)
4 x 10 yard Sprints with 1 Vault or Roll midway through each

  • Contemplation.  Cool down for about 3 minutes, then set a timer for 10 minutes.  Have a seat in your posture of choice and regulate your breathing.  Leave your eyes open, and do not fidget, wiggle or scratch.  Now think about exactly nothing.  Clear your mind as completely as you can and allow yourself to stop thinking in words while maintaining total awareness of your surroundings. 

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books and other products.  Why not check them out?

 

Survivor Mix: Martial Arts Training Involution #201

Part of this T.I. was created using the dice I sell at Mitch’s General Store. Click the photo to get some.

Last week I warned against getting distracted by “viral” training methods and  encouraged you to be steadfast in the face of the real viral threat that we’re facing right now.  This week I’m going to hit you with some practical martial arts solo practice to keep you sharp during this long, dark social distancing period.

Survivor Mix: Martial Arts Training Involution #201

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. I generally do 8 minutes of MBF or either 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work.
  • Wrestling and grappling mix.  Select a sandbag or heavy bag appropriate to your size and fitness level (I used a #70).  Set timer for 3 x 3:00/1:00.  Do Scarf Hold Switches from hip to hip until you can’t do any more, then drop the bag and run Wrestling Clocks until you fail.  When you do, put the bag in your Bottom Scissors and squeeze until you gas, swap your ankle wrap and squeeze again until you gas.  Then go back to Scarf Hold Switches and repeat until the bell rings.  When it does, shoulder the bag and walk laps for your 1:00 “rest.”  When the 1:00 is over, pick up where you left off and do that two more times.  When you’re done you should be “moist.”
  • Sprints.  Set a timer for 30-second intervals.  Sprint for :30 and then walk for :30.  Repeat 9 more times for a total of 10 minutes.
  • Contemplation.  Cool down for about 3 minutes, then set a timer for 10 minutes.  Have a seat in your posture of choice and regulate your breathing.  Leave your eyes open, and do not fidget, wiggle or scratch.  Now think about exactly nothing.  Clear your mind as completely as you can and allow yourself to stop thinking in words while maintaining total awareness of your surroundings. 

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books and other products.  Why not check them out?

 

Antiviral: Martial Arts Training Involution #200

Last week I warned you not to get distracted by “viral” training methods, tools, and techniques promising easy results.  This week I’m encouraging you not to freak out over another “viral” phenomenon — coronavirus a.k.a. COVID-19.

Something’s always “going viral.” Most of it is either snake oil (like the Thighmaster or the Versaflex) or  drama (gossip or train wrecks).   Both are wastes of time, money and attention.

So — what about the real virus that’s “going viral” right now — COVID-19?  Is this all just manufactured drama?  No sir.

This is not a drill.  COVID-19 is for real.

Which reminds me of a clever atheist quip I heard recently (as a member of the clergy, I spend a lot of time witnessing to atheists): “If God really wanted to save us, why didn’t he give us a good book about the germ theory of disease instead of the good book as in the Bible?  He would’ve saved way more people.”

For an answer I turn to 1,500 year-old words of  St. Augustine of Hippo.

“What grace is meant to do is to help good people, not to escape their sufferings, but to bear them with a stout heart, with a fortitude that finds its strength in faith.”  ~ St. Augustine of Hippo

God didn’t “give us a book.”  Hebrews and Christians wrote a bunch of books about what they learned from God, and they were brought together into a library of books called the Holy Bible.  And God doesn’t solve our problems for us.  God helped us a fish a couple of times, but His real goal was to teach us how to fish.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

God helps those who help themselves.  So follow the advice of the CDC — especially in the hand-washing department.   Say your prayers, have faith, and be strong in God.

Antiviral: Martial Arts Training Involution #200

Gyms are a great place to expose yourself to diseases of all kinds.  Good news is, you can exercise just find at home with this zero-equipment, solo training session.

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. I generally do 8 minutes of MBF or either 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work.
  • Complete this month’s constitutional.   Intermediate and advanced folks should be able to get this done in under 15 minutes:  Lunges(50), Push-ups(50), Get-ups(25), Crunches 3-Way (25), Prisoner Squats (50), Wall Touches (100), and Sprints (25).
  • 250 kicks as fast as you can.  Set a timer and complete 250 kicks vs. air.  Don’t to them in static isolation — do them in combos while you move around realistically.  Intermediate and advanced should be able to get these done in under 10 minutes.
  • “Antiviral” contemplation.  Cool down for about 3 minutes, then set a timer for 10 minutes.  Have a seat in your posture of choice and regulate your breathing.  Leave your eyes open, and do not fidget, wiggle or scratch.  Now think about exactly nothing.  Clear your mind as completely as you can and allow yourself to stop thinking in words while maintaining total awareness of your surroundings. 

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books and other products.  Why not check them out?

 

Drag Strip: Martial Arts Training Involution #199

You don’t need a fancy sled to do drag work. This 95 lb tire feels like 200 lbs when being dragged across concrete.

 

 

“There’s no sense getting serious about my training until…”

Stop delaying.  Stop surfing YouTube for the perfect training tricks, drills, tools and secrets. Stop combing magazines and books and websites searching for the perfect program or tool.

Strip away the bullshit. The training you do right now is 100% better than the training you put off until next week.

Shut your laptop, turn off your tablet or phone, and complete the training session below.  Tired,  weak, sore?  Old?  Rehabbing from an injury?  I was all of those things when I did this training session.  Modify the exercises to suit your limitations.  Lower the weights, reps or intensity as needed.  Anything you do is better than nothing.

Strip it down.

Drag Strip: Martial Arts Training Involution #199

*  Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. I generally do 8 minutes of MBF or either 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work.

*  16 minutes of survival martial arts.  Set a timer and complete 2 minutes each of Drags, Strikes, Shoulder Rolls, Strikes, IMT Sprints, Strikes, Drags and Strikes.  Take as few 12-second rest breaks as you need to finish.  For the the striking rounds, you can shadowbox, work a heavy bag, or do whatever you want.  I did tomahawk swings, braces, toe and eye strikes and cocking drills. Here’s how the rest work.

  • Drags: Go out to the shed or garage and find something to drag.  Here’s a rig I made with a trashcan lid.  Cargo straps make perfect harnesses. 
  • Shoulder Rolls: If you’re a martial artist and you don’t know how to do a shoulder roll, that’s a problem.  Watch this.
  • IMT Sprints.  IMT stands for Individual Movement Technique, and it means running, dropping to avoid being targeted, and popping up to run some more. Read more here.

*  “Stripping it down” meditation.  Cool down for about 3 minutes, then set a timer for 10 minutes.  Have a seat in your meditative posture of choice and regulate your breathing.  Leave your eyes open, and do not fidget, wiggle or scratch.  Now think about what makes you special.  What makes you unique?  Your favorite foods, colors, movies, books?  Your behaviors, your little quirks?  No, that’s just the bullshit that make you just like everybody else.  Meditate past your mask and seek the “true I.”


If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books and other products.  Why not check them out?

 

Stubborn: Martial Arts Training Involution #198

I went to lunch with a friend of mine the other day and he snapped this picture of me at the soda fountain because he thought it was funny.  I told him, “I got news for you buddy, I been drinking from that fountain since I was knee high to a grasshopper.”

What can I say?  My superpower is passion.  My kryptonite is patience (but I’m working on it).

This T.I. was created using the whacky dice that I sell here: https://www.mitch.store/

Anyway, true to form, I’m here to very stubbornly tell you — preach, yell, holler, and fuss! — that you need to make sure that your fitness work dovetails with your martial work as closely as possible.

STUBBORN: Martial Arts Training Involution #198

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. I generally do 8 minutes of MBF or either 2-3 minutes each of (a) something aerobic, like jogging of jumping rope (b) some light calisthenics like Half Squats, Push-ups on knees, Touching toes, Arm Swings etc. and (c) shadowboxing or light heavy bag work.
  • 20 minute pyramid of  6 martial fitness exercises.    Jump, Sprawl ‘n’ Punch, Smearing Push-ups, Shoulder Carry, Switches, and Step-ups.  This will really build the kind of strength you need for grappling and self-defense.  Get yourself a heavy bag you can manage (I used a #45) and set a timer for 10 minutes.  Start with 1 rep of each exercise, then 2, 3, 4 etc.  Climb until the timer beeps.  Finish the set you’re on and then descend.  If you don’t slack off, you should finish up just before the timer beeps. See video below for details. A full pyramid up to 6 is a nice target number for this drill.
  • 10+ minutes of sacred reading.  Pick a book that’s good for your spiritual development and spend some time reading.  Doesn’t have to be overtly religious, like the Holy Bible or the Tao Te Ching — it can be something that promotes mindfulness, wisdom, or philosophy.  Read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Occidental Mythology, Modern Man in Search of a Soul or whatever you like.  Meditation, contemplation, prayer and spiritual reading are the four cornerstones of the spiritual life and none should be neglected.


If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books and other products.  Why not check them out?

 

TCB: Martial Arts Training Involution #197

TCB means “Takin’ Care of Business,” which is also the title of a great song by Bachman Turner Overdrive about how working hard at what you love isn’t work at all, whereas punching a clock doing something you hate is a “slaving job to get your pay.”

My redneck Bench Press set-up.

Sprinkled throughout this post are some shots of me lifting homemade weights at 6:30 AM in the crappy lean-to I put out behind my tool shed.  It was 30° F.

And yet it was a blast.   Because if you love what you’re doing it ain’t work.  It’s art.

If you love your art you will do whatever it takes to make it, including fashion your own weights from auto tires, decking boards, tarps, and old metal pipes.  And you will do it with joy and a sense of pride.  This whole set-up cost me just a little over $100.00.

This is my yoke for safely doing Back Squats solo.

I used to hate the thought of lifting weights.  But when I tried it and found out how much stronger it made me, and how more effective as a martial artist, I was hooked.   Now I love it.

Sometimes I do not want to do certain things.  For example, Bear Walks, Shots and Sprawls really suck.  But they make my art — my martial art — “prettier” if that makes sense.

I hope it does.  Because if you don’t find a way to love and appreciate the things you need to do in support of your martial arts, you’re training is going to be either laborious or lopsided.

TCB: Martial Arts Training Involution #197

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. I generally do 8 minutes of MBF or either 2-3 minutes each of (a) something aerobic, like jogging of jumping rope (b) some light calisthenics like Half Squats, Push-ups on knees, Touching toes, Arm Swings etc. and (c) shadowboxing or light heavy bag work.
  • 3 x 8 Grappling drill.  Complete 3 sets of 8 reps each of Throws (I picked Seoi Nage), Clinch Maneuvers (I did Cross-arm Clinch Rear Lunges), and Bear Walks (15′).  Use a grappling dummy, floor bag, or weighted duffel bag for the Throws and Clinches.  Your final count should be 24 Throws, 24 Clinches, and 24 Bear Walks (300′ or 100 yards), all in about 10 minutes.
  • 11 minutes on the heavy bag — all-in for power.  Break it up into round lengths appropriate to your fitness level.  Beginners: 4 x 2:00/1:00, intermediates: 3 x 3:00/1:00, advanced: 2 x 5:00/1:00.  Go at your bag with the intent to do as much damage as you possibly can.  Punch it.  Kick it.  Body lock it and squeeze as hard as you can.  Don’t hang on it — but do practice clinching, stepping into cross-buttocks position, etc.
  • 10+ minutes of sacred reading.  Pick a book that’s good for your spiritual development and spend some time reading.  Doesn’t have to be overtly religious, like the Holy Bible or the Tao Te Ching — it can be something that promotes mindfulness, wisdom, or philosophy.  Read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Occidental Mythology, Modern Man in Search of a Soul or whatever you like.  Meditation, contemplation, prayer and spiritual reading are the four cornerstones of the spiritual life and none should be neglected.


If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books and other products.  Why not check them out?