Tag Archives: involution

The Climb: Training Involution #97

You can say it’s about the journey not the destination all you want to, and I’ll agree with every time on a philosophical level.  I get it.  But when you’re talking about climbing, you have to admit it’s all about the view.

Make it to the top of something high and you’ll never forget what it’s like looking down.

What’s the last height you climbed?  Was it a physical climb or an emotional, philosophical, religious or mental one?  What was it like looking down? 

Well if it’s been awhile since the last time you scaled a great height, let me introduce you to…

The Climb: Training Involution #97


  • Half Pyramid of Push-ups, Jumping Jacks and Squats (that’s 1 of each, 2 of each, 3, 4, etc.).  Beginners climb to 10 (55 total reps of each exercise), intermediate to 14 (105) , advanced to 17 (153).  Transition to Push-ups on knees or Half-Squats if you have to, just don’t quit.  Remember: this isn’t working out, this is training.
  • Heavy Bag Max Power Shots 5 x 2:00/:30.  Do your shots in combos half-pyramid-styled.  So throw 1 strike, skip a beat, then 2 shots, beat, 3 shots, etc. up to 10 shots.  Then start over until the round ends.  No lollygagging.  
  • Enjoy the view.  Cool down for about 2 mins and then set a timer for 10 mins.  Assume your meditative posture of choice, keeping eyes wide open as you regulate your breathing to your natural, regular rhythm.  Life is a climb and every moment presents its own unique view.  Look at it with your whole being.  Use your visual, symbolic, experiential mind not your linguistic mind.  Don’t let yourself think in words.  Reality is beautiful and everything is sacred.  Just look at it and experience it for 10 minutes.

Locus: Training Involution #95

Locus: Training Involution #95

Do not approach this week’s assignment intellectually.  Just dive in, participate sincerely and get involved in the experience.

  • The Fool’s Journey.  Set timer 15 mins.  Complete the Fool’s Journey Form as many times as you can — without sacrificing power and elegance! — before the timer beeps.  No experience in Cabal Fang?  Sub a form, drill or combo chain from your martial art/style.
  • Conditioning runCR15A
  • Bear hug carry.  4 x 1:00, 1 x failure.  Throw some weight into a backpack or military duffle or use your heavy bag (strap dumbbells to it if need be).   Start with an easy load.  Hug bag and walk circles inside your training area for 1:00 min.  Rest 1:00 while you add more weight.  Do that 4 times.  On the 5th round carry to failure.
  • Meditation.  After cooling down spend a few minutes looking at the pictures below.  Then set a timer for 10 mins, assume chosen meditation posture, close eyes and regulate breathing.  Allow images from your training session, mixed with recollections of the photos below, to play like a slideshow in your mind’s eye.  Use your imagination and do not think in words, only in pictures.  Hopefully you’ll see the symbolism that ties all four aspects of this training involution together.  Record thoughts and experiences in your training journal.


Temple Financials and Training Involution #94

Here’s a lovely shot of the existing temple all covered in snow. We like it. But it sure would be nice to have a proper one that’s not on my personal property, one big enough for dozens of people to train in and open to the public…

I completed the Cabal Fang Temple, Inc. financial statements for 2017 — check them out on the Cabal Fang website by clicking here.

After 1 year of incorporation as an officially recognized 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit, the Temple Fund for buying or building a state-of-the-art temple is up to a whopping $1,032.00.  At this rate we’ll able to break ground in about 200 years.

But this is Cabal Fang, and we don’t give up so easy.  If that’s how long it takes, that’s how long it takes.

Sometimes gains are made in great dramatic leaps.  But most of the time, success is the result of the daily grind — consistent work over the long haul.

The Grind: Cabal Fang Training Involution #94

  • Push-up Grinder.  After a thorough 8-minute warm-up, complete a full pyramid to 10 of Prison Push-ups, Back-ups, Regular Push-ups, Jump Squats.  Take as many 12-count breaks as you need to finish, and do the Regular Push-ups on your knees if/when you burn out.
  • 1 long round on the heavy bag.  10 minutes for accuracy, no breaks.   If your bag doesn’t have targets on it, put some Xs on it with sports tape.  Throw combos at the marks with realistic malice.  Count your misses until times’s up and then — did you see it coming? — do Push-ups for each miss — beginners 1, intermediate 2, advanced 3 or more.
  • Jump rope for 15 minutes.  If you aren’t good at it don’t worry about looking cute.  Doesn’t matter if the rope hits your feet a hundred times, just start again when it does and keep getting over the rope for the duration.  Grind it out.
  • Pick one of the internal exercises from the Cabal Fang Study Guide and do it every single day this week no matter what.  Practice contemplation, do one of the Meditations of the Rose,  meditate on one of the Five Vital Graces, complete the Salutations of Sun and Moon, etc.  Just pick one and stick with it all week.

Footnote: During a seminar at Karate College, Karate Legend Joe Lewis once told me and the other guys in attendance that, in order to hone a true weapon, he stopped practicing dozens of kicks and stuck with only a few.  He concentrated particularly on Side Kick.  He would stay in the gym late and do thousands of them.  People thought that he was an overnight success when we won the Jhoon Rhee Nationals in 1966.  But leading up to that were two years of Side Kicks numbering in the tens of thousands.  Breakthroughs are real.  But the grind is realer.

CRUNCH! CRASH! BANG! Training Involution #92

CRUNCH! Crash! Bang! cabal fang Training Involution #92

  • Crunch through a hike.  Cover two miles with a weighted pack (#20, #40 or #60 by size/ability).  Finish up with 100 Squats before you drop the pack.
  • Crash into some combos.  7 x 2:00/1:00. Start each combo with a hard lead palm, a hard falling jab, or a forearm cram.  Finish each one with some kind of crash — a shoulder-slam, body lock, bear hug, bulldog,  single or double-leg take-down, etc.  If you have a partner, take turns exchanging combos.  No partner?  Use a heavy bag.  No heavy bag?  Shadowbox.  If working solo, spend your 1:00 breaks doing as many Sit-out Push-ups as you can, taking as few 12-count breaks as you need to survive.
  • Bang out a conditioning run.  CR10F Prisoner-style (hands behind your head).
  • Slice through your week.   While cooling down, think of a fumble you made in the last week, something you were involved in that went down awkwardly, inelegantly or uncomfortably.   How could you have been more elegant?  Then assume meditation posture, close eyes and regulate breathing and visualize the coming week.  See yourself acting with grace and fluidity, slicing through your week like a hawk through the air.  Don’t fantasize!  Imagine real situations on the actual horizon and really consider how you will need to behave in order to cut through your week.  When you’re done, record your thoughts and inspirations in your training journal and make notes on your To-Do list so you don’t forget.

Conditioning Run Protocol

The new Cabal Fang Training Involution scheme is laser-focused on building the knowledge, will, daring, composure, physical fitness and mettle to defend yourself and get to safety.

Short runs of up to 30 minutes are useful for building fitness and mettle — if  done with intensity.  So you’re going to start seeing Conditional Runs (“CRs”) showing up in the weekly Training Involutions from time to time.

Note: These intense runs are designed to prepare you to fight hard and escape fast, period.  What will they do to your next 10K  performance?  Might help, might hurt, don’t know, don’t care.  All I know is I feel stronger and fight better when I add a couple of intense runs per week to my martial training and I think you will too.

Here’s how the notations work:  

  1. After the “CR” which stands for “Conditioning Run” you will see a number, a letter, and perhaps another exercise or some other instruction.
  2. The number is the duration in minutes.
  3. The letter indicates the type of run.

Here are the types:

When you train Cabal Fang you do not muck around.  So, before you begin whatever you’re going to do — whether it is hitting a heavy bag, doing calisthenics, or even running — decide if you’re going to work on Speed, Accuracy, Form, Endurance, Mobility or Power.  If it helps to remember it, you you can abbreviate that SAFE-MP¹ for “safe martial prep.”  Here are the runs:

  • P = Power.  Intervals.  Alternate between running as fast as you can — full out sprint! — and either walking or calisthenics.  One of my favorites is  “CR15C, 20 Push-ups and 20 Squats alternating.”   I go the the local outdoor track, set a timer for 15 mins and then run a lap, do 20 Push-ups, run a lap, do 20 Squats, etc. and see how many laps I can complete before the timer beeps.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you must in order to finish.
  • E = Endurance.  Run while wearing a weighted vest or carrying a heavy or awkward object such as tire, sandbag or medicine ball.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you must in order to finish.
  • S = Speed.  Run as fast as you are able without breaking stride.  Try not to take any 12-count breaks.
  • M = Mobility.  Run on a trail, around cones, through mud  or water, run zig-zags across a field, up and down steep hills, run an obstacle course, etc.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you must in order to finish.
  • A = Accuracy.  Set a goal and try to hit the mark.  Pick a previous run and try to beat it in terms of fewer breaks taken, more distance covered, etc.   You are keeping a training journal, right?
  • F = Form.  Wreck your form.  Run backwards, run like an Apache, skip or side-gallop, run with your hands behind your head or behind your back, with one hand gripping your waistband, etc.  Experiment.  What if someday you have to run for your life with an injury or impairment?

Trust me when I say, you’re going to love to hate these runs!

¹ I’ve made dice of various kinds to create random workouts.  One of them is a 6-sided cube with sides that are S, A, F, E, M and P so I can generate focuses on the fly.



Choke, Don’t Choke: Training Involution #91

I have to admit that I love garment work.  Chokes, hockey jerks, sleeve pulls, all of it.   Yes, I know that choking a guy out with his own shirt isn’t “sporting.”  But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?

Self-defense is about escaping the clutches of attackers who are bigger and stronger than you.  What’s cooler than putting a 250 lb. killer to sleep with his own shirt?

This week’s involution is all about choking.  And not choking.

Choke, Don’t Choke: Training Involution #91

  • Choke. Put an old shirt or jacket on a sturdy wooden coat hanger and practice your basic chokes, like Old #7, Brace Choke, X Choke, Double Lapel Choke, etc.  If you feel creative, make a head-and-neck dummy (video below) and practice more complex chokes, like the Loop Choke, Squeeze Choke,  Paper-cutter, Jersey Choke, Guillotine Lapel Choke, and so on.
  • Don’t Choke.  Warm-up for 8 minutes.  Then select a sandbag (#20, #40 or #60) and set timer for 10 minutes.  Complete as many sets as you can of 7 SBGs (Sand Bag Get-ups), 7 SBLs (Sand Bag Lunges) and 14 SBPs (Sand Bag Presses).  This is for strength in the scuffle and the sand bag is your enemy.  So don’t “workout” — train.
  • 20-Minute Conditioning Run (Power).  Set a timer for 8:30.  Head out until the timer beeps, then head back.  Get home before it beeps again.  When it does, walk it off for 3 minutes and you’re done in 20.  A Constitutional Run means Constitutional Trial rules apply — take as few 12-count walking breaks as you need to finish.  Running for power means you run as fast as you can without pacing yourself.  FYI, there are several more types of Conditioning Run in the pipeline — watch for a blog post on Wednesday that will explain the protocol.


Smear Campaign: Training Involution #90

One of the reasons I started Cabal Fang was because I thought martial arts should incorporate fighting realism and fitness realism

For a martial artist, the only thing worse than zero fitness regimen is a fitness regimen that’s irrelevant.  

If you don’t spend any time on fitness, that’s more rounds boxing and wrestling, and that sure won’t hurt your strength or stamina.  But although hours spent on treadmills, ellipticals or steppers might be good for your health, they’re not helping your martial fitness.  I’m not smearing exercise.  I’m smearing waste.

The third Vital Grace of Cabal Fang is Frugality.  Barachiel’s First Lighting is Keep Only What is Valuable.  The average violent encounter lasts under 2 minutes.  The max round length in combat sports is 5 minutes.

  1. Map your fitness training against martial landmarks.
  2. Train to be a wildcat, a honey badger, a goddamned Tasmanian devil.
  3. Select and/or modify exercises so that your fitness mimics martial movements whenever possible.
  4. Keep your fitness training short, focused and close to max output.

With that in mind…

Training Involution #90

  • Scuffling, grappling and wrestling HIIT.  Set a timer to beep every 40 seconds.  Whenever it beeps take a 10-second break and then start the next exercise.  Cycle through the following 6 times for a total of 16 minutes: Smearing Push-ups, Cross-arm Clinch Lunges (maximum cutting power!), Leg Triangles and Splay-n-Punch.    See video below for details.
  • Training journal review.  Sit down with your training journal and do a review.  Is your fitness training martial focused?  I’m no better than you are — I found some holes.  Let’s go plug them together, shall we?  Adjust your training regimen as needed.
  • If you do not keep a training journal you are not training.  Take a 100 Jump Squat penalty.  Immediately purchase a spiral notebook and begin logging your training sessions!