Tag Archives: WOOTW

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.

Flashback! Workout of the Week #77

This week’s workout is partially a flashback to an old Cabal Fang WOD from Feb. of 2017 called the “777.”   But the internal portion involves your training journal.

If you aren’t keeping a training journal you are missing out.

Journaling is associated with better lifetime outcomes — mental health, productivity, financial success — it’s just an unparalleled life habit, period.  But if you add your martial and fitness workouts into the journaling mix, well, it’s just a ridiculously powerful tool.

Not doing it?  Fix that.

Workout of the Week #77: the “777”

  • Heavybag.  Set timer for 7 rounds of 1:00/:30 and hit it as hard as you can — maximum effort!
  • 20 lb. sandbag pyramid.  Full Pyramid to 7 (that’ll be 49 total reps of each exercise when you’re done) of Sandbag Burpees and Sandbag Sit-ups.
  • Journal review.  Get out your training journal.  Turn back a year (if your journal is under a year old, just go back to the beginning) and look at your entries.  Spend 15 minutes reading and reviewing.  How far have you come?  Are you happy with your progress?  Are there things you have no made progress on?  Why?  Are you repeating mistakes?  What do you need to change, improve or expand upon?

If you think this post was interesting there’s a good change you’ll love my patron-only posts at Patreon.  You can get them for as little as $1/month by clicking here.

Free Martial Arts Training at Home (and WOOTW #76)

A couple of my friends after a successful trial for rank advancement. Start training in Cabal Fang too. What are you waiting for?

The Hermit Path Distance Learning Program is what we call our Cabal Fang Martial Arts home study course.  It’s absolutely free because we are a genuine, truly-and-for-real, non-profit educational corporation.

Sign up today and you’ll get a free download coupon for the 300+ page Cabal Fang Study Course.  All you have to do is complete the exercises and workouts, keep a training journal, and submit scans of your journals each month.

Remember those ads they used to run in comic books back in the 70s? We are NOT like them. Photo courtesy of Mr. Dan Kelly and his super cool website http://www.mrdankelley.com

Cabal Fang is a mind-body-spirit martial art.  Our emphasis is on getting fighting fit, learning how to fight, and getting your head together.

No, you can’t learn to fight by studying solo.  But there are two other dimensions that you can definitely pursue at home — fitness and spirit.

Weightlifters know that if they pick up heavy objects that are hard to lift, they’ll get stronger.  Cabal Fang is not easy.  Nothing that makes you stronger is ever going to be.  But trust me — you can do this.

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang “No Excuses” Workout of the Week #76

  • Eye-patched.  Prepare to fight with a handicap if necessary.  Tie a bandanna or tenugui around your head such that one eye is covered.  Set a timer for 3 x 3:00/1:00 and get after that bag with maximum damage in mind — punches and kicks.  Really try to beat the stuffing out of it.  Caution: Depth perception is difficult with one eye covered — don’t get hurt.  Don’t have a bag?  Make one.  Nowhere to hang it?  Lash it to a tree.  No excuses!
  • Calisthenics pyramid.  Full pyramid to 7 of Hop Push-ups, Pikes, Finger-tip Push-ups, and Jumping Jacks (that’ll be 49 of each exercise total).  If/when you gas on the Push-ups, drop to knees.  Can’t do do Hop Push-ups with a hop at the top?  Do them regular. Can’t do Finger-tip Push-ups?  Do them on knuckles instead.  No excuses — only substitutions or step-downs.
  • Searching for excuses.  Set a timer for 10 minutes.  Assume your meditative posture of choice, close your eyes, and regulate your breathing.  Imagine that your life is a video recording.  In your mind’s eye, start it playing backwards from right now.  Watch the video playing backwards, noting as you go the things that you’ve been making excuses about.  When the timer beeps, get out your training journal and write down the things that you’re going to do, say, correct, overcome, etc. by throwing your excuses into the negative behavior dustbin.

I created the pyramid workout using PTDICE — a set of 9 dice which I designed and marketed a couple of years ago. I have a few sets left. If you want one, send me an email at first.elder@cabalfang.com and I’ll sell you a set for $15.00.

Did you enjoy reading this?  Then the Cabal Fang book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.

 

Where Lurks the Next Mass Shooter (and WOOTW #75)

I shouted out,
“Who killed the Kennedys?”
When after all
It was you and me
(Who who, who who)

~The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil”

In January of this year I had an awakening of sorts during which I realized that there might be a reason why I didn’t have a book on the New York Times Bestseller List, why my martial art wasn’t more popular, and generally why I wasn’t smashing goals left and right.

Why?  Because I need to write better books, I need to perfect my martial art and I generally need to work harder.  99 times out of 100, lack of success has to do with you — not someone else.  And guess what happened when I realized this?

Blog traffic increased.  My creativity and courageousness soared and things that had previously seemed like work felt like recreation.  I finally founded my non-profit.  I started hitting goals I hadn’t previously dreamed I could hit.  I know it makes no sense at all, but taking full personal responsibility for success or failure is actually liberating, and restriction — not freedom! — encourages creativity.  

And so, in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting, here is a video that I could not have made last year because (a) I wasn’t self-critical enough to have the insight, and (b) even if I had the insight I wouldn’t have had the courage to speak my mind on such a controversial subject.

Let me know what you think.

 

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #75

  • Inside/Outside Heavy Bag Drill.  Set a timer for 8 minutes.  Imagine that your heavy bag is a person — really imagine it! — or else this drill is worthless.  Throw combos of 2, 3 or 4 shots against the bag.  As you do, imagine what your opponent would be likely to throw back.  Get your head off center line while you strike by using slips/shoulder pops simultaneous to your strikes.  Move while you hit, hit while you move!
  • The “888” Workout.  Set a timer for 8 minutes.  Complete as many sets as you can in 8 minutes of 8 Prison Push-ups and 8 Jump Squats.
  • 8-count Self-Improvement Drill.  Sit down with your training journal and a pen and set a timer for 3 minutes.  Start the timer.  Before it beeps, write down 8 things you could do that would make you a better person and/or would make your life better.  Restriction — not freedom! — encourages creativity.  Thanks to the time limit you’ll be blurting things out on the paper that have been hiding in your subconscious.  Give your 8 ideas consideration and move them to your To-Do List as you see fit.
Did you enjoy reading this?  Then the Cabal Fang book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.

 

Hermes’ Winged Helm and Workout of the Week #74

This week I’m going to hook you up with a little knowledge lecture about Hermeticism.  Why?  Two reasons:

  1. Because Hermeticism is the backbone of the spirituality of Cabal Fang,
  2. And people often ask what the hell Hermeticism has to do with martial arts (like Fernan Vargas did on the Raven Talk podcast).

Here’s the video — hope you find it fun and enjoyable.

And now for Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #74

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #74

  • Slip ball.  Get in front of your slip ball for 10 minutes.  If you are serious about boxing or kickboxing you should be doing this twice a week until the end of time.  Pursue slip ball with enough sincerity to be sweaty when you’re done.  Don’t know how to use a slip ball?  Watch this.  Don’t have a slip ball?  Put anything on the end of a string and hang it up, or make a proper one by drilling a hole in a tennis ball and running some para-cord through it.
  • Power kick pyramids vs. heavy bag.  Set timer for 10 minutes.  Throw a Side Kick pyramid to 4 with left leg forward, switch stance, and do another with right leg forward.  Switch stance.  Throw a Roundhouse/Switch Kick pyramid with left leg forward, switch, and then throw another with right leg forward.  Repeat until the timer beeps.  Kick as hard and fast as you can for max power.  Each pyramid = 1 kick, then 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 with only a short beat between groupings.  See if you can get through 12 pyramids — the whole thing 3 times — before the timer beeps (that would be 192 kicks).
  • Caduceus meditation.  Symbols effect your mind in ways that words and sounds cannot.  One of the best ways to use and interact with symbols is to sketch them in your own hand.  Draw a caduceus on a  piece of paper.  Then prop it up such that it’s at eye level when you’re in your chosen meditative posture.  Narrow your eyes to slits, regulate your breathing, and meditate on the drawing for about 10 minutes.  Record your thoughts and impressions in your training journal.

A caduceus (courtesy of Wikimedia)

Did you enjoy reading this?  Then the Cabal Fang book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.

 

A Little TJ Love and WOOTW #72

Thomas Jefferson monument at the University of Virginia

Once, late at night, I stood quietly and gazed up at a monument to a great American.

I was a struggling student at the University of Virginia.  I was lost, in the process of flunking out.  And I was thinking about calling it quits.

But then, standing there in the dark looking up, I thought about how fortunate and blessed I was to be at such a fine school founded by such a great man.  By what miracle, I wondered, had a poor, stupid kid like me been admitted this institution?  Why was I being allowed to walk these halls?  What fate had smiled on me such that I had been born to a father willing to work two jobs so that could go?

And I thought,

“Maybe there’s a reason I was admitted that I don’t know.  Maybe I’m more than I think I am.  This is an real honor — who am I to disrespect those who gave me this gift by squandering it?”

I was inspired.  I worked harder.  I expected more of myself.  And yes, I graduated from Mr. Jefferson’s University (A&S ’83.  WAHOO-WA!).  So when I read that BLM protesters shrouded that statue with a tarp and labeled him as a racist and rapist, I can tell you that my spirit rose in anger.  It took a a day or so to calm down and process.

Free speech is our most important right.  Say what you want.  But, in my experience, the best way to make an enemy — short of a personal attack or an assault on a loved one — is to disrespect someone’s heroes and ancestors.  I’ve written about this before.

And I’m wondering if this is going to stop before increasing polarization tears our country apart.

I for one am not going to allow groups looking for trouble to incite me to extreme positions.  I’m refuse to be swayed by agents provocateurs lurking in my friend, family and social media circles.  I’m going to keep popping my filter bubble.

I’m going to remain calm and voice my opinion in ways that breed peace, not violence.  And I really hope that others will do the same.

And now for the workout of the week.

CABAL FANG WORKOUT OF THE WEEK #72: “Pieces of eight”

  • The eight movements of the Star of Ishtar.  Set up a training arm — a simple stick or pool noodle lashed to a post or heavy bag works great — and spend at least 10 minutes working on the eight self-defense movements in the Star of Ishtar.  Don’t know those movements?  Either watch the video below or buy the eBook.  Want to make a fancier arm?  Click here.
  • As many rounds as you can in 15 mins of: 8 Burpees, 8 Dbl Wide Pushups, 8 Leg Lifts.
  • Contemplation for 8 minutes.  Set a countdown timer for 8 minutes, assume your chose meditative posture, and set quietly.  Don’t make war with your thoughts, just let them slowly quiet and still themselves as you approach stillness…

 

Did you enjoy reading this?  Then the Cabal Fang book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.

 

 

Take One of Each: Workout of the Week #71

Foreground: Craft sticks (1 qt. paint stirrers) with workouts on written them to be pulled at random from a cup. Background: Linear progression training program.

The Cabal Fang Workout of the Week is a three-parter that starts with an analysis of your workout plan.

If you’re training in Cabal Fang you are already keeping a training log or journal.  But if that’s all your doing, and you have no firm workout schedule, you’re missing out on big gains in skills and fitness.

Here are some questions to ask yourself today:

  • Do you have a written workout/training schedule?
  • Is it structured such that it incorporates linear progression and or periodicity?
  • Does it have a cyclic structure, a.k.a. an “off season?”
  • Does in include an element of randomness, or at least some room to pick what you feel like doing from time to time?
  • Does it contain at least one rest day per week?
  • How about at least two yearly breaks of one week each during which you do not exercise at all?
  • Does it include a plan for when you miss a workout due to illness, work-life-family needs and the generally unexpected?
  • Do you have an Burnout Self-Check protocol?
  • Do you make frequent small adjustments and course corrections based on results or lack thereof?

My martial arts oriented workout plan looks like this:

  • Sunday: Rest Day
  • Mon – Sat: Body toughening (15 mins) and temple rites (meditation, contemplation and prayer).
  • M: Weights, run or bike (Run Fall/Win, Bike in Spr/Sum — always high intensity 10 – 20 mins), solo martial arts practice (2 sections of 10 – 15 mins each chosen at random — see photo above)
  • T: Solo martial arts practice (early AM), martial arts group training (PM, 90 mins)
  • W: Weights, solo martial arts, hike (#40 pack, 1 hour)
  • Th: Run or bike, solo martial arts (early AM), martial arts group training (PM, 90 mins)
  • F: Weights, solo martial arts, hike

Almost every aspect of the above training as a linear progression element to insure consistent improvement over time.  If you’d like to check it out in detail, click here to view the Google Sheet.  You’ll find every workout I’ve done since 2012 (I’ve been logging all my workouts for over 10 years, I just don’t have them all online).

Interested in those little paddles with the random martial arts workouts on them?  Next week I’ll explain why I’m using them instead of dice these and I’ll give you some helpful hings for designing your own.

And now for the actual workout part of the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #71

  • Pick one calisthenics exercise and complete as many as you can before the timer beeps.  Beginners set your timer for 5 to 10 minutes, intermediate 10 – 15 minutes, advanced players for 15 or 20 minutes. Pick any exercise you want.  I generally prefer whole-body ones for this (Bodybuilders, Splays a.k.a. Down-ups, Jumping Jacks, Burpees a.k.a. Squat Thrusts, etc.) but there’s something to be said for Push-ups and Squats too.
  • Meditation of One.  This month at the club our spiritual focus is the Emerald Tablet.  Start my memorizing the second line of the Emerald Tablet: “That which is below is like that which is above, and that which is above is like that which is below to accomplish the miracles of one thing.”  Now dim the lights, be seated in your favorite meditative posture and set a timer for 10 minutes.  Relax, close your eyes and and silently recite the line in your head over and over until the timer beeps.  Record in your training journal any thoughts, feelings, impressions and mental images that appear in your mind’s eye.
Did you enjoy reading this?  Then the Cabal Fang book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.

The “Kwy-EET-us” (Quietus): Workout of the Week #70

When I was a kid we used this word “quietus.” Hardly anybody uses it anymore.  Too bad, it’s a great word.  For the unfamiliar I’ve aggregated several different definitions into this one.

QUIETUSkwī.ēʹtəs

From the Latin quiētus (“at rest”).

  1. A stillness or pause; something that quiets or represses; removal from activity; especially: death.
  2. Final settlement (as of a debt).
  3. A wrestling hold or grip from which there’s no escape, a.k.a. the “sleeper hold.”

I’ve begun putting the quietus on myself with regard to things I’m not qualified to talk about.  I’ve started going through the blog and deleting old posts that are ranty, preachy or whiny.

I don’t want to be the kind of person who does nothing to solve problems but still claims the moral high ground and claims to know exactly what people should or should not be doing.

Many of the things my father used to say, I’ve realized, are a lot wiser than I previously realized.  Things like,

  • “If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.”
  • “Mind your own business, son.  Nobody likes a tattletale.”
  • “Sweep out the corners.  The middle of the floor can take care of itself.”

What I realized earlier this year is that I don’t want to be the kind of person who fools himself into thinking that typing a few words, or hitting a “share” or a “like” button, actually constitutes action.

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #69

  • Complete a constitutional in under 20 minutes.  Sprints (25 each — 5 to 10- yards, out and back = 1), Crunch ‘n’ Punch (25), Push-ups, reg. (to failure), Neck Crunches (25 each, front, left, right, back, total 100), Jump Squats, split (50), Jackknifes (25), and Push-ups, knuckle (to failure).  Take as few 12-count breaks as you need to finish.
  • What have you done lately?  Dim the lights, be seated in your favorite meditative posture and set a timer for 10 minutes.  Regulate your breathing for a minute or two.  Then close your eyes and imagine there are two movies playing on a split screen in your head.  The movie on the left side shows  the things you’ve done recently that are sincerely selfless and genuinely altruistic.  On the right screen are the things you’ve done that are self-serving, hollow and/or virtual.  Which movie contains more action, is more interesting, engaging and realistic?  When the timer goes off, get up slowly and stretch for a few minutes.  Then record your thoughts and realizations in your training log or journal.
Did you enjoy reading this?  Then my book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.

Fight? What fight? Workout of the Week #69

 

“Looking forward to the fight this weekend?”

The next time somebody asks me if I’m going to watch Mayweather vs. McGregor the top of my head’s popping off.

To start with, McGregor’s famous ring apology was the final straw — the reason why I stopped watching MMA altogether.  But the main reason I’m not watching the fight is that the behavior of both men has been despicable.  As sports commentator Mike Wise said in reference to the July promotional tour,

“Mayweather and McGregor didn’t just cross boundaries of race, bigotry, misogyny and profanity this past week — they obliterated them, bleeping their way through a two-continent, four-city tour of filth.”

So no.  I’m not watching the fight.  I’m not giving either combatant — or any of their managers, promoters, networks or affiliates — my hard earned money.

Martial arts, when practiced properly, are about mastery.  They are about confronting the dragon of chaos and constructing order from its bones.  They are about becoming the best possible people we can be.  And watching that fight wouldn’t move me forward one iota.

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #69

  • Grappling Conditioner #3.  Get yourself a heavy bag and set it on the mat.  No mat?  Put a tarp on the grass like we do at the club.  Don’t have a bag?  Make one.  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.
  • Why are you studying martial arts?  Get out your training log or journal and write 250 words about why you’re studying martial arts.  If you don’t know why you’re on this journey it’s going to be really hard to direct your training, much less your thinking.  Where does your martial arts story end?  Don’t forget — people don’t tell stories.  Stories tell them.  What’s yours going to be?

Did you like this article?  Then my book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.

A Monumental Effort: Workout of the Week #68

Last week I went to Libby Hill Park for the first time.  I’ve been trying to get in good enough shape to do some real hiking, and I figured the famous Libby Hill stairs would be a great training opportunity.

I put on my 40 lb. pack and explored the park.  Then I went down and up those 153 insufferable stairs four times.  They feel like standard 7.5″ steps, so each time up equates roughly to a 10 storey building — 4o storeys in all on the day.  I’m guesstimating of course, but that’s roughly equivalent to climbing the stairs of the James Monroe Building.

When I was done I met my friend Chris for coffee, after which I went with him to Shamballa meditation group at Ekoji Buddhist Sangha.  Yep, I’m in Christian seminary.  But I really enjoy sharing spirit with others, and there was a period in my life many years ago when I might’ve called myself a Buddhist.  During discussion at the end of the meeting, some in the group expressed complex feelings about having not gone to Charlottesville to stand against the white supremacists gathering around monuments there.  Some agreed with me that the most powerful message possible was to ignore them.

Later that day the tragedy in Charlottesville unfolded.  And no there’s even more talk about monuments.   I wrote another post about that, if you’re interested in such things.

 

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #68

  • Pick up something heavy and carry it up something steep.  Get the heaviest thing you can safely handle — backpack, auto tire, sandbag, weighted vest, whatever — and find the steepest hill or a flight of stairs in easy striking distance.  Get your heavy thing to the top as many times as you can in 40 minutes.  Take as few 12-count breaks as you need to finish, and be careful going down on noodle legs or you’ll fall.
  • Honor the chalice.  When you’re done, stand at the top and pay homage to the chalice by reciting your interpretation of the devotional from Chapter 15 of the Cabal Fang Study Course — feel free to make changes as needed to fit your spiritual worldview: “O Holy Chalice, blood of God and Goddess, blood of ancestors and kin, blood of friends and heroes, blood of sacrifice and nourishment — thank you for your love, support, and inspirational example. But most of all, thank you for my rich inheritances—material, emotional, spiritual and philosophical. Blessings to you all; please know that you all live on in me.”  If it wasn’t for the people who came before you, who carried some very heavy chores and responsibilities up some very steep inclines, you wouldn’t have most of what you have today.

Did you like this article?  Then my book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.

 

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