Tag Archives: involution

Happy 4th — it’s Sling Shot: Martial Arts T.I. #215

Happy Independence Day!

This month’s martial focus is Sparring and the spiritual symbol is the Pentangle. In the age of COVID, what do you do to in place of sparring and/or to stay fit for sparring?  Well read on…

Oops, I almost forgot to give you this month’s constitutional.  Breathe deep, you’re going to need it:

Get-ups (25)
Prison Push-ups (25)
Sprints (25)
Neck Crunches (25)
Russian Squats (50)
Down-ups (25)
Sit-out Push-ups (25)

And now for…

Sling Shot: Martial Arts Training Involution #215

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • Wrestling Conditioner — impaired.  To simulate having to fight injured, put your dominant arm in a sling, tuck it into your belt, cram it in your pocket, etc. and go it with one hand.  Throw your floor bag in the center of your training area and set timer for 4 x 2:00.  Round 1, circle the bag with good form.  Round 2, take Top Saddle and strike the bag with your good arm. Round 3, Roll to Bottom Scissors and squeeze as hard as you can.  When you gas out, swap feet. Round 4, let the bag rest on your your face and chest and strike as hard as you can with hooks, palms, etc.
  • Take your best shot.  7 rounds of “COVID Sparring.”  See video below.
  • Contemplation. After you’ve cooled down for 3 minutes, set a timer for 10 minutes. Assume posture of choice and regulate breathing to a slow and steady rhythm. Keep your eyes open and do not fidget, wiggle or scratch. Allow your thoughts to dissipate like ripples on a pond and your mind to approach a state of calm and relaxed awareness. When the timer beeps, record what you did and what you experienced in your training journal. If you don’t take bearings and spot landmarks, you might get lost.



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS ARE AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is a martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. If Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912) — is more to your liking, check out Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts, my for-profit martial art project. Click either photo to get started today!

Tetragram: Martial Arts Training Involution #214

chariot tarot

Last week we saw that the Chariot Tarot card encapsulates our June focuses (counters, triggers and flow drills on the martial side and the spiritual symbol the Cross) because it depicts what’s possible if you are maximally engaged (in the flow) and maximally integral (living out the Cross). In other words, you are unified in thoughts, desires, actions and beliefs.

But the Chariot also symbolizes the quadrigathe four ways of interpreting scripture which are named after the Roman quadrida, a chariot drawn by four horses. Those four ways are literally, allegorically, morally and mystically. Four perspectives are necessary in order to see the big picture (that’s why there are four Gospels).

It’s all about the fours. The Egyptian Hieratic number four is jifdáw, which literally means “rectangle.” The canopy of the chariot is a rectangle with four posts, the charioteer’s chest is adorned with a square, and the entire artistic layout is in squares and rectangles that mirror the four-letter name of God (the Tetragrammaton, YHWH). The charioteer is oriented by a 4-pointed internal compass (the Cross) and he’s in “the zone.”

All of this is embedded in the Hermetic Quaternary — to Know, to Will, to Dare, to Keep Silent — the Hermetic “compass” that is equated with the Christian cross.

The Hermetic Quaternary is encoded in esoteric Christianity and right there in the scripture — in both the Old Testament and in the Gospels as spoken by Christ. Read more about this in the next issue of SHIFT which comes out tomorrow (subscribe here).
Tetragram: Martial Arts Training Involution #214

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • How many hours have you spent “in the flow” this week? When you’re in the flow, walking with Christ, or whatever you prefer to call it, you are relaxed, happy, productive and engaged — without effort, tension, or self-consciousness. If the answer is less than an hour per day on average I suggest journaling daily. Analyze your entries. Figure out what gets you into that space and what pushes you out. Set some benchmarks. The more time you spend there the better.
  • Complete “Staying Alive.” In self-defense you can’t internalize a action/reaction flow chart — you have to prepare to fight tired and from any position and learn to fight in the flow. Set timer for 5 x 4:00/1:00. First round, run away from your training area. Second round, run back. Third round, shadowbox. Fourth round, grapple your floor bag. Round five, wrestle your floor bag. Beginners, take as many 12-count breaks as you need to finish. Advanced players, work through the rest breaks. See video below.
  • Contemplation. After you’ve cooled down for 3 minutes, set a timer for 10 minutes. Assume posture of choice and regulate breathing to a slow and steady rhythm. Keep your eyes open and do not fidget, wiggle or scratch. Allow your thoughts to dissipate like ripples on a pond and your mind to approach a state of calm and relaxed awareness. When the timer beeps, record what you did and what you experienced in your training journal. If you don’t take bearings and spot landmarks, you might get lost.



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS ARE AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is a martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. If Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912) — is more to your liking, check out Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts, my for-profit martial art project. Click either photo to get started today!

No Reins: Martial Arts Training Involution #213

chariot tarot

As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, the Chariot Tarot card symbolizes the successes that come to a person who is in a proper relationship with Being.  This is the individual who spends a great deal of time in what modern people call a “flow state” but what I would call “being in Christ.”

The chariot is drawn by two sphinxes, and there are no reins.  So how does the charioteer steer the chariot?  How does he direct himself to his destination?  By being aware and engaged, he gets where he wants to go because he goes were he wants to get.  It is allowed to happen.

bridger

As Hatmaker pointed out on his blog this week, the greatest frontiersmen could hear a mouse pissing on cotton, and they gave the impression they could see the invisible and predict the future.  That’s because they were paying attention — not in a forced and tension-filled way but in a relaxed, fearless and fully engaged manner.  They were in the flow.

Consider this 17th century Masonic poem by Scot Henry Adamson:

For what we presage is not in grosse,
For we brethren of the Rosie Crosse;
We have the Mason Word and second sight,
Things for to come we can foretell aright.

Some say that Adamson is implying that Masons have psychic abilities.  I don’t think so.

I think what he’s saying is that when you have integrity — when thoughts, desires, actions and beliefs are unified such that you live “in the flow” or “in Christ” — then you are oriented to such a degree that your spiritual and physical compasses are superimposed and things happen for you as if by magic.

No Reins: Martial Arts Training Involution #213

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • How many hours have you spent “in the flow” this week?  When you’re in the flow, walking with Christ, or whatever you prefer to call it, you are relaxed, happy, productive and engaged — without effort, tension, or self-consciousness.  If the answer is less than an hour per day on average I suggest journaling daily.  Analyze your entries.  Figure out what gets you into that space and what pushes you out.  Set some benchmarks.  The more time you spend there the better.
  • 20 minutes of forms.  Cabal Fangers, run through the Fool’s Journey, the Star of Ishtar and the Black Dragon three times each, then shadowbox until you get your 20.  Rough ‘n’ Tumblers, get out your tomahawk and run through some basic combinations paying special attention to foot position, following steps, off hand, etc.  If your martial art doesn’t have forms, shadowbox.
  • Have you done two constitutionals this week?  If not, complete this month’s constitutional.  Pikes (25), Push-ups, uneven (25), Jump Squats (100), Reverse Bridges (25), Curb Touches (100), Ploughs (25), Burpees (25).
  • Contemplation.  After you’ve cooled down for about 3 minutes, set a timer for 10 minutes. Full instructions in the video below.  When the timer beeps, record what you did and what you experienced in your training journal.  If you don’t take bearings and spot landmarks, you might get lost.


TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS ARE AVAILABLE.  Cabal Fang is a martial arts for personal development and is 100% free and operated through my non-profit.  Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts, my for-profit martial art project, is Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — an American martial art that encompasses the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912).  Click either photo to get started today!

Antlers: Martial Arts Training Involution #212

stag deer antlers

In Cabal Fang martial arts, the stag is the symbol of athanor, the fourth of our five ranks (roughly equivalent to the red or brown belt in eastern martial arts).  In my Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble program, which incorporates indigenous skills and folkways, the stag is a subject of study and inspiration also.

Cabal Fang’s June symbol is the Cross, and there is a very deep connection between the stag and the cross which I discuss in the next issue of the SHIFT newsletter which came out today — and there will be an even deeper dive available to Patreon supporters.

Anyway, unlike horns which are akin to fingernails, antlers are actually bones.  They are an outgrowth of the skull which are shed and regrown every year.   You don’t have bony antlers.  But you do have a bony skull with a sizable brain inside it, which means you can learn two lessons from the stag’s inspiration — one about fighting and the other about spirit.

Antlers: Martial Arts Training Involution #212

  1. Fighting lesson from the stag: When stags fight, the contest is almost always won by the stag who stays the lowest and locks in his antlers.
  2. Spiritual lesson from the stag: You cannot run down a stag in the forest.  The only way to get him is to lie in wait, and the way to do that is to sit perfectly still — to be relaxed but aware, focused but not tense, without fidgeting, wiggling or scratching.  Sounds a lot like meditation, doesn’t it?

And now for the T.I.

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • 3 rounds of level mirroring drills. Set timer for 3 x 3:00/1:00.  Round 1: Square off with your partner, both of you in fighting stance, 6′ apart.  At any moment either partner fakes a takedown, ankle pick, or other level change.  Other partner follows suit, trying to keep head lower. Round 2: If social distancing due to COVID-19,  do another round like the last except this time add in sprawls — go all the way down to the floor.  If you have a training partner in your household, get into clinch position and practice level mirroring there.  Round 3: If social distancing, do another round like the last except add in lateral movement.  If you have a safe training partner, practice getting your head in the pocket.  See video below.
  • Have you done two constitutionals this week?  If not, complete this month’s constitutional.  Pikes (25), Push-ups, uneven (25), Jump Squats (100), Reverse Bridges (25), Curb Touches (100), Ploughs (25), Burpees (25).
  • Meditation.  After you’ve cooled down for about 3 minutes, set a timer for 10 minutes. Assume your posture of choice and regulate your breathing to insure a slow and consistent rhythm that completely fills and empties your lungs without bearing down on your breath. Eyes open, think about the stag and his antlers, but not in words.  Picture the stag in your mind’s eye.  Allow yourself to think in emotions and pictures only.  This pushes your thinking beyond the intellectual, past words and out into experience.  Do not fidget, wiggle or scratch.
  • When the timer beeps, record what you did and what you experienced in your training journal.  If you don’t measure performance, how do you know if you’re improving or not? Only that which is measured improves.


If you liked this post you’d love my Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble program!  What is Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble or “FRT?”  FRT is an American martial art that encompasses the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (from the founding of Jamestown in 1607 through 1912 — the year the U.S. admitted Arizona as the 48th state).  Click the photo to get started.  Free hat and t-shirt with sign-up!

Victory Flow: Martial Arts Training Involution #211

Victory is attained through flow not by force.

To lead a group you must be in dialogue with its members.  To win a fight you must work with your adversary’s openings.  To physically train your body for fitness, you have work with your body or you will destroy it.

Forcing people destroys teams and groups.  Forcing a given strategy onto set of conditions loses matches, fights and battles.  Forcing your body leads to injury.  And please tell me how it’s at all possible to force a relationship with your higher power?

The monthly focus and symbol are both related flow, which is the conversation and interplay between contrasting elements — you and your higher power, you and your martial opponent, the present state and the goal, etc.  Common symbols for this are pictured on the right.

Clockwise from the upper left: The Chariot Tarot card depicts a chariot drawn by two sphinxes, one light and the other dark.  The rider is being drawn along by the flow.  The stag, a crepuscular animal active only at dawn and dusk, is awash in the conversation between light and dark.  The Luminaries are the two heavenly bodies, one to light the day and the other to light the night.  Boaz and Jachin are the pillars of Solomon’s Temple, Boaz often depicted as black and Jachin as white, evoking ideas similar to the divine twins astride horses — one dark the other light — and  to the taijitu or “yin-yang” symbol — the unity of opposing forces.

The cross, this month’s symbol, is also about flow.  There are four ways of approaching biblical interpretation (allegorical, moral, anagogical and literal) and they are collectively known as the quadriga — a chariot drawn by four horses — a call-back to the symbols pictured above.  The cross, which is after all compass and the “X” that marks the spot, warns you that if you fail to acknowledge the flow you will surely lose your way.

Victory Flow: Martial arts Training Involution #211

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • At least 11 minutes of flow drills. Get our your grappling dummy or floor bag and set a timer for at least 3 x 3:00/1:00.  Put in at least 3 rounds on flow drills.  Start with a chain of two moves.  Add one or two moves per round, slowly building up your flow drill from the bottom.  Don’t force.  Let the drill modify itself as you go.  See what “flows” and what doesn’t.
  • Complete this month’s constitutional.  Pikes (25), Push-ups, uneven (25), Jump Squats (100), Reverse Bridges (25), Curb Touches (100), Ploughs(25), Burpees (25).
  • Contemplation.  Contemplation is about being in, and a part of, flow.  Dump out your intellectual mind for a few minutes, become empty of words, and marinate in the flow.  After you’ve cooled down for about 3 minutes, set a timer for 10 minutes. Assume your posture of choice and regulate your breathing to insure a slow and consistent rhythm that completely fills and empties your lungs without bearing down on your breath. Eyes open, gently allow your mind to empty and calm itself. Don’t make war with thoughts, just let them pass by, dissipating like ripples on the surface of a pond.
  • Record what you did and what you experienced in your training journal.  If you don’t measure performance, how do you know if you’re improving or not? Only that which is measured improves.


My new ebook “Martial Grit: Real Fighting Fitness (On a Budget)” releases July 1st.  Pre-order now at Barnes & Noble, iTunes or Smashwords.  Honed by 30 years teaching martial arts in inner city programs and in public parks for a non-profit, this is as real as it gets. 3 keys to proper mindset. Accelerate your training with the “S.A.F.E. M.P.” protocol. Dozens of drills and exercises using heavy bags, floor bags, dummies, slip balls, chains, weights, tires, sledges, pipes, mallets, etc. And DIY instructions for making your own gear for pennies.  

A

Volition Magician: Martial Arts Training Involution #210

symbol

The Magician from my Hoi Polloi Tarot Deck — the one I’ve been working with since the 1970s

Today’s the fifth and final T.I. of the month centering around the Cabal Fang symbol the Chalice and the martial focus Striking.  May’s a long month which allows us five weeks to get into the weeds of this unique internal and external work combination.

The Chalice symbol has many associations, but the one most central is inherence.  The Chalice is about what you let into yourself, what you choose to allow to indwell in you.  Although the most obvious symbol on the Magician card is the infinity symbol, the largest one is The Chalice.

The Magician understands the concept of inherence like no other, and so should the martial artist.  Why?  Because 99% of magic is brute force.   My late friend Woody Landersone of the greatest close-up magicians in the world — once shared with me a wondrous secret.

Most magic tricks are based on the fact that the magician can do things that you assume cannot be done. 

Woody Landers

Woody could cut a deck of cards to the precise number desired.  I never saw him miss.  He would a few cards off the top of the deck and hand them to me.  “There’s seventeen. Count ’em.”  And there were seventeen.  And let me tell you, if you called Woody at 10 PM on a weeknight or at 2 PM on weekend, you were going to hear cards shuffling at some point during that call, guaranteed.  And he could memorize lists of numbers, names, etc. like nobody’s business.  He practiced that constantly.  Do you see the implication?

Woody could fan out a stack of cards, quickly memorize them, and then cut to any card he pleased after they were flipped.

And that is the level of mastery you need to have as a martial artist if you’re going to able to work your brand of magic — overcoming opponents larger, stronger, and faster than you, avoiding unseen dangers, and so forth.

Hocus-pocus isn’t real.  Real magic happens when you allow something to fully become a part of you.

What are you putting into yourself in terms of nourishment — intellectual nourishment (what we read, watch, and concentrate upon), literal nourishment (things we eat and drink), physical nourishment (the things we do and participate in), and spiritual nourishment (things we believe in and worship, Holy Communion, the Eucharist, etc.).

What are you focusing on?  What is your Holy Grail?  What are you allowing to colonize you? 

Volition Magician: Martial arts Training Involution #210

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • 15 minutes of punching half-pyramids for speed.  My old friend Woody understood the magic of repetition and so should you.  Get in front of your heavy bag and throw a half-pyramid of Left Jabs to  4 — that’s 1, then 2, then 3, and 4.  Do that five time — each set in the most rapid succession as possible without sacrificing form.  Switch stance and do it again with Right Jab.  That’s 100 Jabs total.  Now do Left Cross and Right Cross for a total of 100 Crosses.  Go back to the beginning and repeat until the timer beeps.
  • Contemplation.  Before you can fill yourself up with something great you must first dump yourself out and become empty.  Cool down for about 3 minutes, then set a timer for 10 minutes. Assume your posture of choice and regulate your breathing to insure a slow and consistent rhythm that completely fills and empties your lungs without bearing down on your breath. Eyes open. Gently allow your mind to empty and calm itself. Don’t make war with thoughts, just let them pass by, dissipating like ripples on the surface of a pond.
  • Record what you did and what you experienced in your training journal.  If you don’t measure performance, how do you know if you’re improving or not? Only that which is measured improves.

My new ebook “Martial Grit: Real Fighting Fitness (On a Budget)” releases July 1st.  Pre-order now at Barnes & Noble, iTunes or Smashwords.  Honed by 30 years teaching martial arts in inner city programs and in public parks for a non-profit, this is as real as it gets. 3 keys to proper mindset. Accelerate your training with the “S.A.F.E. M.P.” protocol. Dozens of drills and exercises using heavy bags, floor bags, dummies, slip balls, chains, weights, tires, sledges, pipes, mallets, etc. And DIY instructions for making your own gear for pennies.  

A

Have Mercy: Martial Arts Training Involution #209

Today’s the fourth T.I. of the month centering around the Cabal Fang symbol the Chalice and the martial focus Striking.  May’s a long month which allows us five weeks to get into the weeds of this unique internal and external work combination.

You know, I spend a ton of time making sure that everything I create — products, posts, newsletters, books — all harmonizes and co-inheres with what I’m working on at home and at the martial arts club.

 

dice

A mix’n’match of FRT dice and Scufflin’ Dice

How do you make sure that everything you do — home, work, school, play, church,  etc. — harmonizes and co-inheres?  Journaling, in the form of an integrated diary and training log, is sufficient for most people, and will probably work for you too unless you’re a creator.  If you are a creator like me and you’d like little a peak behind the curtain — a look at how I create, organize and harmonize all of this material — dodge over to Patreon and for just $1/month you can get behind-the-scenes access.

The martial portion of this week’s T.I. is a grappling-striking mix’n’match created using FRT Dice and Scufflin’ Dice.  I just grabbed a couple of each and gave them a toss to create a session that would force me to practice integrating my striking and grappling skills.

Have Mercy: Martial arts Training Involution #209

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • Mix’n’match pyramid of 5 exercises to 5 reps for power.  A pyramid to 5 reps is 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1 (25 reps total of each exercise).  The five exercises are Bearhug Carry (1 orbit of your training area = 1 rep),  Shots (classic wrestling style), Shovels (sledgehammer, 1/side), Bodybuilders (10-count Navy Seal style) and Heavy Bag Combos (5 combos = 1 rep).  Power is a work/time/distance equation (lots of detail on this inMartial Grit, see below) so everything in this pyramid should be done with full forcemax-power-squeezing of heaviest manageable sand or heavy bag based on size/fitness level, explosive sledge digs, max-power heavy bag striking etc.  Only have one heavy bag and using it for the carries?  Just put on the floor and practice your down strikes from Top Saddle.
  • Mercy meditation.  Cool down for 3 minutes, then set a timer for about 10 minutes and assume your meditative posture of choice.  Regulate your breathing to a slow and steady rhythm.  The Chalice symbol embodies the concept of reception.  It is about receiving, accepting, and allowing.  Keep your eyes open as you think about something you’ve been unable to forgive, allow or accept — something you know you should let go in yourself or in someone else.  See if you can envision a way to be merciful.  It’s very important not to think in words during meditations like this.  Think in images and feelings only.  Let them appear like gauzy dream superimpositions on your visual field.  If the word-monkey starts chattering just ignore him and he’ll quiet down soon enough.  When the timer beeps, record your thoughts and experiences in your training journal.

My new ebook “Martial Grit: Real Fighting Fitness (On a Budget)” releases July 1st.  Pre-order now at Barnes & Noble, iTunes or Smashwords.  Honed by 30 years teaching martial arts in inner city programs and in public parks for a non-profit, this is as real as it gets. 3 keys to proper mindset. Accelerate your training with the “S.A.F.E. M.P.” protocol. Dozens of drills and exercises using heavy bags, floor bags, dummies, slip balls, chains, weights, tires, sledges, pipes, mallets, etc. And DIY instructions for making your own gear for pennies.  

A

Perilous: Martial Arts Training Involution #208

Here at Cabal Fang HQ the May ’20 martial focus is Striking and the spiritual symbol is the Chalice.  I’m teaching two martial arts now — Cabal Fang and Bobcat Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — so I try to make the weekly T.I. applicable to both.  

This week’s T.I. features a modified version of a Bobcat drill named after Black Hawk, and the title ties into a famous lyric poem by Tennyson about the Holy Grail written during the Frontier period — see an excerpt at the bottom.

Like martial arts and fitness?  My new ebook “Martial Grit: Real Fighting Fitness (On a Budget)” releases July 1st.  Pre-order now at Barnes & Noble, iTunes or Smashwords.  Honed by 30 years teaching martial arts in inner city programs and in public parks for a non-profit, this is as real as it gets. 3 keys to proper mindset. Accelerate your training with the “S.A.F.E. M.P.” protocol. Dozens of drills and exercises using heavy bags, floor bags, dummies, slip balls, chains, weights, tires, sledges, pipes, mallets, etc. And DIY instructions for making your own gear for pennies.  

And now for your weekly T.I.

Perilous: Martial arts Training Involution #208

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • 16 minutes of martial fitness action.  Set timer for intervals of 4 minutes.  Shadowbox for 4 minutes.  Then run out for 4 minutes, run back — (get back before the timer beeps!), and finish up with 4 minutes of weapon shadowboxing with your training weapon of choice.  How many times did you drop your blunt training weapon or accidentally allow the business end to touch your body?  Do 50 Push-ups for each error.
  • Want more? Do this month’s constitutional — click here.
  • Grail mediation.  Cool down for 3 minutes, then assume your meditative posture of choice and regulate your breathing to a slow and steady rhythm.  Keep your eyes open as you imagine that the glowing Grail is hovering in the air before you, close enough to touch.  The Grail is the cup Christ used when he instituted the Holy Eucharist, and legend has it that one sip from it confers infinite blessings.  How does it make you that make you feel to be in its presence?  Don’t think about the Grail in words — just allow yourself to experience the image and concept of the Grail emotionally, spiritually and inspirationally. When he timer beeps, record your thoughts and experiences in your training journal.

An Excerpt from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Holy Grail

Then came a year of miracle: O brother,
In our great hall there stood a vacant chair,
Fashion’d by Merlin ere he past away,
And carven with strange figures; and in and out
The figures, like a serpent, ran a scroll
Of letters in a tongue no man could read.
And Merlin call’d it ‘The Siege perilous,’
Perilous for good and ill; ‘for there,’ he said,
‘No man could sit but he should lose himself:’
And once by misadvertence Merlin sat
In his own chair, and so was lost; but he,
Galahad, when he heard of Merlin’s doom,
Cried, ‘If I lose myself, I save myself!’

II

…When the hermit made an end,
In silver armour suddenly Galahad shone
Before us, and against the chapel door
Laid lance, and enter’d, and we knelt in prayer.
And there the hermit slaked my burning thirst,
And at the sacring of the mass I saw
The holy elements alone; but he:
‘Saw ye no more? I, Galahad, saw the Grail,
The Holy Grail, descend upon the shrine:
I saw the fiery face as of a child
That smote itself into the bread, and went;
And hither am I come; and never yet
Hath what thy sister taught me first to see,
This Holy Thing, fail’d from my side, nor come
Cover’d, but moving with me night and day,
Fainter by day, but always in the night
Blood-red, and sliding down the blacken’d marsh
Blood-red, and on the naked mountain top
Blood-red, and in the sleeping mere below
Blood-red. And in the strength of this I rode,
Shattering all evil customs everywhere,
And past thro’ Pagan realms, and made them mine,
And clash’d with Pagan hordes, and bore them down,
And broke thro’ all, and in the strength of this
Come victor. But my time is hard at hand,
And hence I go; and one will crown me king
Far in the spiritual city; and come thou, too,
For thou shalt see the vision when I go.’

Amazon Babylon: Martial Arts Training Involution #207

L: The diadem of a famous Amazon from comic books and movies. R: The Star of Ishtar. Coincidence? I think not!

Long before the 2017 movie, Cabal Fang was using an 8-point combat clock called the Star of Ishtar — a universal symbol for the divine feminine associated with the ancient Babylonian goddess Ishtar.  You will note that the star on this fictional Amazon’s diadem is a star of similar design.

Symbols colonize our subconscious minds and permeate the world’s cultures. 

It’s quite possible the artists and costume designers working on the film didn’t consciously change the original 5-pointed star from the comic books to an 8-pointed Star of Ishtar.  They probably did it without even realizing they were doing it.

Stay tuned — The next of SHIFT will contain a video exploring this in more detail.

In the meantime, for this week’s involution we’re going to take our training inspiration from Amazon warriors and ancient symbols…

My forging post.  Note Tarot poster featuring Star of Ishtar

Amazon Babylon: Martial Arts Training Involution #207

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • 10 minutes of crams.  Get on your forging post, pell or war-post and work your crams.  If you don’t have a post, use your grappling dummy today — and then go put up a post in your gym or back yard tomorrow.
  • Practice the Star of Ishtar drill for 10 minutes.  Don’t know it?  It’s in the Cabal Fang Study Course.
  • 10 minutes of heavy carries.  Want to be Amazon strong?  The ancients had no barbells — they carried loads and lifted stones.   Set a timer for 10 minutes and bear hug or shoulder carry your heavy bag (or appropriate substitute based on your fitness level) until the timer beeps.  Put the weight down and take a break as few times as possible.  Finish the whole 10 minutes without putting it down and you’re either a monster or you picked too light a load.
  • 1 mile run.  The ancient Greeks were big on running.  Cover a mile as fast as you can.
  • Contemplation.  Cool down for about 3 minutes, then set a timer for 10 minutes.  Assume your meditative posture of choice and regulate your breathing to insure a slow and consistent rhythm that completely fills and empties your lungs without bearing down on your breath.  Eyes open.  Gently allow your mind to empty and calm itself.  Don’t make war with thoughts, just let them pass by, dissipating like ripples on the surface of a pond.    

My new newsletter SHIFT went live April 30th, next issue May 14th.   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.

 

 

The Galahad Maneuver: Martial Arts Training Involution #206

Playing the Cabal Fang home game?  Cool.  This month’s constitutional, martial focus and symbol are on on the left.  Stop shirking and start working. Or enroll in the free home study program.

Are you a Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumbler?  Things are a little less structured for you.  World’s your oyster.  Roll the dice, do the Molly Pitcher, the Sim Webb, etc., or enroll in the program.

Regardless of which camp you’re in you’re going to love my new ebook “Martial Grit: Real Fighting Fitness (On a Budget)” which releases July 1st.  Pre-order now at Barnes & Noble, iTunes or Smashwords — it’s a real winner.  Honed by 30 years teaching martial arts on shoestring budgets in inner city programs and in public parks for a non-profit, this is as real as it gets. The 3 keys to proper mindset. Improve right away using the “S.A.F.E. M.P.” protocol. Proper use of heavy bags, floor bags, dummies, slip balls, chains, weights, tires, sledges, pipes, mallets, etc. And DIY instructions for making your own gear for pennies.  

And now for your weekly T.I.

The Galahad Maneuver: Martial arts Training Involution #206

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • Martial Arts Mix and Match.  4 rounds of action (beginner/intermediate 2:00 each, advanced 3:00) for a total of 8 to 12 minutes.  Take as few 12-second breaks as you need.  Do one round each of Lunges, Clocks, Low Crawl, Sled Pulls/Yanks.  Video below.
  • Not enough exercise for you?  Do this month’s constitutional.  See photo above or click here.
  • Practice the Galahad Maneuver.   Pick something you know that’s not good for you and make a substitution — a food or beverage, a form of entertainment, or even a person who’s a negative influence.  Just 5 minutes of serious thought will reveal a list of stuff you know you shouldn’t be eating, watching, doing or associating with.  Start with one of the easy ones and substitute a better choice.  This is the trail-head that leads to the mountaintop of sacrifice.  Keep going and perhaps one day you’ll come to see the world the way that Sir Galahad saw it when he said, “If I lose myself I save myself.”  Remember, Galahad was the only Knight of the Round Table who saw the Grail. You are not your tastes, your needs, your wants, your favorites, or hobbies, or any of that.  You are something much more than that.  But you have to strip some things away to begin to see it.  By the way, this drill is associated with the Chalice symbol and it first appeared in The Hourglass Way: Transform in 12 Weeks with Cabal Fang which contains about 11 more exercises that are equally powerful.