Tag Archives: mettle-maker

Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow: Mettle Maker #256

Inspired by recent discoveries and realizations, and catalyzed by last week’s conversation with Mark Hatmaker, the mettle maker takes a different form for the second week in a row.  Rather than a list of dos and don’ts, prescriptions, and so forth, this week I’m going to simply give you a grab bag of material that I hope you will find inspiring, enlightening, and fun — something that will get you out from behind the laptop and out into the world to breathe, train, live, and find your own innovations and realizations.

Which format do you prefer?  The experimental, or the traditional?

Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow: Mettle Maker #256

Which one of these pictures depicts the tool or behavior most likely to preserve your safety and prevent personal harm? Answer at bottom.

self defense quiz

How many birds can you identify in your neighborhood?  If you don’t know your neighbors, who do you know?

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” ~Matthew 10:29-31



wp-1618398151445.jpg

A recent observation using BirdNET — a free app that lets you record, ID, save and map observations so that you can learn birds and their songs. 

“The monthly attribute associated with the Hourglass is justice…The lower half of the Hourglass mirrors the upper.  Only if we are able to sincerely mirror the Divine Will can we have any hope of bringing justice into the world…Justice is almost always personified as a lovely woman wearing a blindfold and holding a set of scales — blind to her own passions and the winds of fashion and public sentiment, she weighs the facts with maturity and judges fairly.” [from the forthcoming Cabal Fang: Complete Martial Arts Study Course from Querent to Elder, 2nd Edition]

“Do resolutely what is just: defend the poor, the widows, the orphans and the churches.” ~Rule #47 of the Latin Rule (the code of the Knights Templar)

hourglass_tablet_frame

Answer: The oil change.  Breaking down by the side of the road is one of the most dangerous situations you can find yourself in, and it’s a hundred times more likely than being attacked.  Service your vehicle and don’t operate it with less than 1/4 tank of gas, just in case you get lost or you get stuck in your vehicle during cold weather.



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in 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). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Fulgurite: Mettle Maker #255

Inspired by recent discoveries and realizations, and catalyzed by this week’s conversation with Mark Hatmaker, this week’s mettle maker is taking an entirely different form.  Rather than a list of dos and don’ts, prescriptions, and so forth, this week I’m going to simply give you a grab bag of material that I hope you will find inspiring, enlightening, and fun — something that will get you out from behind the laptop and out into the world to breathe, train, live, and find your own innovations and realizations.

Regular followers of the mettle maker chime in.  Perhaps you’ll actually prefer this format over the traditional.

Fulgurite: Mettle Maker #255

124711 sets repsful·gur·ite \’ful-g(y)ə-,rit\ n [Latin fulgur] : 1. glass formed by a lightning strike melting sand or other material. 2. a physical representation of a transitory event or experience.

“Art is actually a process rather than an end product…with any luck the process is embedded in the byproduct…it’s a crystallized act of exploration.”  ~Jordan B. Peterson

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in 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). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

A Day in the Life: Mettle Maker #254

Listen to modern culture and the message you get is that we are free to do, wear, say, choose and pursue whatever we want virtually without consequence, that there are infinite viable paths to a life of fulfillment, that all perspectives, philosophies and approaches are equal, and that being care-free is the way to happiness.

But that’s a lie.

Some things work and others don’t.  It turns out that…

and so on. Toward that end, what sort of choices are you making?

What does your typical day look like?

A Day in the Life: Mettle Maker #254

    • Rise and shine. Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes.  Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope or footwork (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
    • wp-1617379958337.jpgDo your Chores.  Get out your sledge, a sandbag (I used #55), a sturdy stand at least waist high (I used on inverted heavy duty trash can), and your dull training weapons.  Set timer for 5 mins.  Do 1 Shovel vs. the sandbag. Put down the sledge, load and unload the sandbag onto the stand, then shoulder it and walk 25 yards.  Put the sand bag down and strike your heavy bag 5 times using fists, feet, or training weapon of choice.  Then do 2 Shovels, 2 Loads, a 25-yard Shoulder Carry, and 10 strikes.  Next round, 3 Shovels, 3 Loads, a 25-yard Shoulder Carry, and 15 strikes.  Switch striking tool as often as you like.  Keep climbing as fast as you can until the timer beeps.  When it does, finish the set you’re on then descend the pyramid back to beginning.  Created using Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble Fitness Dice ©.  Get some.
    • Take your constitutional.  What’s a constitutional? constitutional \’kän(t)-stə-‘t(y)ü-shən-ªl\ n 1. Belonging to, or inherent in, the constitution or structure of one’s body or mind.  a constitutional infirmity, constitutional ardour or dullness 2. For the benefit of one’s constitution or health. a constitutional walk.  Complete this month’s constitutional as follows: Sprints (25), Mtn. Climbers (25 full), Shrimps (25), Back Bridges (50), Ploughs (25), Sit-out Push-ups (25), Squats (100).  If desired, add a heavy bag or other weight to the Back Bridges and cut the reps.  Advanced players sub neck bridges.
    • Cook your supper.  This right here is Curly Dock, a.k.a., Rumex Crispus, which I came across on my property the other day.  In a survival situation, cook young leaves in several changes of water.  In summer the plant dries to a dark brown color and looks scorched, at which time the seed pods can be harvested and ground into a buckwheat-like meal and fried into cakes or boiled into gruel. Note: Curly Dock leaves contain oxalic acid which isn’t good for people who suffer from kidney stones, gout, or related illnesses.
    • emerald tab steele singerSit down with a book. “Read with diligence, and do not rest satisfied with light and superficial common knowledge.”  ~Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.  Since our spiritual symbol of the month is the Hourglass, let’s turn to the Emerald Tablet, an obscure but profound ancient writing which speaks to the concepts inherent in the hourglass symbol. Below is an excerpt from The Emerald Table, an article by Robert Steele and Dorothea Waley Singer that appeared in The Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, Vol. 21, Issue 3, 1928.

“The Emerald Table itself is a brief summary of the principles of change in Nature, the foundation of alchemical doctrine, which purports to have been found on a plaque of emerald in the hands of the corpse of Hermes Trismegistus. There are several forms of it in Arabic, and their divergence is wide enough to make it probable that its ultimate origin must be sought, before the Islamic invasion, in Alexandrian philosophy, when Egypt was still Christian, though with a Pagan element. Kircher, a learned Jesuit of the seventeenth century, suggested that it was compounded of extracts from the Poimander and AEsculapius, Jamblichus and Proclus. But the oldest forms of the text we possess are all in Arabic, and Latin versions come early in the history of the transmission of science, one in the tract of Apollonius de principalibus rerum causis, another the central portion of the text here published, still another embedded in the Secretum Secretorum, while other forms are found in various later works. We give an English version, somewhat expanded:

THE EMERALD TABLET

True it is, without falsehood, certain and most true. That which is above is like to that
which is below, and that which is below is like to that which is above, to accomplish the
miracles of one thing.
And as all things were by contemplation of one, so all things arose from this one thing by
a single act of adaptation.
The father thereof is the Sun, the mother the Moon.
The wind carried it in its womb, the earth is the nurse thereof.
It is the father of all works of wonder throughout the whole world.
The power thereof is perfect.
If it be cast on to earth, it will separate the element of earth from that of fire, the subtle
from the gross.
With great sagacity it doth ascend gently from earth to heaven.
Again it doth descend to earth, and uniteth in itself the force from things superior and
things inferior.
Thus thou wilt possess the glory of the brightness of the whole world, and all obscurity
will fly far from thee.
This thing is the strong fortitude of all strength, for it overcometh every subtle thing and
doth penetrate every solid substance.
Thus was this world created.
Hence will there be marvellous adaptations achieved, of which the manner is this.
For this reason I am called Hermes Trismegistus, because I hold three parts of the
wisdom of the whole world.
That which I had to say about the operation of Sol is completed.



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in 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). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Threshold, Door and Gate: Mettle Maker #253

Threshold, Door and Gate: Mettle Maker #253

    • Stand at the threshold.  Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes.  Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope or footwork (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
    • Open the door.  If you haven’t done this month’s constitutional, get there (see video below).  If  you have, then do this little wrestling conditioner pyramid for variety.  Get out your floor bag and set a timer for 6:00.  Start off with the bag on top of you.  Do 1 Reverse to Top Saddle, 1 Pass to Cross Body (with good form),  and 1 Clock (mat is lava!).  Step over bag and fall back into a Short Arm Bar.  Then to 2 of each and 1 Short Arm Bar, 3 of each and 1 Short Arm Bar, etc.  When the timer beeps, finish the set you’re on and then descend in reps back down to 1 of each.
    • Make your passage. Half mile Balboa run.  Throw a variety of punches non-stop as you run.   Finish faster than 6:29 and you’ve got me beat.
    • scoutingClear the bar.  Can you pass the original 1908 Scout’s Test?  Do you know the composition of the flag and how to fly it? Can you tie the following knots: reef, sheet bend, clove hitch, bowline, fisherman’s,  and sheepshank?  Do you know elementary first aid?  Do you know semaphore or Morse code for every letter of the alphabet?  Can you follow a track half a mile in 25 minutes?  Cover a mile in 12 minutes?   Lay and light a wood fire in the open using no more than 2 matches, and then cook a quarter pound of meat and 2 potatoes with no utensils?  Have at least sixpence in a savings bank (that’s about $10 in today’s money)?  Do you know the sixteen points of the compass?  If not, in a survival situation you’re less capable than an 11-year-old from 1908.
    • Become the gate.  The word “contemplation” has “temple” as it’s root word.  A temple is a space set aside for divinity to enter.  Practice your contemplation so that you can be the gate through which the divine enters the world.   Assume posture of choice and regulate breathing to a slow and steady rhythm.  Keep your eyes open and fixed.  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.  Do not think at all, but especially not in words — do not evaluate, judge, make lists, fixate on emotions, let your mind wander, or any of that.  Just breathe and be.”Lift up your heads, O ye gates,
      Yea, lift them up, ye everlasting doors,
      That the King of Glory may come in.
      Who then is the King of Glory?
      The Lord of Hosts; He is the King of Glory.”
      ~Psalm 24



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in 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). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Recant: Mettle Maker #252

RECANT: from Latin recantare, present active infinitive of recanto (“to sing back, reecho, sing again, repeat in singing, recant, recall, revoke, charm back or away”), from re- (“back”) + canto (“to chant, to sing”)

The first fitness post I made on this blog, the pre-cursor of the current “mettle maker” format, went as follows:

Solo Martial Arts Workout 11/13/12:

1/2 pyramid up to 10 reps: Lunge, Jackknife, Jump Squat, Pike (Total of 55 each, 20 minutes).  500 kicks in combos of 2, 3, or 4 (20 minutes).  Stretching (10 minutes).  Contemplation/Meditation (10 minutes).  Total time 1 hour

I often cringe when I re-read old posts.  I look at this one and I think (a) How does it take more than 10 mins to do those calisthenics? (b) Why would anybody want to do 500 kicks in one go? (c) There’s no definitive evidence that stretching is beneficial to a healthy, uninjured person. (d) What was I thinking?

I feel the same way when I read many of my other old posts about politics, corporate America, religion, and so on.  But I refuse to take them down because they’re real.  I said those things.  I will not to try to sanitize my past.  No backsies around here, only keepsies.

Because, despite all my errors, misconceptions, and embarrassing moments, there is a unified refrain: the pursuit of excellence, sense-making, goodness and indomitable spirit.  If I hide my errors I also hide my improvements.  And thus I fail to let the power of the Divine Logos, to which I owe all that I am such as I am, to shine forth from my face.

So I recant in the literal sense of the word.  I sing back, I sing again, I sing forever.  I confess and reveal my sins and thus proclaim the Eternal Truth that reveals itself whenever and wherever its pursuit is dauntless.

recant: Mettle Maker #252

This week we recant and rehab the first training session on this blog.

  • Reheat. Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes.  Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope or footwork (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • Repeat.  1/2 pyramid up to 10 reps (55 total) as fast as you can: Lunges, Jackknifes, Jump Squat, Pikes.  This should take about 10 minutes, not 20.
  • Recycle.  Instead of 500 kicks in combos of 2, 3 or 4 in 20 minutes, do 25o vs. air or 150 vs. the heavy bag in combos of 2, 3 or 4.
  • Rerun.  Are you prepared to run to escape or get help in the event of an emergency?  Cover 2 miles as fast as you can.
  • Reflect.   Assume your meditative posture of choice and regulate your breathing to a slow and steady rhythm. Keep your eyes open and fixed.  Do not fidget, wiggle or scratch. Allow your thoughts to calm and your body to relax.  Now review the biggest mistakes and sins of your life — the things that most fill you with the most shame and horror.  Now think about all of the beloved people you have known who were taken from this world before their time.  Ask yourself, “Why is it that God has permitted me to live?  What is my purpose?  How am I going to make amends for my mistakes and denounce my sins — not in my words but in my actions?” There is a word for this: repentance.  Dedicate yourself to this and it will change your life.  By the way, this is a condensed version of the second exercise in the first week of The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.


TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in 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). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Bone Shaker: Mettle Maker #251

One of Noah Scalin’s amazing skulls…www.noahscalin.com

The essence, the meaning, the central issue, the tastiest bit — this is the marrow.  To get to the marrow, dive deep.  Get down to the core.

Get dirty.

When you skim the surface of an endeavor, not only do you fail to arrive at its kernel, you reduce the total time and energy available for mining once you decide to dig.  Read that again and let it sink in.

Life is short.  Death is forever.  Don’t waste time getting your head right — right with truth and reality, right with your calling, right with God.

Bone Shaker: Mettle Maker #251

  • “Bones” is another word for dice.  These are Martial Base Fitness Dice (c) and they’re available from Mitch’s General store.

    Roll the bones. Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes.  Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope or footwork (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.

  • Break some bones.  Have you completed this month’s constitutional yet?  If not, get there.  If so, do it again but substitute  O Goshi (or similar hip throw such as Cross-Buttocks Throw) for Seoi Nage.  Use the heaviest bag you can manage (60 – 75 lbs. works for most folks).  If you’re stuck, see video below.
  • Rattle your bones.  Are you prepared to go for a strenuous hike — either for fun or in the case of an emergency?  Shoulder a pack of about 2/3 your comfortable max (I used #25 because I rarely hike with a pack >#35) and cover at least 2 miles.  Do this regularly so that you can manage when the chips are down.  Those who never hike and don’t own packs, start with a #10 bookbag and work your way up.  Advanced folks, extra credit if you fashion your own pack from tarp and cordage.
  • Pick them bones clean — apply survival strategy to everyday life.  Wander for hours after realizing you are lost and you’ll waste precious energy and daylight.  Stay put instead.  Make shelter before darkness falls and rest warm.  Assess resources, abilities, likelihood of rescue, etc. Get your bearings by watching the sunrise.  Then, based on facts, decide on sitting tight and signaling for help or hiking out.  Here’s the thing: this is true about other areas of life.  Every penny spent on toys isn’t saved for retirement, every minute spent training low-percentage techniques takes time away from critical skills, every bit of attention paid to the frivolous steals time from the essential.  Where can you scavenge a little more money, a little more time, and a little more attention for the things you really care about?  Chew on this and take corrective action.
  • Feel it in your bones.   Set timer for 10 minutes and practice your contemplation.   Assume posture of choice and regulate breathing to a slow and steady rhythm. Keep your eyes open and fixed.  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.  Do not think at all, but especially not in words — do not evaluate, judge, make lists, fixate on emotions, let your mind wander, or any of that.  Just breathe and be.



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in 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). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Keepsies: Mettle Maker #250

Robert Mitchell (my pop) — November 21, 1934 ~ July 8, 2008

When I was a kid we played marbles.  My pop showed me.  Playing marbles was on the long list of games he had mastered, right along with croquet, dominoes, and checkers.  I never saw him lose at any of those.

When you play marbles you must decide if you are playing for fun or if you are playing for “keepsies.”  When you play for keepsies, you get to keep the other guy’s marbles.  This is the origin of the expressions “playing for keeps” and “for all the marbles.”

Real life is always keepsies.  Get this through your head and say it with me.

Real life is always keepsies.

This is true with regard to your philosophical life, your emotional life, your physical life and your spiritual life.  Thoughts, desires, actions and beliefs have extremely important consequences.

Face reality because life is for keepsies.

This month’s martial focus is Grappling (stand-up wrestling or “clinch work” in the common parlance) and our spiritual symbol is The Bell (contemplation).  All of this month’s mettle makers will revolve around these two themes.

Keepsies: Mettle Maker #250

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes.  Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope or footwork (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • Train for keeps.  Complete this month’s constitutional which is all about directly relevant martial fitness.  Get out a heavy bag, grappling dummy, or just a big gym bag full of towels, mitts and gloves and get through this: 25 Seio Nage (put a shirt or sash on your bag or dummy as needed), 100 yards of Bear Walks, 25 Scarf Hold Switches, 25 Bag Lifts (regular or Kansas-style, your choice), 25 Shots, 25 Sprawl ‘n’ Punch, and 1 HB Squeeze to failure.  If you finish in under 15 minutes, go back and do 20% more of each exercises 1 – 6.  If any of these exercises are unclear, sounds like you need to take one of my classes or buy my Scufflin’ Dice program.
  • Move for keeps.  Run 1 mile like somebody’s chasing you.
  • Forage for keeps.  If you want to forge your mettle, don’t shy away from reality — confront it head on.  Get up tomorrow morning, walk out your front door, and give yourself 20 minutes to find breakfast.  You don’t have to actually eat it if you don’t want to, but say to yourself, “If I don’t find something to eat this morning I’m going to skip breakfast.”  I did this on Monday and the best I could do in 20 minutes was some wild onions, some inner pine bark and some pine needles for tea.  Slim pickings in my suburban neighborhood because many of the spring plants haven’t shot up yet — see the video below that I made last March.  A few calories and some electrolytes could make the difference between life and death in a survival situation.  Get dirty!
  • Contemplate for keeps.  There is a common misconception that contemplation is about shutting out the world or “navel gazing.” What we call contemplation is very similar to zazen, the meditation method taught in Zen Buddhism and is closely related to the Christian “prayer of quiet.”   Call it whatever you want as long as you do it.  Set timer for 10 minutes (beginners 5 minutes, advanced folks up to an hour).   Assume posture of choice and regulate breathing to a slow and steady rhythm. Keep your eyes open and fixed.  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.  Do not think at all, but especially not in words — do not evaluate, judge, make lists, fixate on emotions, let your mind wander, or any of that.  Just perceive reality.  Click the picture above for more pointers.  Stay with regular contemplation practice and you will begin to “break through” and experience true, inner quiet (the presence of God, theoria, satori, “silent illumination,” etc.).



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in 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). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Life Line: Mettle Maker #249

No preamble this week — straight to the work.

Life Line: Mettle Maker #249

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes.  Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope or footwork (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • lightning bolt movementCome in under the line. Set timer for 10 minutes and string up a line about jaw height –– hand wraps, jump ropes or Karate belts will do.  Visualize opponent’s head sitting on the line as you move forward and backward up the line, practicing lightning bolt movement and throwing combos from alternating sides of the line.  Start with a jab-cross combo, then move to jab-cross-uppercut, jab-cross-hook, etc.  No idea what any of this means?  Links to home training options below.
  • Go for red line.  As a training session finisher, complete one 50 yard heavy carry (BHC, FC, SC, etc.) at 2/3 of your PR.  Walk it off for 2 mins.  Then push up the weight to PR and walk to failure.  If 2 sets aren’t enough, you aren’t doing it right (I picked BHC and did a #105 and then finished with #140 for 50 yards).
  • master mindGo offline.  When was the last time you put your phone on do not disturb, closed your laptop, shut off your tablet, and spent some time completely disconnected from glowing screens?  Do it.  A whole weekend would be great, but do the best you can.  What do you do with the time?  Cook a new recipe, read a book, play Master Mind (my favorite game) with your partner, or go outside and get dirty.
  • Fall in line.  Last week we kept a notepad handy and gave ourselves demerits for behaving in a manner inconsistent with our precepts (the Five Vital Graces).  That’s top-down pressure, and it works.  But this week, try using bottom-up pressure instead (see video below).  Align yourself with goodness, truth and light like a string on a violin vibrating in accord with the others, or a compass needle lining up with the earth’s magnetic field.  Try to sense when you are “out of line.”  Common symptoms of imbalance are tension, worry, nail-biting, talking to yourself, cursing, impatience, anger, loss of focus, forgetfulness, drumming, and tapping your feet.  When you manifest a symptom, slow down and search yourself for the underlying cause.  Heed the answer, address it sensibly, relax, and move forward.



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in 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). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Fight Dirty: Mettle Maker #248

Fight Dirty: Mettle Maker #248

  • 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, light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • Face some foul weather dirty work.  I’m pretty accustomed to training outdoors.  But this week the weather has been so completely icy, frozen and inhospitable that a couple of mornings I just couldn’t train out there.  So every half our or so throughout the day I did 10 each of PUP and SQT.  Be extra scrupulous about form and pace — 2-count descent, 1 count hesitate at the bottom, 2-count press, 1-count hesitate at the top.
  • command master dice20 min. command and mastery knife pyramid drill.  Get a dull training knife and a floor bag or grappling dummy.  Set timer for 1o mins.  Complete 1 of each of the following four exercises (a) 5 attacks to bag from Top Saddle, roll to bottom, 5 attacks from Bottom Scissors, Reverse back to Top Saddle.  Do a Smearing Get-up (don’t forget the push-cut).  (b) Sprawl.  (c) Sit-ups with a double “X” air slash (step over bag, hook rear toes, and fall back into over/under Short Arm Bar position and work from there).  Then do 2 of each, 3, 4, etc. until timer beeps.  Finish that set, then descend.   50 Push-up penalty if the business end of the training weapon touches your body at any point during the drill.  If any of this doesn’t make sense, sounds like you should enroll in one of my distance learning programs — either Cabal Fang or Bobcat Martial Arts.
  • Have you done this month’s constitutional twice this week?  If not, get it done.  If so, reward yourself with something nice, like a long walk, a new book, or a fun fitness tool, etc.
  • Do you know the prevailing wind direction for your home territory?  In my area, the wind most often blows from the south in summer and the north in winter (see wind rose on the right).  Find the regional climate center for your state, do a search, and generate the wind roses for you stomping grounds.  If you know the ICAO code for the airport climate center nearest you, plug it into the URL from at the WRCC and you can get what you need, or if you’re in the SE, just go the the NCCOYou can’t rely on wind direction if you get lost, but you can use it as a backup, for support of a supposition, to determine if there’s a new weather pattern blowing in, etc.
  • Giant hand sculpture outside Squash-a-Penny Junction. It’s not a Hand of Mysteries or even a hamsa, but wouldn’t it be cool if it was?

    Fight as dirty with yourself as you would in self-defense.  Last week your assignment was to put one of the Five Vital Graces (Wonder, Sagacity, Frugality, Indomitability and Fraternity) into action.  This week be extra self-critical.  Keep a notepad or a scrap of paper and a pen in your pocket.  Write down the Five Vital Graces on the paper.  If you catch yourself behaving in a manner inconsistent with one of the five precepts, put an “x” next to it for that day.  Max score for a given day is 5 — one point for each precept you kept.  See if you get better over the course of the week.  “That which is measured improves.”

 



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in 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). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Slip and Fall: Mettle Maker #247

Heads up!  This week’s mettle maker contains a coupon code for a flash sale at Mitch’s General Store so read on.

Slip and Fall: Mettle Maker #247

  • 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, light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • slip ball shopEight minutes on your slip ball.  Set a timer for four minutes and get in front of your slip ball.  Put in 4 minutes in your preferred stance and another 4 in reverse stance.  Don’t have a slip ball?  Get a free one, handmade by yours truly, with any purchase of $20 or more at Mitch’s General Store.  Add a slip ball to your cart and use coupon code “21SLIP” at checkout.
  • Hit the dirt and scramble for a loose weapon.  If you are under attack and there’s a scramble over a loose weapon, be prepared to come out on top — without falling on a blade and injuring yourself in the process!  Put on safety goggles and toss a rubber or wood training weapon up in the air about 6′ away.  As soon as it hits the ground, dive forward and gain control of it with your right hand.  Your enemy just missed — attack the imaginary killer two or three times.   Stand up and repeat until timer beeps.  Put in four more rounds, one right and one left with baseball slide and shoulder roll.  That’s 6 minutes of practical self-defense action that’ll force you to practice all weapon grips with both hands while training practical movement.  If you need training on the specifics on grips, pickup and/or movement techniques you’ll have to show up at Cabal Fang or enroll in the Bobcat Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble program.
  • Learn to tie a trucker’s hitch with a slip knot and two half hitches.  One of the most useful knots of all time, and my personal favorite.  In the pics below I’m using the knot to lash a t-shirt to a backpack.  But you could use this to hold a box onto a flatbed truck or to cinch down a tarp.
  • The Hand of Mysteries. Like the Hamsa, except there’s a fish in the palm instead of an eye. But the fish is the ichthys, which is the vesica piscis, so a fish is an eye. Sort of.

    Don’t fall from grace — fall into one of the Five Vital Graces.  This month’s spiritual symbol is the Hand of Mysteries, and each one of its fingers equates to one of the Five Vital Graces: Wonder, Sagacity, Frugality, Indomitability and Fraternity.  This week, put one or more Vital Graces into action in the real world.  Need examples?  You could travel to a new place and experience its majesty (Wonder), install a security or smoke alarm (Sagacity), sock away some money in savings (Frugality), do something that you’ve been putting off due to fear or dread (Indomitability), or help out a friend in need (Fraternity/Sorority).

 



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in 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). What are you waiting for — enroll today!