Tag Archives: wrestling

Martial Video: Reverse, Smear, Hammer, Exit

It’s Wednesday, and you know what that means — martial arts video time.  Since this month’s martial focus is counters, triggers and flow drills, I present for your enjoyment and edification a delightful little flow drill to help you habituate a simple escape from Top Saddle position.

Training techniques in isolation will only get you so far.  Flow drills are where it’s at. You have to train the way people move and act in the world.  A fight is a dialogue, a call and response, a question and answer, and there is a flow.  Also included at the end of the video are a few quick words about this month’s symbol — the Cross — which just so happens to embody the concept of flow.

My new ebook “Martial Grit: Real Fighting Fitness (On a Budget)” releases July 1st.  Pre-order now at Barnes & Noble, iTunes or Smashwords.  Honed by 30 years teaching martial arts in inner city programs and in public parks for a non-profit, this is as real as it gets. 3 keys to proper mindset. Accelerate your training with the “S.A.F.E. M.P.” protocol. Dozens of drills and exercises using heavy bags, floor bags, dummies, slip balls, chains, weights, tires, sledges, pipes, mallets, etc. And DIY instructions for making your own gear for pennies.  


Survivor Mix: Martial Arts Training Involution #201

Part of this T.I. was created using the dice I sell at Mitch’s General Store. Click the photo to get some.

Last week I warned against getting distracted by “viral” training methods and  encouraged you to be steadfast in the face of the real viral threat that we’re facing right now.  This week I’m going to hit you with some practical martial arts solo practice to keep you sharp during this long, dark social distancing period.

Survivor Mix: Martial Arts Training Involution #201

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. I generally do 8 minutes of MBF or either 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work.
  • Wrestling and grappling mix.  Select a sandbag or heavy bag appropriate to your size and fitness level (I used a #70).  Set timer for 3 x 3:00/1:00.  Do Scarf Hold Switches from hip to hip until you can’t do any more, then drop the bag and run Wrestling Clocks until you fail.  When you do, put the bag in your Bottom Scissors and squeeze until you gas, swap your ankle wrap and squeeze again until you gas.  Then go back to Scarf Hold Switches and repeat until the bell rings.  When it does, shoulder the bag and walk laps for your 1:00 “rest.”  When the 1:00 is over, pick up where you left off and do that two more times.  When you’re done you should be “moist.”
  • Sprints.  Set a timer for 30-second intervals.  Sprint for :30 and then walk for :30.  Repeat 9 more times for a total of 10 minutes.
  • Contemplation.  Cool down for about 3 minutes, then set a timer for 10 minutes.  Have a seat in your posture of choice and regulate your breathing.  Leave your eyes open, and do not fidget, wiggle or scratch.  Now think about exactly nothing.  Clear your mind as completely as you can and allow yourself to stop thinking in words while maintaining total awareness of your surroundings. 

If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books and other products.  Why not check them out?


A Video and your #CABALFANG #WOD


After last night’s workout I was so sore that all I could do this morning was a bike ride and some stretching. If you want to get sore too, here’s what we did:

Wrestling: 8 x 2:00/1:00 of free play followed by this Constitutional: Russian Squats (50), Get-ups (25), Mountain Climbers (50), Neck Bridge  (90 secs), Staggered Push-ups (25), Side Lunges (25/side), Pikes (25)

And now a short video of my guys wrestling last night:

Wrestling Conditioner #3


Place heavy bag on floor, put on gloves, and set timer for 10 minutes. Get on floor beside bag and shrimp away from bag 5 times. Shrimp back. Get up and punch the air 5 times. Splay with forearms to the bag, pop up, and repeat four more times. After 5th splay, mount the bag and strike 10 times as hard as you can. That’s one set. Do as many sets as you can before the timer beeps.

Solo Ground-fighting Conditioners

I’ve posted both of these routines before, but they bear repeating.  These are particularly good for folks who don’t get a chance to wrestle/grapple on a regular basis.  Complete either of these once a week or so and so that you won’t be totally out of shape for some mat work when the chance arises.

10 Min. Solo Ground-fighting Conditioner #1

Set timer for two minutes and take as few few 12 second breaks as possible:

1.    Circle the bag: Forearms on bag and toes on floor are only points of contact.  Circle the bag using only legs and feet, alternating directions, until the timer beeps.

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

3.    Roll the bag: Lay 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 your tolerance for the stresses of wrestling.  Continue for entire round.

4.    Defend the bag: Lay on your back with back on top of you longways.  Push up the bag w/ left hand and strike it five times with the right, then switch and strike with the left hand.  Repeat for two minutes.

5.    Side Mount the bag: Scissor legs each direction 3 times, then scramble over bag with forearms and toes only.  Repeat.  When the timer beeps, you’re done.

10 Min. Solo Ground-fighting Conditioner #2

Set timer for 10 minutes and complete as many cycles as you can before the timer beeps, taking as few 12 second breaks as possible:

1.    Mount the bag and strike it 10 times as hard as you can.

2.    Body lock the bag, barrel-roll to bottom position, and knee boost bag.

3.    Re-mount the bag and 360 barrel-roll to top position.  Roll back in the opposite direction to regain mount and start over at #1.

WWI Combatives and Wrestling — Starring my Grandpa

Update 1/5/20:  My club still uses the flag but we’re now called Cabal Fang Temple, and we’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational charity.  Visit our website or purchase our 12-week personal growth program at Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, or wherever fine e-books are sold.


Forrest J. Mitchell Jr. in his WWI uniform
B. 01-Sept-1895 – D. 25-Mar-1953

Yesterday, while helping my mother go through some old pictures, I found some amazing shots of my grandfather’s training during World War I.  The thing I noticed right away was that they solved the outdoor wrestling problem — too much dirt and not enough mats — the same we do at my martial arts club.  But I digress.  More on that later.

My grandfather was Forrest J. Mitchell Jr.    He served in the Army during World War I, joining the day after the war started on April 7, 1917. He was with Battery A, 111th Field Artillery, 29th Division and stationed at Camp McClellan, Anniston Alabama, and Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.


See Grandpa there on the far left? Somebody circled his face and drew an arrow.

I have no idea at which of the two training grounds these photos were taken.  He was shipped overseas from Camp Upton, Long Island, New York, serving his time in France.


Working the Body Scissors and trying to do something with that arm…


Getting ready to pounce.


Classic scramble for position. Looks like the man in the dark pants might be about to go for a leg attack of some sort.

As you can see by the three wrestling shots on the right, they just spread out a tarp on the ground and got to work, which is the same way we do at my club — the Order of Seven Hills.  It worked ninety-seven years ago and still works today.  Mats?  Who needs mats?

Looking at these photos gives me a feeling of connection to a man I never new.  Although he died eight years before I was born, here is another thing we could talk about if we could sit down together.  That and the art of wordsmithing of course, since he was the owner and editor of a newspaper in Clarksville, VA and I’m a writer.  It’s fun to see we have some things in common and have had some shared experiences, even if they’re small.  I like to think he’d be proud of me if he got to know me.

Just to give you an idea of just what combat training was like in 1917, take a gander at the montages below.  World War I was so steampunk.  On the one hand you have men wrestling, riding around on horseback and in wagons, and wearing their Smokey the Bear hats.  On the other hand, you know that they had poison gas, machine guns, primitive submarines, those freaky rhomboid-looking tanks, and bi-planes (there’s one in the second montage).  You just can’t make this stuff up.

Anyways, rest in peace Grandpa.  It’s nice getting to know you, even if it’s just a


Check out the human pyramid on the upper right!

little bit and from far away.


Horses? Bi-planes? Wagons? Less than a hundred years ago and now we’re using drones.


Is the picture on the center-right over-exposed, or are they standing in snow? Looks like they’re wearing fur-topped boots…


Letter to Grandpa from General Pershing


Saturday’s Ground Fighting Practice

Update 7/18/19:  My club still uses the flag but we’re now called Cabal Fang Temple, and we’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational charity.  Visit our website or purchase our 12-week personal growth program at Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, or wherever fine e-books are sold.


Original post:

imageThe photo at left is of the setup for our ground fighting practice at The Order of Seven Hills this past Saturday.  We staked out a tarp, whipped out a heavy bag, and got to work (the heavy bag in the photo is DIY — for instructions click here.)

Here are a couple of our drills.  Warm up well first, and be prepared.  They may not look like much on paper, but these drills are tough, especially back-to-back.


Groundfighting Conditioner #1

Set a timer to beep every 2 minutes (no breaks).  There are 5 rounds to this little workout.

Round 1: Place forearms on heavy bag and toes on floor with no other points of contact with anything.  Keeping forearms on the bag, circle the bag using only legs and feet,like the hands of a clock, one full revolution.  Reverse and repeat until the bell rings.
Round 2: Mount the bag.  Strike the bag 10 times as hard as you can (elbows, punches, hammerfists, etc.).  Body lock the bag and barrel-roll once.  Mount and repeat until the bell rings.
Round 3: Lay on your back with the bag on top of you.  Lower end should be mid-thigh, upper end near top of your head.  Push up the bag with one hand and elbow/punch/hammerfist it five times with the other.  Switch hands and repeat until the bell rings.
Round 4: Side Mount the bag.  Scissor your legs in each direction 3 times.  Scramble over the bag to the other side using technique used in Round 1 and repeat.
Round 5: Lay on your back with the bag perpendicularly on top of your body.  Roll it up and down across your torso, pushing and pulling it like a rolling pin to strengthen your ribs.  If you are strong and durable enough, push it up and let it drop.

Groundfighting Conditioner #2

Set a time for 10 minutes.  Complete as many rounds as you can of:

  1. Mount your heavybag.  Strike it 10 times as hard as you can.
  2. Drop, lock, and roll so that bag is ontop of you.  Knee boost or neck bridge the bag as hard as you can.
  3. Roll and Mount the bag.  Repeat.