Tag Archives: mettlecraft

Two More Beat the Bodybuilder Challenge!

This past Saturday two more stalwart members of Cabal Fang headquarters completed the 100 Bodybuilder challenge!

Morgan (my daughter – proud papa here) got it done in an impressive 15:59!  Just to put her time in perspective: my initial benchmark about ten years ago was 18:35.  15:59 is no joke!

Jack (Morgan’s fiance by the way) set the new club record at 12:14.  Way to go Jack!

2019 Bodybuilder Challenge Times

Morgan Mitchell 15:59
Mitch Mitchell 13:15
Robert Mitchell 12:47
Jack Bloor 12:14
Mark Hatmaker 10:45 (not a member of the club but he took the challenge anyway).

Feel free to take a whack at it and post your time in the comments!

This is my Top 10 calisthenics ebook — click here to download!

Does this look fun?  Why not read my bestselling calisthenics book, face one of the challenges in it, and get your name in the Calisthenics Codex Hall of Fame?

Mettlecraft Month is Here!

Well, it’s that time of year again — Mettlecraft Month at Cabal Fang.  Remote students of Cabal Fang past and present — please play along and share your progress in the comments and/or share videos of yourself facing the challenge!  

What’s the challenge?  In addition to constitutionals twice per week our goal this month is to complete…

100 Bodybuilders in under 20 minutes ( or as fast as you can).

The plan at the club in Richmond is to work our way up to 50 or 60 Bodybuilders and then rip off the band-aid at the final meeting of the month on Tuesday, 11/26.  And it should go without saying that anyone — remote or local — who wants to make multiple runs at the challenge over the course of the month is welcome to go for it anywhere or anytime!

For this month’s constitutional, click here.  My Wednesday martial arts video is below.

Now get moving!


New Cabal Fang Cord and Rule Program is Live

After some preliminary teasing and a lot of work, the new Cabal Fang Martial Arts Cord and Rule program is official.  In a nutshell, every month we’ll be stamping each member’s rule with certain marks to indicate achievements in terms of attendance, fitness and rank.  Rulers will be handed out at Thursday night’s session.

Here is a link to the full program handout that explains the symbolism and outlines the process, and below are the pictures of the first set of rulers sitting on the temple’s anvil.  The holes in the end are so that we can attach the cord — we also tie knots in a personal cord in order to keep track of certain other milestones.

This process fits in nicely with something that in Cabal Fang we call “mettlecraft.”

\Met”tle*craft\, n.  mettle [E. metal, used in a tropical sense in allusion to the temper of the metal of a sword blade; substance or quality of temperament; spirit, esp. as regards honor, courage, fortitude, ardor, etc.; See {Metal}.] + -craft [AS. cr[ae]ft strength, skill, art, cunning; akin to OS., G., Sw., & Dan. kraft strength, D. kracht, Icel. kraptr; perh. originally, a drawing together, stretching, from the root of E. cramp.] 1. The art, skill and cultivation of physical endurance, unflagging determination and resolute strength of mind, body and spirit.

This is the next step in the evolution of Cabal Fang.  Onward and upward!

501(c)3 Update (and WOOTW #82 of course)

Here’s our 947 letter (with my thumb over my home address). It takes a few months to start showing up in the IRS Exempt Organizations Select Check online tool.

It’s officially official — Cabal Fang Temple, Inc. is now a 501(c)3 tax exempt public charity!  I say “officially official” because we were official when we formed our corporation back in February.  Now we’re an officially official, IRS-recognized non-profit.

What does that mean?  Well it means that you can make donations the Cabal Fang Temple and they’re tax deductible for you and we don’t have pay taxes.  It means that we can apply for grants (if we can figure out how!).  It means that doors are opened to us that remain closed to for-profit operations.

This is a great day!  And now for the workout of the week.

Workout of the Week #82

It’s still Mettlecraft Month in these here parts, so get ready for another workout that sure to stretch your limits inside and out.

  • Heavy bag carry.  Select the bag that’s right for you based on your size and fitness level.  Note: I used a full-sized #75 for this entire workout and by the end I prayed for a plane engine to fall out of the sky and end my misery.   Set a round timer for 3 x 3:00/1:00.  Put the bag on your shoulder and walk around for the 3:00, put it down and rest for the 1:00.  Then go straight into…
  • Grappling Conditioner #3.  Set a countdown timer for 10:00 mins and complete as many sets as you can before the timer beeps of 5 Bag Lifts, 10 mounted strikes, and 5 Splay ‘n’ Punch.  Here’s a video.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you need in order to finish.
  • Active Thanksgiving meditation.  Set a timer for 8 minutes, assume your meditative posture of choice, close your eyes and regulate your breathing.  Starting with right now, visualize your actions like a silent movie playing in reverse.  What have you done lately to show your thanks?  Not speak your thanks or think your thanks but to actually demonstrate your thanks by doing something?  When I did this exercise I made it back two weeks and I only came up with three tangible demonstrations of thanks.  Embarrassing!  When you’re done, do what I did — put a thing or two on your to-do list.  Give somebody a hand who helped you out, take somebody to lunch, make a charitable donation, or at least send somebody a card or a nice note.  Actions speak louder than words!



Quiet Badasses

Every morning on my drive to work I see dozens of bumper stickers proclaiming success, declaring pride, claiming this or that moral high ground, and generally announcing some kind of superiority.  A good person is a good person I guess and, with or without the sticker, I reckon a badass is still a badass.  Hell, I can’t run a damned marathon. 

But there’s something special about the quiet ones. 

Last night my truck broke down. I was stuck by the side of the road for an hour and a half and I couldn’t make it to my martial arts club’s 6 PM workout.  I felt awful about it because we meet outdoors at a local park and I had all of the equipment and the lights.  Last night it was 40° F and pitch black.  One of the guys tried to call me, but I was busy pushing the truck and dealing with the problem, so I missed his call.

You know that they did?  They worked out anyway.

No equipment?  Work around it.  No lights?  Workout in the dark.  No fanfare, no announcements, no excuses, no bullshit.  Did they get on Facebook and tout their determination?  Hell no.  In Cabal Fang martial arts, we call that mettle.

I am more proud of them for quietly doing what they did than I’d be if they climbed Everest and put stickers on their bumpers.

That’s what I call badass.




\Met”tle*craft\, n.  mettle [E. metal, used in a tropical sense in allusion to the temper of the metal of a sword blade; substance or quality of temperament; spirit, esp. as regards honor, courage, fortitude, ardor, etc.; See {Metal}.] + -craft [AS. cr[ae]ft strength, skill, art, cunning; akin to OS., G., Sw., & Dan. kraft strength, D. kracht, Icel. kraptr; perh. originally, a drawing together, stretching, from the root of E. cramp.] 1. The art, skill and cultivation of physical endurance, unflagging determination and resolute strength of mind, body and spirit.

I made up this word to describe one of the primary goals of the martial art of Cabal Fang.  And, as my son recently pointed out to me, Cabal Fang isn’t as much as martial art as it is a way of being in the world, a way of making order out of chaos in tune with the logos.

Because, when it comes down to it, there’s really only one question with which everyone must grapple.  And that question is,

“How am I supposed to live in the world?”

And given that the world is always throwing things at you — trials, tribulations and tragedies of all descriptions — you had damn well better be unified in your mind, body and spirit or it’s going to be rough going.

There’s a lot of talk these days about being awakened, plenty of talk about “consciousness-raising,” and every time you turn around there’s a new awareness ribbon or colored rubber wristband intended to raise awareness of some problem, disease, or disaster.

Nothing’s wrong with any of that.  But until somebody does something about it, it’s all just pointing and talking.  Consciousness-raising doesn’t occur until someone looks inward and says, “I need to take action to stop this,” or “It’s my responsibility to fight that.”

Mettlecraft is the way we in Cabal Fang raise our consciousness and increase our awareness.  We look inward, analyze the state of our mind-body-spirit connection and take responsibility for how we live in the world.  

That way we create fewer problems for other people to point at, and we’re strong enough to help take responsibility for helping to solve the ones that loom.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #57

  • Ground-fighting Circuit.  Set a timer to beep ever 1:00 minute.  Put a heavy bag on the floor and do as many as you can in 1 minute of Prison Push-ups, Jackknifes and Side Lunges.  Then, for the fourth circuit, mount up your heavy bag and hit it as hard as you can 10 times.  Body lock it and roll to bottom position.  Hit it from the bottom 10 times.  Then bridge or roll the bag back into top position.  Keep doing that for the entire minute.  Repeat those four circuits 3 times for a total of 12 minutes.  Take as few 12-second breaks as you must.  Push as hard as you can and you’ll be drenched.
  • Untying knots. After you’ve walked off the circuit, cooled down, and your heart rate is back to normal, assume your usual meditative posture.  Regulate your breathing.  Close your eyes and begin searching your past for a time when you pointed out a problem but proposed no solution.  Look for things that you blamed on others but were actually your fault.  When was the last time you shirked a responsibility, left a mess for someone else to clean up, sat back and waited to see if someone else would fix a problem so you wouldn’t have to?  Find an incident and tease it apart.  Why did you do that?   How are you going to avoid repeating that behavior?


Teasing You with a Little White Monkey


White Monkey Holding Peach Balm. One of my favorite rubs. And one of my favorite product names.

The working title of my next book is Mettlecraft: Guts, Grit, and Mastery for Martial Artists.  It’s going to be the definitive how-to book for martial artists on how to get tough inside and out, including body hardening of hands and shins, meditation exercises, training tips and guides, how to maintain focus, how to fuel your determination engine, and so forth.

So I thought I’d give you a little teaser, starting with a little White Monkey.

Part of mastering martial arts is training through discomfort.  Serious injuries?  No.  You need to heal.  But you’ll have to train through the normal muscle pain that comes from exercise, and the minor scrapes, bumps and bruises that accompany realistic practice.  So Mettlecraft is going to contain reviews and recommendations of liniments, balms, and oils that are helpful for warming up, staying loose, relieving pain, etc.

One of my favorites is White Monkey Holding Peach Balm.  This is one of my favorite products, and one of my favorite product names.  “Heel-Tastic“?  How lame!  Why not call it something awesome like ‘Dulcet Mountain Silk Unction,’ or ‘Feather on Seventh Cloud Stick?’  Either of those would be way catchier, am I right?  But I digress.

This stuff contains 3% Methyl Salicylate (about one fifth what you’d find in Ben-Gay) so it isn’t an effective pain relief rub.  What it’s great for is warming up and staying loose.  Rub it into tight and tender muscles before and after you work out — but if you are going to wrestle or grapple, make sure you don’t have any on exposed places where your partners might get it in eyes!

wpid-20150118_071137.jpgIt also comes in handy for relieving headaches (put a dab on each temple and chill in your recliner) and for opening your nose after getting hit in the face.  A few hours later, when the swelling sets in and your face feels like a block of cement, a tiny dab in the little divot above you upper lip (a.k.a. your philtrum) does the trick.

White Monkey Holding Peach Balm also contains Camphor, Menthol, Eucalyptus oil, Cinnamon oil, Peppermint oil, and Clove oil.  Think of it as Tiger Balm’s big brother from Thailand.  It works better, smells great, goes on creamier, and costs far less.  I bet your local Asian market has some.

Enjoy it safely.  Don’t get it in your eyes or expose it to mucous membranes, and keep out of reach of children.