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A Grappler's Smorgasbord [Figuratively & Literally] by Mark Hatmaker

RAWarriors, just as we have been doing with resurrecting some little-known or forgotten Old School Boxing and Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble, it’s time to dust off our wrasslin’ ar

We’ve got a tooooon of old-school grappling fun we’ve been sitting on but a deal [book/video] has held up a bit of the unveiling of this material. But now…we’ve got the go ahead for us to start shoveling some fun for the RAW Crew only. [No freebie video that is the producer’s stipulation.]

I offer a few nuggets below.

A familiar quote we should all hold utmost in our mat-lovin’ breasts: “Conditioning is the best finishing hold.”-Gene Lebell

Here’s the great George Tragos, mentor of the also great Lou Thesz on the what he considered The Four Linchpins of Grappling Education:Leverage, balance, holds, and counter-holds.”

It is with “counter-holds” in mind and George’s teaching tactics at his gym nicknamed “Tragos’ Torture Chamber” where he made it a practice for the grappling pupil to spend more time in …
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The Self-Resilient Readiness Tests, Part 1. [PT & Grit] by Mark Hatmaker

There is not a Warrior culture, a “preppers” blog, a survival account, or an archetype of intrepid explorers that does not tout and shout the ideal of preparation. 

No one doubts the value of this advice. Preparation is no guarantee of survival, but also, no one doubts that odds increase for the prepared soul.

Chance favors the prepared mind.”-Louis Pasteur

But, to quibble with the illustrious Dr. Pasteur, that quote is only partially true.

Case in point, we all know [ALL know] that one vital aspect of the road to good health is moderated food intake, meals that are more wise than not, and getting in a good level of physical activity that robustifies the myriad physical processes that make up our physical self. These choices go a long way towards making the day to day less grumbling, and in hard times give us a higher baseline to work from towards recovery.

Again, we all “know” this advice to be true, our minds are prepared but…have a look a round you, perhaps have a gander at your own li…

Kicking in the Wild West by Mark Hatmaker

The American Frontier was an ever-expanding loose boundary of westward expansion that began with the coastal exploration along the Atlantic and then made inroads into the thick forests of the east. It is tough to imagine now, but, at one time, practically the entire Appalachian and Ohio valleys were so thick with woodland single-track traces [trails] through thick forest was about all that could be managed. 

Once the Mississippi was crossed The Great American Desert [The Great Plains] with perspective skewing grasslands stretching from horizon to horizon was encountered. And, of course, the vast fastnesses of the Rockies, Sierra Madres, boiling deserts from the Sonoran to the Mojave, unforgiving lands from the Malpais to the Llano Estacado [Staked Plains] saw remarkably different terrains and environments from territory to territory.

Within these varying terrains isolated by the natural features themselves entire cultures and traditions would spring up, and all cultures have their own v…

Lessons from a Swashbuckler by Mark Hatmaker

This piece delves into literary waters to highlight a point of the wise marriage of academic martial study and exhaustive practice and application.

I will provide a lengthy extract from the swashbuckling novel Scaramouche by one of the masters of the historical novel, Rafael Sabatini.

The passage is from the sequence where our hero goes to a master-at-arms to become an exceptionally skilled swordsman.

I will provide the passage in full and we will pull apart aspects of it that demonstrate how we can use Andre-Louis’ method in our own training.

Feel free to ignore the swordsman specific advice that follows but, by all means latch onto the spirit of the thinking fighter’s approach.

Under this really excellent tuition AndreLouis improved at a rate that both astounded and flattered M. des Amis. He would have been less flattered and more astounded had he known that at least half the secret of AndreLouis' amazing progress lay in the fact that he was devouring the contents of the master'…

The Unique Legacy of Breath Control & Utilitarian Hacks by Mark Hatmaker

You are amazing.

That’s right, you.

Of all the species on this planet you possess a rather remarkable ability that I wager that you take for granted. 

Before we disassemble and then re-assemble this astounding legacy let’s revel in it.

First, take a deep breath through your nose.

Let it out.

Second, take a deep breath through your mouth.

Let it out.

What you did in both of those instances is demonstrate an ability that no other land mammal possesses.

One, your breathed ably and comfortably through both mouth and nose.

Two, and this is remarkable and significant, but almost invisible in its import as we do this so readily every single day of our lives we take it for granted—you consciously chose to take a breath, hold it for your own determined duration and exhaled at will.

Let’s leave our unusual anatomy that allows for our atypical mouth and/or nose breathing to another day and dig deeper into the conscious control of respiration.

We all breathe automatically, until we don’t and then we’re dead.

Historical Snapshot: The Top Five Bare-Knuckle Targets by Mark Hatmaker

In what now adds up to 43 years [and counting] of loving research in the area of old-school dealers of pain I have come across many unusual blows and quite a few sources naming this or that bit of the human anatomy ideal for delivering a walloping blow.

What follows are the targeting observations of an old-timer himself, boxing journalist Earl Raab, writing in 1943, on what he found to be the Top Five Targets from the Bareknuckle Era.

ONE-“Beneath the Ear”

There are many resources that put targeting the ear fairly high on the list but in Mr. Raab’s findings this bit just below the ear delivers many happy returns.

TWO-“Between the Eyebrows”

An ungloved blow here was found to give a high-percentage percussive effect.

THREE-“The Pit of the Stomach”

This would later be called “The Solar Plexus Punch” as made world-famous by Bob Fitzsimmons. 

FOUR-“The Heart”

A highly coveted blow and ungloved it still has exceptional disconcerting wallop. A particularly deadly form of this blow was covered in deta…