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Showing posts from 2019

The Lumberjack Tabata, [Battle] Ax Mechanics & “Don’t Be a Rubber Maid” by Mark Hatmaker

This offering is an Old-School PT Challenge, a mini tutorial on form, and a bit of a finger wag at an aspect of “functional” training.

First the PT Challenge: The Lumberjack Tabata


·An Eastern Single-Bit Ax [you can go double-bit but you won’t be shifting surfaces.]
·A downed log to work [or if you’ve got a tree that needs to be felled, you’ve got a twofer—conditioning and chores—you’re welcome.]
·A timer set to Tabata Intervals.

The Protocol

·Hit that timer and chop furiously for 20 seconds.
·Rest for a strict 10 seconds.
·Then back on the stick for 20 more seconds.
·You do this for a total of 8 work rounds giving you a total of 2 minutes and 40 seconds of work.

For those unfamiliar with Tabata rounds and that seemingly paltry work ethic, if you’re playing honestly the soul will cry as soon as you start your second 20-second interval. The 10-second “rest” will quickly reveal itself as woefully insufficient BUT do not allow that to sandbag following rounds.

Chop HARD, Chop FAST.

For my hi…

Rough & Ready Challenge: The Dead-Dog Yukon Mush by Mark Hatmaker

Setting the Scene

·You’re on the 33-mile Chilkoot Trail winding through the Coast Mountains.
·The temperature is dropping, through more than a few mishaps you’ve lost your sled-dogs like a cheechako [Greenhorn/no account rookie.]

It’s either sit and freeze or get back on the stick.

The Gear

·Your own bad self.
·A drag sled, or a fine stand-in.
·Weight to fit your grit. [Me and my 6-weeks out from knee-surgery went with 125#.]
·Choose terrain with hills if you got it.

The Protocol

·Lash yourself in like the lead dog you are and…
·Mush that sled for ½ Mile at your fastest pace, we’ve got to beat the night after all.
·If your terrain is flat, make that ½ mile a full mile. Mushing uphill is soul-breaking man making work; you’ve chosen for grit if it takes you dropping to all fours like a lead dog to make the final uphill stretches.

The Goal

·Your fastest time with no sandbaggin’ puts you in bona fide sourdough range [that’s a fine thing.]

This is the law of the Yukon, that only the strong shall thrive;…

“Scatter-Gun” Street Tactics by Mark Hatmaker

We’ll be talking three little targeted aspects of street/reality work that we will loosely label “Scatter-Gun” tactics. 

First, that name. In my ongoing historical research, I have come across a few instances of phrases along the lines of “Scatter ‘em!” or “Don’t forget your scatter-gun” also “shotgun” has been used here and there in the same context, as in “He got shotgunned all to hell.”

What was initially puzzling to me is that often these references were in incidents where no weapon was pulled. 

Finally, the key came together when realizing that we are hearing archaic slang for targets along the periphery, that is, forgoing, or at least, adding to the usual targets of head, limb, and body.

We hear echoes of this euphemism in old prison slang. The most current usage I can find of it is in “Paul Wade’s” Convict Conditioning 2 where he refers to training the neck, grip, and calves as “shotgun muscle.” He explains it thusly:

These groups were often called shotgun muscles by the old-time p…

Speed in Weapon Acquisition: “The Poker Chip Draw” by Mark Hatmaker

Those of us who train weapons, whether that weapon be firearm, tactical folder, escrima stick, pepper-spray, or Viking battle-axe likely spend most of our time en garde, at port arms, or “Weapon-Ready.” In other words, our tool of choice is un-holstered, un-sheathed, un-pocketed, un-pursed, un-quivered and ready to go.

Our training is often drill-based or duel patterned, meaning all of the preliminaries have been assumed. Fake-words have been had, weapons are in hand, now we click the sticks 1-8, adjust the paper-target up or down range, slash-one/thrust-four for reps, or apply the centurion’s gladius to the post ad naseum.


…in the New World, [Frontier America] a premium was placed not only prowess with a weapon at-the-ready but also speed of weapon acquisition and how quickly that weapon could be engaged tactically. In other words, we are not merely talking fast-draw, we are talking fast-draw and do the job.

Let us not assume the fast draw is mere stuff of Wild West legend or applie…

Altitude Training for Warriors by Mark Hatmaker

We’ve all heard the competitive wisdom that if one is going to fight at altitude, one needs to train at altitude. 

Is this advice correct?

We’ll come back to that in a moment, but first, let’s wade though a little science, touch on some myth-busting, do a little truth-telling and then finally settle on a hack that does, indeed, seem to do the job we set out to do by altitude training.

First, just why are we a bit out of breath as we increase elevation? 

As we increase elevation the air thins, and our lungs have to work harder to increase the amount of oxygen absorbed thru the surface layer of the lungs. 

This “thinning” has more to do with air-pressure then mere decreased oxygen availability at higher altitude. 

Just as with working underwater, just below the surface we feel very little pressure, but the deeper we descend the greater the pressure until the organism or diving device reaches crush-depth. The deeper we go, the greater the pressure.

On the surface of the earth at sea level, we s…

“Tree All!”: Lessons in Cover & Concealment from Woodland Warriors Mark Hatmaker

In the early days of warfare tightly knitted formation was a martial ideal. From the strictly formed phalanxes of Sparta’s hoplites, to the triplex acies (triple battle order) of the Roman Army, to the rank and file formations of Continental Armies typical of the Napoleonic Wars—tight, coordinated movement en masse was often the semblance of “cover” and defense.
When these war-hardened battle-tactics made their way to the early American Continent they encountered a guerrilla style of war in the tactics used by the indigenous peoples. A strategy of stealth, ambush, concealment, quick and seemingly trackless retreat. These tactics were disparagingly called “the skulking way of war” or more simply “skulking.” The term was not meant as a compliment. It was viewed as a cowardly way to engage.
But…it was mighty effective.
Here, we have a limited number of warriors without the “blessings of formal training” and in many cases using stone-age weaponry more than holding its own against superior nu…