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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…

Aquatic Evasion by Mark Hatmaker

Let’s take the concept of “Running the Gauntlet” as covered previously and apply it to the aquatic environment. Any serious reading of the historical record [ancient or modern] will be hard-pressed to find warrior cultures ignoring the ability of warriors to maneuver when in water. I’m not talking naval action whether it be a ship-of-the-line under full sail or small SEAL teams operating in a Zodiac boat.
I am talking the ability of the individual warrior to maneuver, attack, and survive in the water itself on a solo basis. The solitary warrior’s ability to swim both on the surface and beneath the water, to do so with stealth or evasive action, to do so underload carrying or towing weapons, to efficiently assault beaches, to wisely and efficiently abandon sinking craft, to be able to resort to hand-to-hand close-quarter battle in a water-treading environment.
All of these skills and tactics have been and are valued by warrior cultures. From today’s Navy SEALs to yesteryear’s Navy Frogm…

Running the Gauntlet by Mark Hatmaker

Any serious survey of battle-preparation amongst warrior cultures will find a similar practice reoccurring that we will blanketly term “Running the Gauntlet.”
Running the Gauntlet has manifested in many forms with the running theme [apologies for that verb use] being the warrior [or captive in many cases] being tested/tortured/trained [depending on circumstances] to either:
A] Run/move through a dual row of warriors who are punching, kicking, slapping, abusing the runner as they move from one end of the gauntlet to the other or…
B] The weaponless runner is given a small head-start after which weapons-wielding pursuers follow in waves [sometimes en masse] to hunt down the prey.
Cinephiles can see two film representations of the B-form of the practice in Samuel Fuller’s Western Run of the Arrow, where Rod Steiger is pursued by the Sioux, or in Cornel Wilde’s grittier The Naked Prey where the star/director is subjected to a grueling chase in Zimbabwe.
[Trivia Time: Although the second film i…

Static Stances Kill by Mark Hatmaker

[The below is excerpted from our book Boxing for MMA.]



Any discussion of stance worth its salt has to use Good Athletic Position (GAP) as the default starting base. For the uninitiated, GAP is the fundamental good mechanical position that the body assumes when it is expected to perform optimally across a variety of stressors. These stressors can be a sudden vertical jump, a quick explosive lift, a preparation to move to either direction laterally, to transition to back-pedaling, et cetera. The key to GAP is that it is a preparation for variety, a start point for options if you will.
Task Specific Positions (TSP) begin with the end in mind. That is, the sprinter knows which direction the body must move, the batter knows the approximate plane he must swing into, the fighter setting up the spin kick knows where and how she must set the hips to facilitate the smooth pirouette. Still, even with TSP there are, usually, only minor adjustments from GAP, and this close adherence is for good rea…

The Returning Champion from Virgil's The Aeneid

I offer this lengthy but still relevant boxing scene from Virgil’s The Aeneid [the John Dryden translation.] It comes in Book Five and takes place on the island of Sicily.
Aeneas has ordered a series of games on the anniversary of his father’s death and amongst the celebratory activities are a boat race, a foot race and this boxing sequence where we find the familiar tale of an aging champion urged to come back one last time.


The race thus ended, and rewards bestow'd,
Once more the princes bespeaks th' attentive crowd:
"If there he here whose dauntless courage dare
In gauntlet-fight, with limbs and body bare,
His opposite sustain in open view,
Stand forth the champion, and the games renew.
Two prizes I propose, and thus divide:
A bull with gilded horns, and fillets tied,
Shall be the portion of the conqu'ring chief;
A sword and helm shall cheer the loser's grief."
Then haughty Dares in the lists appears;
Stalking he strides, his head erected bears:…

Random Tips & Hacks on Indigenous Awareness, Stalking & Scoutcraft by Mark Hatmaker

The following are some Random Quotes from our Upcoming Book on Indigenous Awareness & Stalking. For release dates and further info see this blog or our free newsletter. Members of our RAW Crew will get early access to the information. Information on joining the RAW crew here.]


Keep this in mind, when you make a decision to be an animal observer, whether that be birdwatching, looking for deer in the forest, or a fisherman looking for signs of fish-- you are late to the game. The animals all see/sense youwaaay before you sense them. They never decide to tune you out. Look to your own home, I wager your dog is far more aware of your activities than you are of theirs. We decide to interact and then notice, they were noticing all along.Giraffes in Botswana love the leaves of the acacia tree. The trees “desire” not to be eaten so once they are being eaten the tree begins to release tannins that deter the giraffes. Is this a sign of tree “…