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Showing posts from June, 2018

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:…