Tag Archives: martial arts

Martial Arts Checklist and Workout Log

This is what my t-shirt looked like after martial arts practice on Tuesday.

What a t-shirt sometimes looks like after a workout at my martial arts club.

Is your martial arts club covering all of the bases?  I put together a little checklist for my club, and I thought I’d share.

Each month we choose a monthly concentration and stick with it for the entire month.  Sometimes we wake up and realize it has been too long since we really got deeply into a given area, and that’s bad.  To prevent that, we’re going check things off as we work them.  This month we’re going to do a grappling review and do some sparring (by grappling I mean stand-up wrestling, a.k.a. ‘the clinch’).  We’re not going to focus on take-downs, so I’m only checking off all two of the three grappling boxes.  When all the boxes are checked off we’ll start a new sheet.

I’ve shared it with you.  You can pull up the Google Sheet here, or you can just copy/paste from the table below.  And of course, feel free to modify and adapt as needed.

And if you want to check out our workout log, which goes back to 2009, you can see it here.

Martial Arts Concentration Checklist
Start Date:                                                    End Date:
Description Month/Year
1 All-in Fighting
2 Fundamentals/Basics
3 Grappling Review
4 Grappling Sparring
5 Grappling Take-downs
6 Weapon Command & Mastery
7 Weapon Live Cut/Strike/Shoot
8 Weapon Review
9 Fitness General
10 Fitness Specific
11 Fitness Spirit/Mindset
12 Self-Defense Situations
13 Self-Defense vs. Armed
14 Self-Defense vs. Unarmed
15 Striking Boxing Def./Counters
16 Striking Boxing Sparring
17 Striking Kicking
18 Striking Kicking Boxing Combos
19 Wrestling
20 Wrestling Holds
21 Wrestling Sparring

Cabal Fang, Rising

Third_WaveThe Order of the Third Wave, an order of Cabal Fang, has just formed in New Zealand.  If you are in the Palmerston North area,  and you’re interested in practicing Cabal Fang martial arts, get more info here.

This is a big day for Cabal Fang and for me.  I get several inquiries a year from people thinking about starting clubs, but few actually make a go of it.  Fewer still stick with it for more than a few weeks or even go to the trouble of creating a presence online.  The Order of the Third Wave has already proved itself to be made of stiffer stuff.

cf_PIC_pngFor my readers who aren’t familiar with Cabal Fang, she’s the martial art I officially gave birth to in 2009.  I’ve written two books about her, and there’s nothing else like her.  It takes a special kind of person to practice Cabal Fang, and an especially strong and brave person to start on order.  Why?  Because in Cabal Fang there are no gurus or instructors, only elders and friends.  Each student of Cabal Fang is in charge of his or her own education.  There is no one to tell you what to do, nobody to write a curriculum for you, no belt system to rank you, no uniform to set you apart.  You have to bite your mouthpiece and wade in with courage.

Cabal Fang is my baby.  The formation of the Order of the Third Wave is a big step for her.  It’s like putting your child on airplane to New Zealand.  You want her to go and have fun, but you’re a tad nervous about her flying alone for the first time.

But you know what?  I think she’s going to be fine.  She’s a powerful young woman, and she’s in good hands.


To learn more about Cabal Fang:

Book Sales up 600%

CF_avatarI don’t know what happened.  Was it something I did, or something I stopped doing?  Whatever it is/was, but my book sales are up 600% in the last 30 days.

Now, when sales are as low as mine the figures are easily skewed by just a few sales.  That’s a fact.  But the trend has been up for several weeks in a row.  The increase — all of it — came from a spike in my martial arts books sales.  What is it about those that’s suddenly getting traction?  Search me.  All I know is, I’m thrilled.

If you’re a fan of my non-fiction martial arts books, let me first say thank you, thank you, thank you!  Which book was your favorite? Please comment below.

And, by the way, I have two fitness books in the pipeline — one on calisthenics and one on weight loss and getting cut.  Is either of those of interest to you?


You Might be a Martial Artist if…


My truck console contains mouthpiece, tactical folder, wooden training knife, medical tape, and hand sanitizer. This can only mean one thing…

I looked down at my truck console and realized that, if Nick Stokes and Sara Sidle found my truck abandoned in the desert, they would have no trouble figuring out what my “hobby” is.

Then again (it’s been there so long that it has faded into the background and I don’t even notice it) there’s a giant decal on the back window that would make the contents of the console insignificant.

Friends and family are painfully aware of my love/obsession with martial arts and self defense.  For example, during movies and TV shows, my wife tells me to stop critiquing the fight sequences and poor decisions of the main characters.  She and my daughter are sick and tired of me pointing to the screen and saying things like, “If that ever happens to you, what you should do is…”  It’s important for martial artists to remember that not everything is a teachable moment, and that sometimes less is more.

The truck decal in my rear window.

The truck decal in my rear window.

Anyway, all this got me into a Foxworthy-esque frame of mind…

  • If you joke about the fact that you should be wearing an ADVIL t-shirt — you might be a martial artist.
  • If your wash your hand wraps in the sink and leave them hanging the bathroom to dry like your grandma does her bras and underwear — you might be a martial artist.
  • If you feel the same way about Fight Club that Tom Hank’s character in You’ve Got Mail feels about The Godfather — you might be a martial artist.
  • If you’re at the grocery store and you run into one of the guys from the Physical Therapy Center and they know you by name — you might be a martial artist.

Got any of your own?  Post in the comments.


Flying Your Flag in the Dark

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.


Original post:


The flag of the Order of Seven Hills martial arts club — flying in the darkness

My martial arts club meets outdoors Tuesday nights and Saturday afternoons, rain or shine, twelve months a year.  We’ve had as many as eight people coming out regularly.  One afternoon I remember counting eleven.  Lately it has been more like four.

But there are some nights, like this past Tuesday, when nobody comes out besides me.  Totally alone in the cold darkness with paper cups blowing like tumbleweeds, I don’t turn around and go home.  I put up the club flag.  I work out and, when I’m done, I recite our closing pledge.

I do the same thing with my writing.  Do I have any books on the NYT Bestseller List?  Do I have thousands of fans clamoring for my next book?  Nope — but I strive to make every book I write the best damn book I ever wrote.  Even when nobody is reading but me.

Fly your flag.  Even if its dark, even if nobody is watching, even if nobody knows it’s flying but you.  It just may be that those lonely nights are the most important times of all to let it fly.

Cabal Fang, State of the Art

IMG_20121109_132322In 2008 I had an idea.  I could, based on my training in martial arts, hermeticism, mysticism and initiatory practice, found a new Western martial art unlike anything the world had ever known.  I thought it over long and hard.  Ask my friends, my wife, and my son.  I knew it would be difficult, that I’d face seemingly insurmountable barriers, that it might never take off.  Failure was definitely possible.

And that wasn’t all.  Even worse than some kind of failure there was the knowledge that when you create a martial art, you create a weapon.  How will it be used?  Who will it help or even harm?  Funakoshi basically created Karate — how did he deal with the possibility that his students could kill with the techniques he promulgated?

In the end I decided that I had to move forward.  Two things have happened in the last couple of weeks that make me feel that I made the right decision, that Cabal Fang is succeeding, that it’s on the right track.

A total stranger posted this in the Cabal Fang group on Facebook:


The Dr. Stetson he’s referring to is Dr. Stetson Kennedy, the writer and activist who broke the back of the Ku Klux Klan.  The library he’s referring to is the Civic Media Center of Gainesville, FL.  Words can’t express how happy I am to have Cabal Fang mentioned in the same breath with with Dr. Kennedy and the CMC.

Cabal Fang, the child I gave birth to in 2008, is growing up.  She’s affecting people’s lives for the better.  And this proud papa just loves the way she’s turning out.

Grip Strength (again) — i.e. “The Man Who Couldn’t Quit”


The Ironmind package arrives…

The package arrived and I opened it with equal parts excitement and fear.  As I tore open the packaging and touched the aluminum handles, out wafted the smell of light machine oil and the distant aroma of burning tendons…

I can’t stop.  I’ve tried again and again and again.  And now I’m going to try one more time to shut that godforsaken #2 Ironmind Gripper (that’s 195 lbs of pull).

Last time I failed, not because I didn’t work hard enough, but because I trained so hard that I gave myself tendonitis.  Lesson learned.  This time I will go slower, train smarter, and be more patient.