Tag Archives: WOOTW

Sacred Geometry Exercise Part 2 and WOOTW #54

Last week, as part of the Cabal Fang Workout of the Week, I suggested a meditative drawing exercise in sacred geometry that, if you did it, basically looks like the GIF on the right.

The day I posted that exercise was the most popular in the history of this blog.   Hopefully you folks like the sequel just as much.  Because the second step is to go from last week’s exercise to drawing a pentagram.  I’m not making a new video or photo set because somebody already made a really good one:

What does all this mean?  What in the name of all that’s holy does any of this have to do with martial arts — or with anything important whatsoever?

If it was explicable in 25 words or less, we wouldn’t need symbols would we?  And if it was obvious enough to grasp at first glance, I wouldn’t suggest that you draw it yourself!  

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #54

  • Kick Conditioner.  Complete a Half Pyramid to 10 of Kicks (to heavy bag, full power, first one leg then the other), Chin-ups, and Back Neck Bridge.  If you make it all the way to 10 (1 rep of each, 2 of each, 3 of each, etc.) that’ll be a total of 55 kicks per leg, 55 Chin-ups, and 55 Back Neck Bridges.  If this is too easy, add weight to Chin-ups and Neck Bridges.  Too hard?  Do Push-ups instead.  No heavy bag?  Make one or kick the air.  NO EXCUSES.  Try to get it done in 15 minutes.  Take as few 12-second breaks as you need to finish standing up.
  • Draw a 5-pointed star per the video above.  Watch the vesica piscis emerge, then the heart of the Cabal Fang symbol, then the star.  Record thoughts and impressions in your training log or journal.

 

Syncretic Symbols, Sacred Geometry and WOOTW #53

The seal of biblical king Hezekiah. Note the winged scarab and ankh motifs.

Last week I posted about how certain symbols and ideas just keep showing up across time and cultures.  Now I see an article which points out that things often reappear because people love to borrow and re-use things that are powerful, meaningful, fit into their existing knowledge structures, and/or are just plain useful.

Specifically, the article I read was about the discovery of King Hezekiah’s royal seal (right).

Note the Egyptian winged scarab and the ankh.  On a Jewish king’s seal. 

This famous biblical king was comfortable borrowing symbols from the very society which had oppressed his people about 700 years earlier.  And yet, by the biblical accounts in the Book of Kings, he was a highly respected and conservative king, a reformer who “purified and repaired the Temple, purged its idols, and reformed the priesthood.

Religion is the technology of consciousness.  Like all sciences, it builds on the discoveries and innovations, the successes and failures, of previous thinkers.  

Judaism sprang from Canaanite and Babylonian religious ideas.  Judaism collided with Egyptian and Greek religion and spawned Christianity.  None of this is theft.  It’s the way humans and their cultures innovate, grow and evolve.

When we see further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants (if I may borrow and paraphrase from Isaac Newton). 

And now for the Cabal Fang Workout of the Week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #52

Wrestling Conditioner #1: Set timer for 5 rounds of 2:00 minutes each, 10 mins total.  Make sure you’re fully warmed up before you begin, and go all out with no breaks.

Round 1, circle the bag.  Place a heavy bag on the floor (if you don’t have a heavy bag, here’s how you make one).  Put forearms on bag and toes on floor — these will be your only points of contact for this 2 min round. Circle the bag using only legs and feet, alternating directions, until the timer beeps.

Round 2, mount the bag.  Mount and strike 10 times as hard as you can. Body lock the bag, barrel-roll, regain mount, and repeat until the timer beeps.

Round 3, roll the bag.  Lie on your back with heavy-bag perpendicularly on top of your body. Roll it up and down across torso, pushing and pulling like a rolling pin. From time to time, press up the bag and let it drop on your torso to maintain or establish your tolerance for the stresses of wrestling. Continue for entire round.

Round 4, defend the bag.  Lie on your back with bag on top of you longways to simulate an attacker mounting you.  Strike 10 times.  Body lock the bag, barrel roll until your back on the bottom and repeat until the timer beeeps.

Round 5, side mount the bag and scissor.  Side mount the bag and scissor your legs 3 times.  Keeping chest pressure on the bag, switch to face other end of bag and scissor 3 more times.  Scramble or circle to other side of bag with forearms and toes only. Repeat until the timer beeps and you’re done.

Drawing Meditation.  This is a lesson in sacred geometry.  Get paper and compass and sit down quietly at a table where you can work in comfort and silence.  Set countdown timer for 10 minutes.  Clear your head, regulate your breathing, and follow the steps in the photo set below to draw the central geometric shape of the Cabal Fang symbol.  When you’re done, spend the remainder of the 10 minutes meditating on the diagram before you.  Do the two circles seem symbolic of anything?  How about the area where they overlap?  What else speaks to you?  Record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in your training log or journal.

 

 

 

Incorporation and WOOTW #51

Cabal Fang Temple, Inc. is now a real live corporation in the Commonwealth of Virginia and its 501(c)3 application is in the final review stage.  Fingers crossed, soon we’re going to be a real live, tax exempt non-profit.

In popular slang terms, “Cabal Fang is a thing.”

One of the things we’ve had to do is sharpen our message and streamline things so that there’s no ambiguity in our structure, message or actions.  What that means is that the Order of Seven Hills martial arts club — the first and founding Cabal Fang martial arts group — is going to be changing its name to the Cabal Fang Temple.  This was a tough call, but one that we agreed needed to happen in order to advance the art.

In order to honor the fantastic work we did, the discoveries we made and the camaraderie we shared under the old name, we’re going to incorporate two of the things we do at the club into the Cabal Fang canon — our pledge and our flag.  Look for them in the second edition of Cabal Fang: Complete Martial Arts Training Course from Querent to Elder.

More to come.  And now for the Cabal Fang Workout of the Week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #51

  • Practice the Star of Ishtar for a minimum of 10 minutes (that’s the Cabal Fang version of a “combat clock”).  Do this by attaching a pool noodle to a sturdy object at shoulder height using a bungee cord or rubber tie-down.  If you have 10 minutes you can make an arm out of a pool noodle, a scrap of shrubbery, and a meter of duct tape (see video below).
  • Full Pyramid of the following: Jackknife Push-ups, Jackknifes (bent or straight knee is fine), and Get-ups.  Beginners to a peak of 5, intermediate 7, advanced 10+.  The square of the peak = the total number of reps per exercise.

 

Truth and Consequences: Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #50

The other day 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!

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #50 — Slip and Bob Drill 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

  • 10 minutes of slipping and bobbing.  Set a timer for 10 minutes and practice the 4 slips and the bob outlined in the video below.  When you feel comfortable, start trying to do them along with someone calling out random number patterns.  If you train solo, use this audio recording or make your own using the voice memo app on your phone.
  • 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.

Workout of the Week #49: Slip Ball

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #49 is simple: work with a slip ball for a minimum of 20 minutes.

That’s it.  

I made a video for you to make it as simple as possible.  Check it out below.  The challenge is to maintain focus on one and one thing only for a full 20 minutes or more.

 That’s it, because that’s enough.

The Cabal Fang Workout of the Week is usually challenging physically, mainly because we expect that pushing through the pain of exhaustion will translate to the ability to push through the pain of a self-defense situation.

But maybe we should consider the possibility that pushing through the frustration of repetition — maintaining focus no matter what — will translate to the ability to maintain focus in our daily lives.

Go ahead, try it.  No excuses.  Put a handful of rice in a sock and hang it from a pair of shoelaces if you have to.  Just start training.  But if you want to get all fancy and make a your own slip ball by putting a tennis ball on a piece of para cord you can read this post.

After your 20+ minutes, let me know what you think.

The Twilight of True Dialogue and WOOTW #48

This is an AP article from the Sunday, March 12th 2017 edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch. Probably a copyright violation sharing it here. But the state of readership being what it is they should be glad somebody’s reading it. Which is sad, because the local paper is a place we can all go to agree (more or less) on what the facts are. And that’s important.

When I got my first management job I made a lot of mistakes.  To be honest, I was a pretty awful leader.  So I read some books, and I took what I learned as a martial arts instructor, and I gradually stitched together a management style that seemed to work.  Then I layered on top of that foundation all of the things I learned in my spiritual explorations to arrive at what I think is a respectable management skill set.

In those days I was spending several nights a week teaching Taekowndo to inner city kids at the YMCA and for Recs and Parks.  That was a learning experience for sure.  And I read some really excellent books, like How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Costs of Bad Hiring Decisions and How to Avoid Themand most of all, Living the Martial Way by Forrest E. Morgan, Maj. USAF.  The book-learning and experience helped.

But what really mattered was that I cared about my people, took my responsibility seriously, and genuinely wanted to get better.  My greatest asset was my degree in English, which made me a capable communicator.  I could write policy, craft memos, stand up and lead meetings, and so forth.  I could form sentences that, whether they were spoken or written, had impact.  I could use words that inspired people.

To me, leadership is good communication of common vision.

So, although we have lots of cool tech to play with these days, and though we have the best of intentions with regard to safety, I have some concerns about the direction we’re headed in terms of communication in the modern age.

  • Electronic games are supplanting open-ended forms of play during which kids learn how to mutually decide what they’re going to do,  how to set up and agree on the rules, and generally educate each other how to find and achieve consensus.
  • Alarmed by mass shootings and out of fear of violence, modern school policies encourage kids to tattle on each other instead of solving their own interpersonal difficulties, such as bullying.
  • Terrified of law suits and other legal troubles, employers encourage employees to tattle and inform on each other instead of solving their own interpersonal issues.
  • The liberal arts are increasingly watered down in our SOL-driven primary and secondary schools.  Financial concerns are driving more and more students into vocational schools.  Reading and writing are taking a back seat to “practical” knowledge.
  • Texting and social media — such as the LIKE button — are killing real conversation.
  • The web makes it easy for trolls (most of whom don’t have the stones to be nasty face-to-face) to spew negativity and turn discussions into virtual screaming matches.
  • The internet smorgasbord of news makes it easy for us to ignore the stories that challenge us and to cherry-pick facts to support our existing points of view.

We need to guard our communications skills wisely.  Maybe there’s a reason why our political environment is so divisive these days.  Maybe there’s a reason why our leaders seem less capable than ever of unification, of building consensus, and of getting things done.

Are we not men?  There’s more to being human than wearing clothes and having thumbs. And if we don’t make an effort to communicate like humans, what exactly are we going to become?

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #48 — Mobility and Lack Thereof

There is a 99% chance that if you ever have to defend yourself you’re going to be hurt while you do it.  Why?  Because (a) nice guys don’t go around attacking first at the first sign of trouble, and (b) predators almost always use surprise, or at least blitz-style, attacks.

  1. Set timer for 2 min rounds with 30 second breaks.  Complete 1 round each of Grapevines, Shake ‘n’ Bakes (a.k.a. Up-Downs), Ice Skaters, Mirrors, Curb Touches, Tire Runs (or High Steppers if you don’t have tires), Sprints, and Foot Maneuvers (on toes!).  Take as few 12 second breaks as you need to avoid throwing up. 8 x 2:30 = 20 minutes of hell.
  2. Now put on 4 oz gloves, pair off in twos, and take turns pressuring your handicapped partner.  Do a round each with a rock in your shoe, one hand tied to your side, a bandanna over one eye, a strobing flashlight in your face, and a splint on one knee (an escrima stick and an ace bandage works well).¹ Keep moving toward him/her, advancing and pressuring constantly.  Try to cut off the workout space so that he/she has to really struggle with movement and defense.  Contact commensurate with experience — pressure newbies without striking and present palms for them to hit as targets.

¹ We took our inspiration from Mark Hatmaker’s excellent No Second Chance series of DVDs.  Hatmaker is the real deal.  Check out the drill he calls “Hop-along.”

Exploring Pyramids (and the #WOOTW)

Real pyramids vary by culture, but they are generally known to contain secret chambers and the resting places of the dead. But mainly they are repositories of the unknown. “What’s in there?  Why was it built, and by whom?  How did they make it?” we all ask.

What lies within the pyramid?  The unknown.  

And what happens when the hero confronts the unknown?  He learns something about himself.

Look, you’re unlikely to ever have the opportunity to explore an actual pyramid. Fortunately for you, I have an alternative, and it comes complete with a valuable life lesson packed inside.

What you do is far less important than how you do it.

If you approach the things you do with full attention and execute them to best of your ability, you get better, smarter, faster, stronger and so on.  And then you make better decisions about what you should be doing.  Which means if you do things right, what you do takes care of itself.

Trust me when I say that if you do this workout as designed below — if you climb to the top of this pyramid to the best of your ability — you will see inside the pyramid and inside yourself.

 Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #47

Full Pyramid of the following 5 exercises.  That’s 1 rep of each exercise, 2 of each, 3, 4, etc. to the peak, then back down to 1 of each.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you need in order to finish.

  • Push-up, Full Stop (hands off floor for split second at bottom of each rep)
  • Neck Crunch (front on way up the pyramid and back on way down, or left on the way up and right on the way down)
  • Bodybuilders
  • Bicycles
  • Squats

“How do I find my peak?”  Good question.  How many strict Push-ups or Squats can you do?  Index on the chart below to find your peak.  And this is the central, ‘secret chamber’ of this whole pyramid thing.

If you can do 15 Push-ups and/or 30 Squats in one shot without resting, your pyramid peak = 7.  So, even though you’ll never do more than 7 at one go, you’ll do 49 of each exercise total.  But a Bodybuilder contains a Squat and a Push-up.  Which means that this pyramid tricks you into doing way more reps than it seems like you’re doing.  It pushes you beyond your ordinary limits.

It’s not a contest with anyone other than yourself.  Just finish the darn thing without taking any breaks longer than a 12-count — take as few 12-count breaks as you need.

Max strict Push-ups no rest Max strict air Squats no rest Pyramid Peak
5 – 10 10 – 24 5 (25 reps each exercise – about 10 mins)
11 – 25 25 – 49 7 (49 reps each exercise – about 20 mins)
26 – 49 50 – 99 10 (100 reps each exercise – about 40 mins)
50+ 100 + 12 (144 reps each exercise – about 1 hour)

Use your common sense.  If you don’t exercise regularly and/or you haven’t seen a doctor lately, I strongly recommend that you consult with your physician before trying this workout and/or beginning any exercise program.  Proceed at your own risk.  All exercises and/or exercise programs entail the possibility of physical injury.