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Wisdom from a WWI Flying Ace by Mark Hatmaker

A change of pace as we look not only to the past for today’s lesson but also to a completely different realm of combat to see if there just may be any advice that is pertinent for the sport of MMA and real-world operator survival.
We’re going to look to strategic advice offered by German flying ace Oswald Boelcke, one of the top (if not the top) innovators and instructors in the Axis’ formidable flying force during the First World War. Boelcke personally chose the legendary young Baron Manfred von Richthofen (the famous/infamous Red Baron) to become his pupil and protégé and coached him to an astonishing string of air victories.
Boelcke was flying at a time when the airmen of both the Axis and Allied powers considered themselves “knights of the air”; they exercised a sort of curious chivalry with courtesies often offered to the opposition. Stories abound of pilots who upon finding their primitive machine guns jammed mid-dogfight receiving a simple salute and fly-away from their advers…
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Submissive Signalling: Dogs & Humans by Mark Hatmaker

·Dog Submissive Signals: To keep peace or to be clear about not issuing challenges to hierarchical authority dogs use a variety of behaviors to “keep safe.” It is wise to pay close attention to this species with which we share a symbiotic relationship as there may be something telling in these universal strategies, one we may be unwisely signaling as humans every single day.
·How does a submissive dog act? Our short answer is…Like a puppy.
·Pay close attention here and feel free to substitute human for dog at any point in the mix—the rules of ethology hold.
·“Weak adults in many species of animals adopt juvenile postures or perform infantile actions when they are threatened by a dominant individual. If they lack the courage to match threat with counterthreat and risk engaging in a serious dispute, they resort to the animal equivalent of waving a white flag.”—Desmond Morris
·Notice these, so called value-laden words: “weak adults” “lacking courage” come from the science. They are accurate …

Drilling the “Rough Break” for Grappling & Streetwork by Mark Hatmaker

Let’s start with a little Old West history and then walk that into a mighty pragmatic drill-set that trains sensitivity, sensory deprivation, and overall resourcefulness.
Our first stop is a little horse-breaking practice that will upset horse-whisperers everywhere.
In the wild and wooly old days horses were mighty useful companions and work-mates, but, and this may come as a surprise to many, horses don’t pop out of the womb with a hankering to be ridden.
In our best-case scenario, a young horse is acclimated to people, raised around people, seen other horses ridden, and even then, the initial acceptance of bit, saddle and rider is still a slow process.
This rider-acceptance is all the more recalcitrant in a freshly captured mustang, a wild adult horse that has not been socialized to humans let alone fostered any unfulfilled dreams of losing its liberty and having a curiously garbed ape perched atop its back.
Compassionate “gentling” takes some time. Gentling is the preferred method, b…

The Admiral, “Iron Mike,” & The Father of Psychology by Mark Hatmaker

It’s the first week of the New Year and likely many of us are in the throes of commitment [or re-commitment.] We use the turn of a calendar page to assess ourselves, where we are now and where we want to be.
It’s a lovely tradition, a wise practice. It need not be tied to a mere one-day or one-month per year as “everyday is a new dawn” but…
If we’re going to resolve, let’s resolve big, and resolve wisely.
First, why do so many of us like the idea of increasing our resolve, forging our will?
Because many of us have our heads on straight to the fact that we are mortal. We’re all going to die, every tick of the analog second-hand is one tick closer to the end.
And if we’re really paying attention, that end is not necessarily some distant
“Golden Years” fading.
I have, and many of you have, up close and personal experiences with no matter how old you are, no matter your current state of health—we can be done and snuffed or altered in an instant.
The more we put off, the less we’ve lived. Of …

Warrior Awareness: The Killing Hand by Mark Hatmaker

There is a 90% chance that you, Dear Reader, are right-handed.
Left-handedness has an approximate 10% distribution in human populations.
Some research shows there is an approximate 30% of us who delegate tasks between hands, so called ambidexterity. But if we dig deeper on this mixed-handedness, it is not true even-handedness. This 30% still shows a hand preference on fine motor skill work.
Disclosure: I am a righty who boxes southpaw, signs my name with my right hand, works the Bowie knife and tomahawk with the right hand, but finds that my left hand is more facile in gunwork. I’m in that 30% twilight zone but…when confronted with a new task or as skills deteriorate under stress-drills [extreme cold et cetera] the right-hand dominance manifests more starkly. So, keep in mind ambidexterity is not a true 50/50 proposition.
For my boxing Brethren out there, even the “ambidextrous” Marvelous Marvin Hagler was not truly so. When it hit the fan we see the shift to the preferred side.
For our co…

Training for Courage: Part 3 Two Approaches by Mark Hatmaker

Do you consider yourself courageous?
Now, whether you answered that question in the affirmative or the negative or in the “Well, maybe, a little” let’s now answer this…
Would you like to be more courageous?
That question will usually reap a universal “Hell, yeah! Who wouldn’t?
Now, here’s the important question: Is it possible to train for bravery? To increase courage?
Is it possible to train an ineffable virtue?
The answer just may be yes.
[If you have not consumed the prior two articles in this series, might I suggest you do that now so what follows has the appropriate framework.]
First, it is helpful to wrap our heads around the concept that our bodies perceive like states as fact.
What I mean by this is that when the human body is in an arousal state, whether that arousal be sexual, response to a perceived threat or mere interest as in “What kind of animal is that over there behind that line of scrub?” our physiological processes behave as if the arousal state is the true state.
Wha?
Let’s …

Flehmen & Your Possible 6th Sense by Mark Hatmaker

[The below is a brief sample from the The Warrior Awareness ProgramEkasahpan’a Tebunit’u Nahep’u—Comanche, for roughly “Awake Warrior Tradition.”
It will begin rolling out in 2019 as an adjunct curriculum for RAW Members if they choose and made available for purchase to fellow travelers who are intrigued by auxiliary skills in the various warrior traditions. The Program will provide dozens of exercises, drills, solo and partner practices, and personal experiments to allow Awake Warriors to explore adjunct skills, full-sensory awareness, stalking, skulking and other allied arts culled from Indigenous Warrior practices and traditions world-wide.
The Program will provide in-depth description of the practice, its use in cultural context, and how it was originally trained.
We will follow each practice/exercise with detailed personal experiments with a series of step-by-step drills/tests/templates that allow you to bring a bit of this lost wisdom into your own lives. The templates allow you …