Tag Archives: wrestling

Bifax: Martial Arts Training Involution #230

Do some of the work, or at least work out the riddle of how the name of the involution relates to its content, and then post in the comments.  People who engage have been known to get discount coupons for books and merch from Mitch’s General Store

T.I.s support my martial arts programs — Cabal Fang (non-profit martial arts for personal development) and Bobcat Martial Arts (Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble martial arts). 

That’s why they have four primary components:

  • a martial arts technique
  • a fitness component
  • a primitive skills angle
  • a spiritual component

Now let’s stop slacking and start hacking.

Bifax: Martial Arts T.I. #230

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • “Top-n-Bottom” wrestling drill.   10 x 2:00 intervals, no breaks, 1/2 to 2/3 power — just enough force to maintain realism while focusing on smoothness and technique.  Arrange in mis-matched pairs — as much size/weight diff. as possible — smaller partner holding larger in Bottom Scissors.  Smaller person practices chosen bottom submission (Chicken Wing, Leg Triangle, Short Arm Scissors, etc.) for 2 mins  Larger practices the counter.  Switch partners every time the bell rings and repeat.  If you’re working solo on account of COVID, use your grappling dummy.  If you don’t have one, see the instructions for making one for pennies in my e-book Martial Grit available from Smashwords, B&N, or iTunes.
  • Knock out this month’s constitutional. 

    Every constitutional back to 2009 is archived online at https://www.cabalfang.com/monthly-constitutionals

    Sit-out Push-ups (25), Ploughs (25), Pikes (25), Neck Crunches (25 ea. direction), Zombie Squats (50), Bear Walks (100 yards), and Jackknifes (25).  Beginners,  go slow and just try to finish (but listen to your body and don’t overdo it).  Intermediates, aim to finish in less than 20 mins.  Advanced, aim for under 15 mins and, if you succeed, go back and do 20% more (5 more of the 25-rep exercises, 10 more Zombies Squats, and so on).

  • Reverse the rehearsed — destabilize a training session. Train outdoors in the rain or in the cold, at dawn or dusk in the half light.  Train at a different location and/or at a different time.  You’ll be shocked by the severity of disruption.   You’ll be sloppy and unfocused.  Push through and get there.  Do this often.
  • Synch up your inside and your outside.  This month’s symbol is the Luminaries (the two lights that rule the day and night skies — check out the intro here).  One of the many things the Luminaries symbolize is the relationship between your inside and your outside.  Watch the video below and begin to think about paying special attention to what you are doing vs. what you are saying and experiencing — what the Greek fathers of the church would’ve called nepsis or watchfulness.
  • Journal.  Do the work, the external and internal, and about what you did and thought in your journal.  If it ain’t in the training journal it didn’t happen!



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Leaping Lava: Martial Arts Training Involution #229

Yo!  Weekly T.I.s support my martial arts programs — Cabal Fang (non-profit martial arts for personal development) and Bobcat Martial Arts (Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble martial arts).

Do at some of the work and post in the comments.  People who engage have been to get discount coupons for books and merch from Mitch’s General Store

Now let’s stop talking and start chalking.

Leaping Lava: Martial Arts T.I. #229

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • Mat is Lava drill.   3 rounds x 2:00/1:00 of “mat is lava” — see video below.  Start on knees or in quarter position and practice getting the hard parts of your body on the soft parts of your partner — but be nice!  If you don’t have a partner use a grappling dummy or a floor bag.  For instructions on how to make them, download my e-book Martial Grit from Smashwords, B&N, or iTunes.
  • 9 minutes of real-life action.  Find a section of fence near a dead tree, or set up a couple of sawhorses and a 2×4 near one (never needlessly harm a live tree).  Take your axe and your weapon of choice, gloves and goggles.  If you’re working in a gym, stack up plyo-boxes and sub tire and sledge, dull training weapon and heavy bag.  Set timer for 1:30 intervals.  Vault over the obstacle for 1:3o, then axe the tree for 1:30, then attack with your weapon for 1:30.  Run through twice for a total of 9 mins, no breaks.  Beginners, work on accuracy, form and grace and leave tools at stations.  Advanced folks, take a dull weapon with you on the vaults, attack as you clear the obstacle, and use a live weapon on the tree.  Note: The essence of an axe is accuracy.  Even if you are subbing a sledge and a tire, aim to hit a literal pinpoint.  If this looks fun, create more sessions in a similar vein using Frontier  Rough ‘n’ Tumble Fitness Dice © available here.
  • Walk and listen.  Go for a walk and listen.  Do you know the bird calls in your neck of the woods?  Being in tune with your plant and animal neighbors has a transformational affect on you inside and out.  Don’t know where to start?  Use the Cornell Ornithology Lab’s BirdNET app to record and identify bird calls.  Here’s my most recent observation — a  Common Grackle. 
  • The Luminaries.  This month’s symbol is the Luminaries — the two lights that rule the day and night skies (if you missed last week, check out the intro here).  Our monthly symbols always have a spiritual bent, but there is also direct, physical applicability.  Do you live and work by the sun and moon?  Or do you stay up all night and sleep all day?  For the rest of the month, try going to bed and getting up at the same time every day (± 20 minutes), making sure you get 7 – 8 hours of sleep.  You won’t believe how much more happy, healthy and productive you become.
  • Journal.  Meditate on these ideas and exercises and then write about what you did and thought in your journal.  If it ain’t in the training journal it didn’t happen!



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is a martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. If Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912) — is more to your liking, check out Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts, my for-profit martial art project. Click either photo to get started today!

Grace: Martial Arts Training Involution #228

These are the Wrestling Dice (TM) that I used to create one of the drills in this week’s T.I. Get yours http://www.mitch.store

If you’re new in these parts, these weekly T.I.s support my martial arts programs — Cabal Fang (non-profit martial arts for personal development) and Bobcat Martial Arts (Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble martial arts).

Every month we pick a new martial focus and a new spiritual symbol (there are 12 of each) and that’s what these T.I.’s revolve around.  October ’20’s martial focus is wrestling, spiritual symbol is the Luminaries, and the monthly constitutional is as follows (previous months can be found here).

October 2020 Constitutional

Sit-out Push-ups (25)
Ploughs (25)
Pikes (25)
Neck Crunches (25 ea. direction)
Zombie Squats (50)
Bear Walks (100 yards)
Jackknifes (25)

Do all or part of the T.I. and post in the comments.  People who engage have been to get discount coupons for books and merch from Mitch’s General Store.  Now on with the show…

Grace: Martial Arts T.I. #228

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • 50 Sit-outs. If you know how to do both long and short Sit-outs, great — you’re intermediate or advanced.  Do 25 of each AFAYC.  If you’re a beginner, watch the video below and do 50 Short Sit-outs slowly and carefully.  Beginners remember — slow is smooth and smooth is fast, so start slow and and speed up only as you get smoother.
  • 9 minutes on the floor bag.  Put a floor bag in the middle of your training space and set timer for 1 minute intervals.  Lock bag in Bottom Scissors AHAYC for 1 minute.  Then get into Side Control with the “head” of the bag on your right.  Hands out to the side — the floor is lava! — insert your L knee into opponents imaginary “guard” to take Top Saddle.  Then extract R foot with good form and go t0 Side Control with head of bag on your left.  Go back and forth for one minute. For the next minute, pop into Shin Ride, punch-punch, switch to other shin (or into Hamburger Ride) punch-punch, and repeat until timer beeps.  Keep going until you’ve done 3 sets of each.  If you liked this drill, get yourself some wrestling dice like the ones in the picture and create thousands more just like it on the fly.
  • Practice moving through the world gracefully.   Embrace the idea of “grace” at its most philosophic and esoteric level, aiming for grace in thoughts, desires, actions and beliefs.  Strive for physical grace both on and off the mat, when performing martial techniques, putting away groceries, or walking the dog.  Be graceful in your thoughts, thinking through things with care rather than like a bull in a china shop.  Be graceful in your emotions, not giving yourself over to every craving and desire.  And be graceful in your spirit, recognizing that none of us is perfect and that patience, forgiveness and love are almost always the answer.  After all, it is only by the grace of God that we are here at all.  Moving through the world gracefully should be central to martial arts.  If it ain’t, you’re probably doing something wrong.
  • The Luminaries.  This ancient symbol, like all the best ones, amounts to more than the some of its parts.  It reminds us that there are two primary lights — lights which can be understood intellectually, emotionally, scientifically, and mystically — and we get out of synch with them at our peril.  Intellectually there are two sides to every argument, and you must engage the other side with sincerity.  Emotionally we must remember that we are possessed of both a conscious and a subconscious, each illuminating the light and dark sides of ourselves.  Scientifically we cannot behave as if we are machines immune to the phases of nature.  Do you sleep all day, stay up all night, ignore your body’s needs for adequate sleep, sun on your skin, and so forth?  Do you even know what the current moon phase is?  Finally, and most importantly, we must see the luminaries mystically.   There are two lights — God, who lights up Heaven, and you, who light up the World.  You must be as much like God as you can, following His example and lighting up the World with all your might.
  • Journal.  Meditate on these ideas and exercises and then write about what you did and thought in your journal.  If it ain’t in the training journal it didn’t happen!



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is a martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. If Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912) — is more to your liking, check out Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts, my for-profit martial art project. Click either photo to get started today!

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.  

A

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

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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

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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.


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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.

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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.

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

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Getting ready to pounce.

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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

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Check out the human pyramid on the upper right!

little bit and from far away.

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

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

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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.