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Showing posts from July, 2018

Lessons On Tracking & Observational Prowess from Mary H. Austin by Mark Hatmaker

The Land of Little Rain is a 1903 work from Mary Hunter Austin that can be thought of as a South-westerner’s poetic agreement with Thoreau. In a series of observational walks Austin reveals the beauty of the desert that she sees so ably. She offers evocative expressions of the landscape, insightful commentary regarding the flora and fauna and how to “see” as the animals do and ends the volume with a few choice comments on the difference between those who live on or close to the land and those who don’t.
This slim volume is chockful of wisdom. I’ll admit the poetic style may slow the progress of some, for others [myself being one] I find that the poetry of the prose adds emotional color to the information being offered. It smacks of heartfeltness and deep appreciation as opposed to simply rote advice-observation.
Here is Austin on our propensity to blunder through our environments.
Man is a great blunderer going about in the woods, and there is no other except the bear makes so much nois…

Indigenous Aquatic Ability: The “Bends” by Mark Hatmaker

Continuing our theme of exploring warrior facility in the aquatic environment, talk must be made of the “bends,” the intense dangers of this malady, and how a simple tribal method of timing thwarts this dire condition.
First, what exactly are the “bends”?
The “bends” have also been known as diver’s disease, and caisson disease. [Caisson disease being named for the watertight structures placed at depth to allow laborers to work on the foundations of bridges, dams, and tunnels.]
These slang terms are all referring to decompression sickness [DCS from here on out.] When working at depth or altitude [DCS can afflict those flying at altitude in non-pressurized flight suits or extravehicular activity-EVA-outside of spacecraft] the human body experiences extreme changes in pressure: water or air pressure depending on the medium.
If the human returns to standard pressure too quickly, dissolved gases, in particular nitrogen, comes out of solution and can form bubbles inside the body. Depending on …

Ancient Hellene Frogmen & Combat Breath-Holding Tactics by Mark Hatmaker

A recent series of water-related tragedies reminds us of, at the very least, the vital importance of the ability to swim, and for the ready-warriors of the world an ability that goes a bit beyond that.
The mere ability to swim goes a long way in dire circumstances, not to mention the copious scientific evidence demonstrating the surprising ways human/water-interaction is not just exercise or fun [which it is] it is also therapeutic at a deep visceral level that is not yet well understood. [More on this fascinating research another day.]

Our ready warriors of the world might wisely embrace taking water-interaction a bit further. An idea we addressed at some depth in “Aquatic Evasion.
The ability to swim and the ability to swim under task load or under stress are two different things. Things well understood by our modern Navy SEALs and by all of the water-warriors that preceded them.
The ancient Greeks have numerous mentions of water warriorship in contemporary accounts as early as 400 B.…

Winston Churchill, Fight Fan by Mark Hatmaker

This cartoon by the future Prime Minister was drawn when he was 17-years-old. It depicts Peter Jackson’s defeat of Frank Slavin at the National Sporting Club in London on May 30th, 1892.
Churchill had offered the drawing “in lieu of debts incurred” to the Harrow School tuckshop [candy shop.]

[For more boxing history, both archival and applied, see ourstore.]

Cognitive Load, The Peak-End Effect, & Eating Eels for Happiness by Mark Hatmaker

·The human animal stores/retains uncompleted tasks. If we are performing the task we begin processing it via executive-function, that is primary attention to the how’s & why’s of task completion.
·When tasks are completed or comfortably in progress we lessen cognitive load by dint of action.
·When we are not task-focused, the task does not disappear from memory, it moves to a background-function where it flashes in and out of consciousness, creating literal cognitive load.
·An impending vacation or other looked forward to event is a positive cognitive load that also blurs in and out of focus adding to the quality of our days.
·Unpleasant/difficult tasks that radiate in and out of focus are negative cognitive load in that they detract from the overall quality of life.
·Examples of Negative Cognitive Load: The work task that you will not stop thinking about over the weekend despite not being able to do anything about it while not at work, the unresolved argument, the unmown yard you tol…

The CIA, The Professor, & Observational Prowess by Mark Hatmaker

Situational awareness is a much-touted attribute of the truly ready and the ready wannabes of the world. Observational prowess is a much coveted and complex skillset possessed by the best indigenous trackers, seaman, scouts, and explorers. But, if we are honest with ourselves, often what we term “awareness” in the self-protection realm is merely superficial surface skimming of the world around us.
Time spent with indigenous trackers and scouts reveals a depth of perception that goes beyond our mere “I know where all the exits are in my local Home Depot, now let me take look number 1,032 at my phone.”
True awareness, observational prowess is not a faucet-attribute, that is something to be turned on and turned off. The top of the heap observers are always observing, always aware.
When we hear of this state of ever-ready awareness we often consider it either an impossibility or at the very least an exhausting endeavor. But perhaps not.
When thinking of ready-awareness we are often thinking…

Hacking Balanced Speed, Joe Louis Style by Mark Hatmaker

[The following is a preview from our upcoming book Boxing Like the Champs, Round Two. I have removed the second and third drill sets at the request of my publisher. For that information, see the book when it comes out or join the RAWSubscription Service for more historical tips and drills.]
Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis is often rated as one of the heaviest punchers in boxing history
We know that he augmented his natural power, thanks to Jack Blackburn’s schooling on his step-and-punch method.
Louis also had speed. For a big man he put some quick movement together.
Speed is often an inborn attribute. It can be helped along by smooth efficient drilling but, for the most part, speed is a God-given gift.
But…there is an attribute of speed that can be hacked and developed, that speedy-attribute is balance.
Let’s have a listen to trainer Walter Smith and what he saw as Jack Blackburn’s biggest assist to Joe Louis.
He taught him balance…As long as a man keeps himself on balance when throwing punc…