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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…

YOU CAN’T RUN FROM A GUN, OR CAN YOU? By Mark Hatmaker

Let’s talk real world, rubber meets road altercation. Zero room for sport-fighting or choreography here.


In the “Fight or Flight” dictum we always counsel flight. Run. Get the hell out of wherever you are as quickly as possible. Some, will read the “flee no matter what” advice and cock an eyebrow asking “Always run? Even if they have a gun?”


You are right to be skeptical, after all, a gun does seem to be the great equalizer, able to inflict grievous harm upon us even at a distance. So, what do we do when we encounter a gun? Sorry to be the proverbial broken record but…you run.


Let me offer the following information to make your choice to run, no matter what, a bit more confident.


ŸUnder 5% of armed robbers utilizing a firearm fire the weapon--those are good odds to run. Repeat—Under 5%. A percentage point of somewhere in the neighborhood of 95+% do not fire the brandished weapon.
ŸThose who do fire the guns are not armed robbers but murderers or attempted murderers--I advise you to run fro…

Which Strikes, Which Submissions Earn the W? by Mark Hatmaker

Be patient with me, as before we get to the answer to the above question of bestest strike ever, most effective submission under the heavens, we’re going to take some seemingly unrelated side-roads.

·We’re going to walk with Netsilik hunters.
·Ponder the large part that a few lumps of sugar played in the D-Day invasion.
·Quote a little Ralph Waldo Emerson.
·Lay out legendary Field Marshall Erwin Rommel’s simple test for evaluating field officers.
·Tell why WWII British Commandos and US Army Rangers praised soil engineers and geologists who never saw battle.
·Quote a little Smokin’ Joe Frazier
·And then, finally, answer the titled question and offer a suggestion or two about how we can add more W’s to our own combative curriculum vitae.


Netsilik Hunters

The Netsilik are indigenous peoples who inhabit the far north. Much of their survival is based upon hunting prowess. The land they inhabit is windswept trackless terrain and ofttimes snow-covered and featureless rendering the few familiar naviga…

Building Dempsey’s Hook: The Loaded Phase by Mark Hatmaker

[The following is excerpted from our upcoming book Boxing like the Champs, Round Two. We go into greater detail and provide visual reference for the drills + a few more on ESP RAW 199. The RAW Subscription Service is where the textual abstractions that are the rubber of the books and blog meet the asphalt-road of the gym/ring/cage. For info on jumping aboard theRAW Crew see here. Next month we resurrect “Scooping.”]

We all know Jack Dempsey had power in those hands. His two fists of dynamite are the stuff of boxing legend.

But…according to his trainer Jimmy DeForest he didn’t start out that way.

DeForest thought he was tough, a good-worker, but what impressed him most was his legs. The power from the hips down. [While he was impressed with the power, he was less impressed with their agile mobility, we’ll get to how he addressed that deficiency in an upcoming chapter.]

He felt that Dempsey wasn’t getting all he could out of his hands power-wise [almost hard to believe] so he remedied the p…

Rough ‘N’ Ready Challenge: “The Smoke-Jumper” by Mark Hatmaker

In August of 1937 lighting struck some dry tinder in Yellowstone National Park. The fire started small but via a long slow crawl eventually grew to become known as the infamous Blackwater Fire. The Blackwater Fire eventually consumed 1,700 acres and took the lives of 15 firefighters.


After Blackwater the US Forest service came to the conclusion that the only way to combat such fires was to somehow get an advance team to the fire before it grew to monumental proportions. The ideas was to take an elite cadre of firefighters who not only knew the ins and outs of dealing with conflagration, but who had skills in backcountry survival, woodcraft, and who could parachute from a plane. 


After the planning stages were thought over and a few initial trials were made these small units were tested in a literal trial by fire when on July 12, 1940 the first official aerial unit of firefighters were employed on the Marten Creek Fire in Idaho’s Nez Perce National Forest


These small advance units are ess…