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Showing posts from August, 2018

AQUATIC TACTICS: Safe Ascents & Dry-Land Drills by Mark Hatmaker

In prior articles in this series we have dealt exclusively with descending, preparing to descend, and how to manage comfortably while at depth. Now, let’s talk ascents as there are some dangers here as well, but, again, a marriage of science and indigenous diving wisdom renders these dangers negligible.
As we have discussed, when the human body descends to even shallow depths we experience great pressure changes, so great that even if we had a snorkel one meter long we would lack the muscular ability to intake a breath of air to survive.
At a depth of 10 meters [approximately 30 feet] we are already experiencing twice the pressure at the surface. The pressure at even greater depths is so extreme that deep sea fish brought to the surface often evert their viscera as the gas in their swim bladders expands and forces their guts out though their mouths.
Now, we are not deep-sea animals and seldom traipse along at such depths without extreme mechanical measures, but can we be subject to the s…

“The Kid’s Last Fight” Mark Hatmaker

This offering is a bit of music-hall doggerel with the sweet science as its subject that has been in existence for well over a century.
The original author cannot be named for certain.
It was an oft recited/performed bit in bars and vaudeville and an altered version was put to song by balladeer Frankie Laine of Rawhide TV theme fame.
Readers might also find echoes of a certain Oscar-winning boxing flick within the stanzas as well.
Nothing new under the sun.

Us two was pals, the Kid and me: 'Twould cut no ice if some gayzee, As tough as hell jumped either one, We'd both light in and hand him some.
Both of a size, the Kid and me, We tipped the scales at thirty-three; And when we'd spar 'twas give and take, I wouldn't slug for any stake.
One day we worked out at the gym, Some swell guy hangin' round called "Slim," Watched us and got stuck on the Kid, Then signed him up, that's what he did. This guy called "Slim" he owned a string Of lightweights, welters…

AQUATIC TACTICS: Equalizing Pressure-The “Hands-Free” Series by Mark Hatmaker

[This article is best consumed in series with the prior offerings regarding Aquatic Tactics.]
In the previous lesson we covered the science behind the essential need for pressure-equalization when working sub-surface and ran through a series of methods to accomplish this end that required a free hand, i.e., “The Pinch Series.”
We closed that exploration with the following observation… “how do we account for equalizations made by indigenous divers at depth who may have a fishing spear in one hand and a sea-harvesting basket in the other or a clutched surface-line? Let alone the horrible contingency of a sub-surface swim with hands shackled behind one’s back.”
Without hands being free, how does one make the vital equalization?
Turns out there are few hands-free methods used by indigenous divers that we can adopt for our own uses.
We won’t go over the same anatomy lesson offered in the prior offering but wisdom dictates that if one is refreshed as to how we used controlled air-pressure and s…

AQUATIC TACTICS: Equalizing Pressure-The “Pinch” Series by Mark Hatmaker

[This article is best consumed in series with the prior offerings regarding Aquatic Tactics.]
If we have developed the skill to swim, possess a reasonable breath-holding capacity [a comfortable one-minute is sufficient across many cultures], and have a willingness to work our aquatic tactics fully, the limiter at this point is often pain in the ears.
Many a good warrior feels limited or excluded from aquatic tactics because of ear trouble, but, again, a look to the wisdom of indigenous diving cultures and how they have coped with the malady is most instructive.
Along the way we will use a bit of science to interpret some of these tactics.
Ears & Submersion: Diving to depth is often accompanied by pain in the ears. This is due to the middle ear being an air-filled chamber that does not freely exchange air with the outer ear.
As we descend the air within the middle ear chamber contracts and exerts pressure on the eardrum which bows inward—this bowing inward results in discomfort,…

Attacking the “Buckler” from Heenan to Louis by Mark Hatmaker

[This is excerpted from our upcoming book Boxing Like the Champs, Round Two. I have been asked to excise the 6-rounds of drilling but...wink...RAW Subscribers can find them on RAW 186. To join the RAW Crew or for more info have a look.]

First, what’s a buckler?
A buckler is a small round-shield wielded by swordsmen or spearmen, it is worn on the defensive forearm or held in the defensive hand.
While the weapon-hand went to work the buckler was used to deflect blows and at times used as a weapon itself.
OK, so what does a buckler have to do with boxing?
In the early days of the sport, boxing was thought of as an auxiliary activity to other forms of combat. Early boxing academies were not purely establishments for boxing training. They often offered a myriad of disciplines that were taught in tandem with one another.
There are numerous records of bouts where the participants not only boxed but also might engage in fencing, wrestling, and singlestick matches [essentially “sword-dueling” with …

The Theory of "The Mountain Code" by Mark Hatmaker

Jim Webb, in his history Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America offers an interesting [if unprovable] premise on the foundations of the clannish honor, rebelliousness, and ornery combativeness of the people of early Appalachia and the Ozarks. It is a book well-worth reading and discussing [another day, perhaps.]

If we accept Webb’s premise there is much explanatory power behind why we had so many rough and ready folks willing to risk all for westward expansion. I’m hard-pressed to find other cogent explanations for “what happened after.” By that I mean, if we look to those around us today, can we easily imagine a large number of people uprooting and risking life, limb, property, and fellow family members to head off into uncharted and known dangers? It’s hard enough to get people off their phones and out of the house for a day-hike, how much more so to hack out the Wilderness Road, hit the Oregon Trail, float a rickety flatboat down the Missouri all with the high probability…


Action films and cartoons share a common idea, well, many ideas, but I will call your attention to this familiar situation.
Our hero be he Bugs Bunny evading Elmer Fudd or a warrior on the run encounters a river. To thwart pursuers, he plucks a reed from the surrounding vegetation and submerges himself with only the reed protruding above the surface. He remains stealthily submerged until the pursuers have passed.
There are also more than a few accounts in legend of various feats of escape that utilized this same breathing-though-a-reed trick.
Our surface interpretation of this feat is that it is plausible, after all, the reed is operating as a snorkel and snorkels do a fine job of allowing one to breath while submerged.
But, let’s look at the bare-bones physics behind this.
First-The deeper we submerge the pressure change prohibits us from being able to breathe non-pressurized air—scuba tanks contain pressurized air. When we use a reed, we are attempting to draw directly from the atmosphe…