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Rough ‘N’ Ready Challenge: “Heavy Bears” by Mark Hatmaker

Part and parcel of modern warfare tactics is the trinity of Stealthy Movement/Individual Movement Technique [IMT], Cover/Concealment, & Camouflaged Action.


When Colonists first encountered these methods whether here on the American Continents or in other encounters with Indigenous peoples whether they be in the African Interior or Borneo this method of warfare was identified as “the skulking way of war.”


It was thought base, coarse, “not cricket,” and the less than decorous “not very White.”


Fast forward to the 21st-century and “coarse” skulking is the standard.


There are more than a few crafty and canny ways of skulking movement and we will cover these in tactical detail in an upcoming unit within the Rough & Tumble Program.


Here I offer a conditioning circuit that includes one variation on a standard-- the bear crawl.


Quadrupedal Movement, or low movement of any kind can be of utmost importance in battle scenarios or ambuscades. It was [and is] often trained with long distance ins…

Fighting Words: Britain, Circa. 1700s. by Mark Hatmaker

A lifetime of martial study has meant much delving into the literature of days gone by. These fruitful studies often turn up matters of practical and tactical use. And…these studies often allow one to trip over delightful turns of phrase or curious jargon pertaining to our facet of focus. 


I have long catalogued this vocabulary and these sundry phrases, the following is a brief sampling all culled from the United Kingdom [British, Irish, Welsh, and Scottish texts] with publication dates ranging from 1722 to 1811. 


I hope you enjoy this dip into an earlier age of “Fighting Words” as much as I have enjoyed encountering them.


TO AMUSE. To fling dust or snuff in the eyes of the person intended to be robbed; AMUSERS were Rogues who carried snuff or dust in their pockets for this practice.


“Down with his apple-cart!” Is to throw or knock a person to the ground.


BASTONADING. Beating anyone with a stick; from baton, a stick, formerly spelt baston.


BOTTOM. In the sporting sense, strength and spirits…

Rough ‘N’ Ready Challenge: The No Man’s Land ½ Mile by Mark Hatmaker

Combat movement over open ground pre-projectile warfare was often a matter of movement in formation, melee, or breaking off into serial one-on-one or two-on-one engagements.


Projectile warfare [archers and early firearms] ushered in a bit of care and cover and/or movement behind shields became more common. This was not the rule as we still see movement in formation under-fire for over a century of warfare. It is amazing how long a very bad idea can live. It outlived many a human.


As British troops facing Indians in the early era of this nation can attest, skulking warfare [ambuscade, cover, concealment] began making colonials early-adopters of this successful tactic that was rendering superior numbers and overwhelming firepower less effective.


Skulking is dependent on utilizing the terrain to maximum cover and concealment effectiveness whether it be natural or urban terrain.


But…open ground engagement where cover and concealment are at a premium was and is a different story altogether.


The…

What 18th Century Naval Warfare Can Teach Us About Personal Protection [And Day-to-Day Life] by Mark Hatmaker

Shipshape and Bristol fashion.”


Have you heard the phrase?


If so, have you pondered what it means?


Well, whether you answered yay or nay allow me to lay out a little history behind that phrase, the pragmatic wisdom that fostered it and along the way roll out a few more vintage nautical terms, quote some Rudyard Kipling and bring it right back to combat training and, if you can believe it, we streamline our lives in ways Marie Kondo never pondered.


Back to our opening phrase: “Shipshape and Bristol fashion.”


I’m sure we all have a handle on the first half of that nautical proverb: Shipshape.

To be in shipshape, is exactly that, a ship that is properly prepared and good to go. It means an extensive review of supplies, a thorough examination of structure, standing rigging, running rigging, and all the extensive necessities required to keep a land mammal [man] alive in the precarious environment of the Seven Seas.


Shipshape, got it. 


Now how about that Bristol fashion portion of the maxim?


The to…

Weapon Ambidexterity: Vikings, Bushwhackers, & Necessity by Mark Hatmaker

In the empty-hand realm of combat true ambidexterity is a rare bird. Marvelous Marvin Hagler took great pains to develop facility both as an orthodox fighter and as a southpaw, but we could easily see where he stacked his chips when the heat was high. 


Seeking ambidexterity is a worthy goal, but one that has opportunity-costs. That is, the time put into developing the off-hand [off-foot for kicking, or off-side for grappling] means that is time we no longer have for moving the competency needle further towards mastery on our “good” side.


We should always make that opportunity cost/cost-to-benefit analysis in our training as there are only so many hours in the day, and precious few per week dedicated to training itself. With actual training time at a premium do we want so-so returns or better-than-average?


This is not an argument against empty-hand ambidexterity, not at all, just one of time-utility and, well, a jaded eye towards reality.


If we are to make the empty hand attempt, it might …