“If you can’t run, you walk. If you can’t walk, you crawl. If you can’t crawl, you find someone to carry you.”
This week’s T.I. is about understanding the power of realizing you are not alone.
Yesterday, when I did this week’s T.I., I thought of the above quote from Firefly, one of my favorite TV shows. This T.I. was so hard that the only way I could make it through was to think about the fact that if we were training together — me, you, and the rest of the Cabal Fang crew — none of us would ever let anybody quit.
So I imagined you were there with me, that you were there encouraging me, helping me, making suggestions on how to modify exercises, and asking me to dig deep.
Your brothers and sisters in Cabal Fang are right there with you. Now go get it done.
Firefly Style: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #157
- Warm up for a full 8 minutes.
- 3 sets of HSPUs to failure. If you can’t do HSPUs, do Jackknife Push-ups. If you can’t do them, do Regular Push-ups.
- 3 sets of Squats. 2 x 5 + 1 set to failure. Pick a weight that works for you (I used 110 lbs).
- 10 x 10 yards of Heavy Bear Walks. Select two hex dumbbells. Go way lighter than you think you need. I used 10 pounders. Bear Walk with dumbbells in hand for 10 yards. Stop and do 10 Push-ups with a Plank Row between, alternating sides. Repeat 10 more times for a total of 100 yards of Bear Walks, 100 Push-ups and 100 Rows.
- Unless you are Captain America, you are going to fail at this. When you do start failing, imagine me and all of the other people in Cabal Fang working right there with you. If you gas on the Bear Walks, drop the dumbbells and go on without them. If you gas on the Push-ups or Plank Rows, come up and do them on knees. Switch to lighter dumbbells halfway through if necessary. Make whatever changes you have to make and take as many 12-count breaks as you need. The only rule is don’t give up.
- Cool down for 3 minutes.
- Stretch and practice contemplation.
- Record what you learned in your training journal.
Firefly t-shirt, book and dvd
The Official Firefly Companion
My DIY Browncoat Alliance ammo box
DIY Firefly cargo box (note the cool Chinese “danger!” stickers)
This week’s T.I. marks the third anniversary of the weekly program — the sixth anniversary counting the original protocol. Sometimes, when I go on vacation like last week, I re-post previous T.I.s. But mostly you get something fresh every week.
Being fresh ain’t easy, because martial arts aren’t as much about exploring new territory as they are about knowing the road map of fighting like the back of your hand. Self-defense requires fight-specific strength and complete, automatic command of the basics.
That’s why I often re-combine essential ingredients to give freshness to the essentials — kind of the way Taco Bell creates new products from the same basic meat, cheese, sauce and tortillas. Those of you have been doing C.F.T.I.s for a few years will recognize some familiar ingredients in #156 for sure.
Real Deal Basics: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #156
- Ideally you will have two heavy bags –one hanging/standing and one for the floor. Substitute a large gym bag full of gear for the floor bag or make one.
- Warm up for a full eight minutes by doing multiple mini-sets at 50% effort.
- Set timer for 5 x 3:00 (beginners 5 x 1:00, intermediate 5 x 2:00). Rounds go as follows: HB Shrimps, HB Bridges and Reverses, Punches, Kicks, and Clinch Work. Take as few 12-count breaks as needed to finish standing up. See video below for details.
- Perform the Salutations of Sun and Moon per the Cabal Fang Study Guide. Our internal focus this month is The Luminaries and our external focus is Evasion. More on evasion next week.
As you’re reading this my wife and I are on our annual wedding anniversary getaway. So I’m going to re-post a slight reworking of T.I. #50 — of one of my favorites from 2 years back. Let me know what you think in the comments. Enjoy!
A couple of years ago I posted a video analysis of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. One of the things I mentioned was the nature and symbolism of Prince Philip’s Sword of Truth and Shield of Virtue.
During his fight with Maleficent in her dragon form, Prince Philip loses the Shield of Virtue because that’s what we all do. We’re human. We mess up, we make mistakes, we do things that we know are not in keeping with our own moral and ethical codes. But as long as we hold tight to truth the way that Prince Philip does in the movie, we can slay any dragon and ultimately regain our virtue. Because making a commitment to speak the truth is more than just a speech modifier. If you do things you’re ashamed of you’ll have to lie about what you did. So telling the truth is a behavior modifier too.
Truth may be the highest ideal known to man. That’s why it figures so prominently in the initiations of Cabal Fang. Individuals and cultures that do not revere truth may reap short-term rewards of one kind or another but eventually they will completely lose their virtue and have no way to regain it — and some dragon or other will eat them up in their bankruptcy.
Hold tight to truth my friends, and aim your compass toward it like it’s true north. You’ll screw up because we all do. But at least you’ll be able to get back on course!
More Truth: Cabal Fang Training INvolution #155
- 10 minutes of slipping and bobbing. Set a timer for 10 minutes and practice your slips and bobs, preferably with a slip ball. Beginners use this intro video. Advanced folks, run this slip ball impairment drill.
- Heavy bag 4 x 2:oo/:30. Go after a heavy bag with maximum ill intent, just make sure that between each combination you (a) complete at least 2 slips or bobs, and (b) you circle the bag rather than standing stock-still. Hit while you move and move while you hit.
- Meditation on Truth. Look into your past starting with most recent history and find a time when you were less than truthful. Now set a timer for 10 minutes and assume your chosen meditative posture. Untangle that lie through meditation. Use your imagination to step into the scene. Relive the incident. See if you can come to understand why you weren’t truthful, what you should have done, and what you think you might do the next time you’re in a similar situation. Record your thoughts and realizations in your training journal.
Cabal Fang attends Karate College 2019
For the first time ever, CF will be going to Karate College as a group. Register here, send me an email, and roll with us! Camp costs $219 and dorm rooms are only about $35/night. Karate College is the best martial arts camp in the country, and it’s three days of non-stop action!
Cabal Fang Helps Revive Community Park
This is where we train. May not look like much, but it’s been the home of CF for ten years, and we love it.
The defunct civic association that owns the park where we train here at CF HQ is coming back to life and Cabal Fang is going to be a part of the plan. The first official meeting of the new association will be on May 20th, 2019. Yours truly will be at that meeting to volunteer for a seat on the board. For the last ten years we’ve been the only folks who cared enough to haul off trash, cut grass, and deter vandals. Our energy will continue to flow and evolve in concert with this new initiative.
Planning Begins for Cabal Fang 10th Anniversary Event
Try a 3-mile run with an auto tire sometime — what fun!
October will mark the official 10th Anniversary of Cabal Fang. If memory serves me, we started meeting in April of 2009. But the first monthly constitutional we have on record is from October, and you know the rule: “If it ain’t in the training log, it didn’t happen.” We’re still spit-balling, but the idea that has come up several times in the past is some kind of tire run that will be open to the public. Watch this space for details.
Now for the T.I.
IMT: Cabal Fang Training Involution #154
IMT stands for “Individual Movement Technique.” In a nutshell, moving target acquisition takes 3 to 5 seconds. To avoid getting shot, pop up, sprint as fast as you can for 3 to 5 seconds, then hit the dirt. Wash, rinse, repeat. This one comes straight from the mind of Mark Hatmaker. Click here for instructions.
Here’s a selfie from the knees down after finishing my half-mile Commanche-styled IMT mud run in a pathetic 15:20. A three-legged pregnant yak could’ve done it faster. But it was fun, and at least I wasn’t sitting home eating potato chips.
katabasis /kətă’bəsis/, IPA(key): /kəˈtæbəsɪs/ n. (plural katabases) From Ancient Greek κατάβασις (katábasis), from verb καταβαίνω (katabaínō), from κατά (katá, “downwards”) + βαίνω (baínō, “go”).
1. A journey downwards: a journey downhill, a decrease of winds, a military retreat, a trip to the underworld; a trip from the interior of a country to the coast.
For most of the world, today is a dark day. For some it is the last dark day before the light returns tomorrow. For others the darkness won’t lift until next weekend. Today is a good day to think about katabasis — the idea of what it means to go dark.
Since our focuses this month are Basic Self-Defense and The Book (the Book of Hermes, a.k.a. the Book of Hermes-Thoth, a.k.a. the Tarot) we will explore the concept of katabasis with our bodies and with our meditations rather than with our intellects.
Katabasis: Cabal Fang Martial Arts Training Involution #153
This week’s T.I. is a session that my son and I did together the other night, just the two of us. It’s not easy, so buckle up, hold on tight, and don’t forget: modify, adapt, overcome.
- Warm up thoroughly (at least 8:00).
- Sparring. Spar all-in for 30 minutes. Adjust round length to suit your fitness level. If you are going it solo, do Wrestling Conditioner #2 (see below if you don’t want to get out the Cabal Fang Study Guide).
- Constitutional. Jump Squats (100), Lunges (100), Crunches (100), Bear Walk (100 yds), Get-ups (25), Mountain Climbers (100), Sprints (50 x 12′).
- Meditation. Lay out the spread of cards below, print out the picture, or set up your tablet/laptop. Set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes. Look at the pictures. What story does this little “chapter” of the Tarot “book” relate? Don’t think in words — look at the pictures as if they are selected photos from a children’s book. What are the intervening pictures that complete the story? What comes after?
- Record what you learned in your training journal. If it ain’t in the journal it didn’t happen.
Wrestling Conditioner #2: Set timer for 10 mins. Top Saddle a.k.a Mount your heavy bag and strike it 10 times as hard as you can. Drop, lock, and roll so that bag is on top of you. Knee boost or Reverse the bag as hard as you can back to Top Saddle. Strike 10 times as hard as you can. Drop, lock, and roll so that bag is on top of you. Bridge the bag and roll it off to regain Top Saddle. Repeat until timer beeps.
Why do you suppose it is that almost every religious symbol since the Egyptians screams out, “Pay attention!”? A Celtic cross is basically a set of cross-hairs. The Dharma wheel is a perfect target. And the symbol of the Jains is literally a big hand saying, “Stop! Look at this target thingy right here.”
When you are giving something your full attention, time stands still. When you are playing the guitar, making love, or getting hit in the face in a sparring match, you are essentially in touch with the eternal — from the Latin aeternus , meaning atemporal. In other words, outside the bonds of time.
Get this through your head right now.
- Paying attention is the secret sauce that makes your martial arts burger tasty and delicious.
- Paying attention is the splashy color that makes your oil painting fry people’s brains out when they look at it.
- Paying attention is the magic mojo that makes your lover want to hold your hand until the sun becomes a black hole.
- Not paying attention is what makes you step on snakes and tumble down slippery slopes and fall on punji stakes and suffer a short and miserable life.
Pay Attention: Training Involution #152
This week do whatever you want — as long as you do it with your whole heart, your whole mind, and your whole attention.
It doesn’t matter what you do as much as how you do it.
This is why we journal in Cabal Fang — to focus and refocus our attention — and this is why journaling makes you powerful. Do something with full attention and write it down.
That is all.
Last week’s T.I. was a double-down. So this week we’re going to take it down a notch — see below.
This month’s internal focus is The Book, a.k.a the Tarot. The Tarot is essentially an encyclopedia of symbolism in the form of a deck of cards, a way to train your mind to see the world in terms of story and symbol. When used as a tool for reflection and psychoanalysis, Tarot is fun and beneficial beyond measure.
Tarot cards are not dangerous and scary unless you use them to tell fortunes. I’m in seminary, and neither of my bishops see the slightest thing wrong with using Tarot cards to gain insight into oneself or as aids to meditation. The finest Tarot book ever written was penned by a devout Catholic. Divination and magic, on the other hand, will get you into hot water. I advise against it.
Here’s an example of how Tarot can work, using songs instead of Tarot cards. On the right is a copy of a CD I made for a coworker back in ’07. Chuck was leaving the company headed for greener pastures, and I said goodbye to him with a CD. I liked it so much I made a copy for myself.
Give it a listen. Pretend it’s a concept album and see if you get the story that’s being told by the various tracks. Here’s the YouTube playlist.
That’s kind of what you do with Tarot cards. You lay out a spread of cards, look at the pretty pictures and amazing symbols, and see if you can follow the story.
HiIt Parade: Cabal Fang Training Involution #151
A parade is a “succession, series, or display of items.” The origin of the word parade is the Latin paro which means to prepare, provide, or resolve.
Let’s do this.
- Warm up thoroughly — that’s 8 minutes minimum.
- Cabal Fang Grappling Conditioner #2. Set timer for 3 x 3:00/1:00. For each 3:00, Splay-n-Punch 1-2, Splay-n-Punch 1-2-3-4, Splay-n-Punch 1-2-3-4-5-6, etc. up to Splay-n-Punch 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10, then start again. If you’re not dawdling you should be able to get at least 5 climbs done during every 3:00 round — that’s 25 Sprawls and 150 punches. For the 1:00 “rests” body-lock a heavy bag and squeeze it as hard as you can. Take as many 12-count breaks as you must in order keep from upchucking. Just breathe. I promise it’ll be over in 12 minutes.
- 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, each as many as you can for 30 seconds: Smearing Push-ups, Cross-arm Clinch Lunges (maximum cutting power!), Leg Triangles and Splay-n-Punch. See video below for details. Look familiar? It should.
- Tell a story. Shuffle your Tarot cards and deal out nine cards, all face up, in a 3 x 3 square. Think of them as panels in a comic book of your life — the top row your past, the middle row your present, the bottom row your future. Come up with a plot that connects the pictures. Spend some time asking yourself questions about the little story you made up. Which episodes from your childhood are brought to mind by the first three cards? Do you know why? Does the story have a good or bad ending? What could you do to change it?
- Record everything you learned in your training journal. If it ain’t in the journal, it didn’t happen.