Tag Archives: WOOTW

Plateau Smashing and WOOTW #84

Yesterday morning I squatted 245 lbs with a hip belt for 3 sets of 5  and on November 3rd I did my first Handstand Push-up (videos at the bottom of the post).  Not superhuman, but not too shabby for a 56 year-old who only sincerely started trying to get stronger a couple of years ago.

But a while back I hit a plateau on both exercises.  I was sore, tired and feeling defeated.  I thought I was done getting stronger.  Then I did some reading, adjusted my diet and my supplement combinations, did some serious bootstrapping, and >bang!< — plateaus smashed!  What diet and supplement changes did I make?

I added what I call my Power Breakfast and started using a very simple, safe and effective combination of supplements.  If you’re interested in the specifics, dodge over to Patreon and get the lowdown for a donation as low as $1/month — and get access to much more patron-only and/or early release blog posts and videos!

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #84

  • 50 Duck Unders with a partner or 100 Combat Lunges if you’re training solo.  Watch this video. If you have a partner run it 50 times each person.  If solo, hang a rope or a chain to something sturdy to use in place of your partner’s neck.  Surge back a little and give the rope/chain a little yank, then lunge forward with sincerity as you move the opposite hand up into “hair-sweep” position so that your elbow creates space to get through.  Stand up and spin into seat-belt position.  From there you have lots of opportunities for take downs, cuffs, hammers, etc. (Hey Leo!  I’ve done the solo version of this drill three times this week — I’m gunnin’ for ya!)
  • Analyze a recent dream.  Pick one of your recent dreams and ask yourself what you can learn from it.  Can’t remember one?  Start writing down your dreams in your training journal and trust me, you will start remembering them.  Example: The other night I dreamt that I was doing a a helicopter survey of an area permanently flooded months before.  Everyone had left but one couple in a roofless house.  I looked through my binoculars and saw that the wife was cooking dinner on a gas stove in watery mud up to her knees, and the husband was in his recliner, half in and half out of the goop.  Huge snakes slithered in the muck.  Husband nor wife seemed to notice.  It occurred to me that they stayed because they were more afraid of the unfamiliar than they were of the muddy sewage water they were soaking in.  When I woke up I sat and had coffee, all the while asking myself what harmful thoughts, ideas and habits I might be clinging to out of familiarity.

One Wild Weasel of a Workout of the Week (#83 to be precise)

A weasel going after a basilisk

Are there weasels in the workout of the week?  Nope.  But as you’ll see in a minute there are crabs and bears!  The weasel is yours truly — because there’s so much going on around these here parts that I’m as wild as a weasel stuck in a corn bin!  

First off, the 501(c)3 paperwork came through, and Cabal Fang Temple is officially a tax exempt public educational charity.   I’m about to bust my buttons!

Second, we’ve got two big events at the temple this month — a Vigny Canne seminar in two weeks and a solstice event on the 21st. Both are going to be more fun than you can shake a stick at! ¹

Third — and the reason I’m using all this country hick verbiage — is that I’m happier than a pig in slops with the material I’m picking up in Mark Hatmaker’s Frontier Rough & Tumble martial arts program (you’ll have to subscribe to his RAW service to get the lessons but you can get a flavor for it on his blog).  What’s new is old and what’s old is new — more detail to come in future posts — but it’s fast becoming clear that some of the old world martial arts techniques I used to think were only side dishes just need a little extra pepper to look just like FRT, and then they can go smack dab in the middle of the table next to the biscuits!

And fourth, I’m really making progress in the Holy Orders program at Ekklesia Epignostika. It gets more and more beautiful and enriching (and more difficult!) the further I go.  More to come on that too, but in a year or so, you might be able to call me Father Mitchell.

Without further ado, this wild weasel presents the crabs and bears included in…

Workout of the Week #83

  • Warm-up thoroughly. Complete a full pyramid to 8 of Push-ups, Jumping Jacks and Zombie Squats (that’ll get you to 64 total of each).
  • Heavy bag PT circuit.  Put on your MMA gloves and go after your heavy bag with maximum malice, like your life depends on it, with full power and speed, until you gas out.  Then crab walk around the bag in an 8′ circle twice while you get your breath back — that’s about 50 yards. Then go at the bag again to failure, followed by two bear walk circles. Another round on the bag until you gas followed by crab walks, another go at the bag and then bear walks, and you’re done — four circuits total. Take as many 12-count breaks as you need to avoid throwing up.
  • Stretching contemplation.  Walk that off until your heart rate is under 100 bpm and then do some stretching contemplation.  Clear your head and stretch out as your normally would, only practice contemplation as you do so — that is, keep your 8/4/8/4 breathing pattern and let yourself “sink into zero,” the absence of thoughts.

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¹ Vigny Canne is a form of walking stick self-defense?  “Shake a stick?”  Get it?  Look, these are the jokes.  They’re not near as funny if I have to tell you when to laugh!

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!

 

 

Blood Compass: WOOTW #81

Workout of the Week #81 is wrapped around what we’re doing at the club this month.  So, since our external focus is Mettlecraft, the PT is extra brutal and the internal work is extra challenging.

If being enlightened was all just navel gazing, holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” then everybody would a flippin’ spiritual master. 

Real spiritual work is about self-examination, discernment, integrating the shadow, and all sorts of difficult and sometimes unpleasant endeavors.

Time to sack up or back up.

Note: Confused by all this talk of symbols and monthly focuses and so forth?  It’s all fully explained in  Cabal Fang: Complete Martial Arts Study Course from Querent to Elder which you can get on iTunes, from Barnes & Noble, KOBO or Smashwords in any format.

Workout of the Week #81

  • Half-hour Pyramid.  Select 4 to 7 calisthenic exercises. Less is harder because you’ll do more reps of the same exercise!  So beginners = 7, intermediate = 5 or 6, advanced = 3 or 4.  Set timer for 15 minutes.  Climb the pyramid until the timer beeps.  Finish the set you’re on, then try to climb back down before the half-hour is done.
  • Heavybag Compass Drill.  Set a timer for 4 rounds of 2:00/:30 or, if your round timer won’d to fractional intervals, use 3:00/1:00.  Resist the temptation to do longer rounds — you’ll start pacing yourself, and that’s not the goal.  Round 1 focus on Form.  Go slow and make your body mechanics as perfect as you can.  Round 2, focus on Accuracy.  Pick your targets carefully and try to hit them perfectly.  Round 3, go for Speed.  See how many shots you can throw before the timer beeps.  Round 4, go for Power.  Make every shot a knockout blow.
  • Blood Compass Meditation.  Set a timer to beep every 3 minutes.  Assume your meditative posture of choice, regulate your breathing, close your eyes and start the timer.  You’re going to do 4 segments of 3 mins each as follows:

1. Visualize a chalice hovering in front of your forehead and imagine that it contains the the blood of your chosen god or goddess.  Think about where you look for guidance and what you worship — not in theory but in practice.  Are you are properly demonstrating and directing your devotion?  When the timer beeps…

2. Imagine the chalice descends to hover in front your lower abdomen  and that it contains the blood of your ancestors and kin.  Think about what you’ve inherited biologically and emotionally from your ancestors.  Are you using discernment to determine what you’re carrying that’s positive and what’s negative?  Are you passing on the good an jettisoning the bad?  Are letting go of emotional baggage?  When the timer beeps…

3. Now the chalice hovers near your right shoulder and it contains the blood of friends and heroes.  Who do you associate with?  Who do you aspire to become?  Are you associating with, and looking up to, the right kinds of people?  If not, why is that?  What can you do to sort that out?

4. And finally, the chalice moves left and hovers near your left shoulder and it contains the blood of sacrifice and nourishment.  Are you making sacrifices for the benefit of yourself, your family, your community and your nation?  Are you respecting the sacrifices of others?  Do you respect the lives of the plants and animals that have died to nourish you?  Are your meals more sacred or decadent?

When you’re done, record your thoughts and realizations in your training journal and add action items to your To-Do List.

What’s a Hero? Workout of the Week #80

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In honor of our veterans this Veteran’s Day I offer…

What’s a hero? 

The world’s first recorded hero is Marduk, the Mesopotamian deity of the ancient mythic tale known as the Enuma Elish.  In that story, Marduk is the only god courageous enough to face Tiamat, the dragon of chaos.

iconThe oldest known hero recorded in the English language is Beowulf.  He is the only warrior with enough courage to pit his strength and prowess against the terrible Grendel and his even more horrific mother.

But lots of people are heroic and they’re not warriors.  Think about the people you look up to as heroes.  What characteristic do they share?  

A hero does what others are afraid to do. 

But it’s more than that.  If it heroism was just about being brave and overcoming fear, then criminals would be heroes because they have the courage to break laws.  A hero’s bravery must serve a noble purpose.

A hero behaves honorably. 

icon“Honor means recognizing your obligations, then having the courage to do what is right.”  ~Forrest Morgan, Living the Martial Way

 

Now let’s carry this brief exploration of heroism into…

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #80

1) Do something heroic.  Think of something you’ve been reluctant or afraid to do, something that serves a higher purpose, and make a plan for getting it done.  Doesn’t have to be earth shattering — smaller might even be better.  Maybe there’s a family member in need of an intervention, a friend who needs help with a daunting task, a volunteer job you’d have to bite the bullet to complete etc.

This workout appears in my Top 10 calisthenics ebook — click here to download!

2) Self Destruct Sequence.  See if you can beat my PR of 28:18.  This workout comes from my Top 10 calisthenics book The Calisthenics Codex (Click here to get it at Barnes & Noble, here to get it on iTunes/iBooks or go here get it at Smashwords in any format).

  • Zombie Squats (50)
  • Pushups, diamond (25)
  • Jump Squats (100)
  • Bodybuilders (25)
  • Pikes (25)
  • Jump Squats, split (50)
  • Pushups, barrel roll (25)
  • Bicycles (50 each side)
  • Burpees (25)
  • Twisters (25 each side)
  • Wall Touches (100)
  • Pushups, hopping/clapping (25)

3) Noodle around a little.  If you have a partner, spend 10 minutes practicing your standing locks a.k.a. “the Star of Ishtar.”  No partner?  Get yourself a pool noodle and bungee it to a tree, post or heavy bag to use as a training arm.  If you feel like making it fancy, put a fake elbow in it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nasty Nasty Workout of the Week #79

This month’s focus is Mettlecraft.  For those you haven’t read the book yet, you can find a full definition here.  For those who have, you know this is the month where you dig just a little bit deeper.  So the workout of the week is pretty darn nasty.

But in Cabal Fang we never ask anybody to do something we aren’t willing to do ourselves.  So WOOTW #79 is exactly what we did at the club this past Thursday.  And I’m going to inspire you to dig deeper by showing you a little video of me completing my first Handstand Push-up after 16 months of work.

It’s fairly sloppy and I look like a lumpy old grandpa in my faded sweatpants, but I hope it inspires you nonetheless.  I mean, just think — if I can go from regular Push-ups to Handstand Push-ups at age 56 then imagine what you can do!

And now for the nasty, nasty workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #79

  1. Complete the Monthly Constitutional as follows:
  • Walking Push-ups (25)*
  • Twisters (25)
  • Zombie Squats (50)
  • Burpees (25)
  • Curb Touches (100)
  • Lunges (100)
  • Flutter Kicks (100)

2. 8 minute Tire Run.  Set a timer for 4 minutes.  Pick something up and run as fast as you can until the timer beeps and then run back.  Beginners, choose something small and light, say a 5 lb. dumbbell.  Intermediate, choose something a little larger and more awkward, say a 10 lb. medicine ball.  Advanced players, use something like my personal favorite, the humble automobile tire (without the rim, obviously).  Cool down for 3 minutes and then meditate.

3. A meditation on the symbol of the Chalice.  Read or re-read Chapter 15 in the Cabal Fang book.  If you have a chalice of some sort in your home, set it up such that it’s at eye level when you’re in your meditative posture of choice.  If you don’t own a chalice, sketch or draw one, prop up a photo from a book, or print out the photo below.  Set a timer for 10 minutes, assume meditative posture, and regulate your breathing.  Do not squirm, wiggle, fidget or scratch — just look quietly at the chalice until the timer beeps.  When you are done, record your thoughts, feelings and impressions in your training journal.

A chalice (courtesy of Wikimedia)

* Take one “step” either left or right with your hands between each Push-up.

 

Non-Toxic Masculinity and WOOTW #78

Most U.S. public parks were built by the 17 – 28 year-old men and boys of the CCC who worked their butts off for three meals a day, a cot, and a few bucks to send home to Ma and Pa. Click the pick to learn more.

Toxic masculinity.  The Patriarchy.  Hyper-masculinity.  Male privilege.  Locker room talk.  Good ol’ boys.  Male chauvinism.  The casting couch.  Cosby.  Weinstein.  Toback.  O’Reilly. 

These are some of the images of men saturating our media lately.  But you know what?  Men, on the whole, are kind of awesome.

So here are some cool facts about men.

Good men are not hard to find.  They are all over the damned place.

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #78

  • Improvised weapons practice.  Select a blunt object safe for practice such as a  hand tool from your shed like a plastic trowel, a pair of pliers, a wooden or rubber knife, a stick from your yard, a ballpoint pen, a cane, your kubotan key chain, etc. and set a countdown timer for 10 minutes.  Strike the air in an “X” pattern — with sincerity and intensity! — as many times as you can before the timer beeps. Switch to your off-hand when you gas out, which should happen if you’re going at it like it’s life or death.
  • Complete the Constitutional of the Month.  Substitute exercises as needed based on experience/fitness level, partner requirements, etc.
  • Cover 1 mile as fast as you can.
  • Mental rewind meditation.  After a 3-minute cool down, set a timer for 5 minutes and assume your meditative posture of choice.  Regulate your breathing.  Starting with right now, replay your day in your mind’s eye, like a movie in reverse. Look for things you did or said that were not exemplary. Were a gentleman or lady today?  Did you do a good job of acting like the person you are in your heart?  Record your realizations in your training journal.